too much information

It happened one day last week.

There I was, minding my own business in my kitchen while frittering away precious moments on Facebook, when I heard the ding of a text hit my cell.

I looked and saw my ex-husband’s name pop up and felt that familiar spark of adrenaline as a panic attack began to spread through my chest. He can be a serious text bully, and had spent a lot of time sending me venomous thoughts wirelessly during our divorce. To this day, I experience PTSD symptoms every time I see a text come in from him, even though nowadays most of our exchanges are benign and sometimes even pleasant.

But I’d been waiting for this one.

He  was wondering, via text, what our children must think of my newsletter “or whatever u call it.” He’d been hearing about it “week after week”  from others, asking him how he felt about his ex-wife writing about him and the kids.

That’s funny, I thought, my friends had been asking me the same thing. Well, now we know he’d at least heard about my blog.

“Thanks 4 that. I’m sure the kids will thank u 4 that some day too,” he finished, adding what time he’d pick up our youngest for baseball practice.

Here’s the funny part: My children are my blog’s biggest fans. They are usually the first ones  to like a post on Facebook. They always send encouraging notes after reading a post and get on me when it’s been a while since I’ve written something.

Yesterday, my oldest told me my most recent post had him “crying lol.”

“Great writing,” he texted.

When I wrote recently about my gift for getting pregnant and several subsequent miscarriages, he told me how “emotional” he felt reading it and was promoting my blog to all of his friends via Facebook.

“Writing too good for people not to see,” he wrote.

My heart swelled inside my chest, Grinch-style.

This, from the child who challenged me from Day 1. Who at times made me question myself as a mother and a person. But to be honest, he’s the oldest and had always been under my mommy microscope. Nonetheless,  I was thrilled.

But I admit, I am always nervous before posting something for all the world to see. I never want my children to feel like I’ve thrown them under the blogger bus. And though I know I have the propensity to overshare – to friends, family, complete strangers – I feel like I (usually) have a good sense of what really should stay private.

Things no one needs to read about online.

I went to hear Anna Quindlen speak at the 92Street Y a few months ago and someone in the audience asked her what her rules were for writing about her children. Quindlen said she was sensitive to it and as a rule has the subject review the piece before publication.

I, on the other hand, am not so democratic.

Of course, I have gotten a couple of texts from my college son complaining that I’d crossed the line (one time was valid and the other he completely misread). Even my post – complete with photos – about my daughter’s pigsty of a bedroom didn’t elicit any e-message to cease and desist. And that girl can be very intimidating when threatened.

My little guy walked by me while I was working on my laptop recently and spied the photo of his handywork mutilating the sheetrock in our garage as the picture accompanying one of my posts. He stopped, stared over my shoulder, and said, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

As for my former husband, well, therein lies the rub. On the one hand, the man has provided enough copy, as Nora Ephron would say, for a lifetime of blog posts. But we had a whole herd of children together and although our marriage didn’t last, I believe in my heart that he truly did the best that he could at the time.

I mean, don’t we all?

And I don’t want to speak badly about him for my kids’ sake, too. Who wants to be that ex-wife? But that doesn’t mean that sometimes I don’t want to take a little swipe. Like, I’m not perfect.

I think I subscribe to what Epron wrote in Heartburn, “Because if I tell the story, I control the version. Because if I tell the story I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me. Because if I tell the story I can get on with it.”

Interestingly, my 19-year-old daughter and I were chatting on Facebook yesterday after she read my most recent post and she started getting all Jan Brady and complained, “You only write about the boys.”

“Really?” I asked. “You really want me to write about you?”

“Of course,” she replied. “But only the good things.”

21 thoughts on “too much information

  1. Shame….Even if I don’t always comment, I love reading your posts. Have always admired your writing and when your blog pops up on my email, it always lifts my day. Can totally relate.
    Miss Meg xo

    • Honeypot … I could sense you out there. I heard the bees buzzing. 🙂 Thanks for the comment, girl.

    • throw them all under the bus and see who comes up standing. it is too good for people not to read it. xoxo

      • Phyllis Ann … you were always a bit of the gladiator, weren’t you? I like that suggestion and will keep it in mind for future writing. Love knowing your out there reading xxxooo

  2. awesomne – well said – I agree with your oldest…“Writing too good for people not to see,”…keep at it.

  3. Well said, and there in lies the quandry of so many bloggers! I say if the kids are OK with it, carry on. Part of the reason I subscribed to your blog was because it was so real. I like your honesty!

    • I think the kids are a serving as a pretty good yardstick for what’s okay and what is totally uncool for me to say. Interestingly, they are way more lenient with my online shenanigans than when I do things in real life. Like when I try to dance or operate a piece of technology. Seeing me do those things remind them of what a dork I really am. Thanks for following, Lisa. It means a lot 🙂

  4. Awesome! I was wondering about how you handled this and as always, I am awed by your strength and purity of intent… I’m inspired by your relationship with your children. Not perfect, but communicatively open, and isn’t that what we all dream of. PS. I know that adrenaline surge when texts/calls come in. xoxoxoxox

    BTW. Is there anyway I can read your posts, then post them directly on my FB to share? I think my friends would adore them.

    • Kimberly … I really appreciate your support and amazing feedback! I am trying to figure out about sharing directly onto FB from the blog. That would be a neat little feature to have and if I don’t, I’m gonna get me it! Enjoy the gorgeous day and all your babies this weekend 🙂

  5. Love your writing, Amy.

    Re: Kim’s question…Readers can post/share your story on their facebook pages by clicking on that little greyed out fan shape with the “f” that appears at the end of your story : ) Enjoy your day!

    • Kathryn … ooooh, that is awesome. Do you see how much I still have to learn? I am still such a baby blogger. Many thanks for the IT help and thanks for following!!!

    • Karen … There is a distinction, isn’t there? Have you torn yourself away from that grandbaby yet? Hope to see you back in the baseball stands 🙂

    • Hi Kim! You’re always so kind and I love seeing your name in the comments! Thanks for reading, girl.

  6. As far as Kimberly wanting to re-post your blog, all she has to do is right click on the web page address, hit copy, and paste it on her own FB page. As far as the comments from the ex, it was just that sort of thing that made me stop sending the “cute” Christmas letter I wrote every year for about 10 years. He wanted to edit what I wrote because he said I made us all look bad (even if it was all true), so I quit. Like you, people still comment that they loved them and miss them because they were honest. Maybe this year I’ll write another Christmas letter…

    • Barbara … thanks for the technical support. Listen, if you start resending that Christmas letter, I want to be on the mailing list. I think I spent so many years pretending that everything was just so in my life, that now that the jig is up, I can’t stop telling the truth. Honestly, it feels great. Thanks, as always, for your insight. 🙂

  7. Great writing and totally relatable! Post menopausal, no husband, and 6 kids…I can only say you’ll never have a lack of material. It gets crazier as they get older. Then there are the grandkids!

    • Hi Polli! Wait. I thought things were going to calm down. Oh dear. Thanks for the heads up. 🙂

  8. i am so glad we met in marie’s class. i, too, am an oversharer but it’s because i really need to connect and process externally. am trying to navigate how to do this without regretting certain conversations especially when so many people just wanna glean tidbits from me while keeping their “clothes” on. keep writing, amy! i’ll keep reading!

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