07 July 2007

I want to be Judy Blume and Martha Stewart and Annie Sprinkle but I don't want my parents to know.

Last Night

Not long ago we gave a few friends a standing invitation for dinner at our house every first Friday of the month. Some friends were established, some somewhat new. We wanted to create a space for conversation, kid romping, and low-intensity hosting. Mostly, we wanted to grow familiarity with these people so that it felt natural for any one parent to toss all the kids in the bath, for another to open every cabinet in search of a wine glass or sippy cup. We wanted to cultivate community. The beauty of First Friday Friends is that we don’t need to think. We check the calendar, see what’s in the peak of season, and expect people at our door. We always serve a vegetarian soup, bread and drinks. Our friends are never obligated to bring anything, but usually someone brings some good wine, a salad, some dip. It’s been four months so far- I mark the time by the soups: chard-sorrel, asparagus, carrot, zucchini.

The last stragglers just left after a longer than expected round of Chinese Checkers (I can’t really call them guests anymore- that’s too formal a term). Our daughters hung in well beyond bedtime while our babies slept. I don’t have the usual post-host exhaustion. We had more than a dozen adults plus a handful of kids eating, talking, running in every room, and I feel filled, not drained. The plan that went out as an email after much thought and anxiety (what will they think? some don’t know each other… do they want to be friends as much as we want to?) is already exceeding my hopes.

This Morning

Last night I dreamed I was reading some old blog entries and one said, “I had sex with my grandmother last night.” I freaked out because I didn’t remember such an offense, and because I just mailed my blog address to about fifteen friends and family. Perhaps I can quick delete this entry, I thought. But, no, I told them two days ago. They might have already read it! Then Otto woke to nurse and my nightmare was over.

After two years of blogging, of sending my life into space with no one reading, I invited my peeps to see it. Just like with the Friday dinners, I wanted to deepen my community, my connections with friends. Since strangers are now reading my blog, it felt odd that my original intimates didn’t know about it. And now this girl who would call all her parent’s dinner guests to the basement to watch her choreographed solo roller skating show is suddenly afraid.

The anxiety started after I wrote about our first Friday routine. Some people who received the blog notice don’t know about first Fridays. Will they feel left out? And maybe long ago I wrote something unflattering or private about someone else and forgot. Now they know. I am unexpectedly self-conscious now, finally understanding why some bloggers use pseudonyms. I don’t want to hurt anyone, and as I am discovering, I don’t want parts of me to be seen. It is exhibitionist to keep a blog about my life. I know that. There is a certain pleasure in sharing it, in thinking that people might find interest in the stuff of our dinners and sleepless nights and vacations. There is an excitement in wondering who has come by, who is peeking in on nursing, potty training, returning to work. It’s like chatting at a cafĂ© with a friend but the friend doesn’t talk back at all, and I get to take up all the time with Me (unless they go, “um hmm,” and leave a comment, which I would really, really like, by the way). The truth is that a big, old part of me wants to be smack dab in the center of it all. But you can’t have your cake and eat it too. I always hated that expression. But in a blog where your names are real and you alert your family in a fit of hysteria, you can’t tell all anymore. I don’t feel comfortable telling it all, anyway. I can still roller skate for the party guests, but I need to keep my clothes on.

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