Yes. I do. I write about my children.
Actually, if I’m being honest, what I really write about is myself.
Reads a bit narcissistic, though, doesn’t it. I write about me! All the time! Come and read about me! I’m so awesome! But, again, when we’re throwing that whole truthtelling thing into the equation, writing my story out on the very public internet has shades of narcissism in there. But I’m a writer, I always have been.
It started in second grade when I created the spiral-bound book about my life using mice made out of a stamp pad and my thumbprints. Really. And then I moved on to short stories that had no endings, then on to poetry about 13-year-old unrequited love, and then into half-written novels shelved because the fictional characters resembled real-life people just a wee bit too much, and then onto blogging, which has been my writing platform since 2004.
So, yes, while this isn’t a parenting blog per se, because I write about all sorts of exciting things in this space like about reading books while making dinner, like my legging police badge and my crusade to eradicate the awful, awful epidemic of wearing leggings as pants, like my life-long goal to stop being the Phyllis Nefler of exercising and how I have a semi-permanent case of the spaghetti arms and jelly legs. Yes. Not exactly a parenting blog. But, you see, the thing is, I am a parent. I have been one since my first baby girl made her slllllow and stubborn debut (two days of labor, yo!) into this world.
Because I am a parent, it would be impossible to tell MY story without telling their story, at least bits and pieces of it—the 15% I’m willing to share. I tell their story as it is through MY eyes. I write about how I see them, what makes them special, what makes them hilarious, what makes me worry, what makes me wonder. I am careful and I walk a fine line with them, especially as my daughter is inching closer to being a full-fledged teenager. I check in with them, I ask them about stories I may not be sure about.
I have read so many posts recently about my friends, my fellow writers, struggling with this changing blogging landscape. As their children are getting older, as their children’s stories are becoming more “theirs,” many writers wonder if they choose to no longer continue to write about their children would they still be considered parenting bloggers. Many writers have become fatigued, and some have even stopped writing altogether.
And I get their struggles, their desires to re-navigate, their fatigue, their questions. For them.
But not for me.
I still write about my children.
I’m okay with it.
They are okay with it.
You see, I don’t really *know* my mother. I mean, sure, I know her as my mother the MOM, but I don’t know her as my mother, the person, the lady, the woman. Sometimes I come across photos of her when she was younger—on a boat in a floral bikini, in a photobooth looking incredibly Audrey Hepburn, standing in front of the house I grew up in—when it was just a patch of empty land, watching my sister perform in a ballet recital, wearing a cap and gown while holding up a diploma.
I can’t help but wonder about these photos—where she was going, who she was with, how she felt that day, who took that particular shot of her. I have no answers to these questions; I just have a box of snapshots.
There are no stories.
God, do I wish I had her stories.
I wish I knew her. Her thoughts, her hopes, her dreams, her struggles.
Essentially, I wish my mom had a blog of her life before I was born, while I was young, and while I was no longer young. I wish my mom had been a storyteller. I spent so much time as a kid expecting that the world revolved around me—I mean, isn’t that how kids are supposed to be? But I never stopped to think about how the things that were important to me affected her. Did it break her heart when I quit ballet after ten years in a tutu (I’m sure it did), did she stress about carpool and tuition payments and playdates and religion and decorating her house and packing school lunches (I’m sure she did), did she struggle with my adolescence (I’m sure she did), did she worry about sending me to high school in another city (I’m sure she did).
I wish I could read those feelings, thoughts, struggles, stories.
I wish I had record of silly and ridiculous things that I and my siblings said as kids.
I wish I knew what her pregnancy with me was like, how her first days with me were, what is was like getting to know me.
I wish she had been the storyteller that I am right now.
I wish I knew who she was THEN.
Because I think it would really help me know her NOW.
I want my children to know me—both as their Mama and as ALI.
And I think they will.
I know they will.