On not even peeking behind the curtains, because there are no curtains…

Sometimes I struggle with tone on this blog.

I want so much to inspire people – to show them a different vision of what’s possible between families (originally I typed “bision” instead of “vision” which reminded me of “bison,” but I’m not up much on buffalo, so clearly, that wouldn’t have worked) after a divorce.

To encourage them to experiment, to take a few risks, to boldly go where no mom or stepmom has gone before.

I also hope to gently get in people’s faces at times and say, hey! life is short! why are you sitting around, waiting to deal with your shit? time is a’ wasting!!!

And then… sometimes I start feeling like a poser. Like I’m starting to look like I’m saying, we’ve got all the answers – and you don’t – and here’s what you should do and why you should listen to us, or me, because we’ve got it all figured out.

Which we obviously don’t.

Because NO ONE does!!

And I’d SO love to parade out there a bunch of our shortcomings when it comes to family life and personal growth and just general all-around soaring self-esteem, just to illustrate our ineptitude in all its glory.

But then I don’t (parade).

Because I tell ya, writing about personal stuff on a blog sure is tricky. Especially when it comes to family life. There are kids involved. And privacy. And private thoughts and private struggles.

And you can’t write about things without taking that into consideration. And you surely don’t want to feel like you’re trading on the most vulnerable issues of someone’s life (or even your own, though some other folks are really good at that) as entertainment currency.

But suffice to say, Carol and I, and everyone in our family, is far from perfect.

Sure, we’ve crafted this little extended family machine, this tiny, little strange experiment — and we CAN step back and feel proud of the cobbled-together container we’ve made for the children.

But sometimes we don’t talk to each other for weeks and weeks.

And sometimes I feel disconnected from what’s going on in their household – especially now that the youngest daughter is living at their house (and is sorely missed, especially because she’s not much of a phone talker and they live about an hour away), and the oldest daughter has ventured off into the world on her own, and is also sorely missed.

That’s a giant run-on because that’s how it plays out in my head….

Sometimes our version of an extended family feels distant and fragile and stretched thin, even though I know inside it’s strong and there when i need it.

But knowing something and feeling something are two very different things, aren’t they?

And sometimes I freak out when I think I’m supposed to provide all the answers to everyone about how to do this, because I know some people are dealing with some heavy-duty shit that I can’t even BEGIN to fathom, or what advice to give them.

I guess I’m saying, well, this is OUR story…. And because I’m a writer and I’m so damned analytical, I’ve tried to parse some stuff out, in the hopes that it can influence YOUR story in a helpful way. It’s a lesson in using vulnerability as a practice.*

And if that eases your burden in some small form or fashion, then… it’s all worth it.

Thanks for reading!

*(With special thanks to Havi Brooks for the inspiration for this post and for writing such an awesome blog, The Fluent Self.)

© 2008 Jennifer Newcomb Marine     All Rights Reserved

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  1. Great post, Jennifer. I know exactly how you feel! The best we can do is be who we are and hope that it helps in some way. In my next book I plan to include a bullet about how we should all just save up for therapy for our kids like we do for college! :) Thanks for your honesty. It does us all good. I am so looking forward to reading your book!

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