I’m about to out myself as an obsessive fan of the royal family, and I’m only mildly embarrassed about it. When I was a kid, I made up these little fantasy stories that I was actually part of the royal family. As I got older, these morphed into love stories in which I married William or Harry and lived a difficult but satisfying life as a royal. At one point I even grilled my mom to make sure she wasn’t keeping secrets from me, considering my name literally means “from Britain.” She assured me that she read the name Brittany in a book right before she was due and decided she liked it. No mystery branches in my family tree.
Though my far-fetched dreams never came to fruition, and so I should be insanely jealous, I couldn’t be happier for Harry and Meghan. I especially love that the newest member of the royal family is a biracial American feminist/activist/humanitarian who will have no problem holding her own in the spotlight.
I obviously got up at 4:15 am the day of the wedding so I’d be able to watch coverage starting at 4:30. I didn’t want to miss a single fascinator! I loved every single minute of the whole affair: Meghan’s mom arriving looking so darn regal, Harry’s little whispers to Meghan caught on camera, her stunning tiara and natural makeup, the fiery sermon and the gospel choir and the exit chorus of Amen/This Little Light of Mine. I laughed and cried and felt united with everyone else who was watching. Somehow we were all living out a classic fairy tale together, and at the same time it felt like something crucial was shifting. History was being made.
I’m having some serious withdrawals now that it’s all over, but I am so excited to keep following along with Meghan and Harry and see how they shake things up in one of the most beloved (and also questionable) institutions in the world.
Here’s what I learned, loved, and read in May. But first . . .
Here’s a photo from my own wedding because all the photos of Meghan and Harry are copyrighted or whatever.
(in case you want to keep the excitement alive too)
- When Meghan Met Harry: Just binge the whole series. You won’t be sorry.
- Pod Save the Queen: This episode about the dress and this episode recapping the wedding were so good.
- This take on Meghan’s dress helped me appreciate it a little more. (Though I still wish it had fit better.)
- The Royal House of Windsor: I’ve only watched a few episodes so far, but it’s satisfying and interesting.
- The Royal We: I reread the book this week (something I almost never do) because it was just so fun. (I first read it when Selah was tiny, so I’d forgotten a good deal of it!) I originally reviewed it here and stand by my opinions.
- The Crown: Obviously.
What I Learned
- Sometimes you have to be your own advocate (or, your kid’s). As a rule-follower, I often feel like I have to “obey” experts and professionals rather than follow my intuition. This plays out a lot with medical concerns, especially because my anxiety manifests pretty strongly in this area. I struggle hard with worries about misdiagnosis, serious illness, and death on behalf of my whole family. It’s a constant battle to trust my doctor’s opinion in the face of those one-in-a-million stories about someone’s weird symptom that turned out to be deadly. For a few months now, Selah has been dealing on and off with a common but possibly scary condition. Her doctor says there is no reason to be concerned, but everything (like, everything) on the internet tells me that I should be very concerned and constantly on alert. So I’m pushing harder on her doctor (and if he doesn’t budge, I’ll find a new one) while simultaneously taking some pressure off myself. I am doing everything in my power to protect my daughter, but I also have to realize that I can’t make myself solely responsible for something I have almost no control over. Part of parenting is learning over and over again how little control we have over our children’s safety, and it is always painful to face this reality.
- You guys like Armchair Chats just the way they are. Thank you to everyone who took the survey in April’s Armchair Chat! It was especially helpful that for the most part, you all were united around some key things. (1) You want Armchair Chats to stay on the blog and not move to a newsletter. (2) You like each component of these posts and don’t want to see anything go away. I’m so glad I’m on the right track with these. I love writing these posts and sharing them with you! If you ever think of something you’d like to see here, let me know.
What I Loved
- Brunch at Buttermilk. For Mother’s Day, I ate cinnamon roll pancakes that were the bigger than my head, drank too much coffee, and loved every minute of it.
- Kristen Bell’s and Laura Tremaine’s perspective on Mother’s Day. I expressed on Instagram that sometimes I feel guilty for wanting a break on Mother’s Day. Shouldn’t a good mom just want time with her family? Lots of sweet friends pointed me to Kristen Bell and Laura Tremaine, who shared in their IG stories that they take time away from their families to rest and recharge on Mother’s Day . . . and they don’t feel guilty about it. I just might do that next year!
- This Is America. If you haven’t seen this video by Donald Glover yet, stop reading this and go watch it right now. It’s disturbing and necessary, a perfect example of art as searing social commentary. While you’re at it, read this and watch this too.
What I Read
- Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith by Sarah Bessey: I tried to read this book about two years ago, and I wasn’t quite ready for it. After spending a ton of time exploring my faith these last couple of years, I thought it might be the right time to pick this up again, and I absolutely loved it. Sarah is a gifted writer—a storyteller and a poet, full of fire and love. She shares her story of unraveling her faith tradition, wrestling through big questions, and sorting out what she really believes and what she needed to leave behind. If you’re asking big questions about faith, I don’t think I’d suggest this as a first read. (Maybe try this one first.) But I highly recommend giving this one a try eventually. Sarah’s honest voice will make you feel right at home. 5 stars.
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer: This book seems like it would right up my alley: World War II setting, a fiercely independent woman/writer/book lover for a main character, set in a quaint little village on the sea. It was charming, but I didn’t love it as much as I hoped to. Maybe it was all the hype, or maybe it was the letter format, but this just didn’t do it for me. I don’t hate that I read it, and I’m still planning to watch the movie. 3 stars.
- The Power by Naomi Alderman: Another book I had high hopes for: an electrical force is activated in women, giving them physical power over men for the first time in history. It’s an exploration of what happens when power dynamics shift and how we can’t escape certain patterns of power. A brilliant concept, but the execution fell so flat for me. The multiple narrators felt super disconnected, and the pacing was not consistent. I had to make myself finish it, but even the ending was anticlimactic and not worth it. 2 stars.
What I Clicked
- “Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants — 11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data — a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were considered chattel. . . . Black women are three to four times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as their white counterparts, according to the C.D.C.” (Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis by Linda Villarosa)
- “Who doesn’t want to be told to stop their fussing and learn to do things half-ass? As a mom, this was one of my earliest achievements: the art of missing the mark of perfection on almost everything.” (Halfassing My Way to Happiness by Elizabeth Newdom)
- “Disappointment led to platitudes about how God had a better plan. Grief was met with the shallow hope that everything will be okay (which nobody could be sure of), so you can be sad, but not all the way sad. As a result, we didn’t get to acknowledge negative feelings or practice managing them.” (5 Ways Fundamentalism Hinders Emotional Literacy by Cindy Brandt)
What I Wrote
- I Carried You
- The #1 Thing I Learned from My 3rd Round of Whole 30
- Armchair Chats // I’d Love Your Opinion on Some Ch-Ch-Changes!