My mother says that I can't keep a secret. She has always maintained that if something happens to me, I have to go and tell the whole world about it. And what's funny is that she's been saying that even before I started a blog.
At this very moment, I am sitting in a hotel bathroom writing this post. Glory be the wonder of a laptop computer and wireless internet access!
Because I am adamant that I do not want to wean Henry, nor pump, the whole family accompanied me on my most recent business trip. Today, while I sat in meetings, my children spent the morning swimming in the hotel pool - and then spent the afternoon racing the new Big Wheels that they inherited from my friend Debbie (who with her husband and three-year-old triplet boys have moved to England for a year), up and down the hallway ... on all 20 floors ... of the four-star hotel where we are staying.
At the moment, Charlie is off exercising in the hotel fitness room and I am hiding from my children who don't want to sleep. And I figured that while I'm sitting here, this is as good of a time as any to conclude the soul-searching that I had embarked upon last week.
For the record: I am not so naïve as to think that pictures and stories that I post on the internet are completely safe from any one that stumbles upon them, whatever their intentions may be. I know that if I want to keep something private, the last thing I should do is post it on the internet. But a large part of the joy that I derive from blogging about my life, is knowing that my stories are accessible to any one that stumbles upon this website. And I have held faith from the very first blog posting I created, that the vast majority of the people that will come to this website are good and decent.
(Even if they sit on a toilet in a hotel bathroom, hiding from their children, to access the internet.)
For the person that Googles about pediatric dentistry - or transitioning from a bottle to a sippy cup - or how to best organize Legos - or how to fly with triplets - or how to get a breastfeeding baby to sleep through the night - and they have found words of advice or encouragement ... that makes all of the effort it took to write these posts worthwhile.
Which, in case you were wondering, I calculate the amount of effort spent on this blog since it's inception in March of 2006, to be around 2,500 hours. Give or take 500. That is approximately the same number of hours that I have worked for my employer since 2005. I didn't realize until recently that this blog takes up about as much time as my actual career, but this is a true labor of love.
It is also the reason I never get to bed before 2 AM.
When I receive positive e-mails from people telling me how much my words have meant to them, that is what keeps me going. So when I received over 200 comments in less than two days time on my YouTube video, I felt sick. With each twisted comment that rolled in about my beautiful babies, it felt like a whole world of perverts had our number and all I wanted to do was throw our computer in bleach. And then, in the midst of that, I received an e-mail that someone had stolen my birth story and photos of my children.
Suddenly, the internet was very ugly.
With body odor and bad breath.
And something green stuck in it's teeth.
For the past few days, I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I'm afraid of with this blog. Am I afraid that someone might recognize my children and try to hurt them? Am I afraid of being stalked? Am I afraid that someone might steal my writing and try to make it their own, for gain? Am I afraid of criticism?
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the only reason I would make this blog private is because I was afraid of something bad happening to my family. Come to think of it, I am afraid of a lot of things happening. But that doesn't stop me from doing them.
For instance, I am deathly afraid of flying, but I know that if I want to get from point A to point B in a timely manner, I need to put my fears aside. And I am deathly afraid of strange dogs and being involved in a car accident, but that doesn't stop me from taking my children to a park where dogs have been known to run free, or driving 7,000-miles cross-country.
Nelson Mandela has said, "As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
I have always maintained that this blog is a place where I can share details of the struggles and joys of parenting ... and life. And I have never been afraid to write stories that reveal some of my deepest thoughts. It is very important for me that I continue to do that, even if it means that I have to exercise extreme caution in the pictures that I post, or add safety features that will better protect the images that I upload.
Ultimately, my mother was right. If something happens to me, I have to tell the whole world about it. And I have yet to share how I organize our children's clothes and shoes, both of which I believe are critically important to the success of humanity.
I'm sure Nelson would agree.