This week in Parenthesis, Kelle Hampton discusses the difference between real life and Instagram perfection, a foster mother catalogues her experiences on Rage Against The Minivan and Amy Corbett Storch puts her favorite Christmas present on display.
Truth and beauty
"It was a good night. You might even call it picturesque," Kelle Hampton writes of a recent excursion with her family to an orange grove. "In fact, based on the photos, it looks damn near perfect. And pictures represent someone's life 100%, of course, so we could just conclude that we have the perfect life -- or at least that's what I would like to trick everyone into believing. I poop glitter, remember?"
She’s responding in part to a negative comment left on her Instagram account -- but she makes the generous point that even positive feedback can be destructive, leading people to believe their work is only worthwhile if others are vocal in their appreciation. Her ultimate point? It’s hard, but vitally important, to be comfortable with yourself and the work you create -- even (and perhaps especially) if you’re sharing it with the wider world. Oh, and "sometimes, perfect evenings appear among not-so-perfect lives." Don't we know it.
Someone else's shoes
As Kara Gebhart Uhl wrote in a HuffPost blog last year, “We don't know, can't know, someone's entire story.” That statement is proven over and over in Kristen Howerton’s "What I Want You To Know" series on Rage Against The Minivan. This week, an anonymous mom gives a frank account of her experiences as a foster parent. The fact that there are "hard parts" -- and lots of them -- won’t surprise you. What may surprise you is that off all the difficult things this mother mentions, saying goodbye to foster children isn’t the hardest one. “The attachment and love that the foster children feel from us isn't a hard thing that needs to be avoided,” she says. “It's a beautiful thing that they'll take with them in some small measure for their whole lives. They are loveable. They were loved. That love will exist forever.”
"The greatest gift of all"
It wasn't a brand new computer or a shiny car… For Amy Corbett Storch of Amalah, the loveliest thing under the tree this year was a book put together by her son Noah, in which he narrated the family’s trip to pick a Christmas tree (plus a few embellishments that may or may not have involved alien zombies). His narrative sensibility, instinct for illustration and adoption of his mother's "favorite writerly colloquialisms" position him well for a future career in blogging -- as Storch herself proudly notes. Click for lots and lots of lovely pictures.