I have absolutely no business here. The whole notion of blogging terrifies me.
I have no wisdom to impart. I have no fascinating tales to tell. I have no time-saving tricks to teach.
Blogging is another gerund to add to my list: exercising, flossing, dusting. Now blogging.
But it’s more than that, too. It sounds like I’m about to wrestle a frightening monster from the deepest, darkest part of the forest. Beware the Blog is what I see painted on a wooden sign at a juncture on the path. Scattered bones, shredded aprons, and smashed wagon wheels litter the ground. Some villagers didn’t flee fast enough. And I want to. Desperately.
Instead, I’m going in. Why?
Because of my daughter.
She’s sixteen and takes on one brave thing after another each and every day because at her age everything is entirely new. And complicated. Sometimes she procrastinates to a fault. Sometimes she refuses. Sometimes she whines and worries. This weekend she was invited to a birthday dinner party with people she didn’t know well. She was nervous, knowing small talk would be required for two hours. I asked what would make her feel brave, and she said polished fingernails might help. So I painted each of her perfect nails a vibrant blue that reminded us of mermaid tails.
She attended that party with ten magic fingertips. And she returned home all smiles.
So I press on with my own things that seem impossibly hard. How will she learn courage if she doesn’t see me marching forward? She’s the reason I suit up in armor, however scratched and rusted it might be.
When she was five, she asked me if I’d wanted to be anything. I knew she was now hearing about mothers who were designers and doctors and deputies. She only saw me clean and cook. I told her I wanted to be a writer once upon a time and took her to Barnes & Noble to find The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard. It carried a snippet of the review I wrote for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She listened intently as I read it and she said, “That’s good, Mama. You should write more.”
From time to time, she’d remind me again until I finally did. She needed to learn more from me than stain removal techniques and recipes. She needed to understand the value of getting past yourself, getting out of your own way, getting on with your life. You have to believe in giving yourself a chance. Otherwise you don’t stand a chance at all.
So here I am. My intent is to post twice a month. I think I can do that.
For the occasion, I painted my nails mermaid blue.