So, I've had this on my mind for a bit, but am just now getting around to writing about it.
At Christmastime, I was sitting around, talking with my sisters (in which group I count my sisters-in-law, as I only have one "genetic" sister), and the talk turned to blogs and facebook. One of us commented (and the rest of us agreed) that it was sometimes difficult/painful/a real bummer to go through those sites because reading through a seemingly unending list of marvelous vacations, adorable kids, perfect husbands, and spotlessly clean houses (etc.) often nets out a general feeling of discouragement and discontent.
So, on the off chance that this little spot of quirky-ness is a place that might tempt anyone to feel "less than", I'd like to make a few things clear:
The life I portray here is not a completely accurate view of all that life contains for me. We don't spend our days alternating between planting seeds and going to Disneyland. Heather isn't adorable all the time, Eric isn't a prince of a man 24/7, and am certainly not smiley and sanguine about absolutely everything that we (I) experience and endure. I don't write much about all of that though, at least not here, because I am well aware that this is a public space, not my personal journal or "let off steam notebook" where I can write whatever I want and whatever I'm feeling, and then hide it away where no eyes will ever see.*
I'm not saying that I make up stories and stage pictures of a life and family that are vastly different from my actual reality--I don't. Everything that I share here actually happens, and although I don't put an inordinate amount of thought into these posts, I do try to write in a way that is honest and true to the character and spirit of how I experience it all. But, there is a lot that goes on in the Cantwell home and in the life of Charlotte that doesn't (and never will) see the light of the blog.
A bit more on Heather and Eric, and by extension the rest of my friends and family, and then I think that will be enough for now. I am absolutely thrilled to be married to the man that is Eric, and having Heather for a daughter is honestly better than I ever imagined motherhood could be. However, that doesn't mean that either of them are perfect, or that we don't have issues and problems and disagreements and tears sometimes. We do. Family relations are work, and we definitely do a lot of working through things and learning together around here, learning and working that often ends up being painful and difficult.
The fact is though, that unless I do so very superficially, I'm not going to write about those experiences here, out of respect and love for Eric and Heather, their feelings now, and their feelings in the future. One day, Heather will be a middle-schooler. Do I really want her to be able to see that her mother has shared her frailties in a public spot for the world to see? Do I want to write anything that will contradict the over-riding message that I want to teach her--that she is loved by God and by her parents, that she is important, that she is capable, that she is marvelous just the way she is and just because she is?
Likewise with Eric. As easy-going and good natured as he is, I've learned over the years that (like all of us), Eric has insecurities. So, because I love him, I'm not going to purposely share things here that will embarrass him, or portray him in an unkind light. I'm (obviously) not afraid to tease or poke gentle fun at him here, but I have discussed that with him, and he's good with it. (To be clear, I do run things by him if I think I might be dancing on the line by sharing.)
I guess what I'm trying to say here is that our lives are not quite as colorful and fun and glorious as these words and pictures might have you believe. As middle-class American families go, I think we're pretty average. We laugh a lot, and we cry some too. We struggle with our weight (except for Heather), we live in a house that is just a little bit too small for total comfort (but since we tend to be a little pack-ratty, chances are that will be the case no matter where we live). We want more than we have, but realize that we have much more than we need. We watch too much television, and we wish we were better than we are. By and large we're happy. We're happy and we feel blessed and lucky, and that's the portion of our life that I most often share here.
So, there you have it. Thanks to you for checking in here from time to time to see what we're doing, and thanks for sharing all the laughs. 'Cuz as interesting as it is to write all this serious thoughtful stuff, it is laughing that's my favorite, after all.
(Well okay--laughing and being cheesy.)
*Just to show you my level of OCD, I really do have one of those books. The cover page includes an explanation from me to whoever might find the book in the event of my untimely death, explaining that the words written there have been written in times of stress, times of frustration, times of needing an outlet. It also includes a request that my life not be judged by those words. I know, I'm a little bit crazy. (I prefer the terms "eccentric" or "quirky" though, if it's all the same to you.)