If you have a child, know a child, or have ever met a child; if you’ve read a book or watched a movie that included one, you will recognize how much changes in that first year of life. That soft pile of flesh, so pliable and yielding at first, changes into a walking, talking being with its own ideas. That floppy, sloppy, glorious smelling baby, the one you checked on six times a night to assure yourself of the rise and fall of breath, the one you cradled so carefully and swaddled so tightly and fed ten times nightly, changes into something almost unrecognizable. Over those 365 nights and days, they fill out and lengthen, they learn to smile and roll and swat, to sit and crawl and pull up, to recognize a parent’s voice, to respond to their own name, to walk and play with language, to emote joy and frustration and love; to experience life. It is 365 days of amazement and exhaustion and worry and joy and a fearsome pride.
I’m not going to (seriously) compare blogging to parenthood, but I am overly fond of metaphor and hyperbole. Today marks one year of Wine and Cheese (Doodles). And like a child that grows and learns, this blog has grown and learned along this last trip around the sun. There have been bumps and bruises along the way, a few scrapped knees and abraded palms, but I like to think what has emerged has enough confidence to toddle off a little bit, to start exploring a little further afield, to stretch those Icarus wings and learn to fly.
What started off as a small project to keep track of keeping myself busy, has, like so many other things, morphed into its own entity. I did learn to knit, but writing about that quickly fell to the wayside. Writing became about writing, about the news stories that made my heart ache, about personal experiences that felt worth sharing, about bits and pieces of my own journey through life. No one is more surprised than I am with what I end up writing about. Sometimes what starts off in one direction veers off sharply in another. Sometimes I am feeling a bit punchy, sometimes maudlin, sometimes I have those “A-HA!” moments, but I am forever grateful that over the past 365 days, there has remained a spark of something that keeps it going.
I’ve met my own personal milestones along the way. From my husband and mother and sister being the first three people I shyly asked to ‘follow’ me, to a growing number of other bloggers, other ex-pats, other parents and grandparents who have taken the time to read and comment and share. Thank you all. I recently hit the 20,000 view mark, which for a non-specialized blog that tends to be a bit wordy, is pretty damn good, at least to me. I’ve learned to promote myself in a way that’s comfortable. And most important, I’ve kept the blog going, and growing, on my own terms. I still can’t understand the whole hashtag twitter thing properly, but hey, you can’t have everything.
I was hoping, neurotic, control freak that I am, to have the 100th post and the lay-out revamp and the year mark all coincide. It didn’t work out that way, mostly because there were a few posts in there that were screaming to get out when they did. And—deep breath on my end— that’s ok. As much as I like even numbers and tidy edges, when everything is said and done, it’s more important to get it said and done.
Everyone should have something new on their birthday; a card or a flower or just a perfectly timed turn of phrase. So I’ve given the blog a new look. It was sad to say good-bye, but when I sneak a peek at the new, I like the way it’s turning out. It should be easier to leave comments now, and I sincerely hope that you do. I wish I could say I have the next ten posts lined up and ready to go, but I’ve found the best ones, the ones that resonate the most, seem to be the ones that are written off the cuff. So I will trust in those muses a little while longer and see where the next few take me.
When my first son turned a year old, my husband and I celebrated, not only for him, but for ourselves. We had done it, survived the first year, kept him alive and thriving. And while much more muted and subdued, I feel the same kind of satisfaction today. I didn’t kill the blog, it kept on, despite me at times. It learned to walk and to make noises and most of all, let its own personality start to shine through.
Onward toward the terrible twos.
**The cheesy, tap-dancing, musical loving geek in me couldn’t resist: