First off, let me say, that, personally, I have never claimed to be a self-professed anything. Writer, advocate, juggler, seamstress. You get the idea. I belong to the school of thought that there are all kinds of people. Some are really good at one thing, some are a little good at a lot of things, some are blessed with excelling at all they turn their hands to, and still, others, float through this life not really mastering an expertise of anything, and are perfectly okay with that.
I never set out to write on this blog in the hopes of curing cancer, ridding the world of hunger or poverty, changing people's minds, or turning them onto God. I started for, I suppose a selfish reason...calm the storm of my own mind during a difficult time. Not because I was invariably depressed or miserable. In fact, I am, generally, a content, satisfied, happy sort, who loves to love and be loved, and be surrounded by those that care about me, and I, in turn, care about bunches.
I started to write to try and reach someone who understands what it's like to have a child like our Betsy. I was encouraged to join groups here in St.Louis, to mingle at special education classes and seminars, but I am, also, quite introverted with new people and situations. It takes the right kind of person and personality to put me at ease and crack my exterior. In the place my heart was in, I wasn't up to the challenge of finding that person in a sterile meeting room.
Maybe that was a mistake, maybe I should have taken advantage of the resources Delta Gamma and our special school district offered, but I hadn't the energy for it. The mommy face I wore all day, and the broken-heart, unsure face I wore alone at night depleted my energy and its reserves.
One day, at random, I discovered a blog.
It didn't really have anything to do with my situation, but it was a mom, just like me. She seemed to have an affinity for many of the same things as me, she had a wicked style, her life and her family's were spelled out in pictures, ideas, and recipes. It was brilliant. The blog was Design Mom.
Let me say, here and now, I was never a computer person (blogging has since changed that). The big ole dinosaur sat in the basement for, at least, a year without internet service, basically, an over sized typewriter. I could have cared less about email, social networking, or shopping on the web. But, that one blog changed me.
From there came Nie, Whatever, Little Bit Funky. All mothers, all inspirations, all present in what they were doing at this pivotal point in their lives. They were thinkers, bakers, theologians, philosophers, chefs, carpenters, crafters, novices, experts, and somehow, were all these things together, at the same time, and still are.
So, I started to blog. I wrote in the beginning through tears. Just putting my family's story and Betsy's story on the screen was therapeutic. I was certain no one would read it, but I didn't care. With every word, every tear, I felt lighter, brighter, better.
People tried to understand my initial grieving over Betsy, but no one I knew got it. No one could really understand how I felt, not even my mother. I felt lost, and those around me felt lost, too. We all just kind of milled around each other, never knowing what to say, what to do.
In that year, Pete & Jake learned what it meant to take second seat, and, now, there has been damage done. With any luck and God's good grace, it's of the reversible variety. They seek out Jake's and my attention, sometimes in inappropriate ways. They are learning how to move on in the wake of that time. We all are. Everything was about Betsy. Not intentionally, but that is how it had to be. Therapists in and out of the house 4 days a week, doctors appointments, diagnostics. Blech!
So, I wrote, and I wrote. Some days about nothing much at all, some days it was all heaviness. But, I got rid of the 'junk'. Gave it away. To anyone caring to listen, but most of all, God.
I started getting emails, and comments from readers expressing their gratitude. Their thanks for simply making them be more grateful than they ever have been before for the children they were given. How my story helped them learn to ask friends questions if they were going through something similar, to not be afraid, to just lend an ear, or a squeeze.
Then, one day, I got a comment from an amazing woman who had a daughter with cerebral palsy. A blogger. Oh, the surprise, the relief, the happiness. She knew. She cried at things I, at some point, probably cried about. She felt the same grief, but also the same joy, in having a child with special needs. Her blog is a lot like mine. Family, crafting, sewing, cooking, photos, life. Daisy & Dots (check Trish out).
Things have, since, snow-balled over here at 'Odd Girl Out...?'. I have sold invitations, tu-tu sets, onsies, tees. I have been asked to write on other blogs, asked to share pictures of my home, and since asked for decorating advice, gift giving advice, recipes. I have inspired other women I know to begin blogging, too. Sure, it makes me feel good, but that was never my intention. My life is as mish-moshed as this blog indicates, NOT perfect. And, I love that.
I blog for myself, and my kids. That one day, when I am long gone, my babies might have a bit more insight into who their mom was. Not just a mom, but a friend, a daughter, a sister, a wife, even, I suppose, a writer. They will have these memories, a scrapbook of what we did together, what they said that I thought was funny, or insightful, what made me angry, or, simply, that, they, themselves, plain and tall, have always been enough for me. They will gain a better understanding of what their father and I went through with their sister, and they will, maybe, hopefully, forgive me for those difficult first years. They will not only know, but SEE that I loved them. With everything I am. That is why I blog. All of those rewards by only spending 10-15 minutes a post.
If something else 'comes' of it, good or bad, that is, really, just secondary.