Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Well, hello there.

As my husband and I drove home from our New Year's Eve dinner, I decided we should recap our 2011. We both thought hard but came up with little; we dredged up a few brights spots, like Little E's new school, then some lowlights that I'd managed to forget and a vacation that will likely be my anti-prototype when planning any future trips. And then my husband helpfully offered, "Well, you wrote a blog, and then you stopped."

For the rush of shame I felt, he may as well have said, "Well, you backed over the neighbors' cat and then you buried it in the yard under the cover of darkness."

At first I thought my embarrassment came from having spent a year pretending that my sage insights about life were important enough to share with the world. And certainly that was part of it. But not the biggest part of it, I realized.

What felt the most shameful was that I'd stopped.

I started writing here when I went from working full-time to working part-time; it seemed like a productive use of my extra time. I made a promise to myself that I would maintain this blog for a year, and for the most part, it was a good use of my extra time. I got to play with words, I got to process through weird feelings that I might have otherwise shoved awkwardly aside, and I even got to cash a couple of (meager) paychecks for my writing.

After a while, though, it started to feel like an obligation --a pretty fruitless one. Also, I started to question the wisdom of sharing my life and, particularly, my children with faceless strangers. (This particular concern sprang from the frequency with which members of my "audience" landed here while searching for a bodily fluid associated primarily with the bedroom; this creepy misdirection is apparently how Google punishes gratuitous use of Latin.) Mostly, though, I started to cringe at how incredibly lame it was for me to be offering myself up as some latterday Erma Bombeck-cum-Martha Stewart (Drat! I've gone and done it again.)

So, I convinced myself that having fulfilled my original mission I would stop completely and move on to new challenges and creative outlets. I took longer runs. I threw myself into creating new curriculum at work. I decided to make my own accessories, yielding a strange necklace crafted from an old t-shirt and copious amounts of hot glue. Still, I found myself wondering if my food wouldn't taste just a little better if I painstakingly arranged and photographed it before I dug in. I mentally composed posts expounding on jogging as a metaphor for life and offering snarky advice to New Year's resolution gym-joiners. (Clearly, I've been sitting on some ground breaking stuff.)

Recently it occurred to me that as I am my own boss in this venture, I could really make my own hours. It's not as if anyone will likely notice whether I update twice a week. (Except for you, perverse googler of bodily fluids. You've been checking in faithfully, and for that I owe you a grudging respect and some clarification: This is really not the site you're looking for.) As for being lame, as both a mother and a high school teacher I am reminded of my capacity for lameness several times a day; writing an occasional blog post probably won't make me any uncool-er than I already am.

So I'm hoping that next New Year's Eve our year-end recap will require fewer searching pauses and be full of thrilling successes, familial bliss, and, most importantly, a vacation devoid of fist-pounding frustration or icily silent stretches of highway.

Also, I hope that my husband will be able to say, "You started writing that blog again . . .sort of."