Desperate housewives–are you talkin’ to me?

October 8, 2004

Intrigued by the buzz of this new show, I tuned in for the opening episode. Let me clarify by saying I live in middle America–“the flyover states.” Never in my years in suburbia have I seen that many hot women living in one suburb. It doesn’t happen. Now that’s out of the way, I found myself seeking a character with whom I could relate:

Teri Hatcher’s single mom jumping back into the dating pool? A little, yikes. Talk about skewed boundaries in the mother-daughter relationship; every single parent struggles with that, maybe every parent.

Next, the lady who committed suicide. Bullet to the head? Looking good on some days, but not today. Secrets in the family to run from? Every family does, but I’m not so afraid of my secrets, maybe everybody else’s.

The stay-at-home mom with bratty active kids and a husband gone most of the time? Been there done that, felt the craziness. Thankfully past most of that; maybe because the kids are in school.

The man-eater divorcee? No, thank goodness; hopefully never. Either the man-eater or the divorcee.

The ex-model having an affair with the teenage gardener? No comment; I don’t have a garden.

I’m left with Bree, the perfectionistic, pearl clad mother of two. Image management is her specialty. Pearls? Give me a break. She’s so over the top her kids hate her and so does her husband. I’m punched in the gut with myself–even the red hair–on the TV screen. I don’t want to be her! I want to be one of the hotties–drinking life to the dregs. But I have to be honest. I can relate more to Bree, whose fragile, brittle perfection is her only protection from screaming madness. Letting people in means risk, authenticity. Those are words I hate. They might see the real me and leave. They might hate me. But I know they already do. Isn’t it so?

I have a small reprieve. I’m already learning this lesson–for almost five years now. I’m a little ahead of the fictional Bree, but her pain is my pain. It may be too late with some of my relationships, alienating with my utter perfection and criticism–like the frigid coldness of a Manitoba winter. From a great height, God dropped me and I shattered. I keep trying to pick up the pieces and reshape them into the perfect woman, but He keeps knocking them out of my hand and melting the shards with His radiance. He likes me broken, because then I am listening, not in control, maybe even teachable. I am a recovering Bree. By God’s grace I won’t go back to being controlling, unendingly cheerful, and murderously depressing to those around me. I may indeed be a desperate housewife, but my prayer is that it will be desperate to know God and His love and to share it with a world of housewives as desperate as I am.

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