Tuesday, December 31, 2013

This is The Life?


Yesterday I watched Christmas in Conneticut for the first time in years. What a great film. So romantic. If you're not familiar with the story, it's about Elizabeth Lane—a WWII-era superstar columnist who writes about her life as an expert cook and homemaker on her Conneticut farm and is read and idolized by salivating women around the country. 

The last time I watched this movie must have been back before I'd even met Peter. Watching it this time, it felt so modern and relatable. Replace the word "columnist" with the "blogger" and it suddenly feels quite fresh. But watching it this time, it was strangely significant. It was like seeing a half-forgotten dream brought to life (in black and white) on TV. I realized that somewhere inside me, I'd always expected to grow up to be Elizabeth—marry young; marry rich; live in a large, old fashioned house out in the country; cook well; clean well; have a house full of kids and still maintain my figure…just be fabulous!

Instead, I find myself watching this dream on television as I scurry around my cluttered suburban tract house wearing sweats—because I still haven't lost all the baby weight even after my baby is now a toddler—lunging toward my daughter to catch her vomit in my hands. This is not the way Elizabeth Lane would spend her mornings. This is not the crafting-teaching, clean food-cooking, photo-blogging, Proverbs 31 wife-being life that I hubristically expected I would lead.

I pause the movie and pull out the Oxyclean. And thank God that in his mercy, Lydia hadn't eaten breakfast before she threw up to be on my beige sofa.

After a trying morning and a sneaky nap, I started the movie over again.

Have you ever seen Christmas in Conneticut? If you're not familiar with the story, it's about Elizabeth Lane—a single, Manhattan writer who can't cook and lives in a tiny apartment but rises to fame writing for a WWII-era homemaking magazine by fictionalizing her life as a an expert cook and homemaker on her Conneticut farm. You see, I reminded myself, even Elizabeth Lane doesn't live the Elizabeth Lane lifestyle. 

Now, I'm not trying to imply that your favorite blogger is lying about her delicious meals or that the Pinterest-perfect photos of her children are staged. I'm sure she's exactly as good at what she does as she seems to be. But I'm going to pretend that she's absolutely lying through her teeth and that what you can't hear as she's typing away about her lovely sewing project is her kids fighting—that just out of frame in that photo of her lovely dining room is a week's worthy of laundry. 

And I'm going to look at my life through a filtered lens and realize that with some good editing, my story is pretty awesome too.

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