I think it’s time I strike. That is, take a hiatus. I should specify: An online social networking hiatus.
About this time last year – okay, to be a little more precise, it was about one year and one week ago – I shut down the MacBook Pro and handed my profiles (and I have way too many of them) over to Husband. He promptly changed all my passwords, and I spent a couple glorious weeks offline to await (and then endure) the miraculous birth of this guy: our first son.
I’d expected to bring the phone and computer to the hospital to take pictures of the whole shebang, but it didn’t work out that way (and aren’t you glad you didn’t see it all!). Instead, it was a deeply personal, intimate family-and-closest-friends-only affair. Just as it was meant to be.
It was good for me. It was good to unplug and step away from the public. My pregnancy had been front page news every day (at least, front of MY page news). Many, many, (too) many people were constantly asking “have you gone into labor!?” and “Is he here yet?!” Being 10 days “late,” I couldn’t handle it. I was already fighting God about the fact that this boy just would not come out. I didn’t need to battle friendly but overbearing facebookies and twitterheads too!
I always use the excuse that as a public figure with so many screaming fans* I need to be present on social networks. If I’m not, I’m not connecting (duh) and might well risk losing them…and everything.
But the reality is, it’s a distraction for the most part. From house cleaning. From cooking. From important things. It’s a distraction from my beloved son and husband and friends. While some distractions are good, I’m not sure this one is. At very least, I could certainly do what I need to do on Facebook and Twitter in an hour in the evening after Eli’s alseep, like the rest of the working/parenting public, right?
Then, about a week ago, my friend and fellow singer-songwriter extraordinaire, Tanya Godsey, released this incredible video for her incredible new single “White Page.” I watched and listened stunned, as chills crept up my arms and down my legs (take a gander – you will not regret it I’ve even posted it right here to make it easy for you!). It was just the reminder I need(ed).
You’ve probably read a bit about this past year, and the heavy load it dropped on our shoulders. This incredible gift of a tiny human, built, constructed, perfectly formed in my womb, coupled with the total inexpressible loss of never being able to do it again. The burden of making every single day, hour, moment count…because it’s one of a kind. We will absolutely have more kids, but they won’t have our DNA. So there’s a gravity to raising Elijah that wasn’t there on May 5 of 2011. There’s a heaviness to watching him grow, knowing we won’t get to do this ever again.
So I’m struck with this grave necessity to be present. Not distracted. To see each day as a blank White Page, and myself as a pen in the hands of a writing God with 24 hours of possibility in front of me.
Am I going to waste my day on facebook and twitter? Am I going to be the mom who stares at her computer listlessly while her son begs to be chased? Am I going to be the wife who loses six good hours of homemaking to a phone that absolutely must be checked every three minutes (lest I miss something super important on facebook or twitter while the MacBook is closed)? Am I going to be the Christian who wastes minutes and sometimes hours in silly threads
discussing fighting about “how to be a better Christian” while actually doing nothing – human, Christian, or otherwise?
Or am I going to unplug, pick up my son, stroll him to the park, and engage? Am I going to walk him around the house and watch as he takes his first steps without my help? Am I going to make mommy play dates, and talk face to face with people I actually know, rather than spend all day facebarking at people I’ll probably never meet and won’t like if I do? Am I going to do the laundry before it piles up and we’re out of clothes, instead of spending waaaaay too long shopping online for new clothes I don’t need? Am I going to actually cook these delicious meals I’m discovering online rather than spending so long perusing the recipes that I have no time to cook and have to order pizza instead? Am I going to be diligent about keeping in touch with dear distant friends, refusing to let those relationships slip and slide away?
Because this is the thing about me: I’m not the girl who spends most of her time on Eff-book communicating with my real-life friends. I do catch up with some old high school friends on Facebook. But for the most part, I just stalk strangers and re-post stupid stuff. Theoretically speaking, I communicate with my real-life friends in real-life. But reality shows me twisted to the point where I (barely) communicate with everyone on facebook and with almost no one in real-life. And it’s no good.
I want to notice the daily growth and actually watch my son as he changes.
I want to read him books (Books! Pages filled with beautiful, fun stories! Remember them!?), and sing songs with him.
I want to teach him the alphabet, not Big Bird or Dora or even the super smart readers on “SuperWHY.”
I want to water some old friendships that have some droopy leaves.
I want to plant new seeds with some people I’ve recently met who I’m sure I’ll like.
I want to date my husband, play games with him, talk to him face-to-face, and remember what it was like 7 1/2 years ago when we were still enthralled with each new thing we learned about each other. (Surely we’ve changed enough over the past year alone to guarantee us a few into-the-night get to know you dates, right?)
I want to get to know my neighbors and their kids.
I want to make my house a home.
So, facebook, twitter, and wordpress, I think I’m ready to bid you adieu, at least for a bit. I’ve got company coming this week to celebrate my can’t-possibly-be one year old dream boy. I’ve got a sick baby who needs my attention and is craving the cuddles, and I really ought not refuse him. I’ve got books to read, rooms to clean, and a husband to cook for, clean for, seriously make out with, and probably seduce. More than once.
See you later, gators.
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