Have been meaning to write this post for a long time now, but was never quite sure what to say or how to say it.
I've been blogging for about six and a half years now.
When I first started, it was just a means of sharing business information about upcoming scrapbooking classes and new releases to my product line. (I used to design a line of scrapbooking products call Narratives and used to teach scrapbooking classes.)
I quickly realized that the business side of blogging was a bore though and found myself sharing more and more personal photos and personal entries.
And I found that the more I wrote, the more I enjoyed writing. And the more I shared, the more comfortable it felt to share. And the more photos I posted, the more I came to love photography. And my kids loved looking through old blog posts. And I loved reading old stories. And documenting our lives felt worth all the time it took.
All of which are good things.
But I also started feeling like the more comments I got, the more accepted I was. And the higher my blog stats became, the more valued I was. And I felt some pressure. And I took some negative comments personally. And sometimes it just didn't seem worth it anymore.
All of which are not good things.
And this isn't a post to announce that I'm quitting blogging (I'm not.) or to say that I'm going to blog forever (I'm not.) but just to explain why I'm blogging and how I'm blogging.
I like pictures and I like stories and it feels really valuable to me to have all this stuff written down.
That's the simple side of it.
But it also feels valuable to me to bare a part of myself, though I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe it feels a bit remedial just to write down some of these things that are in my head and on my heart. Just to say them aloud. Just to put it out there. Maybe selfishly, I want to hear you say that you understand. That you've been there. That I'm not crazy. That I'm ok. That you yell at your kids sometimes too. And that sometimes your kids go without a bath for four days in a row like mine. And the unselfish side of me really wants you to know that you're ok too.
That's the more complex side of it.
And if you and I were to sit down for dinner together sometime, I'd tell you anything you wanted to know about me.
And if you bought me a drink, I'd tell you even more.
I guess I just don't feel like there's any point in keeping all that stuff to yourself when sharing it can bring you closer to the person you're sharing it with. When sharing it can bring you insight. When sharing it can benefit the person hearing it. When sharing it can heal it.
I've got three biological kids, all with different biological fathers. I've never been proud of it and I don't recommend it to anyone, but I quit feeling ashamed about it a long time ago. I've made some crappy choices and I've had some crappy things happen to me, but I think I've done a pretty good job of turning a pile of crap into something pretty wonderful.
And if anyone wants to judge that...well, by all means, have at it.
I've just found out that sometimes, the very thing I've harshly judged ends up happening to me.
So wield that judgment carefully.
And I have to set an alarm clock on my phone so I don't accidentally forget to pick up my kids from school every day because I'm that kind of a mom.
And one time I threw a whole bag of sugar across the kitchen after seeing that Ross had more sugar than cereal in his bowl for breakfast (Have I told this story before?) and because of that one moment, Ross has forever labeled me as 'Mommy Dearest' on his cell phone.
But I don't really mind telling you those things because I have a feeling that many of you have similar stories.
And if you don't...well...we can't be friends.
But just because I share a lot, doesn't mean that I share everything.
I don't tell you guys every time I'm having a bad day or I'm in a bad mood, because that would grow old. And I don't tell you every thought that comes into my head because you'd think I was crazy. And I don't tell you about every last detail of my life because that would be boring.
And sometimes I may be vague about what's going on in my life because what's going on is painful and involves other people. So sometimes, I may share just enough details to remind myself of the hardship (because ultimately, this blog is meant to document our lives) but not so much that it infringes on anyone's privacy.
I've got four kids, all with their own set of strengths and weaknesses and their own history of success and failure and their own perceptions of what is ok to share and what is not. And I want to respect that.
And I've got a husband that isn't interested in sharing his thoughts nearly as freely as I'm willing to share mine.
And we've got a blended family that is messy and complicated and sometimes painful. But I don't have the right to share all of those details because they involve my kids and my husband and our exes.
And there are things that go on in my life that tick me off and hurt my heart and make me sick with worry, but they involve other people and their privacy too.
So I share what feels right to share and I hold back what feels right to hold back and I do that at my own discretion.
And I'm willing to share a lot, but that doesn't make me obligated to share anything more.
And I realize that putting myself out there like this makes me a target for judgment and opinions and an occasional, crappy comment and though I'd like to say I'm above it all...if someone makes a crappy, anonymous comment here on my blog, I'm going to call them out on it every time. (Or at least until I'm mature enough to start ignoring them.)
And I realize that what I write, how I feel and what I believe in doesn't necessarily resonate with everyone. That it's offensive to some people and that it's of no interest to others.
And I'm totally ok with that because it just makes sense to me that if you like my blog, you'll stop by and if you don't, you won't. (What boggles me is the occasional person that seems to dislike me/my writing, but they still read it anyhow.)
But 99.9% of you are the coolest people in the world.
You don't judge me. You don't leave crappy, anonymous comments. You realize that I've got the right to my opinion, just like you've got the right to yours. And you make me feel like I'm ok.
And I hope I make you feel like you're ok too.
But I also hope you understand that ultimately, this blog is for my family. That ultimately, I'm matching up words with photos for them. Because I want them to remember what our lives looked like. Because I want them to remember the trips to the beach, the trips to the park and the trips to visit family. Because I want them to remember the traditions, like 4th of July at Union Creek, Christmas tree hunting in the woods and birthday lunches. Because I want them to recognize the love and the struggles and the successes. Because I want them to recognize and place value on the little things. Because they're going to have their own kids one day and maybe my words might help them. Because they're going to have a husband or a wife one day and maybe seeing the priority that Josh and I put on spending time together and working through our differences will make them see the beauty in commitment. Because they're going to have their own walk with God one day and maybe seeing my faltering walk might encourage them in their own faltering walk. Because I want them to remember what it looked like and felt like to grow up in this old house. That they weren't perfect and their parents weren't perfect and our daily lives were not perfect, but that it was wonderful all the same.
And maybe one day when they're all grown, they'll look back on some of these entries and they'll understand me just a little bit better. They'll relate to me more. They'll understand where they get their sense of humor, or their intensity (aka impatience, neurosis, passion, determination, etc.) and their beliefs.
And maybe when I'm not around anymore, reading all of this will make them feel like I'm still close by. Like I'm still talking to them. Like I'm right there, whispering in their ear, telling them how I'd handle a difficult situation. Telling them that life isn't meant to be easy, but that there's joy to be found in it anyhow. Telling them how much I love them.
That's why I'm doing it.
And with that, I'm taking a few days off from blogging (because as wonderful as blogging is, it's also really time-consuming) so I'll see you all on Tuesday.