This, my friends, is my 1000th published blog post.
Back when I started this blog, nearly eight years ago, I had twin two-year-olds and a six-year-old. I had a job three days a week that could at best be described as "uninspiring." The other four days a week I spent trying to make up for those three days away--taking my kids to gymnastics classes and swim lessons, to the park and the children's museum. Doing craft projects and reading books. Trying to maintain a modicum of order in my house.
I also had a car whose original owner had been an obese chain smoker. It had low mileage, because he only drove it into to town (presumably to buy food and cigarettes), but it also had a broken-down driver's seat and a headliner so completely saturated with tobacco smoke that it was a revolting yellowish brown color and, not long after the car became mine, it lost its tenuous hold on the ceiling of my car and began to droop. Before long, it had fallen halfway down and spewed little balls of gummy, dried-up, tobacco-stained glue all over the occupants whenever I drove anywhere.
At the same time, I was reading blogs that depicted the lives of other women, other mothers, through the soft-focus lens of a high-end camera. Their children were beautiful and well-mannered. Their houses were clean, well-organized, and decorated with crafts they made themselves. Their gardens were abundant and well-tended. The headliners of their cars most certainly did not droop and sprinkle their angelic cherubs with carcinogens.
I started this blog in a fit of pique, over the perfectly perfectness of everyone else's life, and the fingernail-deep grip I had on holding it all together in my own.
When I started the blog, I didn't have my own digital camera (I sometimes borrowed my husband's work camera). I didn't have a computer (our household computer had been overtaken by my husband's business). We had dial-up internet (it sometimes took ten minutes or more to upload a single photo). I conducted all my blog business in the dark hours of the night or very early morning, when C wasn't working on the computer, when the children were sleeping.
Eventually I got my own camera (and then a better camera) and my own computer. DSL made its way to our road. I replaced the headliner in my car and eventually got a new (old) car, which has its own share of problems, but none with the potential to trigger an existential crisis like a fallen headliner. My job became full-time and I loved it, briefly. Then it completely imploded and has hovered somewhere between abject torture and numbing misery ever since.
My blog also stopped being about frustration. I began taking pictures (when I had a camera) of our weekend activities. And I began orchestrating more activities in order to have something to put on the blog. It was blog imitating life imitating blog. In truth, I wanted what those other bloggers had--not a perfectly perfect life, but fun with my kids, beautiful things in and around my house (made by me). I wanted to make memories for me and my family. And I wanted to record those memories here.
Over time my blog has been at times more wordy, other times more picturey. I've written about crafts, about food, about parenting, about writing, about nature, about hiking, about books, sometimes about politics. But this isn't a craft blog or a food blog or a mommy blog (is it?) or a writing blog or a nature blog or a hiking blog or a book blog or a wonky blog. It's just a blog about whatever I happen to be thinking about or doing or living at the moment.
I've also never done much planning or editing of it either. For this reason, I don't count it as "real" writing. I may be shooting myself in the foot by not polishing my words in this space, if prospective editors visit it and decide I'm not a "serious" writer because I'm not doing serious writing here. But I guess I don't care. Because this is real, and it's whatever I want it to be.
I've never had a good answer for why I blog--I'm not very good at ascribing motives to my actions--it's just something I've felt compelled to do ever since I started. Some days or months I feel more compelled than others, but it has never felt like a burden, something I had to do. Looking back over the years of my blog, I see in retrospect the best reason of all for keeping up with this space--it's my pensieve, the place where I store memories. Numerous times I've come back to old posts while writing an essay to remind myself what I said to M when I became frustrated with his fascination with World War II, or when it was that he caught his first fish, or which kid held the humming bird in his hands.
I've also found myself scrolling through the photo file for this blog (I've never gotten on top of uploading and storing them in an organized fashion, so there's a single "Remains of the Day" file in Picasa with 1000s of pictures) in search of a certain image at a time when I was really feeling down. As the images rolled by, I thought to myself, "This woman has a really lovely life," from a detached place, not even realizing, for a second, that it was my own lovely life I was admiring.
This blog hasn't brought me a book deal, or a job offer. I don't have 1000s of adoring fans, or even 100s of readers (more than 75 is an exciting number of hits these days). I haven't forged lifelong friendships through it, though I have made connections with some lovely people (connections which come and go as people's lives change and they move on from their own blogs). I don't make any money from my blog--but it doesn't cost me anything either.
I'm also obviously terrible at following blog rules--look how long this post is! But this is me. This is my life's record. And while it's lovely to see the numbers in my stats go up, and even lovelier to get comments and discover other fun blogs that I can read too, I don't come back here day after week after year for validation. I just come for me. A friend of mine once said that blogging is inherently narcissistic, and maybe this is what she meant. And I'm okay with that. As a mom there aren't too many things that are just for me (I have to hide in a closet if I want to eat a piece of chocolate without sharing). I'm happy for this to be one of them. Thank you for coming along with me (and reading this really long post!).