Yesterday on Twitter, I had a conversation in which I mentioned that I have always seen my blog as a legacy I am leaving my children. It’s something in the back of my mind pretty much every time I go to hit publish.
Which is also why yesterday I explained that I don’t always hit publish.
My girls will have quite the portrait of their mother, and their own history, when they read my letters to my unborn daughter; my growing to be a better mother; my working mom angst. Certainly they’ll find it in my documentation of the funny things my kids do or say or draw, but I think they’ll also be able to garner an understanding of the issues I cared about. The people I cared about. The things I laughed about. The things that inspired me. The things I thought were worth talking about, or fighting for, even if not everyone agreed.
I know we all blog for different reasons. But here, with my memoirist hat on (sorry, no coupon codes for you today!) I have to remember that I don’t always blog just for me, nor can I.
In fact, that will be an impossibility, what with how the internets work and all.
This is something that’s been on my mind in particular since this post from Heather Spohr back in January about how we talk about our children, or our experience as parents, on our blogs. That particular mini-drama aside (and oh please, let’s not rehash it here), it made me think so much about how our words online are forever.
I also think about how the immediacy of blogging and social media, plus the emotions of motherhood can be a tricky combo.
Or any emotions, really. Ask Patricia Heaton about that some time.
I think this all goes for comments we leave around the web too, especially as fewer and fewer forums permit anonymity–a good thing, in my opinion. When Susan Niebur passed away, one of the first things I did–and I know I’m not alone–was to go through all my posts on Mom-101 and read every comment she had ever written here.
It’s a small, incredibly treasured piece of her I will always have.
I had dinner with Isabel Kallman, Laura Mayes, and Sarah Bryden-Brown a while back and we had this conversation too. (And first, allow me to say that if you ever find yourself fortunate enough to have dinner with all three of these women at once, don’t drink too much because you’ll want to remember every second of it. ) There, Laura had a most brilliant insight that I had never considered: We’re not just blogging for ourselves. We’re actually pioneers, leaving the very first digital documentation of our lives and our family history for many, many generations to come.
In 100 years, my great-great-grandchildren may search my name (telepathically by 2112, I’m sure) and come across this very post.
Holy shite. That’s kind of daunting.
(They will also know I used phrases like “holy shite” and totally make fun of me. I can live with that, knowing how bad their haircuts will probably be. And while we’re at it, I hope that MC Hammer pants will not making their 16th comeback at that time. If they are, you totally deserve it, kids, for making fun of me for saying “holy shite.”)
A lovely article was recently published about Nate’s grandfather, who, I was surprised to learn, was the commanding officer on Air Force 1 through six presidents. (So cool, right?) It took a reporter to uncover this information and publish it. But us, as bloggers? We have to the challenge–and the privilege–of telling our own stories. Even if we’re not always conscious of the story that we’re actually telling or the portrait of ourselves that we’re painting.
That’s why I was so moved by everyone who commented on yesterday’s post about our fears of pregnancy–and please, if you’re pregnant, have been, or might be some day, I really hope you read the incredible comments there. Dozens of women, unafraid to speak their truths for the benefit of others.
I think if our children, our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren are to find those words one day, they’ll think several things:
Mothering is hard.
Good mothers support other mothers.
My mother loved me so much.
I can live with that.