Let Me Paint You a Picture

Let me paint you a picture: Green grass. Red brick wall wearing a coat of fading white paint. Bright blue plastic swimming pool. A naked child, standing in the water, her blond ringlets hanging down past the edges of her shoulder blades. She bends her body, dancing her own dance, lost in a private and very happy reverie. 

A husband, lying in a hammock nearby, keeping an eye on the child, looking around as if to say, “This is pretty great,” glancing occasionally at a page of The Week. 

A lean black dog chewing contentedly on weeds.

Me, perched inside, watching them through the window, taking it all in, holding it in my heart. Sharing it with you.

Friends have expressed concern after my last few posts. They’ve pulled Jordan aside: “Is Amanda ok?” 

Amanda is ok. Amanda was breaking up there for a bit, but she’s feeling her way back to her own inner normalcy…which is by no means “normal” by any one else’s standards, and that’s just how she likes it.

My own normal. Mine.

That’s what this site’s about, after all, or, at least, it’s my vision of its potential… exploring this idea of having it all in a way that recognizes, “it” is different for everyone. My “it” may look crazy to you, and your “it” might make me want to jump out a window, and that’s just fine (except for the me jumping out a window part, do not try that at home).

The other goal of this blog is to promote the idea that we can be playful in our search for the elusive balance we seek…hence, “having a ball.” 

Admittedly, I haven’t been feeling very playful lately — or, hadn’t been, until, somehow, over the last few days, beauty crept back in, and lightness, and time with my daughter became a true expansive joy again instead of a tight small burden.

As my friend Josh (one half of @thenewdads) so eloquently stated on Facebook the other day,

That’s parenthood, I think! All peaks and troughs. Can switch on a dime. Lather, rinse, repeat. Then high school graduation.

— My friend Josh

It’s scary to feel so vulnerable to these switches. Really, really scary.

And while it’s my intention to remain light and playful in my efforts to manage this fear, and to help others do the same, the last thing I want to do is hold myself or anyone else to an impossible standard.

Sometimes, we hit bottom. Shit sucks. Everything’s hard.

..And that’s ok. We need to give each other space for that, and then find the lightness again, when we can. We need to never stop searching for it, and priming our hearts to be open to it, without forcing it.

I found lightness this week, and I wanted to share it, just like I shared the darkness. 

I hope you’ll share yours, too. I’m looking for contributors to help diversify the stories this site tells. If you’re interested in writing, or sharing video, photography, any form of storytelling, really, about “having a ball having it all” (whatever that means to you), please email me. 

Paint me a picture. Show me what YOU see.

I can’t wait.

– Amanda

Photo by Eileen McFall

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