All That Good Stuff

Jennifer Linney Baby

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A few months back, I fell into a funk about my blog. I found myself comparing it to other more popular blogs out there, wondering why “Bug and the Sweet Banana” didn't get the traffic those blogs did, why those who did visit my blog often didn't comment. Blah, blah, blah.

I bored myself silly, wondering if it was because the photos I post aren't professional grade, like those on the blogs I frequent. Maybe there is something about the tone of my posts. Are they too braggy? Too complainy? Too ordinary?

A lesson I should have learned in high school but didn't: Don't compare.

Once I stopped comparing my blog to all those others—and remembered I had started it as a way to keep my mind off the struggle Connor put up when I put him down for naps—I was able to drag myself out of my funk and write again.

But then, a friend called me out on my blog, saying she had scoured it for a hint of despair, of frustration, of anxiety, and could find none, despite my telling her the tale of Connor's first year, which had been sullied by severe acid reflux and colic, poor weight gain and postpartum depression.

She wanted to know…Where were the posts about crying jags and desperation? Where were the posts about days that went on forever and nights that seemed too short? Where was the other half of the story?

The thing is, the bad stuff is easy to remember, and it's the good stuff I don't want to forget.

I could write about the time I sat in the living room, holding a shrieking, inconsolable baby Connor, cursing the cars that drove past our house and their drivers who were going about their everyday lives, while our lives had been turned topsy-turvy and were seemingly unbearable.

I could write about how congratulations cards we received after Connor was born, telling us to “enjoy every moment,” sent me into a rage and left me wallowing in doubt, because I wasn't enjoying every moment.

But I don't want to remember that.

I don't want to feel that depth of sadness again. I don't want to remember that I thought to myself, “This is not what I wanted. This is not what I expected. This is not how it should be.” I don't want to remember how desperately I wanted to hurl our tile trivets at the wall, how I told Jim one evening, “We are never, ever doing this—'meaning, having a baby'—again.”

And yet, things got better. Connor outgrew his reflux. The colic went away.

I got more accustomed to—and comfortable with—my role as Mama. I embraced it a bit tighter.

And while Connor is still our Cowboy Slim, he's packing in the calories and packing on the pounds.

And now, we are four.

A mom here in Fort Worth died in a car wreck on the road I travel to and from Connor's school. Her name was Dawna. She was only 33 and had two children. The youngest, Natalie's age, was 18-months-old at the time of the crash. The oldest is just a year younger than Connor.

The wreck haunted me for weeks. I couldn't shake the thought that the children are without their mom, that the husband must be devastated, that the little 18-month-old boy, especially, must be so confused, wondering where his mom is.

Natalie seems to have hidden a tracking device somewhere on me: The moment I step out of sight, she pipes up, “Where's Mama?” and darts off to find me.

I think so often about that little 18-month-old trudging through days and nights not knowing where his mama is, not understanding what happened. What will he remember about his mom, if anything, when he is older?

And that's why I write my blog. Not because I'm planning for the unexpected tragedy or anything like that. But for my Connor Bug and for my Natalie Anna Sweet Banana.

That car wreck reminded me that I am not writing to net the most comments or to be the Pied Piper of the blog world with the most followers.

I am writing for Connor and Natalie, so they have distinct memories of their childhood, so they know how we spent our days. I want them to have it all in writing, so they can hold evidence of it all in their hands.

Sure, I write most often about the good times, the amusing things Connor and Natalie say and do. But posts about naptime battles and mealtime struggles and moments of utter humiliation make cameo appearances, because that, too, is so much a part of our everyday lives.

I'm stomping my foot defiantly now, and I'm squaring my jaw. I won't dwell on the words I wish I hadn't muttered under my breath. I won't write about the days I want to hide under the covers and never come out.

I just won't do it.

Because the bad stuff is easy to remember. And the good stuff, I don't want to forget.

About the Author

Jennifer Linney

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