Monday, July 27, 2015

The Rest of the Story

Back a few months ago one of my friends created a little group on Facebook for all of us to post pictures about our real lives with young kiddos rather than the sanitized versions so many of us are tempted to put out there for public consumption. She called it "We're Not Pinterested," which I thought was absolutely hysterical, probably because I've had one too many Pinterest Fails. Actually, we're at the point now of Pinterest-Let's-Not-Even-Attempt-Its.

There's been a lot of talk about this lately, about the importance of being "real." About celebrities photographing themselves without makeup and Dove featuring women with something closer to normal bodies in their ads. And while sadly some of this is indeed just trendy (how sad is it that it is just a "trend" to be authentic!), I'm hoping that at least within the circle of people I call friends or at least acquaintances, it'll continue. For me, it just doesn't get old.

I men, there is actual Facebook depression going on out there, people! People are literally becoming more depressed the longer they spend on Facebook because they think everyone else is out on a beach or picnicking in the park (no ants, of course) or baking perfect birthday cakes for their endearing children.

In the vein of "We're Not Pinterested," I'd love to run an ongoing feature that would hopefully bring joy and maybe relief to someone's life (by relief, I mean, relief that they're not the only one who picked the snack their kid dropped off the dirty grocery store floor and gave it back to them, just to keep them quiet. Guilty as charged).

I'd call my feature "The Rest of the Story," because of those old Paul Harvey radio spots where he'd go on and on with the back story of some famous person or event before it was famous and then conclude with his signature, "And now you know...the rrrrest of the story."

There's more than enough material for this feature, but I'll share just a few possibilities.

How about this picture-perfect scene of a lighthouse in Portland, Maine? Perfect day, right? Except -- yeah, no. When I snapped this picture, it was 95 degrees, we were all sweating profusely, and someone was whining they needed to go to the port-a-potty. Five minutes later we headed back to our car, which was completely trashed due to being away for a week on vacation, and everyone started crying because we hadn't found anything to eat.

Or how about this? Doesn't Anna look so peaceful, so studious, studying wildflowers in a meadow not far from our home? Who would ever know that 30 seconds before she and Ethan had been screaming at each other because Ethan wanted to take a trail in the woods and she didn't? Of course you wouldn't, unless I dared to tell you.

And then there's this, from our trip to Fire Island last week. Let's just call this "Chloe's last bit of happiness before the @#**$ hit the fan." You see, about five minutes after I snapped this photo, we discovered she had a stinky diaper, which led to a long walk to the changing area, which led to Chloe wanting to play in the sprayers (for cleaning the sand off), which led to her realizing how tired she really was from not having a nap and letting out such blood-curling screams that half the beach was looking my way. Mere minutes after this picture was taken, I was hauling a kicking, screaming toddler across the sand, attempting to pack up and get out of there as quickly as possible because this kid was DONE, and I, honestly, was feeling rather mortified.
I know there's been some backlash about this kind of thing. Those crafty moms who really, honestly like Pinterest and the like, the ones who really can manage to keep their homes looking relatively beautiful most of the time, are tired of being judged just because they like doing special little treaty things with their kids. They like pretty stuff and photos that capture beauty. I get that. I really do. No judgment here. I mean, we don't all want to see tantrums posted on social media all day long, or nothing but sinks of dirty dishes.
But there's a place for "the rest of the story," too. Maybe it's when we've seen a little too much of "reality" that isn't reality at all. Maybe when we're discouraged, when we're tempted to believe that somehow, everyone else really is having more fun.
There is always more to the story. That's why I share mine, so that people know it's okay to let down sometimes. You just might help someone else feel a little more free.


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