Who the hell is A Fish Named Karen you ask? Well, I’m not a fish 🙄 (duh) and I’m not Karen. Actually, the name Karen has always made me chuckle. A peculiar name for a Fish. Random, plain-Jane, Fish-next-door-type of title. Yep, that’s me. Flopping around life, silent, completely random, imperfect, colorful, delicious, breathing under water, deceitful, interesting, slippery, elusive – yup, THAT kind of Karen. THAT kind of Fish 👀
Actually A Fish Named Karen got its name about 20 years ago to be exact. My son was excited about the idea of owning a pet. He wanted a Fish and would bring it up often at the dinner table. I was so curious, “So, what would you name your fish?” His reply, of course, “Karen, Mom, A Fish Named Karen.” Can’t make this shit up. So, when I considered starting a blog, it came to me right away. What a brilliant title, born from childhood innocence, to help introduce and express the not so innocent tragedies of my childhood. What a perfect name, in a perfect WordPress fishbowl. Swimming with many, many fish in the waters of the human condition.
My anonymity purposeful. As truth and vulnerability have a way of finding like-minded fish in a sea of untruths and fake smiles.
I will reveal that, although Karen is not my name – this is the ONLY piece of fabrication you will come upon in my writing.
Looking for some inspiration today I stumbled upon this Wintery scene. Quiet, frozen and crunchy. Alive underneath but who would know? Who could tell? My desire for inspiration, stirring. Alive, underneath these Winter layers. We sit. Simmering, planning, fantasizing about the greatest of possibilities. Maybe adding some sparkle and intrigue to our lives, our existence. What rubbish can we dispose of? Can we be doing more? What’s really important? What’s fluff in our lives? What do we keep? Feed? What do we watch die off? Freeze? These cold, crunchy layers of Winter-ness masking, the ME, the YOU, the US. But yet the seduction of mid-Winter hibernation, stagnation, complacency is victorious. For ME? I’m still spying for some inspiration, the ME I aspire to be. Underneath it all.
I miss looking under rocks for cool bugs to put in our bug-house. I miss packing a thermos of hot chocolate, 3 sandwiches and grabbing a loaf of stale bread to spend quality time with the beach seagulls. I miss creating a paper chain – one link for each December day with a fun activity written on each one. I miss nightly foot massages with mint foot creme. I miss getting tricked in the back yard, “Mom, there’s a coyote behind you”. I miss going to the pet store to visit with a dog even though we never brought one home. I miss writing with chalk on the driveway and tracing our bodies. I miss going for a walk in the woods after a snowstorm to see how deep the snow was. Lying in the snow and looking at the blue Winter sky. Snow angels and forts. Coloring the snow with spray bottles of water and food coloring. I miss homemade birthday parties in the yard. Pinatas, tractor rides with b-day friends all peering through binoculars on a pretend safari ride through the backyard woods spying for parrots in the trees. I miss scoring (1-10) the jumps, dives and cannonballs into the pool, over and over. I miss hosting “Mom’s kitchen” – a fictitious restaurant that breaks out in the kitchen. I play hostess, waitress and line cook in a matter of minutes, listing every possible food item in the fridge -appetizer, entrée, sides, dessert, drink, etc. and take their orders on my “order pad”. (a great way to get rid of straggler food in your fridge and make your kids feel special at the same time, win, win)
My boys are no longer little boys and I’m so glad we made these memories. Sometimes we don’t realize how good we had it. What often felt like a pain in the ass or too many things on our plate was plain and simple – the magic of life. Real and raw, unfolding in ways we couldn’t have guessed. Gratitude for lives that saw the value in each other and the deep understanding that lives just under the surface. Gratitude for trying my best as a Mom despite the insane role model I had.
Love your babies. Be ridiculously spontaneous. Kids don’t give a shit about your schedule. Everyday is wide open and fun. Give them your full attention and presence, as much as you can. Expose them to nature (I think the greatest gift of all) – create, build, explore. And for Christ’s sake, put down the stupid phone. This. Pure gold.
October is a month of transition. Leaves willingly release the security of the branches that have nurtured them. Fully embracing their journey onto the earth – all in the name of something larger, something magnificent…trees storing up power in the form of nutrients in order to support new, healthy life in the spring. Our lives follow a similar pattern. You may blossom and grow then allowing a part of yourself to “die off” making room for the new you, to start the process all over again in the Springtime of your days. Here’s to releasing the dead wood in your life – the creaky, the crotchety, letting it all fall away, into the earth.