You Really Want to Know?

I’m sure he didn’t mean for this to happen, and I’m especially sure he didn’t mean this to happen on a so-called “mommy” blog, but I turned these questions from Justin Kownacki into a meme.

Hey, it’s a slow day.

Although, knowing Justin a wee little bit (we met at last year’s Podcamp Pittsburgh), he probably doesn’t mind. If nothing else, Justin wants to make people think.

1. What did the 18-year-old me think the current me would be doing?
Entering college, I thought I would be an international journalist (preferably in the USSR, now Russia — yes, Russia. I took two years of Russian and everything) OR a writer for Rolling Stone magazine. The 18-year-old me may be disappointed at where the current me is career-wise, but given the love in my life, I think she would be quite pleased. Although she would probably think I’m crazy for being knocked up again, too. (And no, it was not an accident. So there.)

2. What is the idealized version of me?
Whatever my husband thinks it is.

On a more serious note: Ideally, I am more patient. Ideally, I make more money because of my career choices and/or because I manage my (our) money better. Ideally, I sleep less and accomplish more. (Or conversely, I have less to accomplish — because I have a live-in maid, natch — and I can sleep more). Ideally, I am far more organized. Ideally, I have a master’s degree in some type of writing. Realistically? I’m doing the best I have with what I’ve got.

3. What have I believed all my life without questioning?
I cannot think of one thing I haven’t questioned, from my faith to my day-to-day parenting decisions. Maybe the fact that the world is round. I’m pretty sure I haven’t questioned that.

4. Where haven’t I been yet?
Geographically? The list is quite long. My next international trip will be Ireland. But there are other “places” I haven’t been in the figurative. Debt-free, for example.

5. What’s one thing I don’t know about my own parents, or grandparents, or kids?
I don’t know how my paternal grandmother felt about her two miscarriages or the loss of a teenage son to leukemia. I’m sure there are things I don’t know about life inside my parents’ marriage, and that is probably for the best. As to my children, at almost-6 and nearly-4 I probably know as much as I ever will about what goes on in their little heads. Kate, especially, still talks in stream-of-consciousness, almost literally, as she starts as soon as she wakes up. “I had a good dream. About Foe-wa. About me and Foe-wa and monsters, friendly monsters, all playing together.”

6. How am I sabotaging my own success?
Holy cats, where do you want me to start? My middle name should be hesitation — or maybe fear. I’m not sure. I stop myself all the time. I tell myself I’m being practical.

7. Why do I pay attention to the stimuli that currently monopolizes my time?
Well, a lot of that stimuli for me is kid-related, actually. Where it isn’t: Reading books relaxes me; and social media makes me feel connected. So there.

8. What were my ancestors doing 100 years ago?
My Italian ancestors were already in America 100 years ago —  although Leo and Flavia were recent immigrants. My maternal grandmother (the recently deceased Olympia) wasn’t born yet, but two siblings of hers were (one sister and one brother). I think they were living in Conneaut, PA, soon to move to Erie (to get away from the Black Hand, if family legend is to be believed). I’m less sure about my Irish ancestors — my paternal grandparents immigrated in 1927 (Pap-pap) and 1930 (Grandma) and met and married here in Pittsburgh. I don’t know what their lives in Ireland were like, although, again, according to stories I’ve heard, Pap-pap was probably kicked out of the house when he was done with 8th grade. I imagine my Irish ancestors were pretty poor farmers for the most part.

9. Which opportunity would I most want my child to have?
I hope my children have the opportunity not only to travel but to live abroad. A six-month college program, a year abroad for an employer, charity work, or just the cliche backpacking through Europe. If something like that comes across for my children, I hope they take it.

10. Whom can I help?
Another endless list. From an angle of helping through social media, here are my thoughts: I have a dream of helping my children’s school and my church with social media marketing. That’s hard for a lot of different reasons: the pay would not be great to start; there is reluctance to have a two-way dialogue in the Catholic church (it’s got to get better, or it really is going to get worse for the institution); and, you know, time in general. But I keep thinking and talking and hoping. In the meantime, I blog about religious and political issues that are important to me. I also think another way I help —  or can help in the realm of social media — is by being open about my experiences as the parent of a still baby. I think talking about Gabriel helps not only other parents who have suffered loss, but helps people who know those parents. At least that’s one of my hopes, and one of the reasons I write about my first son.