My daughter has been the star of my blog since I began. I love to write about her. Parenting her is the most fascinating and shareable aspect of my life. Being her mom inspires me.
But she doesn’t want to be the star of my blog anymore, which leaves me with a dilemma.
It’s not that I have nothing else to write about – there’s no dearth of material from my everyday life.
I have a dog who’s like the Dog Park Mayor, sniffing and greeting every arrival – both human and canine – with enthusiasm and gusto. I have a cat who flops himself into photo-worthy positions every day. I have a partner whose sense of humor extends beyond Mars or Jupiter. I have a job that has turned my understanding of storytelling on its head – blending elements of power and context and autonomy and responsibility in a way they were never blended while I was in school.
There is so much I can share. No, it’s not a dearth of material I’m struggling with.
It’s the absence of a through-line, a core topic, a purpose.
Up until now, “Are You the Babysitter?” described my purpose, even if I didn’t stick to it with every post. As a white lesbian adoptive mom co-parenting a Mayan daughter, I had a solid identity for this blog. Everything radiated out from that core – shedding light on the experience of adoptive parenting, transracial parenting, plain and simple parenting, occasionally offering insights on step-parenting, making a virtual connection with anyone who might be experiencing some of the same things.
But what can I offer the worldwide web, now that my daughter wants out of the spotlight?
I understand her need. She’s making her own life on her own terms, contemplating her own digital footprint in preparation for the day she is allowed to make one. She’s taking control of her life, and she should.
I am not questioning her choice. I am questioning myself.
- What is my blog’s purpose now?
Here on the web, there is certainly queer community to be found, lesbian mom camaraderie and adoption insights – on Village Q, for example, on Mombian, on Lost Daughters – places I go for insight, inspiration, validation.
- So why continue the blog?
I am a saner person if I write – calmer, happier, more confident, friendlier, easier to be around. It makes me happy when my words resonate with someone else on this planet. I want to make life a little easier, or make someone a little more curious. I want to offer a fresh point of view on a complicated public conversation – by sharing about my own life.
- How do I choose a new title that fits?
What words encompass family, love, dogs, social justice, cats, race, power, nonprofits, public transit, and communication in a digital age?
These are the questions bouncing around my head while the family’s jeans jangle in the dryer.
But this phrase has been buzzing through my brain for weeks, and it may be the key:
Start from where you are.
Google attributes the line to Arthur Ashe, but I’m pretty sure some version of it first landed with me via Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, which I read in my twenties.
I was younger then.
I was, in Rainer Maria Rilke’s words, “…before all beginning…” Now I am, quite literally, in the middle of my life and maybe even more than my daughter’s choice, this mid-life business is why I must …
Start from where I am.
If you opened my journals from the past few months – which I honestly encourage NO ONE to do – but if you were granted access and my blessing somehow, you’d find a lot of first lines simply describing my here-and-now. I think of this as practice. Start here and see where the writing goes:
“Just folded two loads of laundry, stripped G’s bed, threw those sheets in to the wash, came upstairs to Kelly reading in the grey chair, dogs sleeping, and Miss E finishing a wonderfully long paragraph about the pros and cons of technology.”
~ January 5th
“Dogs, dogs, everywhere dogs! Lucy, the ancient dachshund, is click clacking back and forth across the room in search of nothing in particular – comfort, treats, food, companionship, a fresh bed, water, exercise? It’s a mystery to the humans in her midst.”
~ January 7th
For me, writing is a practice. Blogging is an offering, an opportunity to connect. This is what I know. I am no longer waiting to figure out how it all holds together. I am simply starting from where I am, sharing little bits as I go.