circling back around

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Eight and a half years.  That’s how long I’ve been writing this blog.  Three hundred and thirty posts.  But in the past year I’ve written only six.  Why is that?  The kids are older, I have more time to myself, I am no longer perpetually exhausted… so what’s the deal?

Maybe part of it IS because the kids are older.  When they were babies, or even preschoolers, it was cute and funny and helpful to go on and on about their lives.   Family loved hearing the minutia, other moms commiserated, friends understood better why we seemed to have disappeared.  But when Violet and Graham reached grade school, something happened.  It’s not that I suddenly started thinking about them as little people, but that I started thinking about them as their own little people.  As in, not really mine.  As in, what right do I have to bundle them up into sentences and send them out into the internet for others to make assumptions?  And, more practically, maybe I should be thinking about their online presence in the future.   How will the pronouncements I make about their personalities inform an admissions officer, or recruiter, or partner?  Not to mention the conclusions my kids will draw about themselves, about me, and about our relationships when they finally read this blog and realize I’ve been detailing the ups and downs of their lives for the world to see.

On the other hand, it makes me sad to think of holding back.  Sure, I have photos.  Lots of photos.  But they don’t exactly tell the whole story.  Who whips out the camera during an argument?  How can a photograph document the true amount of school angst or sibling strife?  Browse my Flickr stream and our lives seem perpetually blissful.  But I don’t want a curated, smiling, sanitized version of my life to look back on.  I really do want to remember the struggle, the mess, the uncertainty, the worry.  I also don’t want my kids to think that they were perfect angels… or perfect terrors.

SO mean

So how do I walk this line?  How do I scratch this archivist itch in a way that is respectful to our family’s future selves but that remains meaningful?

I reviewed my first blog post to try to find the answer.  And I think the last few sentences give me at least a starting point: “So, maybe the most important reason I’ve started this blog is that it’s about ME. Me me me me. Oh, and Violet.”

Oh right!  This is my blog!  (Now here is where I fall into cliché territory, but bear with me.)  This angst over what direction my blog should take parallels my real life.  What should I do now that I’m slowly backing out of a decade focused on kids?  Maybe it’s time to circle back around to writing for the sake of writing, documenting, and trying to organize the chaos in my brain.  Oh, I’m sure I’ll write about family too, but I’ll tread lightly and see how that works out.  I understand that this will not be as exciting to some as Las Aventuras Fantásticas de los Niños de los Liffords, but that’s okay.  They’re writing their own stories now.  Just ask them.

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4 responses to “circling back around”

  1. Granny

    You’ll find the balance Cheris, you always do. I really love reading your blog, whatever the topic. It’s an honest glimpse into your world that I am truly grateful for! You were born to write and you do it beautifully. Keep it up. 🙂

  2. Cecil

    You are a gifted writer (period)! Forty years ago, there were no blogs, no zippy e-mail connections or an “app” for everything, so the writer in me wrote letters – lots of letters it would seem. Last summer when we cleaned out my parent’s home to ready it for sale, each of my siblings and I found boxes with our names on them…mom had saved every card, letter and Crayola art piece that had been slipped in an envelope. Reading through them has been quite a journey. What I discovered is that after years of making the non-fiction world of parenting into something of a ‘stand up’ comedy routine in my letters, I turned to book reviews of all the juicy FICTION I finally had time to read! SOOO – my advice: dive into fiction for a while – all types – all genres…then write, write, write what pleases YOU (maybe even on paper – it’s cathartic!) Trust your instincts. Love you.

  3. Amber

    Yes. I am also having these doubts and concerns. Worries about wondering what to write and when it is too much of other people’s business. Worried to the problem of sanitized pictures.
    But I think the solution is perfect. You, you, you, you. You write so eloquently about this phase of life and your place in it. I want more. And I like you, you, you. XO!

  4. Mom L.

    Cheris, I totally agree with every sentence your mom wrote, although I couldn’t have expressed it as well as she did. As your mother-in-law, I’ve said many times (to you and many others) how much I enjoy your blog. Your writing shows that you have an extraordinary ability to communicate your experiences, your thoughts, and your insights in interesting and compelling ways. Your blog has helped dad and me to get to know you and to feel connected to you as a special individual as well as a thoughtful and loving mom. Your writing, as a mom, has given dad and me the opportunity to enjoy some of the special times in our grandchildren’s lives. You’ve given us the joy of understanding and appreciating their delightful (and very different! ) personalities. We’ve often said that in your writing (as a mom about her children) we see the talent of a genuine “humorist.” At
    some time, you may want to consider writing about other experiences
    in that same “humorist” vein. But whatever direction you take, please keep on writing about you, you, you and your experiences – sometimes as a mom but always as the special individual you are with your own unique insights. I truly believe that, in your case, writing for the sake of writing will help you achieve everything that you hope it will. And I’m sure – very
    sure – that every “piece” will be “a great read.” Love you.

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