The Same Boat

Big_rumpus

Sometimes people ask me why I blog. Well I don’t always have a good answer
ready. But if I could, I would memorize
the entire book – The Big Rumpus,
by Ayun Halliday. I just started this paperback (50’ish pages in). But so far, it
is fantastic. Ayun, who has been called “a
new generation’s Erma Bombeck”, writes of the isolation associated with being a
stay at home mom. She addresses much of
what so many do not dare mention…everything from feeling like you are always
pulling your grain before the horde of flies arrives – to never getting to do
the activities you had previously taken for granted – such as peeing alone.

I whole heartedly recommend this book.

In the interest of enticing all of you, I offer the following
excerpt with great hope that I will not be sued by the fantastic Ms. Halliday
for plagiarism.

…We might not see eye to eye on the best place to raise
our children, but we are all in the same boat.

I used to think that this expression meant that we all
shared one boat, that your paddles are made lighter by the presence of
others. That’s not what it means. Even on a good day, my paddles feel like
they’re filled with buckshot. I’m
willing to bet that every other mother’s do too. Shortly after you give birth, most of the
activities that defined your identity are suspended to let you make apple
juice, deal with somebody else’s snot and develop a lot of highfalututin ideas
about television. You’re not being
paranoid or melodramatic if you feel like you’re the only grown-up in your
boat. The kids never leave the boat
either, but what help are they with the paddles? Their arms are hardly bigger than celery
stalks. Also, as delightfully surreal
and repeatable as their beginning syntax might be, their conversation cannot
sustain you through the tedious stretches. If it weren’t for those little kids waiting for you to harpoon a fish so
that they can tell they don’t like fish, you’d go right over the gunwales. You can’t leave them to fend for themselves,
even though they are the ones who got you into this mess. You’re stuck choking down soggy peanut butter
and jelly sandwiches in that leaky skiff.

The inviting blast of an ocean liner taunts you as it glides
by, its portholes twinkling like a string of white Christmas lights. Damn the passenger list of merrymakers in
bias-cut gowns and party hats. It’s
always New Years Eve nineteen-thirty-something on the ocean liner. Too bad you’re missing it. Then in the middle of some dark night, when
you’re up, dog tired, struggling to keep your sleeping children out of the
bilge water, you notice another crappy little boat a few yards out. And another. And another. The ocean is fairly crawling with boats as
crappy and little as yours. Each one
holds a mother tethered to a baby, a sleeping toddler or a jacked-up-three-year-old
still gibbering from an ill-advised late-afternoon sugar fix. We’re all in the same boat, all right. It smells like mildewed life preservers. There are millions of these boats in the
sea. We shout to each other across the
waves.  Nobody will get offended if you
have to interrupt her midsentence to seize your daughter by the ankle before
she dives after a birthday party favor she dropped overboard, possibly on
purpose.

So, yeah. I don’t
always have a good answer for why I blog. But I think it might have something to do with waving out to the next
little boat.

 

My great thanks go out to Ayun Halliday for writing this refreshing book.

If anyone would like more info about The Big Rumpus, A
Mother’s Tale from the Trenches. I have
added a link in the nightstand section of my sidebar.

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3 thoughts on “The Same Boat

  1. Yep. I can’t really say that it’s keeping me in stitches or anything like that. But it is very amusing. It’s one of those books where you find yourself nodding in agreement – a lot. Every bit or so, I stop and go read a part of it aloud to Chris.

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