Now what?

2 Nov

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I started this blog almost a year and a half ago – as a regular writing practice, and to see the influence my two great loves, parenting and writing, might have on one another.

As a writer, I crave an audience. I relish a challenge. Feedback is vital to my growth.

As a parent, I am . . . less secure.

I find parenting a third-grader is like balancing a stool on two legs.  I make too many mistakes. I have too many questions.  I don’t know which questions – or which mistakes – can be released into the light of day without causing the whole darn thing to topple.

I want to understand why we’re seeing the tantrum again, and how we can help our growing girl manage the strong feelings and mood swings which have become a daily part of her life. I want to teach her to calm her body without bumping into me again and again and again, kicking me, or pushing her head into my belly like a charging bull.  I want her to stop chewing things, throwing things, ripping things.

She is trying. We are trying. Can writing these things make me a better mom?

Her teacher recommended we get her hearing tested.  She hears just fine when we’re whispering in another room, and she repeated for me verbatim the quiet instructions I gave while she was interrupting me last night with some tale about a giant bean sleeping on a beanbag pillow.

I think we need empathy, and a behavior plan for focus.  (Yes, we will get her hearing tested, too.)

I also need to parent her without caring how I’ll be seen, which means: I may need to take a break from blogging.

What I really need is a quiet coffee date, once a week, with a good friend.  But so many of us have fallen into the trap of turning inward – to ourselves, to our families – and not making time for one another.  Writing a blog allows me to believe I’m sharing secrets with a friend over coffee.  I’m not.

Will stopping for a few weeks force me out into the world? 

As a writer, I have learned to recognize which ideas are not ready for the light of day, which story openings or quotes or themes need to marinate in the dark, or with one trusted friend.  As a parent, I find it infinitely more difficult to discern which everyday acts can be made public, and when.  Maybe I just need to write about something else.  Something other than parenting.

I need time to reflect.   Do I need a break from my blog, or can I just change my focus for awhile?

If I take a break from the here-and-now, I could share excerpts from the Nap Diaries, which I scribbled on lined paper in quick bursts the year my baby was two years old.  I could tell you about the first time another mom heard her speak, months after we had begun carrying on whole conversations at home.  I could recall for you her cousin’s questions, or tell you about the new friends I made when she started school.

I understand where these events fit into my life and into hers.  Is that what matters most, in the telling?

I don’t know yet where today’s stories fit into the narrative of family life, or how we’ll feel about them years from now.

Some of my daughter’s friends already surf the world wide web.  They have email addresses and curiosity and unsupervised screen-time.  Chances are, because they hear us all talk, they know the name of my blog and it’s only a matter of time before they find it.

But more importantly, my daughter, herself, is cultivating a drive to know more.  She watches me at the computer each Friday morning, publishing my blog.  A year and a half ago, she barely noticed what I did on the computer.  “Family stories,” I explained to her then, and she went on eating her bagel.  It was enough.  Now she wants to know more.

This blog is not something I want her to stumble upon.  Not yet.

I need time.  I need a quiet place to think.  I need a regular writing practice, and more conversation with friends.  I need to care a little less.  Or a little more.  I can’t decide.

Will I blog next week, or not? I don’t know.

For now, I will continue climbing the stairs, even though I have no idea where they go.

Advertisements

7 Responses to “Now what?”

  1. Kischka November 2, 2012 at 11:17 am #

    Well, certainly you should not let blogging get in the way of the much more important job of parenting. But I would certainly miss your weekly posts, which almost always bring tears to my eyes. I wish I lived closer- I’d love to sit down and have coffee with you and talk about our questions and struggles with parenting.

    • rrp69 November 5, 2012 at 6:23 am #

      On Friday morning, my first sip of coffee will be with you in mind. Thank you for reading, and thank you for taking the time to comment. It’s so good for me to hear how things land.

  2. Christina Harris November 2, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    I completely feel you. There are so many times that I read your blog and I feel connected to you and I think about things to say, things to write. But sadly they don’t leave my head. I don’t have any answers but if you would like to have a drink with another Mom and we can mutually verbally deconstruct our lives with the hope of rebuilding a stronger structure for our daughters I’m all in. I would love to share with my mutual frustrations and stumbles and the admiration that I have for you in the strong choices that you have made. Roi you are a wonderful woman, mother, author and you are successful.

    • rrp69 November 5, 2012 at 6:20 am #

      YES! When? Email me.

  3. Lucky traveler 57 November 9, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    Often I write on the train or at lunch, times when am on my own anyway.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. I Dream « Are you the babysitter? - November 16, 2012

    […] blog-dentity crisis – which I blathered on about a couple weeks ago – may be doing me good already.  I’ve made two coffee dates with […]

  2. Home is where the ___ is. « Are you the babysitter? - December 14, 2012

    […] who thinks about these things, which is a relief because if you’ve been reading my blog since I stopped telling only stories about my darling daughter, Miss E, you know I’ve put a lot of thought into […]

Your Words

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: