While I believe that there are greater and lesser persons than myself, I have a really tough time with people who solidly fall in to the "greater" camp. Instead of looking at them as someone who has their act together and is a source of healthy inspiration, I see them as someone who illuminates my own shortcomings. Whenever I'm exposed to someone who I think is eons ahead of me, I find myself constantly asking, "Where's the flaw? Surely, they aren't as perfect as they portray themselves. There's got to be a flaw in there, somewhere!"
Do they hide in the closet and eat cookies to combat stress?
Do they have a moody streak that makes them intolerable for a few days each month?
Do they have a funny laugh that isn't so much funny as it is odd?
Are they weird because they hide from people and avoid answering the door?
There is a family that I know who have triplets about a year younger than ours and their children are perfect. Absolutely perfect. The kids don't cry or scream or fight or tease or disobey or drive their parents crazy, in the least.
EVERY ONE in the family from the wise and spry grandparents right down to the triplet preschoolers are calm and collected. At least when we've been around them, they never raise their voices as they float through their days in complete harmony with the world. They're in good shape. They're good looking. They cook everything from scratch and eat organically. They're financially well off and live in a big house that is not only tidy but actually clean. But worse than any of that ... they have children that are so relaxed and easy going, you'd never know they were there if not for the cute little people wandering around. Children that are that always calm.
Is that a function of genetics or environment or...
HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?
Is the whole family medicated?
Are they piping Zoloft in to the house... or what?
It's tough to spend any amount of time with them and not walk away feeling like a freak. So I don't because until I find out that the wife tortures bunnies and the husband has a split personality and the grandparents peddle crack, they do nothing but bring me down.
As I mentioned on Twitter the other day, Charlie came home the other night with The Pioneer Woman's new cookbook. He had stopped by to pick up a pizza on the way home from church and since he had about 20 minutes to kill, he dropped in to a bookstore. He went in to casually peruse the aisles, but as it often happens, he was immediately drawn to the cooking section, because my husband loves to cook. To the point that he takes classes in his spare time.
While he was flipping through various cookbooks, he unknowingly picked up the hottest new cookbook in the blogosphere. The book fell open to a page that declared, "Thank God for Charlie" and not even realizing that there was a picture of a Basset Hound on the page (who is coincidentally named Charlie), my husband was convinced he'd just received a sign from God. When he returned home half an hour later, he was excitedly waving the newest addition to his cookbook collection.
Later that night, after we tucked the children in to bed, Charlie sat on the couch and with a cup of tea in one hand, Ree's cookbook in the other, spent the next two hours reading it from cover to cover. There were lots of "Oohhs and Aahhs" followed by several, "Now that's what I'm talking about."
All told, he loved the cookbook. He loved that it was basic and simple and nothing too extravagant, but packed full of good food. And when he felt satisfied that he'd read everything there was to read, he put the cookbook aside and I picked it up. Hesitantly at first, because as you know, I'm not much of a cook.
But as I began flipping through the pages, I had a whole different feeling come over me than my husband. Ree has four children, two girls and two boys. I have four children, two girls and two boys. She is married to the love of her life. I am married to the love of my life. We both thank God for Charlie. We both began blogging in 2006. We both stand upright and breathe air.
And... that's pretty much where the similarities stop.
How in the world she has the time to raise four children, home school them, grocery shop when she lives 100 miles away from civilization in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, maintain a brilliant award-winning website with multiple blogs that must require no less than 12 hours of maintenance a day and undoubtedly generates a fortune in revenue, take gorgeous photographs, bond with womenfolk, cook up meals that will knock a cowboy's boots off, go on a whirlwind book tour AND still look so fabulous is absolutely beyond me.
(And there are very few things that are absolutely beyond me.)
Has anyone read her cookbook? Do you have ANY idea the amount of butter she uses? Have you SEEN her figure? Or is she using Photoshop to enhance her image? Please SOMEONE tell me that she has uncontrollable flatulence and chews her toenails. I need to hear it because while I never have met this woman and she wouldn't know me if she tripped over my unkempt vacuum cord, it's hard to exist another day just knowing that there is someone out there that is such a phenomenal wife and mother and daughter and sister and friend and photographer and writer and blogger and comedian and maker of awesome food.
How is any one woman so perfect?
I've never felt so inferior.
If you must know the truth, since it's been in my possession, I flipped her awesome cookbook upside down and am storing it under my cutting boards. (Shhh. Don't tell Charlie.) Although, I did catch a glimpse of her cinnamon rolls and chocolate sheet cake and if I make them and if they taste anywhere as good as they look, the cookbook will be tarred and feathered and burned.
Because clearly she's a witch and she's cast a spell on me and I can't have any of that black magic in MY house.