May 21, 2006

Her Grace

During my senior year of college one of my dearest male friends from home drove an hour to slip a poem he had written under the door to my apartment. When I read it -- a beautiful ode to a girl he loved (me) -- my heart pounded in my chest, not because I loved him back but because I didn't. At the bottom of the page was a note: Bethany. I wrote this a while ago and wanted you to read it. Call me. S.

I didn't call him back for three weeks. He called me, several times, and each time I let the phone ring and ring until finally he quit calling. When I did finally return his call it was 1 AM and I had three too many double shot and pops. I drunkenly explained that I just didn't feel the same way and he mumbled something about it just being a poem. We never spoke of it again -- and our friendship was never the same. Within the year, we'd drifted apart completely.

Regret still rises in me when I think about that. I think of how he must have felt driving over that night -- his heart in his throat, his poem sitting in an envelope on the passenger's seat. I couldn't give him what he wanted, but I could have given him the respect he deserved as a wonderful loving person, as my friend. I could have shown him the grace he apparently saw in me, that I didn't yet see in myself.


I've always wanted someone to describe me as graceful. I always thought I'd love to be that person who makes you feel at home with in a minute of meeting for the first time -- the person with the easy smile and the charming personality who everyone is drawn to and loves. I'd bend over backwards to be able to slip on a pair of chinos and a faded tshirt -- hair pulled back into an easy ponytail -- and still look beautiful. I'd love to be a model mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend.

Graceful is not a word I think people would use to describe me. Funny, smart, pretty, strong -- those are words even I'll agree with on a good day -- but graceful? Not really. This has bothered me for years and when I look in the mirror -- and when I look inward -- I chastise myself Why did you say that? Why did you do that? Why do you have to be so awkward?

For some reason, turning 34 changed that. I still recognize that I'm not graceful in the ways that I'd love to be, but I understand that that's just not me. I've been striving to be a person I'm not, like trying to make an apple pie out of oranges. I just don't have the right ingredients.

But I do have my own version of grace. You may not see it upon meeting me, but it's there. And in my 35th year, I've decided to nurture it. It's time to quit trying to be the new me and start being the real me. Making this decision feels a little like moving into a new house...well, a new old house. Kind of like my real house. It needs some work, but all the important pieces are in place.

I want to be a more graceful mothert, wife, daughter, friend and be present, easy to talk to, and a loving resource. I want to be a more graceful consumer and reduce my family's impact on the environment. Finally, I want to be more graceful with myself -- exercise, eat right, and quit stuffing my emotions with food.

145 -- as this blog was previously titled -- really doesn't fit anymore. It's a number plucked from a chart that tells me what someone my height and build should weigh. I am so much more than a number on a scale. I'm a whole person working on feeling comfortable and more graceful in her own skin every day. So welcome to Her Grace. Come on in, I'll take your coat. I may forget to ask you if you'd like something to drink and there may be dog hair on the sofa, but if you stay long enough you may find that behind your hostess's shy smile is a graceful heart -- and she's trying to let it show through.


Anonymous janey said...

I love the new look Bethany, and that entry is so beutifully written.

May 21, 2006 4:04 PM  
Blogger Margaret said...


I've known you for so long now, and I know you just about as well as anyone can. I never would have considered grace something you lack. You have a calmness that's welcoming and comforting. Your kindness is nearly palpable. You see things and recognize emotions, but instead of pointing them out you tuck them away and remember because it might help someone in the future. That, my dear friend, is grace.

But striving for a better, more graceful, you is the best goal anyone could ever have.

I'm here to support you in any way I can.

May 21, 2006 6:35 PM  
Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

This is a beautiful post and I love the new name and the new look. Congrats!

May 22, 2006 4:13 PM  
Blogger Jackie said...

This is my first visit to your site, and I'll be back because I like this entry a lot.

May 22, 2006 6:02 PM  
Blogger Moxie said...

This is funny, because I don't know you IRL, only from your blog, and one of the things that I think of as your main characteristic is your grace. You are a graceful writer, and the way you think about and describe your children is so touching and elegant and real. I like the new look, but it only makes sense to me.

(Also, I can't believe you never watched "Honey We're Killing the Kids" until last night. It's the kind of heartwarming trainwreck I find myself glued to. I love how the parents go from "You mean I shouldn't serve my kids only foods cooked in the Fry Daddy?" to "More kale!" in three weeks. And the age progressions are a crackup.)

May 23, 2006 9:00 AM  
Blogger Mamato2boys said...

This entry is amazing. Grace has always been a quality that I searched for and felt was a little beyond me. From the literal sense of I am clumsy and the joke in the family is that "my middle name should be Grace" to the sense of just living with Grace. This is beautiful.


May 23, 2006 1:17 PM  
Blogger Her Grace said...

Wow. Thanks everyone.

May 23, 2006 8:50 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Oh Bethany, I just love it! Your blog looks wonderful and I am in awe of the vibe you are projecting... grace is a quality that I STRIVE for... & maybe I can find a little of it through you.

May 23, 2006 11:26 PM  
Anonymous Steven said...

wow. beautiful entry.

May 23, 2006 11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

uhh...looks like im the only kid in here...don mind me? but i read the entry and err....jus wanted to say its really nicely written...i wanna keep reading this...and uhh...its very graceful :)
best wishes then

August 12, 2006 6:53 AM  
Anonymous Baggage said...

Wow. Grace is something I want all the time. I never feel like I have it. I loved this post!

August 12, 2006 11:04 PM  

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