13-Years-Old

Dear Lucy,

Today you turned 13-years-old. Yes. THIRTEEN. As in teenager! What in the holy heck is happening? How can I have a teenage daughter? I don’t understand this at all, but it is apparently real life, so I suppose I’d better get used to it.

I have high hopes your teenage years, especially your younger teenage years, will be a bit easier than mine. Because, sweet girl, being a female teenager is hard. Thirteen is the first time I remember really having the realization that as a girl, I not only had very different experiences than my boy counterparts, but that I had to be constantly vigilant against threats. I think it’s something we all go through as women, but that doesn’t mean I wish I could remove it for you. When I was thirteen, I first noticed older men creepily staring at me in public spaces or at the pool, experienced boys snapping my bra, and other girls turning against me in cruel ways. I had prayed we would be a more evolved species by the time you got to this point, and I suppose we are, but I also know you will have to combat some of these same things. And it sucks. It really does. I’m so sorry we haven’t been able to fix this crap yet, but we will keep working on it, I promise.

Luckily, so far, you seem much stronger than I was at thirteen. You have absolutely no time for sexism, and you rage against other injustices, such as homophobia, xenophobia and racism. You are extremely outspoken and I couldn’t be prouder of you. You are definitely not Little Red Riding Hood…you are the Wolf! I have zero doubt you will change the world in magnificent ways, and I’m grateful to have a front-row seat to the show.

When you entered middle school this past fall, I worried so much about how it would all shake out for you, but so far, it has been mostly positive. While you’ve stayed close with a few friends from elementary school, especially through your participation in the middle school musical (where many of them had a role), you’ve also started to form a new tribe. Your new friends are eclectic, artistic, and creative. It can be so difficult as a parent to know your child now has friends and a life that have absolutely nothing to do with you, and that has certainly been true for me. Middle school was our first foray into independence, and I had to let go and trust that we’d done enough in those formative years to send you out into the world (and on to the school bus) with love.

Your story has officially transitioned. It is very little of mine, and 100% yours. You will continue to grow and learn and have experiences that don’t include me at all. This sort of breaks my heart. But it also excites me. Because you surprise me every day with your empathy, care, joy for life, openness to learn and stubbornness, and I know many of these characteristics are growing in you when I’m not there. I can’t even imagine how amazing you will be in a year, two years, five years…

I’m grateful to have been your mother and caretaker for the past thirteen years. I’m will always be a soft spot where you can land when things get to be too much. I love you more every day. My Lucinda Light…

Love,

Mama

One Second Every Day

A Note on Documenting Life

When I started this blog a billion years ago (okay, only 15 years ago…but whoa that’s a very long time), it was to share bits and pieces of my life as I traveled around the world. I never imagined a time when we’d share so much of our lives on the internet, but here we are, Instagramming our coffee on the daily. While there are certainly aspects of this that aren’t appealing, one part I do love is finding new and interesting ways to document the life of my little family.

Sometimes, when we are laying in bed, my 8-year-old will beg me to get out my phone and pull up old blog posts with videos from his babyhood. They always make us laugh and I’m constantly reminded how much I wish I was really documenting the little, in-between moments. It’s almost like now that I have a video recorder at my fingertips every second of the day (hello, iPhone), I forget to use it unless I’m being intentional. Almost as if now we know it’s a GIVEN that so much of our lives will be documented online, so we forget to capture those moments that won’t gain us Facebook likes or retweets.

Last year, in an effort to record and remember the mundane and beautiful moments that happen when social media isn’t watching, I made a goal to complete one full year using the One Second Everyday app. One Second Every Day is an app where you can record one second of video for each day, and then it will mash the clips together in a video supercut. In years past, I’ve attempted to utilize One Second Everyday, but I usually burned out after a month or two. However, 2018 was MY YEAR to make it finally happen…and I did!

But then I never shared the final product on the blog. I mean, points for effort, right?!

Well, better late than never, so I’m super excited to share the video with you today. Some of the clips are of huge moments like lobbying for foreign aid in Washington DC or the kids jumping off cliffs at Tablerock Lake, while others are what could be considered mundane (yes, there are a lot of clips of our animals…). Regardless, I love how the entire video turned out, and it was incredibly fun to watch this back with my family and remember what an incredible year we all had together.

State of the Blog 2019

State of the Blog 2019

It’s Saturday night and my house is quiet. This is rare, friends. So rare that it feels a bit scandalous. Here I am, empty house, nothing on the calendar, and I thought to myself, “I should write on the blog…I never do that anymore. I miss it.”

So here I am. I logged on and stared at the screen for a few minutes before I decided I had nothing to say. I went over to our money management software and started working on accounting because THAT is a good use of free time. (Did I mention it’s Saturday night? I party hard.) But then I finished that mundane task and opened up this tab on my browser to find the blog was still sitting there, waiting for an update. So I’m back.

The thing about blogging is it’s constantly in flux. When I started writing here, I updated every couple of days. I’d squeeze in funny stories or anecdotes during breaks at work or while I caught up on Grey’s Anatomy. It was 2005 and my time was my own. Most of my friends weren’t on Facebook or Twitter yet, so they’d come to my blog and share their own thoughts in the comment section. Then I had kids and the blog became a virtual journal of motherhood. This was the golden age of blogging, when women like Heather Armstrong, Alice Bradley, Rebecca Woolf and so many more shared their war stories of parenting with raw honesty. No one was trying to be an “influencer” or get paid, we were all just trying to survive this motherhood thing. And for me, after an unexpected pregnancy and a very lonely first year of parenthood, it was a godsend.

But then came sponsored posts. Don’t get me wrong, I benefited from the early days of paid blogging and I know many women who built a career and fed their families because of it. But it also felt like the end. The Pioneer Woman stopped being a fun site to read cowboy stories and get random photo tips and recipes and became a media empire. There were so many book deals. I started to feel, for the first time since I had started the blog, the wrath of comparison. Sure, I had a few sponsored posts, but I certainly wasn’t able to quit my job to blog full time. Social media only exasperated this problem for me. I felt the need to create a successful “online brand,” complete with a color palette for my Instagram posts. What was once a fun way to connect, felt like work.

And I already HAD a job! While the blog and “social influencing” wasn’t paying the bills, I was able to pull together a significant side hustle writing freelance for larger sites and doing segments on local TV. I would be lying if I said this blog didn’t directly give me those opportunities. When I would pitch my writing or a media segment to a producer, this blog served as my portfolio.

But somewhere along the line, I lost my love of writing “just to write.” I am not sure exactly when it happened, but I imagine it was somewhere between managing Twitter, Instagram, my newsletter, Facebook, August Light Studio, advocacy and life. The blog became another item on my never-ending to-do list. However, it also felt like the easiest thing to cut. So I did.

But I love writing here. As I’ve been re-evaluating how I spend my time, I’m realizing I do have time to write at least once or twice a month….maybe more. It doesn’t have to be perfect or stylish or sponsored. It can just be a grocery list or a funny story about the cat (did I mention we have two cats now? #catladystatus). I have wondered if it’s time to retire the blog altogether, but I really do feel I still have a voice in this space, and I want to use it.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Thanks for clicking off social media and staying a while. I appreciate you. As Kathleen Kelly would say (in the greatest movie ever), “Goodnight dear void.” I’m glad you’re here.

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