For almost 4 years, this blog was semi-anonymous. I lived with "Jake," "Molly" and "Tom" in an undisclosed town in an undisclosed state. From photos one could see that we lived in an area with deciduous trees, but that's about it.
The kids knew when I took pictures for the blog to step away from car license plates and cover up the name of their school on their uniform shirts because I was too lazy to learn how to Photoshop that stuff out. I tried to balance the desire to protect the kids' privacy while also telling funny stories about them that begged to be shared. I never mentioned my job and, thank the Lord, tried not to write about individual people who drove me to distraction and madness, unless you count "Tom," but he didn't seem to mind being fair game. I didn't put my blog on Facebook or actively seek readers among friends and family.
On September 8, 2011, as prayers, tweets, frantic phone messages and news reports flew around locally and across the country when Jack was missing in the water, "Anna See" and "Anna Donaldson" became one in the same.
People have asked me if I mind that the blog is no longer anonymous. Not really. I would not trade the loving support my family has received from so many people just to have stayed private. And for some reason, I think the blog will be able to reach and help more people if it is not anonymous. Real people. Real names. Real miracles. Real crap.
I also realize, after having the unthinkable happen to my son, that my desire to control and protect "No M-rated games! No personal info on the net! No sleepovers at x, y, and z's!" while prudent and well-intentioned, didn't protect our little family from tragedy in the end.
As a blogger whose kids were getting older, I was having to change my writing a bit anyway. You see, when I started, Jack was 8 and Margaret 6. In recent years you may have noticed that Margaret featured more prominently on the blog. Well, first of all, it's because that girl is MIGHTY entertaining. But also, as Jack got older and we shared experiences either poignant, tender, or difficult, he would say to me, "You're not going to blog about this, are you?" and I would have to say no.
I think a lot of "Mommy Bloggers" find it difficult to figure out what to write as their kids get older because while diapers, bodily functions and mom wanting to lock herself in the bathroom with a Diet Coke are pretty universal (at least I hope so!), as kids age, they are less likely to want their "big kid" selves shared in the blogosphere. A blogging mom also has to balance the fact that while she wouldn't want her kids to put anything about themselves online, she herself does so regularly.
Margaret was not there yet, seeking privacy over blogworthiness, but I believe she is now. I don't want to make her feel more vulnerable and exposed than she already does as the "girl whose brother died." Margaret just wanted a normal family life, and as normalcy eludes us right now, I don't want her to feel like I am sharing her bid'ness for everyone to see. I want to tread lightly as my spunky child does not like having attention drawn to herself right now. Go figure. I did say EVERYTHING has changed, didn't I?
I'm writing this today because I have not mentioned Margaret prominently in recent posts, and I know she is on your mind and in your hearts. Instead it's: "Jack, Jack, Jack." I write about him now because, well I must. I want you to know what he was like, and what his spirit IS like.
But I want to assure you that Tim and I are here for Margaret. We are parenting, we are reading the books, we are seeing a social worker to talk about how to parent at a time such as this, we are watching cooking shows and "Cupcake Wars," and yes, we are going to the mall. Margaret is smiling, laughing, and being Margaret. Please keep praying for all three of us, even when my posts mainly center around how I am feeling and my experience with grief.
The good news is that both of my kids loved to write, so perhaps there will be a "Molly/Margaret" blog in our future where she can share her experience with us. Of course I'm afraid I'll probably be the "fair game" in that one.