It’s Not Open Season on Sharing

I grew up in a family that enjoyed anonymity, even with seven kids running amuck in a small town. I have a feeling we were just the McGintys (and that might have explained enough).

Because of the privacy my parents maintained, as a child, I never had much of an idea of how my parents swayed politically, economically or even socially. I still couldn’t tell you my father’s exact career title. Once he told me he was an ‘accountant’, as an adult I have heard rumblings about his actual job title, but it doesn’t really matter now, as it didn’t back then. As he was my dad back then, I’m thrilled that to my own children he is the COG (Chief Operating Grandpa).

In the classroom I may vaguely mention my kids. Perhaps the note that one has been sick and everyone should wash their hands after I touch their computers or sketchbooks. Rarely more than that. Of course my students can read my blog — and a few may, but not more than that.

I have brought my oldest on a field trip here or there to a museum, or on a social trip to a bowling alley. Once when baby K was really little I took him to a gallery show in a sling so I could see my graduating student’s artwork. I remember a few of the students tickling his toes. They had all been my students while I was pregnant with him. My personal life mixing with my work-life really doesn’t go much further.

Yet this time in my life has me blogging — for all to see. I hope it’s not because we live in such an egocentric world that I’m trying to carve our my piece on the internet. I truly think that I blog because I hope it can help just one other person (probably another mother) out there. If just one other person finds my writing helpful — it was successful.

Blogging is different from journaling — which I attempted when I was first pregnant with Z-girl, 10 years ago — when you don’t have an audience, it’s different. Blogging forces you to write well, edit your work, then rewrite, and edit again. Usually after a post and a few comments, I read it another time and make additional edits.

It helps my writing skills to blog. If I know just one other person, a student, or my parents, are going to read something I have written, I am forced to understand my topic completely before putting it out there. It’s a version of teaching or counseling I assume. It is similar to my belief that deadlines compel focus in design and artwork.

There is plenty about my life that I don’t share. A lot.

I recently saw the writer, David Sedaris, speak, and he was asked how he decides what he shares and what he does not. The person asking the question thanked him for his candor over the years, to which I nodded in agreement.

David noted that you will never read about his sex life and very little about his relationship with his partner Hugh. That it is just the way he writes that makes it sound like he is talking to you about his most intimate thoughts — but in reality you are not privy to those. If you dissected his writing, there would be many personal gaps. I feel the same way about what I choose to blog.

I think about it this way. I don’t write about anything I wouldn’t want my next door neighbor, rabbi, priest, brother, mother, student, child or boss to read. After that it’s open season.

So when it comes now to talking about baby-K’s new journey, it’s just part of his journey, and mine. There will be a lot I hold back — and things I will share.

Similar to when I wrote Jumping-Generations and shared a lot about Don’s grandmother and her last days. There was a lot I never wrote about. I considered going back and telling a more gritty reality of our experience. Yet that is understood when you are dealing with the death of a loved one.

I don’t share any of these things because I want sympathy from anyone. I appreciate the well wishes of my friends who come about my writing on facebook — but it’s not a pity party. It’s all part of my process.

I write about these things because I want just one other person to find my writing one day — and feel comfort in the fact that certain feelings about parenting, motherhood, working-motherhood, are shared — yet they aren’t always the first things we bring up when we meet someone.

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