Both of my kids are the inspiration for this blog, but Nathan was the catalyst.
In the beginning, it was a place where I – a mom who’d just been surprised with a second child with a disability – dumped my thoughts, my family and a few friends read them, and I went on about my day. I posted when I felt like it, not following any particular schedule, and then somehow people I didn’t know found me and started reading it.
I got emails from strangers, telling me how I helped them, and speaking invitations followed. My first viral post about disability slurs drew the ire of some who felt I was attacking free speech (a fundamental – possibly intentional – misunderstanding of the concept). I’ve never shied away from topics I feel strongly about, though over time I’ve opted out of blogging about them because, well, it makes me tired.
When I wrote about more “controversial” topics, I expected people to have differing opinions, and I welcomed honest debate (as long as it was respectful rather than simple trolling). I’ve done my best to engage with people who appeared to be sincere in their comments. Only in very rare instances have I deleted a comment, and then only after giving the commenter ample opportunity to “straighten up and fly right.”
You have to have a thick skin to blog about your personal life. When you put yourself out there, you’re fair game not only for people who find your opinion on the R-word, abortion, and prenatal testing TOTALLY WRONG, but also for negative comments about your son’s haircut, judgment on your booster seat expertise, and even proclamations about your fertility (I’ve been told I should stop having kids because obviously I’m not good at it).
Every time I hit publish, I also consider the dangers. Photos of my kids could be copied and turned into horrid Internet memes (just ask Courtney). A crazy stalker could target us. One day, Sarah Kate may do an about-face and decide that everything I’ve ever posted about her is The Worst Thing Ever.
But despite all of the negatives, for the past several years I’ve posted here religiously, almost without fail on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. In the beginning, I did it to help grow my readership, but I heard from so many readers who said that I helped them, or encouraged them, or taught them things, or prompted them to consider a different point of view, that I wanted to keep going – no longer for myself, but for you. If I were going to be traveling, I’d schedule posts in advance so I wouldn’t let you down.
But I’ll be honest. It’s getting to be a bit of a slog. These last few weeks of school have taken a toll on me, and I’m leaving on Friday for Memorial Day Weekend, away from my family. I don’t want to spend the time before I leave or when I return frantically putting posts together. Next week is the first week of our summer, and I want to get some things done and have fun with the kids, not hang out on the computer.
So I’m taking a break.
My plan is for it to last a week, but it might be longer. I’ve got a lot of stuff stacked up that needs to be taken care of, and until my To Do list is manageable, my brain is going to be cluttered, and when my brain is cluttered it’s hard to write. But I will be back, and hopefully sooner rather than later.
See you real soon.