I have a pretty rubbish memory. Not that I don't remember things but I have a habit of remembering things like old telephone numbers, unimportant dates and what socks I was wearing on Christmas day 1995. However I quickly forget what age the girls did things for the first time and the funny things they say or do. At times I struggle to tell Carolyn what we have been up to during the day unless I've written a list; which I've taken to doing frequently - proudly reading my list of daily achievements (by achievements I mean basic daily tasks)to her on her arrival home. I've never kept a diary. There are times when I look back at photos and I'm not sure which child I am looking at. I have potential to be really quite crap; do loads of exciting, interesting, educational stuff with the kids and a week later only be able to recall that they had bran flakes for breakfast.
So that is why I'm really glad that I've started writing a blog. I have saved my memories electronically for life. My children have a record of their lives to look back on. When they say to me "What was I like as a baby dad?" or "Tell me some stories about when I was little" I can simply show them my writing. I have written 20 posts in 8 months. If I were to keep that up there would be about 450 by the time Anna was 18. That's about 400000 words. That is surely more memories and thoughts than I could possibly hold even if I managed to empty my brain of all the useless information. I have visions of sitting with my adult children reading our favourite stories and of me telling my grandchildren tales about their parents. It's a lovely little scene that I'm imagining. I'll be sat cosily in an armchair, a child on one knee, a bottle of port on the other...
But will they want me to keep writing about them for that long? Or at least will they not want it posted online for the world to read (actually the world aren't reading yet, but some of you are!)? Is it really fair on them? They are just two young girls doing what young children do. They are no different to any other children of their age. All children say silly things and do stuff that seems absolutely ridiculous to onlookers. Surely I'm not the only one with children who frequently draw on their own moustaches with permanent marker when left unattended, who claim to talk to their dead grandparents and who announce loudly on an aeroplane whilst taking off "Wow! I can feel this right up my bum!" (Am I?!) The only difference is that they have a father who enjoys crafting (Crafting? Yes crafting!!) these anecdotes into his own little online storybook.
At the moment they are oblivious to it. They are too young. But it won't be long before they are aware of me writing about them and then will come a time that they are able to sit down and read it all. Perhaps at first they will find it interesting or amusing. Little girls love stories about babies so they may look favourably on the posts. But then they will read the new, up to date posts. About the present day. Suddenly stories about them being silly as babies have become embarrassing tales that they don't want anyone to read, especially their friends and schoolmates. But maybe not. Perhaps if I am careful not to write anything too personal as they get older then they will be happy. They will have grown up with it and become tolerant to my ways. Who knows?
So what to do? Do I continue writing and posting online? Do I stop and wait until they are old enough to give their consent? Do I keep writing but keep it to myself so it's there for them to read in the future and share with only those who they wish? I don't really know what is best. But I think I know what I'm going to do. I enjoy writing. I enjoy hearing from others who have read. I enjoy every single notification saying that someone has clicked 'share'. But more than that I am a proud to have simply written something vaguely coherent that the girls can take ownership of one day.
I'm also well aware that in the not too distant future I will have teenage girls who are likely to have no interest in anything their dad says let alone anything he has written and are certainly not going to sit down and read 400000 words of it. I'm probably worrying about nothing; I doubt they are going to care either way.
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