I wear a lot of hats—writer, teacher, filmmaker. But my biggest and boldest hat right now is that of new mom, a.k.a. Lillian's Milk Maid. I'm happily ensconced in a little studio in San Francisco with my husband, Stephen, our dog (and somewhat disgruntled "first-born"), Pali, and our newest bed buddy, Lillian Adair.
I’ve been wanting to start a blog where I can reflect on the journey of motherhood, update friends and family about Lily and how we’re all managing, and just keep a record of this time. I’ve felt my world shift so completely since we met our daughter on December 22, 2008, that I want a space to bear witness. And I know that I’m a truly horrible procrastinator, so an online space with at least the potential for an audience with expectations is a good way to get me to make the time to write.
I plan to write about the full spectrum of parenting from funny poop stories to more serious reflections, particularly spiritual reflections. My husband and I were married for ten years before having Lily, and one of the biggest reasons why I wanted to wait for so long was that I couldn’t figure out how in the world we would raise our kids when it came to the big topic of religion. Both my husband and I grew up Seventh-day Adventist, traditionally a very conservative denomination. However, as adults, we’ve struggled mightily with our religious heritage, rejecting much of the theology we were raised with while trying to honor our family history and the community we know well. It wasn’t (and isn’t) all bad.
We still consider ourselves people of faith, drawn to the mysteries of “the substance of things hoped for,” and raising our children with a profound appreciation for the spiritual aspects of life (and appreciation for the beliefs of others) remains a vital value to us as parents. I always am hesitant to "come out" as a Christian, even a progressive one, as they tend to have a bad reputation in this town (big, loud, angry signs in the Castro, etc.). I feel like I need another 20 minutes of someone's time to explain that I find that vile as well, and that I'm actually a big supporter of same-sex marriage, social justice initiatives, the Dalai Lama, and all things Harry Potter.
The big questions in life—Why are we here? Where are we going? And how then shall we live?—are endlessly interesting to me. These are the core questions asked by all of the enduring religions in the world, and these questions are what myth and story are all about. They are also the questions children ask in a myriad of ways as they learn what it is to be in this world—children inherently know just how to ask the really tough questions about God, suffering, justice, and love. I want to be prepared, not necessarily with answers, as I think there are very few absolute answers, but at least with good follow-up questions so my children want to continue the conversation. As Rachel Naomi Remen says, “An unanswered question can be an excellent traveling companion."
So, besides the poop, the crazy nights, the practical tips, the complaints, and the wonder, this blog will especially focus on resources and insights I find in my continual quest to discover how to raise spiritually aware children without dogma who walk comfortably with the Big Questions.
Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear from you (daneenakers[at]gmail.com).