Monday, July 8, 2013
Moon Pies and Monistat
Since early girlhood I have loved Jane Austen. Her romantic tales of plucky young misses cleverly nabbing rich gentleman from their cigars and brandy and turning them into dashing heroes is the stuff that my pudgy, four-eyed dreams were made of. To this day, a man in a cravat and waistcoat will get my pudgier, still four-eyed gears a-going. Many a tearful diary entry was written regarding how I would never find a man who loved me as much as Mr. Knightly loved Emma. Mostly I loved Pride and Prejudice, and the brooding Mr. Darcy who loved the beautiful Elizabeth. I was certain I was to end up an old-maid, like Jane Austen herself, who died old (aged 40) and alone. Then one day it happened, I met my Mr. Darcy (who is currently eating leftovers on a paper plate so I can write this blog) and had a whirlwind romance that culminated in a beautiful wedding in a bona fide (maybe not literally) castle. *Sigh* The End. Not hardly! Four months later I learned that I was expecting a little bundle of poop, I mean joy, and the real fun started.
There is a reason Jane Austen always ended things with a wedding, and it wasn’t to satisfy an innate desire to give her heroine a happy ending— It was, in fact, that Queen Jane, in her infinite wisdom, could not realistically romanticize what the next chapter would inevitably be. I’m referring of course to Real Life, a life in which instead of Elizabeth and Darcy exchanging smoldering glances across a ballroom, or experiencing spine tingling attraction when their hands touched while dancing a quadrille; nay, rather, they fought each over the bathroom after getting food poisoning at Joe’s Crab Shack, resulting in Mr. Darcy barfing in the tub. After that experience, the quadrille was never the same.
Picture a pregnant and hormonal Elizabeth murdering Mr. Darcy with a hammer because he messed with the thermostat! (ok, that didn’t really happen in real life, but Elizabeth had a pretty vivid fantasy about it, I promise you!) And then the children would come. How could Miss Austen have ever imagined that The Darcy’s darling children, Eustace and Mildred, would ever be anything else than cordial and mostly absent? Elizabeth would never have to say, “Eustace, darling, please eat your Cap’n Crunch (or porridge)” only to have him scream “No, Moon Pie!!!!” (or, I dunno... figgy pudding?) over and over at such a shrill squawk that pterodactyls were being risen from the dead. She would never have to write a scene where Elizabeth and Darcy were having tea with some of the local gentry only to have Mildred toddle in and toss a half used tube of Monistat in the middle of the drawing room floor!
No, those chapters are better left unwritten. Like the poetry in my seventh grade journal, they never need to see the printed page. Let us have our happy endings, and imagine that for the rest of their lives Elizabeth and Darcy had a continual picnic in field of wild flowers in the verdant English countryside. But, lest you think that you’ve somehow failed because you’re life isn’t mimicking a Sandra Bullock movie, or a romance novel with a Viking on the cover, please continue to read this blog as I explore happy middles (or sometimes explore awful terrible middles, that will eventually make way for happier middles) and the funny things that happen as I learn to parent, find my niche in this big old world, teach little humans how to use the big potty, find inner peace, and make homemade bread. (Maybe not in that order.)
For any of you out there who find yourself one day combing scrambled eggs out of a toddlers hair and thinking, “I can’t be the only one!” Guess what, you’re not, been there done that and have the therapy bill to prove it. I’m hoping by putting my stories out there, we can find sanity in numbers, and begin to enjoy our “unwritten chapters” which for the most part they are a heck of a lot more fun than taking a turn about the estate gardens with your betrothed, even if there is a chance you’ll end up doing a lot more laundry and scrubbing pop tarts out of your carpet.
I still love a good quadrille though!