Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In Which We Examine the Roles of Anne and Betsy (or, "What's a Blogging Mom to Do?")

Occasionally, people ask if I worry about having more Ramona posts than Anne-and- Betsy posts.

I tell those people, "What I really fear is how much the therapy will cost."

No, not really.

But, here's the thing. When I started this blog in late '05, Anne-with-an-e and Betsy were twelve and nine. Ramona was three. Three-year-olds say a lot of funny things. Bloggable things. Things I can repeat and get away with.  If I'd had a blog when my other girls were that young, their early childhoods would also be recorded in cyberspace, but I wouldn't have those great notebooks full of their sweet and funny sayings. So, there's a bit of a trade-off, eh?

But there's another more important thing at play here. Anne and Betsy are growing up. In the years since I started this blog, they have become young women. And, although we have endless and fascinating conversations about that, most of those conversations don't have a home on my blog. Sure, there's the occasional "I refuse to believe they are teenagers" moment, such as the other day when there were firemen outside the grocery store collecting money for Jerry's Kids. As we headed into the store, one or more of them did a double-take our direction and I realized that I couldn't tell you the last time a fireman looked twice at me.  Firemen look at my daughters (much to Atticus' chagrin, tensed fists and recollection of his Marine Corps days. Hear that, firemen and potential suitors? Their father was a Marine. And he remembers everything about it. But I digress.)

The point is that many conversations at this stage end up feeling more private than bloggable. Even stuff that isn't really, truly, intensely private or earth-shattering, or difficult, or any of that.  It's just ... theirs.  Their lives are theirs, and that's a tricky balance for  a writing mom.  It leaves me evaluating what I want to write about here, and what should remain untouched.  The girls and I talk about all of that. And then together, we move forward through the unknowns of blogging through the teens.

Anne and Betsy constantly amaze me with their brains and their wit and their creativity. And, I probably should write down (or Tweet, God help me) more of the things they say that leave me guffawing and snorting with laughter.  They are two of the most extraordinary people I know.  I love them so much that in certain unguarded, untested moments I think something in my chest is going to erupt or shatter, and then the world (or three or four blog readers) will know that I love Anne and Betsy with the most fierce, unbreakable love possible, a love that couldn't have been explained to me before I became a mother.

A love that knows no categories, labels or blog titles.

A love that doesn't keep track.

It just keeps moving forward.


Barb, sfo said...

I also have 2 teens (17 and 13) and a second-grader, and things are pretty much the same here as far as "who gets blogged the most." It's a delicate balance, and I'd rather err on the side of being more sensitive than I have to be to my older kids.

Isn't it fun to still have that younger one around, though? I need the kind of comic relief he provides.

Karen E. said...

Thanks for the comment, Barb, and yes on both counts -- erring on the side of sensitivity and loving the comic relief. :)

Margaret in Minnesota said...

You changed your blog photo! Cute glasses!

I hope you don't mind my saying that I look up to you and learn from you. I am "just" enough younger than you to do that, you know! (Not to worry--I am still plenty older than plenty of people.) When I think of your family, I think of a family rich with dialogue, and I wish I could be a guest at the table with a cup of coffee in hand.

Love to those beautiful girls of yours. They are so very blessed to have a mom like you, a mom who listens...and loves...and respects...and cares.

And you made me think with your words about keeping their lives private. More and more as my kids get older, I am asking them, "Is it okay if I write about this?" I pray for the grace to discern what to say and what not to say, that my words may bless and never curse.

Have a beautiful day, my friend.

PS. Go, Marines! :)

Beck said...

I blog more about The Baby because a) her life isn't as private yet, as you wrote and b) little kids are funnier than big kids.
I don't know who I'll blog about when she's 12 - the cat?

Mary Kate said...

Beautifully and poignantly written! I have some intensely private teenage and "tweenage" boys who would also feel somewhat "betrayed" if I blogged about them!

Karen E. said...

Thanks, Mary Kate, and Beck, I occasionally blog about our cat, but he never says anything really funny. Margaret, don't look up to me -- yikes! I'm just muddling through, as we all are. :)