Myra, Lola and Me
Last weekend I went to a dear friend’s baby shower and met her dear friend, Myra. Myra is a working mother of two with a brand new baby. She was introduced to my blog through our mutual friend a long time ago and has been reading ever since. Myra was beyond kind, telling me how my writing entertains and inspires her, how she loves the recipes I post and the products I share because she simply doesn’t have the time or energy to go hunting things down on her own right now. Myra told me to “keep writing” when the blog’s recent silence came up. She told me it’s a voice she loves, that it feels familiar to her and comforting and gives her a dose of inspiration here and there that she needs. Myra bid farewell to my daughter (my date for the day) and I as we headed out of the shower and she told my daughter, “Your mommy is a great writer,” to which my daughter replied, filled with pride and showing off her big, toothy 9-year-old smile, “I know.”
The next day, I logged back into this space for the first time in a while and I met Lola. Lola is a new reader, or she was for a day at least when she took the time to go through a dozen or so of my past posts and leave negative comments on each one. I don’t know if Lola works or has kids or where she lives or how she came upon this space. But she didn’t like it. She doesn’t like my writing, it’s “genuinely unreflective.” She doesn’t like mommy bloggers. She doesn’t like the comments people have left on some of my essays. We are all mommy sheep. She doesn’t like the peach salad I have been eating obsessively all summer long. It’s all vapid. It’s all basic. It’s all terrible. I am just another example of a narcissist sharing her “perfectly imperfect life”…and not even sharing it well, for that matter. In Lola’s eyes, I suck. At this, that, everything. In a nutshell.
I went back to my coffee. Drip, with CoffeeMate in it. I looked around at my “perfectly imperfect” house. The basic white kitchen, the grey floors, the Pinterest-inspired fixtures. I looked at my vapid stack of magazines and paperbacks that came recommended by mom bloggers and Oprah and NPR. I looked at the bowl of peaches sitting on the island, waiting to be made into a salad. Or maybe a trendy little rustic galette. Or maybe just eaten in big chunks with my son, the way we like it, with juice running down our chins and staining our shirts. And I decided to write for Myra.
I thought of my parents and their upbringing in Romania and how they dreamed of having a life like ours. I thought of my kids and how hard we have worked to raise smart, cultured, kind people…even in the most basic of southern California suburbs. I thought of the moms and women and girls out there who want a familiar voice to remind them that sometimes, basic can be just fine. That simple pleasures are some of the best ones in life. That loving your life and feeling optimistic and sharing that with your community doesn’t make you insensitive or uneducated or banal. Or that when life isn’t worth loving, there are people out there who want to inspire and entertain and comfort…sometimes in big ways, sometimes in small. I thought of all the moms out there that give me inspiration in return – via their images, their words, their shares and their stories. I thought about how peaches and tomatoes together are a fucking great combination and that I will stand by that recipe all day long.
And I decided to write for Myra.
To give her a minute or two here and there where she can look around at her life, at the world around her, at the people in it, and to appreciate it all.
Some days it might be vapid. Some days it might be thoughtful. Some days it might be witty and some days it might not. Some days it will inspire and engage and amuse and others, it will be random and scattered and genuinely unreflective. Some day soon, it might not even be right here in this space (more to come on that…).
But wherever it falls, whatever it is, it will be here for Myra. And for my daughter, some day. And for me. And for today, I think that’s enough.