I sat in front of a blank screen last night.
And I felt it: pressure. I didn't blog much at all last week. Just one little piddly post about how I haven't been posting, about how quiet can be good. And it can. It can be good and necessary and rejuvenating and many more things. But the thing is that I miss this place. This blog I started nearly more than five years ago.
When I published my first post, I was in the trenches with a toddler and a baby, about to publish my first novel, very much grieving the loss of Dad. I can see now what I didn't see then, namely that I was a bit lonely and lost. Blogging was the perfect penicillin for loneliness and lostness; I wrote words and, in time, people responded to them. Each comment brought a smile, a sense that I was not alone at all, but very much surrounded. Very swiftly, I fell in love with this ether.
Today things are different. I am the same person of course, but I have evolved. I am now a mother to three girls who are growing like weeds. My eldest is 7 and she is so tall and lanky and I look at her sometimes and I see bits of the teenager she will be. My middle babe is now 6. It was her birthday yesterday and we had a beautiful party for her at home and then continued to celebrate all weekend, but despite all the candy corn and noise, a constant sentence thrummed through my head: I cannot believe it. She is the baby who was in my belly when Dad died; the baby who carries his name in the middle of hers. Six. How can this be? And the baby? She's so not a baby and she will flip out if you call her one. She's a sassy 3.5 and she is looking so grown-up to me. She now shares a room with her sisters and the three of them are so unbelievably tight and I was trailing behind them this weekend on the sidewalk and they were all in their totally-them clothes - the jackets and boots and swinging ponytails and I felt a choke in my throat. Time. Oh it's passing.
And, guys, I've changed and I'm changing and I'm feeling tugs to do things that scare me, to write things that scare me, and maybe I will. I have some stories I want to tell and need to tell. And I'm full of fear and electric ambition, but also this new, edifying sense that I am exactly where I should be at this moment, in this little big life with my man and my girls and my books and my stories and my friends and all of you. You.
You. Those of you who have been reading my words for years or months or even just for minutes. You are part of this equation that's made me feel so wildly grateful and humbled. I want you to know that. Even when I am quiet and not super present here, even when you can tell that I'm going through the motions - and sometimes I am - I want you to know that this place, this odd little corner of the cyberspace, this important little corner of my life, has been so incredibly meaningful to me.
Five-plus years ago, yes, I was spinning a bit. Missing Dad, flailing as we all do in the early years of parenthood, drinking and thinking too much, trying so hard to get it right. But the thing is, the amazing thing is, there is no right. The best we can do is the best we can do. The best we can do is open our eyes and live our lives and remember to dream and love hard and ask big questions and surrender to the exquisite symphony of busy lives that will always be busy.
I see this all so much more clearly now. I feel a patience with myself, a dizzying amount of gratitude for these richly-textured days, big fat empathy for those in my life who are struggling with things very big and quite tiny. Struggle is struggle and it's all hard and we must cut ourselves some slack. I've gotten good at this. At forgiveness, at acceptance, at saying: Whatever. Tomorrow is another day.
I know I'm rambling, but I don't apologize. Because this is me, the old me, the new me, the same me and I want to return to the days when this blog was a safe place with no rules, when it was a true joy simply to splash words on a white screen and wait for the connections that would come.
I sat down at the blank screen and I took a deep breath and I smiled. And all I did was write words that were true and messy and mine. And I have no idea what the point of them was, or is, but so be it.
These are those words.
Thank you all for sticking with me through my blogging peaks and valleys, energies and exhaustions. It means the world to me. The world.
Hope you are all good and enjoying these brilliant October days.