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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dispatches from the couch: The pain and pleasure of parenting

I love being a mother and parent as I am beginning to realize it's one of the few ways in life to constantly mingle intense pain and intense pleasure without getting up from the couch.

For instance just now I was sitting on the couch with my laptop open, reading the traffic stats for this blog and bemoaning the fact that in December alone more than 3,000 page views went to my post about the Downy Woodpecker that I saw out my window in November 2011. (Click here: Wildlife Sighting: Female Downy Woodpecker)

I showed my son the long list of search terms people use to find my blog; woodpecker, downy woodpecker, female woodpecker, birding, etc., and none of the search terms used had anything to do with me or Evanston - or at least the top 10 didn't.

"Isn't that pathetic?" I said to my son. "No one is searching for me or Evanston, they are only searching for woodpeckers." To this my son replied, "Mom, there are many pathetic things about your life."

This caught me by no surprise at all considering that just six months after I posted about the Downy Woodpecker I told my son about the traffic my site got for the woodpecker and he felt bad for me, saying I should be embarrassed and of course I wrote about the experience. Click here to read Humbled by a Woodpecker.

In both instances when my son reminded me how much more interesting Downy Woodpeckers were than anything I could possibly write about my "pathetic" life and "Evanston", I felt intense pangs of pain followed by pleasure. The pain centered on the truth he so quickly spoke to me without any editing to make feel better and the pleasure that followed had everything to do with the fact that I was so proud of him for being so critical so fast. What a jerk! I loved it! He's so young and has so much time to sharpen his mean-girls skills. Is it bad I want my son to grow up to me a mean girl? That's for another blog post!

I should probably care what my son thinks of me, but if I did he would have crushed me by his third year. And seeing as I don't care what the general public thinks of me, I'm certainly not going to let some kid hold court over my emotions or ego.

Thank you for letting me share this and yes, I am well aware that the only traffic I will get on this post is users looking for information on Downy Woodpeckers, but it's okay, I don't care what those users think! [Update the morning after: I do care what every user who comes to this blog thinks and that was snarky to say that I don't but I was just trying to keep the theme of the piece going.]

Thank you for reading my blog, a blog devoted to covering my family's move from El Paso, TX, to Evanston, IL, in 2011. We arrived in June 2011 and several people have pointed out that I am no longer a "newbie" and should start some other blog. But I disagree and want to keep the "newbie" status for a while longer, maybe five years and for several reasons. #1 - there are tons of Evanston families who have lived here for generations since the town incorporated in the late 1800s, so in comparison to them, I am very much a "newbie". #2 - I firmly believe this blog is a good branding tool for Evanston and it's the least I can do to thank our new town for being so AWESOME! If you have any questions or need to get in touch with my about this blog, Evanston, or anything else you can email me at Thank you for reading and have an awesome 2013.

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