Good Monday morning.
If you missed the final blog of 2018, you can find that by clicking here. This is your official welcome & hello to 2019 blogging.
One of my resolutions is to incorporate more memes & gifs into my life. I'm kidding, but I do think these two are pretty great.
A funny thing happened one day last week. The kids & I were at my parents' house, & I looked up to see Reagan perusing a copy of all the blogs I wrote her first year of life. That first year I posted over seventy blogs, though many of them are not lengthy or substantive. Much of it amounts to a digital baby book cataloguing Reagan's first year. I had a copy printed for my grandmother & gave it to her for Christmas in 2011, shortly after Reagan's first birthday. I knew my grandmother was rarely, if ever, online, & I didn't want her to miss out on the blogging fun. The copy I printed her made its way to my parents' house as we slowly emptied her house in the months after her death last summer, & Reagan stumbled on it last week.
Reagan can read now, you know, & so seeing her actually reading what I wrote to & about her was a surreal moment for me. It prompted me to think about what I want to do with this space in the coming year. I've been hanging out here for almost eight years. In the last eight years, I can point to two decisions that seemed minor at the time I made them, but they're decisions that have & continue to make a substantial footprint in my life. In March of 2011, I began blogging. In March of 2012, I joined my book club.
In hindsight, neither of those decisions seemed like a big deal at the time I decided to take the plunge. I didn't agonize over whether I should do either. I remember telling my sister I was thinking about starting a blog, & she encouraged me. I knew I would fail miserably at attempting to catalogue Reagan's early years via a traditional baby book or a scrapbook or any other method that might require me to visit the crafts section of Hobby Lobby. At the time I was reading a handful of other blogs. I enjoyed reading the musings of other women, just random women who, like me at that time, spent a lot of time in their house trying to nurture & raise kids while also maintain some sense of personal autonomy.
At the time, eight short years ago, other than posting the occasional comment on Facebook, I wasn't accustomed to publicly sharing my thoughts (& now I just can't shut up, right?). Blogging & attending a monthly book club meeting became, & remain, anchors in my life. They're both often therapeutic. They both have sparked conversations & relationships that were, & remain, important to me. They both affirm the need I have to read & to write; they both force me to carve out time to engage with words so that, amidst the daily chaos, I am still routinely in touch with my own thoughts & reminded of the power of the written word.
I say all this to tell you two things. First, small changes can be big changes as time unfolds. Sure, this blog is small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, but it has done a lot for me. It led to me writing a book. It keeps me writing, &, to quote Flannery O'Connor, "I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say." We often don't know our own mind, our own thoughts & feelings, until we sit & hash it out, forcing our thoughts into words that form sentences & paragraphs that we can edit & rearrange until finally, at long last, we can see & read what's on our heart & perhaps share that with others.
Some of you have told me you enjoy my writing. I appreciate that, but I will tell you that this blog has & continues to sharpen me. This blog forces me to routinely engage with words, & that is the only way to eventually write anything worth sharing. The amount of writing students are asked to do in school, including college, is rarely enough to even begin to tap their potential. There are two things you can (& must) do if you wish to experience the many benefits of writing: write & read, & do both often. Seeing what others do with words is as important as sitting & churning the words out yourself.
The second thing I wish to say today, my other point, is that I don't know exactly what this space will hold moving forward. It has been used in a myriad of ways over these last eight years. It's catalogued my little family's triumphs & trials. I've shared fiction with you. I've shared some political rants. I've given you my thoughts on a variety of books I've read. Last week we looked at the lyrics of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." What can I say? I try to vary the content. I do know I am going to think harder about what I share where my kids are concerned. Reagan is eight now, & I don't want to have an argument with her one day in the future about me splashing her business all over the Internet. It's just something I've been thinking about since seeing her with a copy of my early blogs in her hands.
A quick maintenance note: There are permanent tabs at the top of this blog. The extra Dear Miss Moreau stuff is all posted now, & it can all be accessed by clicking the Dear Miss Moreau Extras tab. There are links to each of the four posts on that page. It's far easier to find it this way than scrolling through the blog's home page.
I hope your year is off to a promising start. The kids are back in school today. I am at home drinking coffee. Spring classes begin next week at the community college. I don't yet know what my teaching schedule will look like this semester. It's been my experience that there will almost always be some last minute shuffling. I am not too concerned about it at the moment. I'm actually considering posting this & then taking a short nap before facing down today's necessary tasks like folding laundry & running some errands I've delayed until I could run them without the kids in tow.
I know we're seven days into this new year, but my mind & my heart are still hanging out in December. Soon I will start reading this months's book club book, Becoming Mrs. Lewis (by Patti Callahan), & I suppose that will help drag me into a productive, January mindset. I am struggling to believe we're a handful of months away from 2020, y'all. It's been nearly two decades since the Y2K hysteria. How is that possible? These are my thoughts as I lazily sip my coffee in bed & try hard to pretend it is fine that all the kids' clean clothes are still sitting in the dryer waiting patiently for me to love on them & return them to their rightful place.
Next week I hope to return with news that I have an amazing teaching schedule this semester, have made progress with my book club book, & have emptied the dryer. Stay tuned.