Yesterday was my 4th blogiversary. I’ve written 403 essays about my kids, my thyroid, my fear of death and impatience in public bathrooms, and my penchant for shopping (among other noteworthy topics). I didn’t post anything yesterday because (1) I was scheduled to publish a piece for the Sensory Spectrum July Blog Hop (if you missed it, you can read it here) and (2) I was on an airplane for most of the day with two kids and a puppy. I didn’t publish anything about the flight or our visit with my folks either because I very purposely wanted to take the trip without feeling a need or an obligation to write about it.
I watched Ed Sheeran perform on the “Today” show last Friday, and I was struck by how many people in the crowd had their phones in front of their faces to record the concert. Instead of having a real connection with the performance, they watched it through a tiny screen. Sometimes that’s what blogging feels like. Instead of feeling what’s happening in my life, I experience whatever It is – through a lens, and as soon as It becomes a possible blog post, status update, or tweet, I feel like I’m floating away from It rather than being a part of It.
The upside to blogging is huge. Writing – like yoga, running, or watching “Orange Is The New Black” – has become a daily practice that keeps me grounded. On many occasions, it’s kept me from losing my mind, like when I had to have my first (and second) colonoscopy or when Dylan was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder or when Harry got sick and died. During those times (and countless others), writing has saved me. Writing isn’t so much what I do as it’s who I am.
With the blog, I’ve had the opportunity to use this living, breathing record of my life to connect with others. Sometimes I wonder how I ever had the audacity to click “publish” in the first place! The blog was my (crazy) idea, and, in turn, it’s inspired me to go places, tackle issues, and open myself up in ways I never could’ve imagined. Audacious or insane, I’m grateful for the 403 essays so far that have captured the story of my life.
But there’s a downside, too. Maintaining a blog means there’s pressure to produce, anxiety about readership, angst over deadlines, status updates, and tweets, and good old-fashioned fear of failure. If I weren’t consumed with what to write about next or how to get published on “HuffPost Parents,” I’d probably be caught up on my family photo albums (maybe). I’d also have more patience, spend less time staring at a screen, and (gulp) be more present with my kids and husband. The Runaway Mama allows me to work toward a writing career and be there for my kids, but funny enough, it prevents me from being “there” a lot of the time.
As I enter year five of The Runaway Mama, I hope to find a better balance between the joy of writing, the urge to blog, and the desire to live my life without a lens. After all, it’s in the act of living that stories are made. Speaking of which, while we were away, an old lady with very long and pointy fingers yelled at Riley on the airplane for no reason and I wanted to kill her with my bare hands, Dylan lost a tooth, Gertie fell down a flight of stairs (she’s okay), I got pink-eye (of course), we watched Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest live on television, I walked through the most gorgeous Whole Foods ever, Riley fell in love with my mom’s homemade ice cream pie (with good reason), Mike didn’t work (mostly), I read a book (an actual book!), and I didn’t blog about any of it…yet.
As always, thanks for reading and sharing.