If you looked through my instagram feed for the past year, you would see a chorus of smiling pictures. Pictures next to giraffes at the zoo, eating cream puffs at the State Fair, building sand castles at the beach, snuggling with my kiddos on the couch. You would see a life full of adventure (road trip to Colorado! Spontaneous trip to the Dells!) and siblings that play sweetly together and all the memories of all the happiness we shared this year.
Those things happened. Those things are real. We have had SO MUCH fun together, and we have done SO MANY things and we have laughed. Oh my, yes. When you look through those pictures, know that the twinkle in my eye was real.
But here’s the thing you don’t know: Those pictures, they don’t show you the underside, the prickly and sticky story behind the scenes. The fears and anxiety and tears and fights. Like a book missing chapters, social media shows an incomplete picture of our lives, and it is done intentionally. Maybe it’s not exactly the same as a lie, but it is certainly only a version of truth. I choose to post the good, and not the terrible. Those things, I don’t want to remember.
I suffered a devastating miscarriage in the spring, a baby that was a surprise to us all but desparately wanted. It was, as all losses are, full of physical and emotional pain. It came after I had purchased new maternity clothes, told friends and even bought a snugly little white fleece jacket for my soon-to-be December baby. It came with hours with a heating pad in bed, tears at Target when I passed the baby section, and many, many trips to the doctor. And, when it was over physically, it was not (and won’t ever be) over emotionally.
This summer we received news that my aunt, my mother’s sister, has breast cancer. Another blow. My oldest child started kindergarten and my youngest started preschool—maybe not a bad thing, but emotionally tough for me. And then, news that my dad has a rare form of eye cancer. I could rattle off a list of all the HARD things 2017 has brought my family. Some years, bad things happen. And some years, LOTS of bad things happen. It’s hard to see behind the pictures of me smiling, but this has been a year of pain. It has come slowly, consistently and when I least expect it.
Here’s what I want you to know: I share the good because even though this year has been tough, it hasn’t defined me or my family. I share the good because someday I want to tell my kids about the time we spent all afternoon sledding and then came home for hot chocolates and popcorn. I want to tell my kids about how proud we felt when they started school, and how we celebrated with ice cream sundaes. I want them to see the smiles we had when we spent time together, and not the tears I cried when they weren’t watching. It’s okay to share the good. It’s okay to want to remember the best parts of your life, and not the worst.
But also know that if you are in pain, or if you are scared or sad or lonely or hurting, that’s okay, too. You aren’t alone. Most of us are hiding behind our best moments.