When I became pregnant with my daughter, I had been blogging personally for eleven years, professionally for six. I had published over 5,452 posts and articles, shared over 416 photos and freelanced for no less than 15 publications and online news outlets. Naturally, I was setting myself up to become one heck of a parental oversharer. And during my pregnancy, I was. My feeds, status updates and articles were subtly sprinkled with the intoxicating smell of baby powder and anticipation. It was thrilling, at first, to count myself among thousands of women who were weaving the histories of modern parenting, each telling their stories for posterity’s sake. But then, my daughter arrived.
And suddenly, there was another soul living in our home. A soul with thoughts, feelings, emotions. A soul with stories. Stories that no longer belonged to me. Or did they?
I recently read a piece of advice written by Barbara Robinette Moss in response to Huffington Post writer Lyz Lenz‘s indecision surrounding when it was okay to share a story: “If it happened to you, it’s your story. You need to tell your story and let others have the job of telling theirs.”
And yes, it’s happening to me. The dirty diapers and midnight feedings and scheduling of doctor’s appointments and endless parental decision paralysis. But it’s also happening to my daughter. The teething discomfort and sleepless nights and new discoveries. Our stories are intertwined, woven together with the same thread that is connecting the child-filled anthologies of my blogging peers. And as much as I need to tell my story, to relate and inspire and document, I also need to “let others have the job of telling theirs.” For me, this includes my daughter.
I want my daughter to have the job of telling her story. I want the words to come from her lips, not mine. I want to encourage her to think and reflect and dream and wish and write. Oh, how I want her to write.
So until she can tell her story, I’m happy to do the job for her. But when the moment arrives – whether it be an excited recount of her day at preschool or a written wish list for Santa – that my daughter is inspired to share her story, I’ll know my job is finished. And on that day, I’ll sign away her last chapter and pass along the pen.
Because for me, the only joy greater than writing my daughter’s story is to watch her write her own.
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