My friend Kyran Pittman wrote a book, Planting Dandelions: Field Notes from a Semi-Domesticated Life. I don’t think it’s possible to express how unbelievably amazing I think that is. I’m so excited for her. It will be published in April, but through pitiful begging, I was able to score an advance copy for review. It’s touching, funny, real and breathtakingly honest. Trust me, you want to order an advance copy. Today!
I met Kyran in 2009 through another friend, Amy. When we met, she was already in the process of writing the book. When I would see her at different times after that, she would say she was writing the chapter about when she was pregnant with her first child or the chapter about this or that. It was a whole new experience for me as a reader to later read those chapters and have heard her talk about them over margaritas and salsa. I felt connected to the writing in a different way. I went to her house the night she finished the book. There was champagne and food and friends and children everywhere. Her home was filled with a pride and dancing for joy that its four walls could barely contain.
While reading the beginning of the book, I thought how glad I am we met when we did. I wondered if we would have liked each other much if we’d met earlier. We could not have taken more opposite approaches to parenting, and yet we have the same goals. At the beginning of both of our parenting journey, we were both fully convinced of the absolute rightness of our choices and the obvious wrongness of other people’s. Time usually settles most people down, including both of us. We both have realized everyone can do this dance differently and still be good moms.
Kyran is able to write in a way that is so relatable, it makes clear how much universal the struggle to be a good wife and mom can be. In relating an argument between her and her husband, she writes, “his brain has four stomachs. All information has to be chewed twice before he can digest it.” Had I not met Patrick many times, I would swear she was describing my own husband. She went on to describe the dance of prodding him to action, balanced with letting him breathe, coupled with his tendency to dig in when being directed. It was so spot on, when I read the passage aloud to Baby Daddy, he asked if she had been secretly tape recording conversations around here. We both laughed hard recalling similar dances done in this house.
The moment in the book I realized Kyran and I could have always been friends is when she describes her junior high experience of desperately wanting to fit in. Canadian or Southern, I believe every girl goes through a phase when she feels she must tap dance fast enough to keep everyone happy. That requires a costume and her first journey into the world of makeup. Kyran reminds readers of this difficult stage with a grave warning, “Parents, teach your children proper makeup application at home, or they will learn it on the street.” It’s funny because it’s true.
There are many books about what it means to be a wife or a mother, what it means to have a relationship with other people. Those are important things, to be sure. Planting Dandelions is the story of Kyran’s journey to belong to a family, and just as importantly, to herself. That may be the most beautiful dance of all.