Wednesday, August 3, 2011


The thing is, I want to write about everything you're not supposed to write about.

I want to write about work. I want to talk about what I do, and what it does to me. And so I write, and then I disappear the post a few days later.

I want to decipher the complex code that is work-life balance. How much of my identity is work? How much is motherhood? How much is being the specific child of my specific parents raised in the house where my father was raised, in a neighborhood that gets uglier every time I drive through it on visits to my hometown, the town where my parents no longer live?

I want to name names and streets, addresses, and the state of my heart when I see my childhood home sinking into squalor as the ghetto I escaped swallows it whole. My sisters yelled at me when I called my parent's move white flight, and I tried to explain it was a sociological term, but it offended their sensibilities.

How much of my identity is that I am my husband's wife?

I want to unpack that rather imposingly large baggage (larger by leaps and bounds than the bags that sit unpacked on the dining room floor for days after we return from a trip) but I shouldn't.

I shouldn't tell you how we fought today. Me, making empty threats to try to break through his refusal to acknowledge the plain, simple, fucking truth of what I'm saying. Him, with defenses so high they could protect Berlin, Gaza and the Mexican border, all without breaking a sweat.

I shouldn't tell you how he sometimes lets me down on the big things: that dinner to celebrate my new job, the hospital stays after the births of our children, the loss of the only job I ever loved, a couple of Christmases. How I forgive him every time because I love him so deeply I can't tell where he ends and I begin. How he pisses me off and how he brings me to my knees, humble and grateful. How he makes me better, and although it's what I love about him, how I sometimes hate it while it's happening.

How my mother, when I told her I was engaged, told me: Marriage will let you down.

I want to talk about who and what and how is God. That's what I really want to know, if we're getting down to it. I want to know who is your God, and how did you find him?

How much money do you make; what do you spend it on?

What happens in your bedroom? What happens in your marriage, your divorce, your solitude?

How do you feel when you drink too much? When you're scared?

I want to talk about when you look at your babies and your heart stops dead in your chest. How do you catch your breath, right then?

How do you do it?


  1. Hi Katy --

    Great post!

    I'm a journalist in Seattle working on some stories for about unique or quirky traditions that families celebrate. Robin Waldman at The-Never-Still-Life blog recommended contacting you. I'm writing a story about the annual birthday parties that her daughter holds for her imaginary friend Calder. I'm doing another story about a mom whose back-to-school tradition is a clothes swap where they silk screen and otherwise embellish used shirts, pants and dresses.

    Would you have any sort of tradition or ritual that might be fun to feature? It can be related to October or November holidays, or just be something interesting your family does on a weekly, monthly or annual basis. It might be related to volunteer work, crafts, meals or sports. Anything goes!

    My deadline is Monday afternoon, so please reply soon if you can help.

    Many thanks for your time, and congrats on a great blog!



  2. I'd be happy to participate--thanks for asking! You can contact me at, and I'd be happy to share my overbearing Halloween traditions! It's my favorite holiday and I've developed methods of making sure others participate with acceptable levels of enthusiasm. Usually whether they want to or not!

  3. All important topics. I'd like to read your thoughts on any of them.

  4. Katy - again, a beautiful blog post! I can so relate to everything you say and ask...

  5. Oh, jeez, lady. That's a lot of stuff. I get sad every time I think about our home town. I like the feeling of not breathing for a moment when I see my babies. And sometimes in our marriage, I wish we'd fight more. You're going through a lot of upheaval. Be gentle with yourself and your expectations, ok?