Last week when so much on the news has been terrible and violent and depressing, I was so grateful for blogging. Because blogging, your blogs, have let me into your lives where there is laughter and lightness and every day hi-jinx. Of course there is tragedy too, and that is not to minimize some of the heartbreak that I’ve witnessed through the blogs. But there is an affinity of motherhood that I’ve come to expect and rely on and I’m forever grateful for it.
I’ve been writing this blog since the summer of 2008 which seems like an extremely long time. Overall, it’s been a better experience than I had a right to expect–it’s given me a creative outlet, an audience who is wonderful enough to read and understand this whole motherhood in the Year of Your Lord 2012 and really great friends that I am going to keep forever.
One of my regrets is that I hadn’t discovered blogging earlier, because, well, I really could have used a support system during those long ago early years.
Because infanthood was my toughest time. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, I felt like that maternal instinct that I was told was my birthright was totally beyond my grasp and I was, frankly, terrified.
I could really fuck this up, I remember thinking.
I think I would have enjoyed trading stories, sharing the exhaustion, the anxiety, the how-do-you-do it? For much of my early mothering days I felt very lonely and I would have welcomed all that blogging had brought me.
When I started this blog, I wanted to tell stories. My kids were just about to turn 10 and 7, they were adorable, maddening at times, sure, but within the adorable confines. Their stories were my stories and I shared them freely. I thought it would go on forever.
But I’m realizing that I’m at a new life stage right now.
My daughter is now a teenager and I feel challenged. I feel tested and I feel like I’m working as hard at parenting as I did when my kids were newborns. She bristles at my affection, she wants me to leave her room, she is doing everything that is absolutely developmentally appropriate and I am falling apart.
Because, once again, I am afraid of fucking it up.
The confidence that I had through the toddler years, the lower school years is gone.
I am afraid of not finding that line between giving her greater freedom and coming down hard, take that eyeshadow off right now, young lady. I am afraid of her rejecting me and never coming back to me. I’m afraid that I’ll miss her so much that I’ll trade parenting for friendship.
I’m afraid that my backbone isn’t the stuff that motherhood is made of.
This morning, as I was having coffee, I read about some women’s reaction to Chris Brown.
“What do you think about a man who was convicted for assaulting a woman being honored at the Grammys?” I asked my daughter.
“I think it’s about the music he performs and not the person he is,” she responded.
And how could I argue? It’s perfectly reasonable, valid. I’m proud of her response and yet I’m scared.
Did my accusation push her towards defending him, the Grammys, the way things are?
If I’d asked “why doesn’t everyone give Chris Brown a break already?” would her feminist spirit have come through and would she have said “because hitting women is wrong, MOM”?
Do I have the acting chops for this next parenting chapter?
I don’t know.
But I’m as scared as I was when I had a newborn baby. And possibly as clueless.
I’m hoping to expand my tribe of bloggers, of friends, of writers who are in this next phase of parenting teenagers and pre-teens. Oh, I’m supposed to call them tweens, aren’t I?
I have so much to learn.
One year ago ...