A few years ago, I stopped blogging. I had never been great on social media. I like to take time to think about things. (Which can be a liability—especially when small human beings are in crisis situations and I’m reflecting on the seriousness of the situation. Thankfully I have a husband who reacts very quickly to crisis while his wife ponders.) I like long sentences. I like timeless truths. I don’t watch the news. So I stopped blogging and I kept a toe in the water of Facebook and even less of me on Twitter and let that be that.
Along came Instagram, and I ignored it. It just seemed like too much to try to learn something new and add something new and follow people and post stuff and all the rest. There’s also the fact that I’m also not a very visual person. I gravitate to a world of abstract ideas, and I so appreciate people who can capture moments visually instead of in words. I just don’t think of myself as one of those people.
But at the same time, I keep hearing that the things I really love—reflective stories, whether visual or text—are happening on Instagram. My friend Micha (@acefaceismyfriend) talked about the community of mothers with kids who have Down syndrome she found via Instagram. My other friends and my sisters and so many other people have talked about how much they prefer Instagram to Facebook. My writer friends talk about how important it is for an author.
I still resisted. There was my reluctance to try new things, my desire to set limits and stick to them, and the general sense of overwhelm that the internet presents me on a daily basis. There was also my concern that I might make our children into props in the fabricated story of my life. And there was what one friend called the risk that I would ruin a moment by trying to capture that moment.
With all that said, I decided to start an Instagram account. Some of that comes down to having a new writing assistant who knows what she’s doing on social media (thank you, Emily!). Some of it comes down to the desire to get White Picket Fences out into the world even if it does stretch me. But it also goes back to what I do hope to create by telling the story of my life and our family in such a public forum. Yes, I love words. I’ve written four books now, and the words don’t seem to stop. Still, I’ve always also wanted to share photos, especially of our daughter Penny, because I know that seeing a family with a child with Down syndrome bears witness to the truth of the words I have been writing. In fact, early on I realized that I had trouble envisioning a life with a child with Down syndrome and as a result I had trouble imagining a life with a child with Down syndrome. As I have written elsewhere, the imagination is a vehicle for hope. My hope is that these photographs tell a story of possibility, that they invite followers to imagine a good future, that they invite hope.
So if you are on Instagram, I’d love to see you there! You can find me at @amyjuliabecker.