Do you ever think about what your Facebook wall or Instagram feed say about you? What the things you choose to include or consciously/unconsciously omit shout to the world? As a perhaps over-thinker, it's something I think about often. There are many things that factor into what I choose to share or not share: privacy of my kids, protection of my family, online security, not wanting to complain, not wanting to overshare, not wanting to give an inaccurately rosy picture, my personal margin in being able to engage with comments on a particular topic, etc.
I work hard to find a balance of representing our family accurately, while not compromising my kids' privacy or making them vulnerable online, while sharing funny moments...and not dwelling on the hard parts of our days or weeks...while somehow also not unintentionally making it look like life is only ever sunshine and roses.
And that's HARD.
It's hard to balance well and fairly and not write posts that are unhelpful or come across full of wallowing, but also to be honest and genuine in that life itself is hard and there's a lot that's not simple or easy that goes on in our home. It's hard to give space to the challenging aspects of life without letting them take over on a post for people who don't know the bigger context, and it's hard to not gloss over the hard things and only showcase the good, which does no one any good.
Today was Father's Day, and in true Father's Day fashion, the kids and I made a beautiful breakfast for Andrew in bed, served it to him with no squabbles or complaints, magically cleaned the kitchen in minutes, and then we spent the rest of the day in the pool, enjoying the sunshine and celebrating Andrew's fatherhood.
Okay, not really. The reality is, I've had a migraine for the last 2.5 weeks and it just.won't.go.away. It ebbs and flows and there are times of the day where I'm functional and you probably wouldn't notice if you didn't know me really well, but then there are hours of every day where I'm in bed, ready to lose my head, unable to focus on anything beyond how my head feels. There have been nights and nights where I can't sleep because I can't move past it, or where it wakes me up out of sleep and I'm up for the next few hours, breathing through it and trying to find or do anything to ease it back down to more tolerable levels.
After a few days of it staying pretty consistently up in pain levels, with sleepless nights to go with it, I got up with the kids this morning while Andrew slept...and then I sat in my chair for an hour, keeping an eye on the kids but mostly just sitting there while they got themselves breakfast. And then I sent kids in to wake him up because I couldn't handle being out in the living room anymore or deal with the noise of making myself breakfast. So he made us breakfast on Father's Day.
There was some good in today-- my light sensitivity was down, so I was able to go out to the pool in the sunshine today and I took all the kids with me to give Andrew some quiet time in the house...as he cooked breakfast for himself and me. (Yes, you can see me facepalming myself here.) I stayed out for two-ish hours with the kids (and he joined us for some sunshine and water) before we came in and he got the kids fed and ready to go to VBS at our church and took them there and stayed with them there-- all while I took meds and slept on and off at home.
If today wasn't an example of what being a father--and a husband-- is, I don't know what would be. Was it ideal? No. Was it planned? No. Did it give him a break? No again. Was it a restful? Nope. It was us, adapting and adjusting and doing life together, giving up expectations and rolling with reality. Today it was him picking up the slack and making life happen. Another day it will be me. It's the life we've chosen and it's choosing to make the best of the things we haven't chosen but that are part of our life anyway.
If your Father's Day wasn't ideal, you're not alone. If you felt guilt because you didn't live up to your own hopes and expectations, I was right there with you. In my case it wasn't ideal because of health issues, but I know for many people, today is a hard day due to missing a father they loved, or grieving a father never known, or processing a father who never chose them, or any number of other situations that can make a day like today painful, especially when it can easily look like a picture perfect day for others. Just remember that what we can show on social media isn't always the whole picture for whatever reason, and that sometimes the whole picture isn't appropriate to be shared with the world and that's okay. Times that it looks like someone else has the perfect life? They don't. Trust me. None of us do. Times that you may be irritated that someone is talking about the unhappy things in life and want them to move along and stop complaining? Maybe they're being intentional to show a fuller picture of the season they're in, and that's okay. We can't sum up people's life into a Facebook or IG post-- those are snapshots of real life, at best. Social media has its place and can be a beautiful connector, but keep in mind it is almost impossible to showcase life at its fullest that way, and that maybe it needs to keep being a balance of private and public, shared and not shared, for reasons we don't all always need to know or understand.
The pictures and posts from the last few weeks? Every single one of them has been me with a migraine. Every single one has been snapshots of our day, but there's so much more to each. I don't want to look back and see only pictures of myself not feeling well, or complaints on Facebook, but I also want to fairly represent the good snapshots of the day and the memories we've made as a family regardless. I don't want to focus on the negative and allow that to rule our day, but the reality is... some days ARE hard.
I don't know how well I succeed at any of my hopes when I share and post, but it's something I'm cognizant of and work for intentionally.
When you share, what are some of the personal parameters that help you decide on sharing something or not?
Andrew and Melanie fell in love over late night snacks, dozing off in the middle of studying for exams, words, and a shared love for stories. We see stories everywhere: in the little day to day incidents and in the bigger sagas over days, months, and years of our time. We cherish the stories that root us and we rest in the Story that gives our lives meaning. We love seeing the threads of stories come together in gut-busting, belly-laugh-inducing, choke-on-your spit ways, and we love the gentle, quiet, easily missed stories that ultimately can play a bigger part in our lives than many other more obvious stories. We're young, we're old, we're growing, we're learning. We make a lot of mistakes, fall down a lot, struggle with life, sometimes sit in our sadness, but ultimately we pick ourselves back up again and keep on trekking. We're on a journey of parenthood now and have been for over ten years, learning and growing into it right along with our six children.