When I started this blog, I assumed my mom would read my posts. And my best friend. But beyond that, I wasn’t totally sure. I’m not going to lie, either, the thought of some of my other family members reading my blog was scary – the kind of sick to your stomach kind of scary – puke a little in your mouth kind of scary – especially if that family member happens to be your mother-in-law. Seriously, how often does a mother-in-law get to see such personal glimpses of her son’s life through the eyes of her daughter-in-law?
My brother-in-law has already made jokes.
“Remind me to never date a writer, ” he says, “so that I don’t wake up one day and see my whole life plastered across the internet.”
It is not in my nature to embarrass people, or humiliate them, so I certainly would never entertain the idea of using my blog for that forum. I do hope to be unabashedly honest about what married life is like at our house, and yes, sometimes things aren’t always flattering. However, I think for the most part, it has been me that appears to be the most emotionally needy, impulsive, and sometimes uncompromising. It is still early in my blogging “career”, I suppose, and DW and I have years ahead of us to unravel.
But it has slowly been revealed that my mother-in-law is an avid reader. She sometimes makes comments. Sometimes I have to ask. Yesterday was a little of both.
“I saw on Facebook that you read my blog, mom”
“Yes I did.”
“Well, ” I hesitated, “What did you think?”
Another pause, shorter, but definitely a moment of collecting her thoughts. My stomach started to shift.
“I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again. My son is pretty amazing.”
Big sigh of relief. I would never want to hurt my husband by saying mean-spirited things about him in my blog (that’s what a bottle of wine and an evening out with my girlfriends is for) and above all else, it would be extremely disrespectful to his mother to insult him publically. I don’t even like to disagree with DW about discipline in front of the children either. Maybe it’s my desire to maintain a feeling of team unity. Because that is truly what we are: a team. We won’t always agree – we haven’t always agreed – and that is okay. That is reality.
Kinda cool though, that what I see as just an everyday dance of love and mutual respect, some of my readers see as an example of a healthy relationship. It never occurred to me that someone else could learn from DW’s and my marriage. Our ability to communicate might inspire someone else to improve their relationship. Just one more reason it’s important writers share their hearts, and not just their knowledge. You never know who is reading and what they are taking away from your words.
Family is tricky for a writer. Much of our inspiration comes from our lives: snippets of conversations, pieces of time shared with loved ones, painful memories of things we wish had been different. Then there are all the things we hide away in the abyss. The stories we don’t acknowledge for fear of “what would my family say”. But then aren’t we only letting people love a small part of us? How can we really call that unconditional love when all we show them is what makes it easy to love us? How unconditional can it be if we never cause them discomfort?
As far as my mother-in-law, well, hopefully this view of her son’s life will be joyful. Hopefully I won’t put a damper on her perception of me, our marriage or what kind of parents we are in our suddenly public life. I am thankful that she supports my craft and that we can talk about it honestly. But I will probably always worry that I might make a blogging blunder by saying something unkind, unintentionally.
* I am most thankful that DW does not worry about what I write. He trusts me to share as truthfully as I can remember (perception, right?). He is confident enough in himself to stand by his own actions and words. He is also the first to apologize if necessary. In fact, he got me a new toy to help make writing my blog and other writing projects easier when I am “on the go” – an HP mini. (It’s nice to be tucked away in bed tonight, lights low, music rumbling between DW’s snoring and be working on this.)