Love’s the elephant in the room

Goodness, you’re all awfully good at this complimenting thing. Many of you get an A+ in suck-up-itude, and so many nice things were said it made me feel like a complete impostor. Here I thought I was inviting y’all to say something goofy, and then people started busting out with actual, KIND, LOVELY things to say.


Needless to say, if forced to pick just one glowing compliment from amongst the 200+ as the book winner, I would need to go to some sort of random method or yank out all my hair, trying to figure out who was the NICEST and BESTEST and SWEETEST TO SMALL ANIMALS. So instead of doing that, let me say right up front that EVERYONE who left a sweet comment will be getting a pink pony in the mail as a runner-up prize.

Except, um, I could only afford one pony, so you’ll all have to split her. Check your mailbox for a hunk of pony meat!

(Kind of wishing you hadn’t been so nice to me, now, arentcha?)

So! As for the winner of the actual author signed copy of Kelly Corrigan’s The Middle Place, I couldn’t pick just one, so I’m going to give out two books. Just because. But it was SO SO SO SO hard to pick that I’m ALSO going to highlight two other commenters. Honorable mentions, if you will.

So, most of you get a hunk of pony meat. (Yay!) Also please note the excellence of premenopaws, who wrote me an entire poem, as well as the lovely Karen who noted (erroneously) that my feet are completely odorless. That’s some serious complimenting, people.

However, our winners of signed books are the following:

Hollygee, who said, “Specific, with admiration: Mir, you are shameless.” (In the spirit of shamelessness, I accept this award— wait. Um. Well, anyway, yay!)

And Headless Mom, who said, “You are my something shiny!” (That made me feel all warm and fuzzy until I got distracted and wandered off.)

Check your email, ladies! And thanks to everyone for playing.

* * * * *

So, a funny thing happened with that post. So many of you said such kind things about me, my parenting, my writing, and the whole thing made me HORRIBLY UNCOMFORTABLE, which I hadn’t anticipated at all, because sometimes I have all the self-awareness of your average dinner fork. I love this space; I love what it’s added to my life; and while I love the positive feedback (yesterday and any day, really), I found myself wanting to say, “No, no, you’ve got it all wrong!” Particularly when it came to any comments about my parenting.

I love my family and I’m trying to do my best by them every day, of course. But I yell too loudly and too often; I say “no” more than I should; I do not possess the patience I wish I did. I love that you all have such confidence in me… and someday I hope to share it. Someday.

Chickadee made me this little figurine a couple of years ago in school. She has a thing for elephants, and so I wasn’t surprised when she presented me with this. “It’s a mama elephant and her baby elephant,” she told me, “and the mama is holding the baby on her lap and keeping her safe.”

The pair sits on my dresser, and I look at it every morning and marvel at the attention to detail my child was able to incorporate, but more than that, the moment she chose to capture.

Elephants are big and slow and probably clumsy. They step on things they oughtn’t and who knows if they can see everything they should, from way up there, and around their lumbering bodies. I see myself more as the flailing thunderfoot missing what needs a gentle touch more often than not, but sometimes—sometimes!—I grasp a grace beyond what I should be capable of.

For those moments, when I manage to get it right, I’m grateful. They won’t all be cast in clay, but hopefully they’ll last.

Happy Love Thursday, everyone. Thank you for your kindness.


  1. Megan

    Honey we’re ALL clumsy elephants when it comes to our children, but maybe that’s just because it takes that much size to contain all the love and concern and anxiety and sheer amazement that makes up being a parent.

    Having said that… my child made me a penguin. What, exactly, does that say about me??

  2. jennielynn

    We all do the best we can. It’s all anyone can ask for.

  3. Lady of Perpetual Chaos

    Well, now I just feel dumb. But I really did mean what I shamelessly typed. ;o) Happy Love Thursday!

  4. Tatiana

    What an adorable little figurine for her to have made you! I love reading your blog, Mir; I appreciate that your posts show when you stumble in parenting and how you recover from those stumbles more than anything else.

    But if you’re an elephant… what’s your mouse?

  5. exile on mom street

    Mmmm. A tasty Love Thursday just before lunch. Perfect!

  6. ImpostorMom

    That’s the wonderful thing about parenthood I find. Yes we all have our moments when we yell too much and too loudly and loose our patience but I like to believe that it’s the sum of the parts that makes up how we are as parents. I’m sure your sum falls more in the loving, caring, wonderful side than the other.

    I too feel overwhelmed and short tempered a lot of the time, but I have my moments of grace as well when it comes to parenting my 2 year old. These are the moments that I think about when I am loosing my patience. I hope that in the end they’ll outweigh the frustrating moments.

    I totally get feeling uncomfortable when showered with praise. I would have felt the same way. :)

  7. Brigitte

    I hope that was a nice young, tender pony? Mmmm mmm!

    You should have known when you put that contest out there how much we love you and will try to make you verklempt!

  8. mamalang

    This post was awesome, and then the first commenter made my eyes well. I love that analogy.

  9. dad


  10. MomCat

    Aww…she really captured sweetness in her sculpture.

    And I wondered what a sparkly, pink hoof was doing in my mailbox.

  11. Erin

    I should’ve mentioned, in my compliment about your parenting and your writing about parenting, that part of what makes it so great is that you share your mistakes. You’re a *real* parent, Mir, and that’s what makes you so great to read. :)

  12. Lee-Ann

    Yesterday I sat in the principal’s office. I also had a LONG chat with my 6 yr old’s teacher about said 6yr old. He’s having troubles, by far the youngest in the class, and struggling with his overwhelming emotions. He’s turning into a bully. He honestly believes that the other kids don’t want to play with him – that they don’t call him a friend. The teacher had the kids share good things about C and he sat there with a chip on his shoulder and refused to ‘hear’ that he is lovable. It’s hard to parent our kids to grow up to be strong and loving of themselves, esp when we don’t believe this to be true of ourselves. Yesterday, I learned something new. Sounds like you learned it too. :) Parenting is hard stuff!! Keep it up!!

  13. Lucinda

    The great thing about compliments is that if you allow it, it gives you the opportunity to see yourself the way others see you. We know you don’t put your whole life out here on this blog. But you are honest enough to show equal parts of good and bad. That gives the rest of us hope and encouragement. What more could we ask for? Thank you. Happy Love Day.

  14. Sue

    Just a thank-you for your Love Thursdays. Besides being extremely well written, they inevitably cause me to pause for a moment and appreciate something or someone in my life.

  15. ChristieNY

    Happy love Thursday, Mir! :)

  16. Headless Mom

    Thanks for the book! I’m really looking forward to having something to read when baseball starts next week.

  17. Barbara

    Okay, I’m waiting for the post on how you are teaching your children to ACCEPT compliments. Ahem.

    [Dindt want your ol book anyway. See my lower lip get pulled back in.]

    And, Chickadee is very talented with clay. Oops! Too general. Chickadee demonstrates exceptional fine motor skill for her age. [Probably not a learned-skill, so no need to take that as a parenting compliment.]

    Love ya, Mir!

  18. Amelia

    Yes. What Lucinda said.

    Also, pony meat for supper tomorrow! Woop woop!

    (I’m kidding…really.)

  19. Holly

    Ok, the “entire poem” link is not working! And I want to read it! Not sure I have the time though to wade through the 200+ posts to find it. Hmmm..

  20. Amelia

    holly: just give it time to load and then the scrollbar should shoot to the right one…took a couple of moments for my (usually super fast) computer. also, it’s number 148.

  21. All Adither

    But we can all tell that you’re trying your best day in and day out. That’s what we like about you.

  22. Aimee

    Megan, I think the penguin says one of the following things about you:

    1. you really like fish
    2. you’re an excellent swimmer
    3. you can rock a black and white ensemble like nobody’s business
    4. you would travel miles during the winter to get food, while your dutiful husband at home protects your egg; then drag yourself back to see him, and take over egg-minding duties so he can go eat

    Any of those ring a bell?

    Kudos to the winners, bitter though I am not to be among them.

  23. Keyona

    OMG, I love pony meat! :o) Congrat’s to the winners.

  24. Wendy

    I’m a clumsy pelican…..

  25. Hip Mom's Guide

    I don’t get elephants or penguins, just random bowls. Huh? What does THAT mean? I’m not even going there!

    Loved, loved, loved The Middle Place; so glad you’re giving it away. The youtube video of Kelly Corrigan on friendship is one of my favorites–probably THE favorite. After I watched it, I went right out and bought her book. So all of you non-book winners, if you haven’t seen the video and still want to know a little about Kelly Corrigan, check it out. Be sure to take your Kleenex.

  26. Aubri

    Thank you again, for a wonderful post. I read some of those awesome comments, and a few of them made me warm and fuzzy too… They were just that sweet. I think it would be hard to have that many nice things said about you. But know that you really are a wonderful, amazing person.

    By the way, your Love Thursday posts are always the highlight of my week.

  27. jess

    I have to say this about elephants (I have a soft spot for real “oliphaunts”) that really reminds me of your parenting: Elephants do have long memories and they especially remember love and care and attention. I watched a special on elephants several years ago and then another one a couple months ago, and it is so interesting to see how multi-facted their relationships with other elephants are — especially those with their own children. One older elephant, the matriarch, of the latest show had to watch her daughter, who had a son, die in immense pain (from a wound given to her by a person). Her other daughter took over care of the grandson elephant. When they came back to that area almost a year later, the matriarch caressed the bones of her daughter and “wept” (they have these ducts that leak fluid when they feel extreme emotion, such as anger or sadness). It was touching and amazing to see how much they truly care for their children, no matter what.

    I think that definitely fits both the figurine AND you. You are one lucky mom to have an elephant-like family. :) (When they are separated, even for a few hours, they greet each other enthusiastically and with great emotion — much trunk-holding and gamboling about. It’s just so nifty to see their relationships with each other!)

  28. Asianmommy

    Aww…how sweet!

  29. Stephanie

    You’re a great mom. It’s the *thinking* about what you do and the way you do it that is SO important…nobody will get it right, all the time (maybe even *most* of the time). But, Mir…you TRY and THAT is what matters, in the long run.

    And, by the way…the reason *I* didn’t leave you a compliment wasn’t because I couldn’t think of one…I just didn’t think the prize was right for me. I don’t have a circle of girlfriends, and, to be honest, just now, I don’t want to think about how nice it would be, if i *did*. :-/

  30. Katie in MA

    I’m blubbering at work! Quick, how can I explain it without giving away that I was reading your blog instead of, you know, working?

    Sweet, sweet post, Mir.

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