my exhausted heart

We’ve been sick for two solid weeks around here.

And I am a champion worrier.   I can worry you under the table.  You don’t know what worrying is until you’ve met me.  If I could take my worrying to the Olympics, I’d bring home the gold, baby.  I’d have my own line of sneakers.

Though, sadly, of course, I cannot take my worrying to the olympics.  But I can take it–and my two stuffed-up children–into our bathroom with a box of tissues, run the shower, and call it a “sweat lodge.”  Which is what we did today.

And I can let that worry bring my blessings into sharp focus.  And I can give thanks for my little ones and their beautiful hands.  And I can promise myself, again and again, not to take even one single second for granted.

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surreal

Plenty of surreal things have happened in my life.  But I’m not sure I’ve ever quite felt anything like it feels to look at this:

It’s my first novel, The Bright Side of Disaster, in Czech.

It is indescribably bizarre to flip through a book that YOU wrote–and not be able to read a word.  Not even guess at what the words might sound like.

The title in Czech translates to “Everything Bad Is Good For Something.”  Which I love like crazy and I’m going to print up on a bumper sticker.

And one last thing: there’s an obese one-eye cat in the story named Dr. Blandon, and they put him on the back cover!  Which is just about as good as it gets.

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mine

The images in the Mom 2.0: Defining a Movement video that I made all came from real photographers–women who are working on their craft every day.  I am not a real photographer.  But I did sneak in one of my own photos when I made the video.  Just one.

This one’s mine.

It’s a heart I made for my daughter on a day when she was performing in an assembly at school, but I wasn’t allowed to be there.  (It was Grandparents’ Day!  Only room for grandparents!).  I so wanted to be there!  And I was far more nervous than she was at the prospect of her reciting a memorized paragraph in front of a giant auditorium.  But it made me feel better to make this and know that she had it with her.

She , of course, did great at the assembly.  As is so often the case with mothering, I worried over nothing.  But she still keeps this heart in her backpack, and  takes it with her to school every day.  And I’m so glad she has it.

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defining a movement

My friend Laura asked me to make a video for the Mom 2.0 Summit art show that’s coming up in February.

And here it is!

Many thanks to Shutter Sisters for allowing me to use photos from the site.  And many thanks to the amazing photographers:  Karen Walrond, Jenny Lawson, Tracey Clark, Sarah Ji, Kristin Zecchinelli, Irene Nam, and Meredith Winn.

And here is the essay that I wrote for the video:

WHAT I WOULD TELL HER:  (If I knew what to say.)

You are a miracle.

And I have to love you this fiercely:  So that you can feel it even after you leave for school, or even while you are asleep, or even after your childhood becomes a memory.

You’ll forget all this when you grow up.  But it’s okay.

Being a mother means having your heart broken.

And it means loving and losing and falling apart and coming back together.

And it’s the best there is.  And also, sometimes, the worst.

Sometimes you won’t have anyone to talk to.

Sometimes you’ll wonder if you’ve forgotten who you are.

But you must remember this:  What you’re doing matters.

And you have to be brave with your life so that others can be brave with theirs.

The truth is, being a woman is a gift.  Tenderness is a gift.  Intimacy is a gift.  And nurturing the good in this world is a nothing short of a privilege.

That’s why I have to love you this way.  So I can give what I have to you.  So that you can carry it in your body and pass it on.

I have watched you sleep.  I’ve kissed you a million times.  And I know something that you don’t, yet:

You are writing the story of your only life every single minute of every day.

And my greatest hope for you, sweet child, is that I can teach you how to write a good one.

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tracks

My grandparents’ ranch is on the Brazos river, a perpetually brown, sandy-bottom river outside Houston.

I’ve paced around its shores on trips to the ranch my whole life, and now we take our kids there and they do the same thing.  Its amazing to watch history repeat itself like that, and I’m happy to report that fossil-searching, stick-throwing, rock-skipping, shell-finding, mud-smearing, dam-building, and poking at things with sticks are all still going strong.

It’s been wet in Texas lately, and I found tons of animal tracks last time we were there.  Coyote, for example:

And racoon.  I love how much their paws look like hands.

And deer. I’m pretty sure.

And some crazily huge bird with stick-feet bigger than my son’s hands:

And somehow looking at those tracks got me thinking about all tracks I myself have left on this very beach–in Keds and cowgirl ropers and Adidas.  And then suddenly I was thinking about my grandparents, and all the years that have passed since they walked on this beach with us, and how much I miss them, and how much I would love it if they could come back, even just for an hour, and visit us and meet my kids.  It seems impossible to me that their lives didn’t overlap.  Especially when my daughter’s eyes are the exact  blue that my grandfather’s were, and my son’s eyes are the exact buttery brown of my grandmother’s.  How could they be connected so profoundly and never have even met?

But I guess that’s how it is with the past.  It really doesn’t leave enough behind.

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time in the country

We’ve spent time in the country the past two weekends at my grandparents’ ranch.  This is my favorite place to be.

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what I’m working on

I’m taking a little break from novel-writing this week to make a video essay for the upcoming Mom 2.0 Summit in Houston.

My friend Laura has organized an art show during the conference that will try to honor the amazing things that women are doing online–and the way that having a public place that we can access from our private lives helps moms reach out and tell their stories.  And how women telling the truth about their lives can make us all better, wiser, more compassionate people–and make the world a better place.

Laura’s asked me to make a video essay about it that’ll play at the show.

This is the stuff of great conversations–hours spent over coffee chipping away at why it’s so powerful to hear other women’s stories and to tell your own.  For the video, I’ll have about 2 minutes.

But the images, from Shutter Sisters, are going to be gorgeous.  And I will certainly try like heck to do them justice.

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