A year ago this week, I took the plunge and entered the blogosphere. During this season of looking back, it seems appropriate to reflect on the start of my blogging journey (here, or see below).
Before I go on to that, though, I have to admit I’ve been reluctant about how much of my children, my family, I should reveal here. But as I enter my second year and now have a better feel for the pros and cons of blogging (there seem to be more of the former than latter), I also feel ready to share a few more bits of who we are with you. And so, in the coming days, I will introduce one by one the “petals” of my mother flower. This is, after all, mainly a parenting blog, and the audience deserves to be somewhat privy to the cast. Though, as always, I reserve the right to keep some information protected. The older my children, the more inclined I feel to honor their privacy. The last thing I want to do is alienate my teen and pre-teen from me through my writing. At the same time, this is one of the natural burdens for them of having a mother who writes. They will, by virtue of being my children, turn up in my writing in various ways. I hope someday they will come to value the role they played in my writing life, for without them, my writing would not be what it is. In large part, it is my family that fuels my writing and my life, bringing vitality, energy and color to my world.
With that, let me introduce to you blog post number one, written on January 10, 2008:
Greetings, and welcome to my blog!
I have to admit, I have been hesitant to join the blogging world. Along with the busyness of mothering five children and the writing I sneak in during naptime, between laundry loads and in the wee hours on assignment, another commitment didn’t make sense. Yet here I am, and happily so at long last. A recent opportunity to write a parenting column for my local newspaper, The Forum of Fargo Moorhead, has prompted me to create a space for a parenting-oriented blog. My hope is that my words here might provide the same kind of inspiration I strive to offer readers through my regular column, which will appear every fifth Tuesday starting January 1. How might this blog differ? I imagine my meanderings here will be more loosely written, more akin to a journal than an edited article, but hopefully still worth the time spent stopping by.
I’ve named my blog “Peace Garden Mama.” Those who know my household well likely will wonder about this choice. Our brood is often anything but peaceful, it’s true, but I love flowers and gardens, and I think of my five children as perennials that I’ve helped plant, and that I water, feed and prune in various ways, both literally and figuratively, each day. And while my garden is more boisterous than serene (and in frequent need of weeding), nevertheless it is full of color and variety. Having this familial garden has taught me that as the co-master gardener, I, too, require maintenance and, yes, pruning from time to time. My flowers, as it were, teach me as much (if not a great amount more) about how to keep a garden growing as I teach them. The name also refers to my children’s book, P is for Peace Garden: A North Dakota Alphabet, a book that was a particular pleasure to write as it brought me more fully back to my own roots, to the history of the place where my parents sprouted up from the land before starting their own small garden in another plot a state away (Montana).
Ah, the metaphors that are possible with this gardening image. And yet, here I am in Fargo, North Dakota, on a frigid night, warmed only by the mug of Godiva cocoa beside me at this coffee shop where I have come to find solace and, yes, peace from an exhausting day with the kids. As we North Dakotans move through this period of hibernation, we might seem a little quieter, a little more subdued. But, in fact, we are plunging ourselves into winter with a purpose: to emerge from the frozen earth and into the spring thaw, more aware of who we are, more vital than before. This time of slower movement is, in fact, not without purpose.
Winter parenting, though fraught with chilly moments, can also be a cozy time of reining in our little ones in a way that is not possible during the haphazardness of spring. For those weary of winter parenting, hold fast. As sure as the snow came, so will the spring with all of its brightness and possibility. Our flowers will once again dance and play as they lather themselves in dirt and water and bubbles and laughter.
To everything there is a season, it is true. May this particular season of your gardening be full of the quiet yet purposeful moments that will help prepare the roots of your little ones for the thaw. It is a special time of much learning, reflection and growth. I look forward to spending some of the more reflective moments with you in this New Year of 2008. Please stop by anytime to share your thoughts on parenting and related topics.