Internet Vacation?

bon sparked a conversation over at BlogRhet about taking vacations and becoming unplugged, even just for a little while. Since I’ve been a vocal fan of raising babies without TV, and limiting it for toddlers and preschoolers, her words really struck a chord with me. Yes, I want my baby boys to live life, to learn to amuse themselves, to become the creative kid who makes up stories and ties string around a dowel and calls it a fishing pole, who builds their own fun and is completely satisfied without the latest gadget or toy or video game system. But yes, I also find myself in front of the computer at odd hours, blogging away during naptime or after the kids go to bed, and I doubt at this point I’d be able to stop cold turkey.

I wouldn’t want to try.

But I think — I think — that’s because I’ve found something of real value here, that I suspect many of you have found as well.

I’ve found a community.

I’m amazed and overwhelmed at the depth of this community, as I find new blogs every day (or you find me) that blow me away with their wisdom, their humor, their insights into the minutae of daily life that reveal our innermost selves. I feel as if I’ve stepped through the looking glass and found a treasure trove (to mix my metaphors) of womenfolk waiting, blogging, each of us at our own computers and during our own children’s naptime, or respite from housework, or spare moment at the office, to discuss, to banter, to reminisce, and to offer a hug when it is needed most.

It’s hard to explain my affection for blogging and blogfriends to those not intimately familiar with it, but I think it goes something like this.

I’ve always been sure to have a metaphorical and physical space for my own work. A place where I felt comfortable spreading out, reading, writing, and leaving things on the table when I’m done. The Room of One’s Own that Virginia Woolf described has been critical to my thinking and writing throughout the years.

But blogging. Blogging is even better. Blogging is the window in the room.

It’s as if one day last August I walked into my room, turned on the lamp, and suddenly noticed the window on the far wall, where none had been before. When I opened the curtains, the room was flooded with light and warmth, and I could hear a chorus of voices spilling through. I looked out, and discovered an amazing view — not the restful mountains or the popular beach — but a courtyard, filled with children of all ages, laughing, playing, crying, inventing, growing up together, and a sea of other windows — moms — each in a room of their own, writing their own lives, but pausing intermittently to check on the children and to be inspired by them and the women who love them. The windows are close enough that we can call to each other on the spring breezes when we are stuck, when we have something to celebrate, when we have something to mourn.

And it’s a beautiful way to live.

It means even more to me now, as I spend my days unplugged with my kids when I can (the hammock in my back yard is lovely this time of year), but retreat to my room and the view that my bloglines provide when I cannot. Although I haven’t really left the house since my last treatment, thanks to my blogfriends, I have been to Mauritania, to Singapore, to Israel, to an Ethiopian orphanage, to Australia, all over the U.S., Europe, and Canada, and to see a couple of my best friends nearly every day.

As I approach my first blogiversary, my 300th post, and my 3000th comment, I am once again overwhelmed with gratitude and love for you guys. Gals. Internets. Unplug? No way. If when I finally get to go on vacation again, you’re coming with me.

60 Responses to Internet Vacation?

  1. maggie says:

    Beautifully said. I know well the feeling – I think I have more “friends” in the computer than out – in the computer I fit in – outside I’m too busy and too awkward and…

    You’re great.

  2. mayberry says:

    I agree! It’s not the machine–it’s the people the machine gives us.

  3. canape says:

    Right back at you. Love you much.

  4. Kat says:

    Wow…just how I feel and have tried to express many times, but never said it quite as well as you. This world of “blog” is amazing. I have met the nicest people, you included. We’re like pen pals except we get to share photos and stories so quickly. We can laugh with/at each other, pray for each other, learn from each other, inspire each other, etc., etc. I’m not much of a TV watcher so I use my time visiting via blogs with my friends and I love it.

    So glad you’re blogging!


  5. Carrie says:

    Every time I visit you, you amaze me more and more. You hit the nail on the head. I love the window reference, it suits how I feel so perfectly as well.

    This community is awesome (and I don’t mean that in a valley girl type of tone!) and it’s powers and beauty I wouldn’t want to give up for any length of time!

    I am so very glad you are part of it!

  6. There’s a cute little graphic that I see from time to time on different blogs that says “I love my computer for the friends it’s brought me” or something like that.

    And I do!

    I couldn’t give up blogging – it’s my lifeline as well. It brings me to people and brings people to me who know what I’m talking about, can commiserate with me or at least empathize. I appreciate them more and enjoy them more than some real life “friends” who don’t call, don’t email or anything else – unless I do first.

    Although I can’t always get around to the people who are having a hard time right now, simply because it hurts my heart too much right now – I think about them when I’m not online, and that includes you, and hope that they’re ok. I hardly ever think about those “real life” friends.

    Enjoy that hammock – I’m jealous 🙂

  7. Robin says:

    You’ve captured it perfectly. Absolutely perfectly.


  8. notthemama says:

    That was beautiful and so true. I’ve been an avid reader of blogs for years, but I’ve just recently started one of my own. I am amazed by how much I love it already.

  9. Christy says:

    Wow, you put it so beautifully. I myself never expected such a community from blogging, or that I would shed a tear for so many wonderful women. It is definitely not something I could give up now.

  10. Right back atcha, Whymommy… You have expressed exactly the way I feel about blogging, too. I find myself referring to all of YOU as “my friends” in everyday conversations, even though I have never actually met any of you face-to-face.

    I’m so grateful to have met you, Whymommy, and that you have graciously allowed all of us into your experience of the world.

    You have certainly changed mine for the better!!

    xo CGF

  11. Rose100 says:

    Happy Blogiversary.

    May you have many, many, many more.

    I actually don’t read blogs of people I don’t know. Yours has not only grabbed me and kept my attention, but made me think of things in completely new ways, from never before looked-at angles.

    I am willing to bet there are many of us whose lives you have touched profoundly.

    We are just a window away, if you need us.
    If you could e-mail me in one of your (few, I’m sure) free moments, I would love to say some things to you “off the air.”


  12. Well said.

    I’m with you.

  13. Stimey says:

    The window in the room. That’s beautiful. You have a tremendous way with words. I love your vision of the courtyard with everyone in it. I’m keeping that with me. Thanks.
    Happy anniversary!

  14. Mrs. Chicken says:

    Wonderfully articulate. I am so glad I’m part of the view from your window.

  15. Lynn says:

    I’m delurking to say that is amazing. Those thoughts are amazing and exactly what I have been trying to say but couldn’t verbalize. You are a very courageous woman with a true gift!

  16. thetardyteacher says:

    Yes. Exactly that. I do occasionally have to remind myself to leave the room and go to the courtyard where the baby is.

  17. Yes. This is just how I feel. Thank you for expressing it so well.

  18. MammaLoves says:

    You really have beautifully captured feelings I’ve been unable to express. The courtyard imagery is perfect.

  19. My children are 19 and 15, but I do remember feeling incredibly lonely when they were small, even though I also worked, on the days when I was with them. I started my blog a month ago and it brings me such pleasure and connection to others. I sure could have used it back then. It’s like we get to know each others’ spirits, without the body baggage of checking each other out and, yes, judging. I think you may have inspired tomorrow’s post. Thanks.

  20. kami says:

    Hooray! You captured it. And, the fact that Virgina herself was a bit of an inspiration is so appropriate. Perfect!

  21. Becc says:

    Thank you for this.

    My husband wrickles his nose and doesn’t understand.

    It truly is a “mom thing” for me.

  22. HeatherS says:

    Perfect image. You captured it beautifully.

  23. Bon says:

    you know, i wouldn’t want to try either. too much connection out here, too much worth being present for.

  24. BetteJo says:

    It started out as a networking tool to bring people to my shop – but it’s grown into so much more! Your post says it way better than I ever could, thanks for putting it into words for the rest of us!

  25. Linda Sue says:

    The blogosphere is blessed by the eloquent voices of so many women -I realized that it is easier for me to pray intensely for my blogfriends than people I know face to face. Maybe that is God’s gift to us in this hectic world where few of us live near all the people we love. Happy Anniverary – may we all commenorate it again in a decade and laugh about the things we thought were a challenge today.

  26. That is truly a lovely image, and sums it up well for me too.

    I often wonder why I have become so addicted to this blogging-thing. Especially when all other areas of my life really are unplugged. In fact as you know, my whole blog is about being unplugged!

    From now on, I will think of your window image and feel less guilty about my only remaining “plug.”

  27. Colleen says:

    I know exactly what you’re saying. And I think that people who haven’t found out what a community there is to blogging have no idea what’s out there. Until you experience it… you have no clue. It’s just so amazing how people can come together over a little computer screen.

  28. deb says:

    The community aspect of blogging is what does it for me too. I feel the same way as you do, I’m stuck here but my blog allows me to travel and meet people all over the world, to have relationships with people I never would have known. It’s sounds so corny because I don’t know you in a traditional sense, but I am glad I stumbled upon your blog and your words enrich my life. Thank you.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Internet Vacation?

    Would you take the internet along with you on a vacation? I would. And here’s why.

  30. PA_Lady says:

    What a perfect description fitting all online communities! Each of us visiting through the windows, calling out to one another.

    Would it be okay to quote a part of this post?

  31. Ana says:

    You have an incredible way with words!!! It’s as if you can reach the deepest parts of a person’s heart and express what they feel. Well said!

  32. Robin says:

    And here I thought you were going to tell me of some wonderful site to vacation on while on the computer – like Second Life. 😉 I’m trying not to let the computer run my life. It’s so hard, but I’m cranky and want to focus on just the computer – which is impossible with kids. My goal is to only be on while they are in school or bed so that I am 100% for them when they are here. It’s hard when you telecomute to work and don’t have set hours.

  33. Blogging is definitely my hobby – I am useless at crafts, cooking and home decor. I’m glad I’m finally found something that I enjoy – and that you have too!

  34. Maya says:

    I could not put how I feel about blogging any better. Wonderful words.

  35. ella says:

    I rather wish I had my own courtyard here in real life. It sounds beautiful.

  36. Rani says:

    It has changed my life, as well. I call it my ‘therapy’. I don’t know how I would have made it through my chemo without the world wide web and my bloggirls…you really have a way with words. Thanks for sharing.

  37. motherofbun says:

    Friends of mine who don’t blog have no idea why I do it. My husband has no clue either. But you’ve described the WHY so beautifully. THANK YOU.

  38. Gill says:

    You’ve put it in a nutshell! Now when people ask me why I blog I am going to send them straight to this post!

    Just want to say too that I think your blog is wonderful

  39. NoRegrets says:

    Just looking at your world map you can see all the people you are connected with. Sometime soon the whole thing will be red!

  40. girl says:

    Very well said.

  41. Jenster says:

    What beautiful imagery. You do know how to turn a phrase, don’t you? :o)

    Signed – Jedi Mom aka sherpa

  42. NoMommy says:

    What a beautiful post.
    I am so happy to be in a community with you.

  43. Linda Lawrence says:

    Great! You cannot quit now! Keep on writing!

  44. twithhoney says:

    Blogs bring me a similar comfort when I’m stuck all alone in my cubicle every weekday. It helps me feel like I’m still connected to the world of caring people instead of surrounded by profit-hungry corporate types.
    In other words, you’re not alone as you can tell by many of the comments here.

  45. Tara-Lynn says:

    You are so right….I love reading about other people and I find writing my own blog a great way to stay connected.

    Hugs to you and feel well.

    A Mom from Canada

  46. Ally says:

    The way that you’ve eloquently described the blogging community is spot on. I’ve had a mandatory unplugging of sorts because we’ve had so many out-of-town guests lately, and I’ve missed the community I find here.

  47. Darci says:

    I’m with you on this one! Can’t imagine how much more isolating SAHM-ing would be without blogging…
    And my husband doesn’t really get it either.

  48. ybonesy says:

    I found your blog via individualvoice. This was a lovely post. I would have to agree with what’s been voiced — the connectedness is amazing. Do you think it’s because we have to write our way to what we must say?

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  50. planetnomad says:

    You put it so beautifully. In blogging, I found people who were really like me–the kind of people I haven’t found too many of in real life.
    Great post. I’m so glad I found your blog.

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  52. Emily says:

    Oh, I love the image of the window. Very nice.

  53. Anna says:

    I could never unplug from all of you!

  54. Alice C says:

    Thank you for that wonderful image which has finally allowed me to rationalise the pleasure that I get from visiting Blogland. Until I read your post it was very difficult to explain to other people even though they could see the buzz that I get from reading and contributing.
    May I link to your post?
    I hope that you are able to close the window occasionally because I am sure that sometimes you must need the peace to think without the chatter. We will still be there smiling up at you when you open it again!

  55. dottycookie says:

    A gorgeous post – you’ve summed it all up perfectly!

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