Monday, March 1, 2010

On the road to discovery -- self and otherwise

I have had a difficult week.

So has the Roo-girl.

Roo's week went from bad to worse over the course of seven days due to teen drama.

Mine went from irritated (over being the brunt of teen-drama fallout) to bottom-dropping-out-of-it-bad in a heartbeat.

The Roo-girl has discovered my blog.

Not only has she discovered it, but she has been reading it for (in her words) a couple years.

This is not entirely a bad thing. If you read me regularly, you know that while I occasionally despair and often poke fun, I love my kids with a ferociousness of a mama lion protecting her cubs.

In fact, in my initial horror at being discovered, I sent a panicked message to a level-headed person who set me straight:

"If you look at what you write about, it's pretty much love letters to your kids. It's not all sunshine and rainbows, but the love is immense and very obvious."

I needed to hear that because Roo let me know about her discovery in the heat of battle over behavior, etiquette and respect.

At high volume.

I won't quote her directly, but she informed me in no uncertain terms that she knew about my blog and had been reading it -- and continued to read it because there were things that made her smile.

But what really and truly hurt her to the core is that she found out how her father died by reading my raw emotional account. The fact that I could tell the internet before I told her wounded and crushed her.

For that, I am sorrier than words can ever express.

And so I am at a crossroads.

Does she want me to stop blogging? She says no, because she knows it makes me happy.

Do I want to stop blogging? I say no, because I know it makes me happy. But I also say yes, because I made her unhappy.

Time will tell.

Crossposted at Mid-Century Modern Moms


LceeL said...

One thing. One thing made her unhappy. Out of all the things that have been said and written about, ONE thing made her unhappy - and that one thing was 'not said' out of love, too.

What Roo needs to know is that there are people out here who are Friends - and the friendships are just as real, just as meaningful, as if we lived next door and could run over to have coffee at the drop of a hat.

Just as SHE has friends in whom she confides, people she will take things to to vent, to 'try them out' on someone she can trust, to tell her deepest secrets to, so do you.

Whether you stop or not is up to you. That said, you don't even have to ask what my vote would be.

And Roo? I'm sorry, girl, about your Father. That he died. And how he died. And how you learned about it all. But look around you, at what you have. Look at your people. Look at how loved you are. All of that is your Father's gift to you - every thing he did led you to where you are today.

Jenni said...

LceeL's comment made me cry, and now I don't even know what I was going to say. Instead I'll just agree with him.

Roger said...

Sometimes I need to write something out before I can express it properly and in my opinion, you were doing exactly that, preparing yourself for when Roo would be at the proper emotional level to handle it. The fact that you wrote it on a public forum can be hurtful to her, for sure, but you also were not aware that the 'public' included her. I also suspect that reading about her father may have been a tipping point to the whole argument/discussion and she used it knowing that it would sting, as it obviously has. I have been there and done that, with Jenni, which doesn't go over very well. My excuse is that I write better than I talk, Jenni doesn't like it, and I try to not do it anymore, but sometimes it slips.

songbird's crazy world said...

I am so upset for you, Janet, and for the Roo girl. I think you need to keep blogging, and I think your daughter wants you to keep blogging. The information about her father was going to hurt no matter how she found out.

red pen mama said...

I was going to say a lot of what Roger said. Often in my arguments/discussions with Dan, I find myself writing a letter to him (I don't blog about it unless we've already talked about it and he agrees I can). I am a writer, and it's how I best express myself. It helps me organize my thoughts so that I can hear and respond to my husband.

I suspect that writing about Roo's father's death did the same for you, helped you get a grip on it so that you could talk to Roo about it when you were ready. Not to hide it, not to share it with other people instead of her. To wrap your own head around it.

It's clear from your blog that you love your family. I hope that your low point, your self doubt, will be mitigated by the support you have here.

I think to the future sometimes, wonder what I will do when I have teenagers who are uncomfortable with my blog. Maybe I'll change venues or names; maybe I'll write about me instead of about them. I don't know. As I find myself saying so often when I read your blog: I've a few years yet.

Anyway, good luck. I agree with what LceeL had to say, too.

Take it easy on yourself, and remember to be open to Roo.


The Duchess of Wessex said...

I agree with the other comments completely. I want to add just my support for you - and also to say that I'm glad Roo knows the truth now. I suspect that when it's all said and done, she will come to understand that it was less about her need to know or how to tell her than it is about YOUR need to come to terms with all that happened to you. I dare say that the experience, while nothing I'd wish on ANYone, ever, helped develop the mother Roo has today. Nothing is as precious to us as it is when we think we might lose it.

Roo may be mature enough to know how her father died but it may take some growing into, to really appreciate what the experience of his death and why it happened to fully appreciate how it transformed you into an even more Awesome mom!

Just my 2-cents and a million dollar's worth of hugs!

Junebug said...

I say keep blogging because you are a writer.

My husband has always known that I have a blog but he never bothered reading it. I've even shown it to him and asked him to read something I wrote. But, naturally, the only time I wrote anything negative about him and it was recently, he somehow manages to read it. FYI, I wrote about snoring and asked for suggestions. So, anyway, he mentions to me that he read it and he informed me that many nights I've wakened him with MY snoring. I was not pleased with that information at all and so I removed the post from my blog and didn't tell him I did. I'll just wait to see if he mentions it again.
Honestly, it has made me feel like not blogging to know that I really can't write anything I'd like to but I'm at the point right now in my life that I haven't felt like writing anything anyway.

Tara R. said...

I sometimes forget that my college kid reads my blog too, then she'll leave a comment on something about her or her brother. It's a little unnerving, but she told me once that she likes reading because she sees a different side of me that she doesn't see at home.

I'm sorry Roo was hurt, she has to know that was never your intention.

Kaytabug said...

I'm with LceeL, and Roger and RPM and the Duchess....Re-read those comments because they've already said it for me.

You know I'm here for you. I'm cheering for both you and Roo. I've got faith that the 2 of you will work through this and have an even stronger, closer mother/daughter relationship.
Millions of HUGS and TONS of LOVE, my friend!

Kaytabug said...

P.S. Do I need to whip up and ship out reinforcements? I can't imagine you have any left.

Burgh Baby said...

Blogging is very much like keeping a journal, except for the fact that it's kept "out there" instead of hidden away. You could compare it to making photocopies of that journal and then standing on a street corner to pass them out to whoever happens to walk by. You can't control who reads your words, and you never know when *that* person will come across them.

Janet, you know I think it would have been better for you to have told Roo about the site before she had a chance to find it on her own, but it's done. You can't go back and redo what has already happened. The fact that Roo is reacting so strongly after her confession that she found it makes me think maybe you were right in thinking she wasn't ready to read your words. If she were grown-up enough to face some of the things that she found, she wouldn't be feeling so betrayed and hurt. Instead, she would understand why you wanted to share the words when you were confident she was ready.

Roo, your mom made a mistake. Everyone does. It's up to you to decide whether or not you're going to let that get in the way of the amazing relationship you two have. She loves you more than anyone else ever has or will.

MJ said...

That's a bummer, that she found out like she did. But I agree with Lceel.

Rachael said...

I think that the fact she's been reading it for so long, and has never said anything before is a huge testament to the fact that it's not such a bad thing. I agree with what everyone else has said that you absolutely use this blog as a place to show your pride in your kids - ESPECIALLY Roo. Obviously at this point in life, she's the one you're spending the most time with so you write about her often, and I think she's pretty amazing. Because of the things you've said and show us about her. Sure, you have your rough patches, but who doesn't??

Yes, it's a shame she found out about her father that way. BUT I think the good outweighs the bad in this case. And I think that you should keep writing, because you are a wonderful part of this community and because it's an amazing record of your time with your daughter, and your life in general.

Despite the fact that you are hurting right now, and that you fought, and that Roo might be hurting? I can SEE your love for each other in this post! And it's awesome. said...

Oh, honey. I am SO sorry! And to you, Roo, as well!
But think about it. If neither one of you want you to stop blogging, then why would you? Self punishment? Why? Do you hope to learn something from it you don't already know?
I swear I'm not just saying this because it would be a loss for me to not read your blog. (OK, maybe it's just a tiny bit self centered!)
I think it is a great testament to Roo's maturity that in the heat of battle with Mom, she could admit that she enjoyed reading it as well. It would be so easy for a wounded child that is mad at Mom to say she hated it and just wants you to quit blogging all together. Just to lash out.
But she didn't. ;-)

Daisy said...

years? Really? Teens do exaggerate.
In all honesty, there's nothing I can say that wasn't already said. Hugs to you - both of you.
(Has she found MCMM?)

Eternal Sunshine said...

Hugs. I can't say it any better than any of the other commenters have. You made a judgement call, it wasn't necessarily a mistake... I'm sure that you and Roo will work everything out. Hang in there, and know that you are loved.

kiwibird said...

Janet and Roo, just wanted to send huge hugs to you both.

Janet, it's a shame Roo found out the way she did, and I agree with previous posters that writing about it was a first step to telling Roo when she was mature enough to handle it. It's a bit like talking it over with friends, only in print. Personally I think that your account of what happened, even though tinged with pain and anger over the whole expeirence, was balanced and lovely, and Roo is exceptionally lucky to have a Mom who loves her as much as you clearly do. Please don't stop blogging if your heart says continue. We would miss hearing about you and your wonderful family and how growing up can be such a traumatic and wonderful time.

Roo-girl... I'm so sorry that you found out about your Dad this way. I totally get why you would be mad. What I loved was that you were mature enough to read your Mom's blog and enjoy parts of it. It may not seem like it right now but Mom REALLY loves you and is immensely proud of you. You know, all of us here are, in some way, shape or form, proud of you too as we follow this blog. You are a truly special young woman and I hope that we will continue to hear more great things about you.

To you both... I just know that with a mother this awesome and a daughter this awesome, who work together as a wonderful team, you will find a way to work it out. Meantime please know that there are lots of people who are thinking of you and sending love in these troubling times.


Debbie said...

Now that is a tough one. I am so very sorry that happened to you. And it isn't the blog that makes her sad. Just learning about her dad on it. I would think keep blogging but just be more diligent about what you divulge. Plus, I would so hate to see you stop.

Siobhan said...

I, too, agree with Lou. Amazingly said. I can't seem to put into words what I am thinking though, but maybe you'll get the jist. I thought about how you said you go back every year and get tested for HIV even though you don't have to. I also thought about how you protected Roo in not wanting to tell her how he really died. How you dreaded the day. Out of love.

You know how I love your writing, your intellect, your humour and your personality. This blog is a testament to your children, something the majority of people would ever hope to have.

Swampy said...

Please don't stop...


Lynette said...

What they said.

I'm sure Roo will get over it because if she has been reading for years, then she will understand, if not today, eventually.

(hugs for the both of y'all)

Momisodes said...

I am so sorry. I cannot say anything better than what Lou and Siobhan said above.

I can certainly understand your dilemma. It would tear me apart knowing that I hurt my child. But at the same rate, Roo-girl is an amazing daughter and you have a bond that many moms dream about.

Whatever you decide, I hope things smooth out. Because I know that ultimately, that is what is most important to you.

texasholly said...

Crap. Crap. Crap.

While there are things you have written you would NEVER reveal in real life, there are other things you have written that you want them to know but just don't say in real life.

Your blog is so overwhelmingly loving toward your children. We get that. She gets that.

One of my most vivid memories of childhood was something my great aunt said ABOUT me to my mom while they thought I was sleeping. It was a positive comment that they would never had said outloud. It left a huge impact because I knew they would never say it to my face - it had greater meaning because it was a secret.

I can't even imagine what a blessing this blog has been to Roo. She has had a secret way of reading your thoughts and finding out what you say when she isn't around. She knows for sure of your love and support because of this window.

But then again, crap! crap! crap!

Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...



One day, hopefully soon, she will understand how you needed to get that out. To face your demons and come to terms with your feelings before you could tell her.

Now I know why I was getting hits on my blog from that post.

Love to you babe. And your beautiful girl.

Dawn said...

Roo - It sucks. And okay, maybe it sucks that your mom talked to other people about it first - before you. The part where I'm going to be the a-hole grown up is where I point out that when you wanted to know about your dad - when you were ready to point blank ask and KNOW about your dad - your mom answered you. Chances are good she was able to handle you asking and able to answer you because she'd already worked it out for herself - and part of that was writing it down for the imaginary friends on the net to read.

The part where I'm going to take "your side" is where I say - if you don't want that story (or any story really) on the blog - You have the right to ask her to take it down. (You get to ask, it's up to ya'll to figure out if it gets taken down.)

That said - My dad is dead because his girlfriend killed him. It's not on the death certificate, but I know it's true and my family knows it's true. If you want to read that story, follow the link to my blog and shoot me an email from the contact form. I have all that stuff pwd protected because the girlfriend is still out there and still tries to harass me from time to time. But you can email and I'll give you the pwd.

The reason I tell you that, and would be willing to share my story with you, is because your mom has held my hand more than once in the last two years through all my daddy crap. I figure it's only fair to share with you.


Lotus (Sarcastic Mom) said...

Janet - stepping forward to let you know I'm here in the circle with hugs and love, part of the support network you have because you share your life beautifully and honestly. Lou's comment really, really reflects my feelings.

Roo - I've read about you and seen your beautiful face so much. Your momma loves you and her whole family in immense ways. Man, I'm sorry you got hurt, but I'm so glad you have the mamma you do. And hey, you have a huge support network out here, spread all across the world, too. Our friendship and support spreads to you, inherently.

Love to you both, beautiful ladies.

Pamela said...

just getting back to reading blogs after a couple weeks hiatus.

Sorry to hear about the heart aches.

I trust that there is too much strength in your relationship for this to do anything more more than make it stronger.

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