Wednesday, January 1, 2014

This Is The End

Happy New Year! I wish you health and happiness and all that good stuff for 2014.

With a new year comes change and new beginnings. That's why at 6:00 am this morning, lying in bed angry and agitated that I had forgotten to put the Land of Nod out before bed last night, I had some time on my hands to make a decision. I'll just rip the bandaid off and tell you:

This blog, as we know it, is over.

Ok, that was a bit dramatic. Not quite over, but different. Let me explain.

I have been giving the future of this blog a lot of thought for quite some time. Years, in fact. "Why am I doing this? Why am I putting my heart and soul on the Internet, and for what return?"

I know the answer to that question, at least in the early days. First it was strictly to disseminate information and then it turned into something much larger - therapy. A way to work through and process everything that was going on in our lives. That processing has been going on for almost five years. But now, the processing has slowed down, and the living is where we're really at.

And now that this so called new-normal has been defined, I am focussing on the kids. Ok yes, I have been focussing on the kids this whole time, obviously, in both real life and online. But I specifically mean I am focussing on the kids and what they would think of this blog.

And I'm not talking the embarrassing stuff - that I can handle. Kids of their generation are growing up with their parents posting their every move on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter*. That's the norm. There will be plenty of stuff posted about them on the interweb to embarrass them, not just by me.

And I'm not talking about keeping their names anonymous either. Even if I wanted to, that pretty much went out the window when I used their real names in stories I've had published about them. Besides, I'm not anonymous, so it would be pretty easy to google me and find out I have three kids named Rio, Asher, and Nolan, a husband named Jordan, and a newly-deceased cat named Kevin. So names stay too.

But what I I got thinking good and hard about is all the really raw stuff I've written during the hardest times - the raw is what could be misunderstood by young readers. In a matter of time, Rio will be googling. So will her friends. The boys will be right behind her in no time. She already reads over my shoulder when I am typing. My biggest fear about this blog is that one day any of them may stumble upon a post and not understand its intent or the place of grief/confusion/anger I was at, and feel somehow devalued.

There is a lot of emotion in my writing, and I know that's what people like about it. The past five years have been incredibly emotional. Obviously, we had a loss, a high-risk pregnancy, a micro preemie birth, a brain hemorrhage along with multiple other complications, a five month hospitalization, two diagnoses of cerebral palsy, and thyroid cancer. It was all a lot to take.

At times along the journey, I struggled. Ok I still do, but to a far less extent than I did in the past. Like with anything else, the passage of time begins to heal wounds. But there were undoubtedly some dark days. There are some posts that hurt me too much to go back and read, so I certainly do not want my kids to ever look back at posts I wrote in the midst of the hardest times and worry that I did not accept them completely as they were. Because I did. Whether I struggled with the current crisis of the moment or not, I always loved the kids unconditionally, even though things may not have turned out as I had once expected.

So the only way to ensure they never stumble across anything confusing is to get rid of the blog. And for a long time I thought that is what I'd do. Delete. Full stop. I took my lack of inspiration to write over the past months as a sign to just pack it in. But somehow I could never go ahead and pull the plug.

Then I thought that instead I could keep blogging, but start completely new. Lose all ties to "Trousdell Five" and continue blogging about life in general, including my family of course, at www.traceytrousdell.com, giving the site a complete makeover. That seemed a bit harsh too.

So instead, I decided to do a scaled down version of all of the above. You ready for it? It's kind of simple.

All previous content from this blog will cease to exist (exported to a private blog that I alone will have access to, for posterity). I know there is plenty that could be kept, but I would rather err on the side of caution and remove it all, then going forward re-post some of my favourites in this "new" space. I will then continue to write new content here, and it will continue to be called The Trousdell Five, but there will be some changes to the subject matter.

Don't worry, it's not suddenly turning into a Suburban-Mom-Who-Loves-The-Canucks blog (although there may be a bit more of that included!). But the "old" blog was about "defining the new normal" and I don't feel like we are defining anymore - we are living. A pretty amazing life I dare say! As long as those five months were that the boys spent in hospital, that was a tiny part of their hopefully long timeline. As hard as the couple years after their diagnoses were, again - just a blip on the radar of this family's life in the grand scheme of things. Sure, we are still adjusting, and will continue to do so, but this is a new chapter in our lives and my writing will reflect that.

So really, the main difference going forward will be that with every word I write, I will think long and hard before I hit publish: What will the kids think if they read this? What will their friends think, and say to them about it if they read it? If there is any chance of them misunderstanding the content, I will not share it. Sometimes, I may drop the ball and not realize, and a post might inadvertently bother them in a way I hadn't expected, but I will do my best to consider them and their reactions with every word I write.

So now what?  I've made this little announcement, but haven't really thought out a plan (that's what you get for making a super quick decision on New Years morning when you're mad about cinnamon buns!). I guess that means that over the coming days I will work on removing the current content and likely changing up the look of the blog a bit? That sounds like a plan, right?! This is so unlike me to fly by the seat of my pants! Quick Tracey, finish writing this and publish it so you don't chicken out!


This little family has come so far. It's time to reflect that, and I'm excited. I hope you will continue to follow along with our journey.

*That was an inadvertent, but pretty well placed if I do say so myself, plug for you to follow the Trousdell Five on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram if you don't already. Go for it!

3 comments:

  1. I don't keep a blog . I have, however, for the last two years, been publishing an article every two months in a parenting magazine. My writing, like yours has always been very raw and very, very open. There has been anger and truth about Mikayla's disease and how parenting her, the good and the bad can feel. Readers respond well to it and it is my hope that someday Mikayla will to. As she grows her experience with her disease will be different than mine but I believe that she will relate to the emotion and feel less alone. I believe that hardest moments, and in the darkest writing I have stated that I hated the disease and sometimes have moments that I can't separate her from it, are the times when have loved her the fiercest. She too will hate her disease and be unable to disown it as herself. I am naive to believe that she will will not self identify with the most consuming part of herself. (Thats a whole other topic I have been tangling with understanding the last few months) It is my hope that she too will find therapy and company in the writing the way I have. I guess what I am trying to say is that i applaud your decision but please don't ever feel that the truth you laid out over the last five years will hurt your kids. They are too loved and you are too open a communicator for that to happen. Just like Mikayla who has read all of mine, your kids will know your words have never had anything but love behind them. As they reach cognitive milestones, they may experience the grief of their diagnosis like it is new and your words written in the moment will be a gift to all of you. While my words have been published for hundreds of people to read and share they were always written even in their darkest, for my daughter.

    Sara

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  2. Thanks friend, I appreciate your support. I think my concern with the blog, as opposed to essays I've had published (similar to things you've written for the magazine) is that they've been more planned, thought out, and reflective. Some of my blog posts are so "in the moment" and stream of consciousness, that when I go back and read them I worry about how I've worded things and how they might be interpreted. I appreciate so much you saying that they will know there is nothing but love behind my words because that is the truth. xo

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  3. And so much can be found in the end of the old and the opportunities of the new :) I used blog2print to have a printed version of my blog, it's a beautiful book that I can cherish offline too.

    xoxoxox

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