I spent several hours over the weekend reading all the posts that were honored as part of BlogHer's Voices of the Year initiative. Here are some quotes that stopped my heart with their beauty or their poignancy or their humor.
At one point, she said, ‘It’s wrong, this happening…the granddaughter washing the old grandmother,’ and then I told her what I’d been thinking, about the yellow bathroom and the big tub and the heater. I asked her if she remembered that, bathing me on those nights I spent with her. And she did. Then I told her what she didn’t know: how every time I had felt my back toasted beside the mouth of that heater, I’d think in my child’s mind, ‘This is happy.’ -- Amy Whitley
I felt panicky that he was out of my sight, and I made a mental note that even though he was about to start 7th grade and was probably more than ready to be on his own, I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t yet ready for him to be apart from me. When I told him I’d buy him 3 cars just for the heck of it, something he didn’t ask me to do, he was thrilled, even though it only cost me a whopping three dollars. Later that night he ordered another car off the internet, which arrived the day after he died. -- Anna See
I can't really excerpt Charise's Sound Bites post, but the structure is amazing.
It wasn’t a god with a soothing voice and gentle hand that guided me through, it was the black, bony fingers of grief that instead pushed me. It was those who left me and the children who were never able to find me. They spoke in unison, shouted actually, that my life belonged to me. Not to the four walls I decorated around me, not to the corporation. Not even to my beloved pets, friends and family. -- Dalene
And I nearly came undone by yet more incredible words from the late Susan Niebur, whom the community loved very, very much.
Am I sometimes envious of others, who may get forty-plus more years on this Earth than I? Sure. But I was never promised 80 years. I was promised a life. And boy, have I had a pretty incredible life.
I’m not done yet, but I am finally coming to understanding about the parable and about what I’ve been given, and I am again grateful, for God has kept his promises to me and I have lived the best way I know how. I have been truly blessed.
The Hipster Mullet infographic on this post by Kristin Howerton is to die for.
Just, this, from my friend Ann Imig:
Let me take your shoulders and look you in the eye, and after we play a round of mime “mirrors” I will say yes Ann Krinsky Age Twenty you have talent. You have a lovely singing voice and stage personality, but the friendships you began in childhood, and that you keep rehearsing, become some of your most beautiful arias, highest hitch-kicks and most moving soliloquies. You never win a Tony, but you win an Erin, a Maria, a Megan—in fact, too many beloved friends to list. Competing for and winning Leading Lady feels so important to you right now, but the light these women bring to your life endures much longer than any spotlight.
So grateful for reading this by Beth Smith:
You know what I really wanted to do? I wanted to stand up and get their attention. I wanted to announce, “No matter what today’s mammogram reveals, you will be okay. If it shows a suspicious mass and you are sent for a biopsy or an MRI and the result is positive? You will be okay. Yes, it will be one of the worst days of your life and yes, you will cry long and hard. But you will get through it with more grit and grace than you ever knew you had. And one day you will be where I am today, two years past diagnosis. Today, cancer is just a footnote in my life; it’s not anywhere near being my whole story. I’ve been through it. I’ve lost my breasts. I’ve gotten new ones. I’m comfortable with that. I’m happy with where I am and believe it or not, I rarely even think about the cancer or the mastectomy or the surgeries anymore. I made it through. And you will, too!”
I loved this from my friend Schmutzie, who recently has admitted to the world her name is Elan.
We most see ourselves, the real and meaty complication of our interiors, when we see it in others, those who let those raw bits of themselves out into the wild to see what will happen, and that is the irony that twists what we've been trained to do on its head. All of the appealing, appeasing, ingratiating servitude we've been trained to see as our being so giving of ourselves is actually the tool that keeps us quiet, controlled, and cut off from each other, cut off from the kind of honest, vulnerable interaction that brings the most joy to people and communities.
I whole-heartedly agree with Hello Ladies:
I disagree, Mr. President. Mothering isn’t the hardest job. Parenting is. And if we’re ever going to get past the gender gap in this country, we need to shift our thinking about mothering vs. parenting.
I can't understand what it's like to have to wonder if new people will accept your family. I love this from Erika from Be Gay About It:
They will be home in time for dinner and we will eat something ordinary, negotiating at every turn to get them to stay in their seats and eat with their forks. We will tackle them for pajama time and read stories in the red chair. We will smile at them more wistfully than usual as they swallow their toothpaste, and then we will tuck them in, reminding them to sleep a big one for a mint. We are a family and, after everything it took for us to become one, ordinary is really all we need.
I chose this line even though the rest of the post by JW Moxie is about her children because it made tears spring to my eyes:
Just try your best, JoJo. Say whatever comes to your mind.” “I’m just so ... happy that you’re my mom.” His voice escalated into a higher pitch and another barrage of sobs stirred through his words as he said, “Thank you and Daddy for making me borned.”
Go over and read them all if you can find the time -- this is just a tiny portion of what I read. I was thrilled and honored to be included in this list in 2012 after trying for years. This blog isn't fancy or fabulous or high design. I don't devise recipes or do tutorials or spend hours optimizing or anything helpful like that, which could net me fame and fortune in the blogging world. But being honored in any way for my writing is a high honor, indeed, and one that means so much to me, more than gazillions of pageviews or unique visitors or Today Show tapings. I started this blog to write, and write I'll keep doing until they have to pry the laptop from me. When I need to feel inspired, I read other writers like the people I quoted above -- reading great writers pokes the muse within to get off my ass and produce something of which I can be proud.