When I started blogging, I wanted the discipline of trying to write daily. I wanted to make myself sift through my experiences: putting words to them, to sustain the deep undertow of creativity that has always been a cross current in my life. Being a very visually oriented person I wanted to create some kind of record that allowed me to capture shreds of my life, and come back to them again, re-realizing their significance. Like no other medium, blogging is strangely non-dimensional. Yet because of this it can also be multi-dimensional, and this excited me.
But perhaps the more urgent reason behind my drive to figure out css files and web rings, was that I found myself suddenly submerged the remarkably alien world of first-time parenting.
Nothing prepared me for this.
Nothing, until I was in the middle of it. Until I'd hoisted my big pregnant belly around for ten months (yes it's really ten, not nine. Where do people even come up with the nine bit?), and then went into labor after two nights of the worst stomach flu I have ever had.
All of a sudden my little Bean was here, on this planet, in my arms. A small squirming bundle that came out and cried once, and then stared right at our faces, looking terribly confused with big huge eyes and the longest eyelashes I've ever seen.
It's probably a safe bet to assume that both of us were experiencing a decent amount of disbelief when we first locked eyes with one another. Though I fell quick and hard for the smell of his downy head, and his teeny tiny wrinkled hands, I remember thinking that despite my love for children, despite the fact that my career was teaching children, I knew next to nothing about raising one.
And then, during the first weeks after Bean arrived I remember changing diapers in the middle of the night, unbelievably hot and pestered and delirious from lack of sleep and hormones, and thinking to myself, how in the hell are there so many damn babies in the world?? How did we all possibly get here? It seemed ridiculous and incredulous that every person I've ever encountered was once a baby, AND THEIR PARENTS TOOK CARE OF THEM, at least to some degree, and they survived.
So, because I was too decrepit and distracted and disheveled to do anything else, I found myself up late at night, between crying jags and diapers, addictively reading posts from other moms (and a few dads) who'd actually gone through this ahead of me.
Before I had Bean I didn't get what people meant when they said, "Everything changes when you have a baby," and frankly, it annoyed the shit out of me. But EVERYTHING DOES FREAKIN CHANGE. And I'm so grateful for the survival guide that exists out there, in Internetland, in the form of really great blogs.
And I got to thinking today---about how I'm connected through this blog to all sorts of other people all over the world who share something in common with me. Sometimes it's art, or a love for words or books. And many times it's other moms with deep and meaningful things to say about the relentless, heart-wrenching, incredible process of parenting.
Even as people the world over are becoming individuated and insular; even as local community centers and neighborhoods are fragmenting as the result of outsourcing, suburbia, and malls, a new form of community is linking together across the globe, creating a new context for raising the next generation of children. And this is good. This is very, very good.