When I was a new mom, I had visions of meeting other new moms at the neighborhood park. On TV and in the movies, moms were always at the park. They went to the park with their friends, like Hope and Nancy did in Thirtysomething. (Hey, I know I'm showing my age but my oldest is 17 ... my ideas of motherhood were formed in the late eighties and early nineties ....) Or like Dustin Hoffmann and Jane Alexander in Kramer vs. Kramer (though I, of course, wouldn't end up eating pablum like Hope did in that one episode, and I knew I would never let my child fall off the monkey bars like Ted Kramer did.)
So, when I had Anne-with-an-e, I dutifully dressed her in something adorable and trundled her off to the park in her stroller. The hitch in my plan was that we lived in an extraordinarily small town. I was the only one at the park.
At least I thought the tinyness of our town was the hitch. Eventually, however, I came to believe that the real hitch was that no one needed to go to parks anymore. Everyone had her own swingset in the backyard. Why haul the kids to a playground when you could go just a few steps out your own back door?
My first reaction, upon discovering this, was to vow to never get a swingset of my own. I alone would uphold the American tradition and ideal of hauling kids to the park! I alone would continue to rely on parks in order to sort out life's greatest mysteries, as did Hope and Nancy, or to witness horrific accidents, as Ted Kramer did. Yes, I alone would do this!
And alone I was. No one was ever at the park.
Finally, I caved. "Let's get a swingset," I said to Atticus, feeling that I was letting down an entire generation of both TV moms and idealistic rebels.
"Really?" he asked.
"Yeah," I sighed. "What's the point of going to the park in hopes of meeting new moms when they're all in their backyards? I may as well have the convenience of a swingset in my backyard, too."
So, we got a swingset. And eventually I was quite grateful for that swingset, especially as my children got older and I found myself saying things like, "Go outside and play on the swingset."
Fast forward to 2005. I start a blog. Lots of other people have started blogs, too. And we all visit each other's blogs and the blogosphere is like a big ole park. We hang out together on the merry-go-round of blogging and no one has a horrific accident on the monkey bars and everyone is happy. Then Facebook-the-Swingset comes along and ruins everything. Suddenly everyone has a Facebook page and we aren't all congregating around the water cooler (I know I'm mixing metaphors here but let me go ... I'm on a roll) of the blogosphere anymore and it seems impossible to keep up with everyone because we're all in our own backyards.
So, that's why Facebook is like a swingset and sometimes annoys me. Because I can't keep up with all the backyards.
On the other hand, I used to participate in some homeschooling e-groups and when I started blogging, I had less time for the e-groups and a woman I know likens blogs to swingsets, so what are you gonna do?
The world keeps changing. Just about the time I was ready to upgrade our swingset to a really good one, I realized that my oldest child was seventeen and hadn't used a swingset for about a decade. I guess that means that by the time I really, truly, fully embrace Facebook I'll realize that everyone else is communicating via some sort of electronic brain implant.
And I'll still be living in the past, watching Thirtysomething reruns and posting status updates on this ancient thing called a Macbook.
(Caveat: I said I'd start posting again, but I never said it would be meaningful stuff.)