Monday, September 02, 2013

what am I doing here anyhow?

My brother blogs for the Chicago Tribune. It's part of his job and he's awesome at it. He writes about two topics close to his heart, endurance sports and being a stay at home/ work at home dad. When I was visiting last month he was being big brotherly and encouraging me to "do something more with the blog!" Make a fan page, tweet my posts, find lots of sponsors, create flashy logo photos, market to a larger audience. I get what he's saying. And I totally know how to play that game. The thing is, I just don't want to.

Could I play that character? Hell yeah, with flying colors. I am in "the biz", I understand all that and it's not rocket science. But it's also so contrary to who I am. This is not a commercial enterprise, it's a personal space.

My big brother was the one who introduced me to the concept of a blog way back in (gulp) 2006. Wow, has it been that long? Anyhow, I was a new mom and emailing photos and updates of every burp, wiggle, and coo of my precious baby boy to our far flung family. Big brother calls me ans says, "You're clogging up my inbox with your baby stuff. Put it on a blog so we can keep up without getting huge email files." A what? I was very hesitant. Did I really want my personal life, my kids, out there for just anyone to see and read about?

Then I changed my mind because of books. One day not long after my brother suggested blogging, I was online researching good books to read to my little Zach. That's when I stumbled upon the very first blogs I ever read, MamaRoots and Soulemama. I started to "get it" after reading their blogs. It's not all about me and my personal life, it's about connecting.

It was my a-ha moment. I remembered way back when I was working 50+ hour weeks as as a Supervising Producer for some HGTV shows. This was before blogs (circa 1999), but some intrepid sailors with computer savvy created web sites like this one. Out Of Bounds kept me sane and kept my dream alive until the day I was able to quit my job and cast off sailing into the sunset (which was also before blogs, so I can't link you to that journey.) I was so grateful these guys had the technology and know how and willingness to put their adventures out on the web for others to enjoy and learn from.

Later after we had our fun cruising, back in home waters I found myself pregnant with Zach. Doug and I decided we were staying on the boat, in fact we were buying a larger boat and raising the baby on it. Again, pretty much pre-blogging in 2003. We felt very alone in the boat baby thing and were looking for any port in a storm to reassure us we weren't nuts for wanting to raise a kid on a sailboat. That's when I found Ghost's web site. I connected with Angela who was raising her little ones aboard, and even met up with them in the San Juan Islands and sailed aboard their gorgeous boat when Zach was just a year old. It was so reassuring to have that connection.

Later in reading Soulemama and MamaRoots and others, I began to feel another connection with folks who parented outside the box. Co-sleeping, homeschooling, breastfeeding, baby wearing, TV free, and Waldorf inspired living were not happening around my neighborhood, but they were somewhere. And my virtual touchstones turned into real life connections with like minded mamas al over the world. Many have turned into real life friendships, others into faithful pen pals. But it all connected because of blogging.

And now in this world where everyone has a blog, I have found a nice sized boat mama tribe. You ladies know who you are, scattered between Texas, Maine, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, Canada, and floating in the Indian Ocean somewhere. We have all come together virtually and in real life to support each other in this crazy but oh so worthwhile life afloat we all lead with our children. What would I do without these mamas to chat with?

So while I "get" where my big brother was coming from in encouraging me to go for the gold, that's not why I am here. You won't find glamour shots of me (or hardly any shots of me at all), or details about my spouse and our personal time together, or photos of my pregnancy test or x-rays or new hair dos. You won't find details about the kids personal lives, or me addressing you like a talk show host, or lists of hot deals or top tens or best or worsts or must haves. You won't find slick Pinable graphic photos and I doubt I will ever write a book.

But I will be here just the same. Sharing our little slice of the world, sharing crafts and people we admire, sharing things we learn on this journey, sharing books, and sharing dreams and laughs... and hopefully reading about yours too! Because the one thing I have learned about blogging is that it's not about me. It's about connecting and helping each other and making our days a little brighter. Thank you for helping me do that.

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