I've joked for many years that I think of parenting as "a slow death to self".
The death to self part (or maybe, less dramatically, a minimizing of self) is obvious : as a parent, your own "needs" & desires shuffle down a little lower on the list of importance when you have a dependent. (With the notable exception of that oxygen mask on an airplane, where I'm told you're supposed to put yours on first!).
The "slow" part is maybe a bit more arguable... When a child arrives in a parent's life, things change pretty quickly! But, in my experience, it has overall been a slow process of giving myself up for others, with acute times of change that are particularly noticeable.
Nap shifts (two-a-day to one, or one to — gasp — none) were brutal, like a mirror to reflect how much I cherished "my" time without my beloved's interruption.
Switching from being an advisor to a cheerleader is a wise & healthy, but nonetheless self-sacrificial, shift.
And right now, I am in one of those acute times of painful death... in this case, the death of my kid-free evenings! For one, I have a pre-teen who is a certified night owl. Futhermore, I find summer hours (late sunsets, warm evenings, plans with friends, nowhere to be first thing in the morning) make it really tricky to get kids to bed early in the evening. Or really, at any time that would be considered "evening"!
"Death" sounds bad, but overall, I think it's a good thing! It's been very inconvenient for my do-what-I-want nature, but it has been on the whole, major gain.
For me, being a parent has worn down some of my selfishness and smoothed out some of my hard edges. All of that makes me a better human, I think — with more to contribute not only to my kids, but to my friends, to my work, and to the world at large.
But, oof, sometimes it stings!
It has been A MINUTE since I've written a book post! It's actually been over a year, which is a shock — I have read some excellent books this year, and I know many of you are avid readers!
In the past, I've shared book lists for: different points-of-view, family dynamics, & books to give as gifts... today's post/list is nothing more than a thoroughly biased list of books I've enjoyed recently & recommend!
Hasn't this been the refrain of the week?! "Hard to believe that it has been a year."
A year ago, I published a blog post, "A Kantha Blanket's Journey" : a behind-the-scenes look from creation of a blanket in Bangladesh to enjoyment in your living room.
But, the truth is that it was really a way to address the un-(or subtly-)spoken concern from people wondering if they would get COVID-19 in the mail with their blanket!
Somehow, impossibly, I travelled around the world one year ago!
I am deeply grateful to have taken a trip to Bangladesh when I did. I was at a stage of my life & business when the adrenaline had long worn off, and I was a getting a bit stuck in a cultural mindset trap: "I don't feel like doing this every day."
More details on that, I'll save for another day (or perhaps for a more intimate conversation!). But, let it suffice to say that my colleagues in Bangladesh do NOT operate from that mindset... it doesn't even factor into the conversation.
Being reminded of this, as well as seeing — in person — the inner workings and impact of the blanket biz on the production side... well, it was deeply regenerative for me.
If I had not visited in January 2020, I don't know when that trip would have taken place! Soooo thankful.
Here is one story of a woman artisan I met: Poli.