Sharing Secrets, Support, & 500 Posts

Christmas Day 1986 - Cullene, Gene, & Elizabeth Harper

Twenty-five years ago today, I was newly married and in my last year at the University of Georgia. I was also newly pregnant in this Christmas photograph taken with my dad and step-mom, but they didn’t know it yet. Barely twelve days into the pregnancy, there were no tests available back then that were sensitive enough to confirm what I already knew.

I hadn’t planned on adding a baby to my goals for the new year and even though it was very early, I was already worrying about how I was going to balance being a mom with the career goals I had for myself.

For years when I looked at this photo, I focused on the briefcase I was holding and the memory of the feelings I had at the time. My excitement over their gift was tempered by my fear of the future. We were uninsured for pregnancy and were already living pretty frugally and I just couldn’t see how we were going to manage it.

I may have been smiling in this picture, but the secret growing inside me dominated my thoughts that Christmas and I worried that Cullene would sense that something was different about me.

That tiny bean of a baby became my daughter Miranda and it is largely for her that I began this blog in June 2008. From the time she was born I worried as many mothers do that something might happen to me and she would never know how much I loved her or who I was. That eased a great deal as she grew up, but when I choose to marry John and move to another country some of those feelings resurfaced.

I thought writing about my life here might be a way for her to see what was happening with me in England. I also hoped it might help to maintain and strengthen our relationship even though I was so far away.

‘Gifts of the Journey’ evolved very quickly into something more as I bravely wrote and made public those first bog posts. I found myself sharing many things I would have normally kept private. Thoughts and stories that while not as revealing as some might think, were huge leaps of faith for me as I posted things about myself that I worried might be too much.

Today marks my 500th post and it seems right to use a Christmas photograph that once made me think of things I was afraid to say.

When I look at it now I can see what I didn’t then. I was so fearful about the future that I missed my father’s hand on my shoulder and my hand touching Cullene. I missed how embraced and supported I really was, grounded by Cullene’s careful, nurturing nature, and braced by my dad’s belief in me.

Age and introspection have a way of clarifying things and I can easily recognise the benefits I receive from those of you who read my posts and are kind enough to support me through your comments. I may not always comment … I’m slow with email too, but I always, always, read and appreciate your thoughts and the time you take to share them.

Your interest in my words creates a lovely ripple effect in the pond of my emotional life and I am grateful for your continued presence and friendship.

Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate this day and thank you all for the gifts you share with me.