The lines are getting fuzzy.
They’ve never been truly clear, these writer lines of mine. Oh, I still believe that stories are better when shared, but the ownership of those stories is what has me all wound up in knots. I’m struggling with the reality that to blog about being a mom is, by default, to blog about the ones I mother and as those little people I mother get older their stories become more theirs and less mine.
I can’t write about how I feel because doing so betrays the confidence of the private conversations, the discipline doled, the stolen hugs that linger long after the tears are shed. I can’t process my emotions through my fingers or be lulled into a placid (though fleeting) moment of relief through the clacking of the keys unless I hit backspace and delete before anyone else sees what I’ve spilled onto that screen. I can’t be me because my stories are now intertwined with theirs, one twisted around the other like the wires on an intricate bomb I’ve seen only in TV shows and movies; each their own color but dependent on one another for success for failure. The threat of destruction in the form of shattered trust and broken promises with one misplaced betrayal of confidence is always there, always in the back of my head, warning to be absolutely sure this story serves them well before I hit publish. It’s daunting, this threat, and it’s real.
My little people didn’t sign up to be a blogger’s child, and they place their trust in me without knowing that my first instinct is to share; not because I want to gratuitously broadcast our less than stellar moments but because I long to find a community of other mothers who can reassure me with ‘me too’s’ and ‘I understand’s’.
Their trust means more than the words on a page. There is no question about that, but I keep thinking anyway. I think that there must be a way to still be me without betraying their confidence. There must be a way for me to tell the stories that are screaming to be told, to record the lessons we’re resisting and those we’ve learned and for me to do what feels the most natural thing in my world next to being their mother. Who knew that the two loves of my life—my kids and my words—would need different things at the same time.
The fuzzy lines keep moving, inching forward and back as these little people grow and change. The lines grow faint and then thick, sometimes heavy and black but still smudged and smeared. Thick or thin, visible or hidden, they all leave me wishing that the issue was as easy as using ink instead of graphite. I long for a manual, a guide, a reliable way to know which stories are mine and which are theirs even though I know every family, every child, every situation is unique.
Until then I’ll keep their stories to us, perhaps scrawled in a journal but never shared because their faith in having a safe place to land and a strong shoulder to lean on should never be betrayed by loose fingers that just can’t keep their mouth shut.
Read here to learn more about Just Write. In a nutshell, it’s a free write about a recent or current experience without adding analysis, explanation, or clarification. (I took this entire paragraph from Erin Margolin. Read her Just Write piece, titled ‘A School Morning’, here).