Remember that funny story I told, the one where I talked about something hilarious one of my daughters had done?
Yeah, me neither.
Because I can't tell those stories anymore. My girls are teenagers now, and due to the fact that they're fancy and toss around words like "privacy" and "boundaries" (curse you, literacy and dictionaries) I've been strongly cautioned against writing about them on my blog.
And who can blame them? From the time they were 6 and 8 years old, they've had their entire lives pretty much chronicled in my writing. (See how I did that? "Chronicled" sounds much better than "laid bare" or "decimated," words I anticipate them using in 20 years when they're telling their shrinks how my story about their menstrual cycles ruined their lives.)
I loved telling those stories. In fact, those stories are what got me writing in the first place, that secured me a place many years ago in the early wave of this fad—perhaps you’ve heard of it—called "mommy blogging." From the unbelievably cute chats they had with strangers, to the sweet pictures of them doing the most adorable things in the whole wide world—they're all there on my blog, just waiting to bring misery and embarrassment to them for years to come.
But they're a thing of the past. Sure, there’s still the occasional story about them on my blog, or a Facebook post that references something they've done or said, but I choose my words much, much more carefully now that I know they're reading. And watching. And judging.
This is how I see it: It's like having the most touchy, inquisitive, sensitive editors watching over me at all times—except, in this case, if these editors don't like what they've read, there’s always the chance they'll put me in the really crappy retirement home somewhere down the line.
Soon, they were saying, "Don't write about this on your blog," after everything they did.
I think the turning point came when people started making comments to my girls about what they'd read about them on my blog. It's one thing if a stranger in Ohio is reading about the awkward sex talk we had in a crowded restaurant, but when a parent on the schoolyard stops them to say, "Did you just DIE when your mom said the word 'vagina' while you were trying to eat your ramen?" well, you can understand their discomfort.
Soon they were saying, "Don't write about this on your blog," after everything they did. I had to get their approval before posting pictures of them. They aggressively questioned the accuracy of my telling of events. In other words, they were starting to bring me down, man. I considered firing them, and hiring a couple of more amenable children who would appreciate their every move being observed and exaggerated for the amusement of the Internet.
(In hindsight, whipping out my laptop and blogging right in the middle of my daughter's piano recital might have been a bit much. But she was killing that crescendo at the end of "Blue Danube"—can you blame me?)
I'm hoping that sometime in the future, my girls are going to appreciate my blog for what it is—a chronicle of our lives, and what really is a series of love letters to those I cherish most. And my youngest will want to remember that she once spent an entire Christmas morning screaming, "You’re all LIARS!" at the top of her lungs after she discovered there really was no Santa Claus.
Because that was hilarious, right?