or Why Social Media Only Goes So Far
Back in December 2008, I had a friend who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. We were in college together, spent an InterTerm together when I lived in her apartment, and became good friends after that. We still sorta keep in touch. At that time, some friends and I were looking for a way to notify other college friends of her illness and start something of a prayer chain. I asked my sister about Facebook. I wondered if it was something I needed to not touch with a 10 foot pole because of things I'd heard about MySpace. After all, only people who were looking for something or somebody with no good intentions were on MySpace...or so I thought! She told me Facebook was a lot safer and that I would have control over my privacy settings. After praying about it, consulting Daddy, and taking the time to get an account set up, I was on. It was great! I never really connected with many college friends, but I did connect with a lot of High School friends, post college friends, work friends, and Daddy found a lot of people he had often wondered about but had fallen out of touch with. My Facebook account became something we both liked to use to connect with other people. The status updates that I posted would get a lot of responses...funny ones, encouraging ones, right there with you ones, congratulations, and general support for motherhood and homeschooling.
Prior to that, I had been blogging. I began my blog in December 2007 and blogged for all of 2008 writing lengthy posts about happenings, updating kids' birthdays, pregnancies and the like. At that time we had 5 children so our blog was aptly named, Thriving with Five. I struggled with the blog keeping up with posting, getting used to no comments or at most 3 at a time. I tried to visit other blogs and make friends in blog land. After seeing other successful blogs, I wondered if I could ever make any money at it or at least gain a group of like-minded friend support. Neither of those things happened.
I did change our blog name after Jane was born which bumped the kid count to 6. Sinking with Six sounded more appropriate, but I knew that I hadn't had much success in knowing my fertility. All I know is that I'm VERY fertile so the chances of my having another baby was pretty high. I didn't want to have to rename the blog so I decided to go with Our Field of Little Flowers because of my love for St. Therese and Mother Theresa's quote (listed in my sidebar). That seemed to fit for however many little flowers we would finally be blessed with!
Unfortunately, though being busy with babies and getting more support from Facebook almost killed our blog. I am no multi-tasker. I can only do one thing at a time fairly well. I am amazed at blogger mommies that bounce right back into blogging after having a baby showing off their amazing activities with their other children, crafts, and incredible food items to celebrate feast days. You definitely need support after having a baby and keeping up a blog is a great way to get it especially if you already have a firm base of support. After Jane was born, I didn't have that support in blog land. After Nick was born, I had a little bit more but not much.
I had a lot of Facebook support after Nick, and I wondered if I should keep up our blog. But I had to reevaluate why I was keeping up the blog. I've stated before I'm no scrapbooker and now the kids read the blog and like to hear my insights and, of course, see themselves on there. I do a lot of this for them. I decided I have to keep going. After all, I can't even think I can be in this for the support or the money. I need to get back to doing it for others and remove myself from the equation. I am grateful for the support I do have. I know how hard it is to carve out time in your day to visit blogs and encourage one another. I barely do it. I'll have moments when I make myself visit the ones in my reader and personally comment on posts, but I can't keep it up. Of course, I blog for me, too. I need help remembering things, and I can't tell you how many tears I've shed going back to read my very early posts when we were Thriving with Five! Those days were amazing!
On Friday, I was feeling pretty bummed. I was being nasty to Daddy with my negative comments, I was getting down about all kinds of stuff, I was snapping at the kids, and I was crying a lot secretly because I knew I was the cause of all my grief and inner turmoil. I ran an errand and called a friend I was going to be getting together with later that evening. I told her it was a good thing I had made a commitment with her because otherwise I just might get on 35W and drive down to my Mom's house....in Texas! That's how horrible I was feeling. She and I drove to dinner where we ate and laughed. It was great to see her pull out her scale and weigh and measure her food just like me. We talked about all kinds of things namely our kids and stupid ideas and how silly I was being. I laughed hard. I smiled. I forgot why I was upset. After dinner we went to Joanne Fabrics and roamed the aisles until closing. And when I was in the yarn aisle, I wasn't fuming when I turned around and saw Daddy and three of the kids with a cart! They were there to get me a little gift for today's feast day....a set of double pointed Takumi needles because one of the needles in the size set I had was broken by accident by one of the kids. I only found out this morning the reason for their trip that night after King Melchior left a note on the pack of needles gently slipped under the Christmas tree.
Later Friday evening, when I dropped off my friend I thanked her for going out with me, for leaving her family, the sacrifice of her husband watching her kids, and for putting up with me and all my ramblings during dinner. She smiled, gave me a heartfelt hug, and I said goodbye to her husband and girls. This is why social media only goes so far. As much as I "Like" the status support and the comments that I receive on Facebook, Twitter, and our blog; nothing can replace the real human contact that I get from actually going out of my home and putting effort into getting together with someone. Sometimes when I get local retreat updates, I send them out to all of my parish friends. I usually offer to carpool and throw in a little invite for us to have lunch somewhere together afterward. Sometimes there's a group of us and sometimes there are no takers. Sometimes I try to organize Ladies' Nights Out because I want to see my friends. At the Cookie Exchange I hosted back in December, the ladies who came and I laughed so hard and loud that the girls asked me afterward why we were so happy. They wanted to know what could possibly be so funny. They didn't think that we were capable of being like giddy school girls who like to giggle and make each other laugh. But we are and we do!
Even though I have some funny Facebook friends, blog friends, and Twitter followers and people I follow who make me almost bust a gut laughing, I would much rather hang with you in person. So if I come to your city or see you at a convention or conference, you'd better believe I'm gonna want to sit with you for dinner or try to coordinate a get together. I need human touch...a hug, a smile, a sparkling eye, a warm voice. I need to hear, "I love you"....don't type it or send it in an e-mail. I'll see you sometime, and you can tell me.