Whip it. Whip it good.

Dear Friends,

Source: AllMovie.com

At age 17, when pressed for a pithy “philosophy” to include with my senior portrait in our high school yearbook, I cribbed a line from Lennon & McCartney: I get by with a little help from my friends.

It was true 30+ years ago and it’s still true today.

I couldn’t be more grateful for the words of wit, wisdom and encouragement left by readers on yesterday’s post.  Let’s just say I was down in the dumps Monday night when I wrote the post. Then Tuesday . . . well, it was a doozy. It was one of those days that knocks you for a loop at work then smacks you upside the head when you get home.

But last night when I finally sat down after 8:00 pm to read your comments and compose this post, I smiled, I laughed, I nodded my head in agreement, and I said a silent thank-you for everyone who wrote to encourage me.

I was most tickled by Doug F’s clever analogy:

Life is roller derby. We’re the blockers, and our kids are the jammers. The jammers score the points. Our job is to whip them forward. This requires them to break away from the pack, at which point our main job is to be happy, pump our fists in the air and maybe gratuitously hip check somebody. Also: After the match, everyone gets beer, so it’s all good in the end.

I’ve known Doug a long time in my real life and he’s always been one of the most creatively talented people in my universe. At the risk of sounding gender-biased, it’s so like a man to embrace his “role” in the game with gusto. (Remember Mr. Mom’s advice about roles in this post?) But underneath that male detachment and clever wit lies a real nugget of wisdom: my job is to help Kate break from the pack by whipping her forward — then cheering her on. Doug, your words were so what I needed to hear and I thank you for putting them in terms that were crystal clear (as well as downright funny). You know what they say: a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.

Dee and Debbie and Cyrina (who commented on my Facebook page) are from my hometown, women a little older than me whom I admire so much. Hearing their personal stories and knowing “they made it through and so will I” was a much-needed dose of comfort and support from the town and the people I love most.

TexasDeb is a friend who consistently writes more insightful comments than I do posts. And knowing she has also survived the transition, with specific strategies to share, helps me focus on what I can do moving forward rather than wallowing in what I fear I will miss.

Dana is a new reader who encouraged me just by letting me know she’s about to walk my path and she’s fearful, too. Sometimes mothers just need to know they aren’t alone.

With gratitude {for you and the many friends who’ve helped me get by for, lo, these 49 years},

Joan, who would have worn a helmet and pads had she known Tuesday would be so brutal


  1. Joan Marie, you made with some significantly gracious talk in this post. It is difficult to believe anything could knock you all the way down, at least not for long. What is not difficult to believe is that you are and always will be surrounded by family, friends and acquaintances who are eager to reach out and share their gifts back with you, the woman who first gives of herself so generously. And then gives some more.

    Doug F. so nailed it yesterday. I can’t speak for the rest of us but I just tried not to look silly after he summed up Parenting in one paragraph. It took me the better part of 8 minutes, cursor blinking in the Leave a Reply space, to refrain from simply writing “what HE said”…

  2. Doug Fishback says:

    Thanks so much for your kind words, Joan. I’m glad the metaphor resonated. Thanks to you for sharing your experiences on this blog; I know a lot of people can relate. Five years from now when we’re shipping off our first, I’ll try to remember this post.

  3. Just wish I knew more about Roller Derby. It looks like I might be missing out on some great parenting know how. Maybe I should just wear a helmut and see if that helps. I seem to fall down a lot on the “parenting” job (metaphorically speaking) so I figure it can’t hurt.

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