There was a time when I came here to write about whatever parenting hurdle I was flailing on and oh, there was such great relief in hearing from other people who knew exactly what I was talking about. I found so much comfort from sharing those stories, and so much great advice. Maybe it sounds strange to say that I became a better parent through the process of writing on the Internet, but I believe it to be true. So many anxieties soothed, so much experience and wisdom to draw from.

I don’t think there can be any one-size-fits-all approach to sharing our lives in any sort of public way, but I know for me I can’t write about parenting the way I used to. It’s more complicated, my perspectives and feelings are intertwined with people who are no longer babies and are building stories of their own.

I miss it, though. I miss that feeling of connection, and of seeing different points of view. I’m so grateful I had this outlet when my children were little, but you know, I never thought ahead to how things would change. It’s different in person, too: I don’t have that instant in-common feeling any more. Same-age kids aren’t same-experience any more, I suppose.

I’d love to hear from any of you who are parents with older kids. Do you share your life the way you used to? Is it harder or easier to connect with other parents now?

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I was having my teeth cleaned a while back and during one of the many times I was asked to crank open my mouth in order for them to recreate this Far Side cartoon the dentist asked me if I had any discomfort in my jaw. She pointed out that my jaw sort of pops when I open my mouth, like the hinge doesn’t operate smoothly, and I instantly — like, instantly, as though a wind-up string in my back had been released — made some sort of cringe-worthy blowjob joke, and she made a notation in my chart. Patient has issues with TMI. Also possibly TMJ.

I didn’t think much of it at the time (too busy calculating the best place to fling myself into traffic after that BJ comment) but in the last several days my jaw has gotten … stuck, I guess. Like occasionally I can’t open my mouth past a certain point. It doesn’t hurt, and it seems like a transitory thing, but it definitely impacts one of my greatest joys in life: wedging an endless glistening parade of veiny cocks into my food.

I don’t tend to picture myself as someone who bravely perseveres in the face of adversity. I’m more of a Lie In Bed Weakly Surfing Cat Photos Until Life’s Crushing Weight Lessens Just a Smidge person. But let me tell you, I have discovered great internal resolve when it comes to continuing to shovel in calories despite what amounts to a padlock on the front entryway. While a lesser woman might wait a few minutes for her jaw to return to its normal state of operation, I’ve found myself doggedly turning spoons sideways, slicing things into smaller pieces, and eating hunched over plates in case the portion I’m attempting gets partially rejected by my reduced food-hole. I also recently summoned the strength to chatter-teeth my way through pretty much an entire bag of overly dry beef jerky, despite muscle-seizing evidence that I should have gone for the yogurt instead. Steve Holt!

All in all, my endurance through these temporary bouts of increased eating difficulty levels remind me that I am capable of far more than I give myself credit for. Let the obituary read that she never, ever gave up on Bit-O-Honeys.

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