I’m going to prep you on something: this isn’t going to be a perfectly-polished post that reads like the author was somewhat sane when she penned the words. It’s a different beast entirely, one where I’m letting my fingers type and my thoughts run and the pinball inside of this machine bounce back and forth until things slowly make sense. I’m going to processandtype, instead of process and type. And here we go.
When I was pregnant, I published a guide to registering for your baby. A guide that I had researched and read and studied, and one that I was sure was complete. And then the baby came, and it was surely not complete and it was actually all wrong, as if I had accidentally registered for a bunny instead of a human. There was no diaper pail, if that gives you any possible insight as to how strangely minimal this registry was.
But I slowly filled in the blanks and made many-a-late-night Amazon orders and now, eight months later, we’ve survived.
And every now and then, one of my readers will ask if I still love this sound machine or that tub or those sheets. And my virtual face gets red and I blush because the answer is almost always No, I was absolutely crazy when I chose that and I’m sorry to have steered you wrong and please go read someone else’s site that knows how to be a proper mother and didn’t forget the diaper pail.
And then I realize, that mother does not exist.
A registry is a tangible, public example of the nest you’re building for your baby. And it’s kind of a raw experience – one that is expected of you, but one that you’re not quite ready for. It’s the high school senior’s version of choosing a major to pursue in college. You’re not ready because you’re still a baby yourself, but you have to start somewhere and hope that those around you won’t judge you for naively thinking that you’ll excel in calculus and you don’t need a diaper pail.
My registry embarrasses me now, and I often want to delete the entire guide in hopes that an expectant mother will start their search elsewhere, silently blaming another mother for suggesting they order a tub that is completely useless to her.
But I can’t delete it, because it’s a part of my story and my experience and my journey. It’s the sum of many conversations about hopes and fears and baby bottles. And it’s incomplete, yes, but so am I.
And I think life is a lot like that. Our writing is a lot like that. We’re bloggers and mothers and non-mothers and story tellers, and we’re incomplete. We’re guiding ourselves down a journey – leaving breadcrumbs along the way, pieces of our baby registries and our advice and our souls. And then the breadcrumbs scatter and we look back and realize that they were the wrong breadcrumbs and insane breadcrumbs and omg what were we thinking sharing those pieces with the forest? Who were we to think that life could sustain itself on these stories – that we wouldn’t want to immediately turn around and take back each piece and lower the cloak over our eyes and hide behind our basket of bread?
Because when you’re in the forest – when you’re in the thick of it – that’s all you have. You have your bread and yourself and your stories. And then life happens and you realize how far you’ve been walking and how much you’ve grown and you read your old registry or that dated post or that old email and realize that you’re not in that place anymore. You’re further along the road, and you’re face is as red as the cloak you’re donning, embarrassed by the breadcrumb you left behind.
But it’s not really about us, is it? Because there will be others embarking on your same path, and your breadcrumbs – the stories you cast aside – might sustain them. They’re in the forest now. And they need your bread.
What they don’t need, as it turns out, is a diaper pail.
Share your stories, friends. Share your bread and yourselves and your baby registries and your lives. And please, don’t delete the breadcrumbs along the way.