I Want You to Know Who I Am
When I started this blog six years ago, there were only two of you. Big Girl, you were just 2 and Middle Girl, you were all of 5 months, and I gave you the affectionate, if temporary, aliases Toddler and Baby.
I remember writing my first post, in our old apartment which you vaguely remember, Big Girl, in my tiny and beloved hunter green office. I had no clue what a blog was really,but I was just so excited to be there, at my desk, writing and not just writing, but writing about me, and us. It became clear to me, and swiftly too, that this was an important practice, and critically so, this processing and documenting of existence, of questions, of moments.
And it has been. It has been so vital, and so treasured, that I've kept it up for six whole years. That means something, girls. Your mom is not just someone who does something to do it. I do things when they matter to me, when they mean something to me.
Here we are in 2015. There are three of you now and you guys mean the absolute world to me. You are 8, 6, and 4. We stairstepped them, Daddy likes to say when people marvel at the fact that we have three children and that you are so close in age, so evenly spaced. You are still young, but the word baby is verboten in our abode. You are big and beautiful and becoming your own people. And, my goodness, you are aware. You pick up on everything. You know that I am an author. You like to carry my novel around and say, I am going to read Life After Yes! You mock me for having a blog, a Facebook page, an Instagram feed. You get it. And this is wonderful on a level, but it also rattles me because when I began you were so tiny, so oblivious.
I've been writing about you guys much much less. I've always been very careful to protect your identities and your privacy. I remember that moment at a downtown Starbucks while I was on a break from jury duty when I decided that I wouldn't reveal your names or show your faces. It was a quick decision, one borne of instinct, and I vowed to revisit it. But I've stuck to it; I've always highly curated what I share about each of you such that it is meaningful, but not too private, but I find myself not wanting to write much at all about you girls because it just doesn't feel right for some reason. I think it's because you have your own stories and lives now. I don't feel like it is my place to say any longer: This is who you are. That is your job now. To evolve. To figure out who you are and what you like and what you love and what questions matter to you and who you will become. It is my job, our job, and privilege really, to guide you where we can, to be here, but mainly to witness.
But here's the thing, girls. The rub. I want you to know who I am. I want you to be able to understand who Mommy was - as a person, but also as a parent - when you guys were young. I want you to be able to read my words and my stories about our life. I want you to have a window into our world, a world you will remember only bits of. I don't remember too much from when I was 8 or 6 or 4. I want to preserve this time, this us, this me.
I read a gorgeous book this weekend, guys. I read lots and lots of books. It's a passion of mine to read, to lose myself in pages and worlds and, if I am lucky, to realize things. The book was called A WINDOW OPENS by a woman named Elisabeth Egan. As I was finishing this book, it was a Saturday afternoon - between two soccer games (another story, but Big and Middle, you are both #10 on the White Lightning!) - and we were all in the family room. Big and Little, you were entranced with the iPad, but Middle, you were stretched out on top of me, lying flat and face down on my outstretched legs. You buried your head in my chest and one of my hands rested on top of your tangled hair and the other held the book up.
Guys, I asked Daddy to take a picture because it was this moment. This moment where we were all together in that room, wrapped in our regular life, and I felt it and so strongly, that this is it. This is what matters to me. Books and babies and family and home. The book made me realize that - that's what very good books can do, guys; they can crack you open - but you girls made me realize that, too, just by being there beside me, with your warm bodies and blue eyes and tangled hair and big hearts and smiles.
I love you, girls. I love you with every ounce and inch of my being. I tell you this all of the time, whispering it into your ears on street corners, before you get on the school bus, before you close your eyes and go to sleep at night. But you must know this. And what I'm realizing, after six years of doing this, writing this story of my life, of our life, is that this blog is for you guys. One day, when you are big and curious, maybe you will read it. Or maybe you will have zero interest and that's fine, too. But if you do read it, you will learn about who we were when you were tiny and then bigger and then bigger and then big. And, if I have done any of this right (is there a right?), you will see me, your mother, your biggest fan, for who she is and was. And that is not a perfect creature, but a creature who wants nothing more than to be a good mom and and a good person and to live a good life, whatever those things turn out to mean.
The bottom line, girls: I want you to know who I am. And our life together, the moments we share, will be far more important in telling you who I am than this online account. But these words and pictures will add to the portrait. Why is this so important to me? This post today? Because I feel like I am figuring something out. I feel like I am realizing that my writing is not just a professional endeavor, but a deeply personal one. Life is short and life is beautiful and I want to capture it. For me, but mainly for you. For us.
Does this make any sense to you guys? Probably not yet. I'm not even sure it makes any sense to me. But one day, I trust that it will. And maybe we will sit down and read this vast tumble of words together. And maybe you will roll your bright eyes and flip your long hair and say things. Mom, you were so strange! Did we really do those things? Did we really have dance parties before bed and beg you for stuffed cupcakes on a random Friday afternoon?
And I will nod and hug you girls as tightly as you will allow, tears in my eyes, and say yes.
Thank you, girls, for all the love and the cuddles and, yes, even the potty jokes.
Love you to itty-bitty pieces of sky,