Saturday, August 1, 2009

Who are You?

On the pages of this blog, you have met Boo Bear and Rooster, and more recently, Lulu. I have introduced you to the Team Captain. I love telling stories about this gang, and reflecting on things I learn from living around them.

But occasionally, one of you will ask, Who are you?

Until now I have just been The Narrator, sharing glimpses of the players of my small world. I have found it hard to identify anything characteristic of myself; it is just so much simpler to cast the spotlight on my kids.

I am confident in my personal identity as a child of God, as a wife and mother, and as someone with a lot to say. But yesterday it finally came to me that I also have my own identity here. One I can grow into. Not surprisingly, it fits for a variety of reasons.

Spinning under a Big Sky
As a kid, I loved to spin in circles. My favorite dresses were the ones that made the biggest circle around me when I would do so. To me, the logical activity to perform in the middle of a big field was to throw my arms wide, raise my face to the sun, and spin for the sheer joy of it. I also loved rolling downhill. My grandparents had a steep hill behind their house just made for rolling, and I tried to use it every time I went over there. Somersaults also held a strange fascination for me; I suppose I got a bit of a rush from upsetting my internal gyroscopes.

Spinning, rolling, tumbling. These activities all represent childhood to me, in their innocent recklessness. I don't move that way much anymore; mostly I watch my kids do it, and retrieve little wisps of my own childhood as I watch them enjoy the thrill. But my inner little girl still lives, and she has a lot to say about the world around us. And she still loves to spin.

Plate Spinner
We live in a world that expects us to accomplish more in a day than some of our ancestors would have thought to attempt in a month. For survival, we need to grow proficient at multi-tasking. I don't always do well doing everything at once, but if I look at it like the man spinning plates at the circus, then I realize I'm only actually working on one thing at a time. All I have to do is set it in motion so it will stay self-sufficient long enough to allow me to tend to a few other things before coming back to it.

As as mom, sometimes I feel like I have become every occupation, from chief counselor to napkin and everywhere in between. One of my favorite preschool music groups, Go Fish, sings an ode to moms that I have taken as my personal national anthem:

You're the Boss, the Driver
The Ultimate Survivor
A Doctor, A Cooker
Your man thinks you're a looker
If you work all day and you never get paid
You're a Mom!

Ahh yes, while being a mom frequently leaves me feeling like the world's most inadequate person, it also empowers me when I realize that I can do at least five things at once: one recent afternoon I managed to bake bread, prep dinner, wash dishes, feed baby, spend QT with Boo, photograph the entire experience and encourage her to blog about it. That's actually seven things. Of course I was totally put out when she failed to appreciate my awesomeness, and refused to do her one little part of typing the blog entry. But that did not take away (much) from my personal sense of satisfaction with my productivity that afternoon.

Not all days are that successful. But every day involves spinning one plate at a time, hoping it will stay in action long enough for me to spin another plate, and another, before coming back to the first one.

Tale Spinner
You have probably noticed that I love to tell stories. It's more of a need, since I have realized that it's important to me not just what is said, but how it is said.

Journalists know this, and rush to put their spin on a story even as it is still unfolding. By choosing what details to include, what words to use, and when to reveal what they know, they are able to influence the perceptions their audience may have. Spin is a powerful tool. It can be used to manipulate reality, but it is also inevitable because you have to choose what information to pass on. Even a camera has to choose what to focus on. And if the camera uses the kind of exposure that puts the entire frame in focus, the photographer still has to determine where to point the camera, what to set in the frame.

I have come to realize that part of my job as a mom includes spin. When they see a dead deer on the side of the road, I have to decide what to say, what words to use, and how quickly to respond. I can choose to focus on the thought, "Oh the poor deer. Some idiot driver must have been speeding through here last night." I can choose an alternative spin, "Yeah, that happens around here. I hope the driver of the car was okay." I may choose whether or not to point it at all. If they spot it first, I can just choose to say, "Yep." It's all spin.

As someone who appreciates the power of words, I humbly realize the responsibility I have been given to provide spin for my children's reality. I pray for the grace to spin it for good. Not propaganda, not to warp them, but to be a faithful help for my kids as they learn about the world and attempt to reason some sense out of it.

Spinning Wheel
When I think of spinning, the mental picture I have is of a woman spinning thread at her wheel. To me this represents industriousness. The elusive Proverbs 31 woman, if you will. I aspire to be responsible and productive, and this is a good symbol to reach toward.

So who am I? I am The Spinner. I am forever a child at heart, currently buried in the frenzy of being a multi-tasker extraordinaire, and the architect of my children's reality. I want to be the Proverbs 31 woman as much as reasonably possible, as long as the reaching for it does not overshadow the daily operations of motherhood.

So there you have it. I have a blog name for myself, and now you know why.


  1. You are awesome my friend. This was great.

    That picture of Lulu is beautiful!

  2. Your spin is so unique in your writing. I find myself here daily, hoping you have written an entry. After Riley was born, I found myself here re-reading your entries reflecting on Boo's birth and your experiences. I still do, probably about once a week. It makes me feel less alone...reminds me others have been here too. You are an inspiration to me...whatever spin you want to put on that is your choice...;)

  3. The Spinner... so well written and a beuatiful expression of who you are. Enjoyed reading about your trip and catching up.

  4. What an awesome post, Krista :)

    I could relate to SO much of it.

    And I love that little song from Go Fish! Too cute :)

    Enjoy the rest of your week!

    Plate spinning right along with you,
    Kate :)


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