Wednesday, March 16, 2016

4 Years Old

The other day marked four years since I’ve been blogging. Never really sure why it began, I’m struggling to tell you why I’m still here. Four years is an eternity. It is the difference between your early thirties and your late thirties. It is the difference between wondering what it would be like to have a third, and having a third – who is now two years old. It is the difference between wondering am I doing this right, and knowing with confidence that you are not, and that is okay too.

In four years, I’ve written roughly 132 original posts and nearly 100,000 times someone visited a free site I made in my pajamas one morning when I was thinking about what I wanted to tell my wonderful friend who had just given birth to her sweet twin babies. Those babies just celebrated their 4th birthday. And so I guess that means we're celebrating over here too.

In four years and in no particular order, this is what I think I’ve learned:

The Internet is a both terribly cruel and wonderfully accepting place.
Much like real life, there are tons of assholes, but also tons of people who just show up and accept you and the brutal truth that is your life just because that is the human thing to do and it feels right to do so. Whoever you are on the Internet is who you are period, so be kind.

Nothing ever dies on the Internet.
You would think I would have known this one from the start but I was na├»ve. I never thought anyone would really sit down and read some of the stuff I wrote and shared and so I was brutally candid. I don’t regret that, but it is an important reminder to think before you post anything anywhere. If you put it out there, you must own it. And I do. I accept all of it.

I wrote it as much for them as I did for me.
Most of my time spent as a mother has been without my own. I missed that wonderful window in our lives where we would have had this unique opportunity to understand each other mother to mother. Where I could ask her, “what did you think or feel when it was hard or good or I would cry or I wouldn’t sleep?” For better or worse, I have given my children a chance to peek inside, to know what I thought in the trenches of those early years. Long after I’m gone, this blog will someday be the answer to the inevitable question every someday parent asks: “Is it normal to feel this way?”

You do you.
When I started this, I had no goal. It honestly just felt right. But it is easy, in fact downright seductive to become caught up in someone else’s plan or expectations of where your path is supposed to lead. The goal is to find a place where it is still about you and your choices and your craft. Not a race to someone else’s finish line or expectations. I love this line from an old Momastery post: “You can’t miss your boat. It’s yours. It stays docked till you’re ready. The only boat you can miss is someone else’s.” Indeed. When blogging or training or singing or knitting or painting or teaching or anything, stay laser focused on your own path. It’s really the only one that ever matters.

It’s complicated.
Parenting, that is. And I had no idea just how truly easy it is to lose yourself, your life and interests and relationships, how quickly those become subsumed beneath their needs. I had no idea how complicated it would feel to unpack guilt that you know is misplaced when trying to find yourself beneath the layers of them. Find something – anything – that reminds you of who you are outside of your children. This blog has been a life preserver, an anchor to my core that reminds me that it is important and safe and good to explore my own needs outside of my love for them. It keeps me sane and happy which is the very best thing I can ever do for my family. And honestly, just look at them. They are bananas. I need to bring my A-game.




So in honor of My Jenn-eration turning four (seriously how did that happen?), here are 4 of my favorite posts from these past few years. I chose these pieces in particular because they remind me of all of it – of how it was hard, of how much I love them, of how much I miss her, of what I want to tell them one day.

Thank you for reading, for sharing. Just thank you so much for listening.