At the end of this summer my blog will turn seven years old. As of today there are just over one thousand and six hundred posts that I have shared with you. In the darkest posts I have shared my depression, my fertility problems, my caregiver’s fatigue, my anxieties, my fears, my insecurities and feelings that I could never say out loud to any other person.
You listened. You talked to me. Shared your own stories with me. Even when you couldn’t exactly relate to a situation that I was going through you made sure I knew that I was not alone. I felt this so strongly when I was writing about my Grandmother and her decline from Alzheimer’s. I also felt it as I went through year after year of fertility treatments on the quest for motherhood. And now I feel the fantastic rally from you all when I need advice or support with parenting as a single mother.
One of the lessons that I have learned from you is to not surrender when things get hard or seem unmanageable. I fight this urge often as my fight or flight wings are often cleared for take-off. From everything on how to introduce more vegetables to when to start potty training I turn to you. I have you, I know this, and I count on you.
There was a very specific window of time in my life when things were really bad all at once. It was the perfect storm of bad. I was a brand new mom and not getting much sleep, my Grandmother was dying, my Mother had unexpectedly been let go from a very steady job, my cat died, my computer crashed, and there was a ticking clock towards being homeless.
My life felt like a crumpled up piece of paper that the universe had sent a team of well-shod bricks to step on.
I didn’t have time to wonder, “why me?!” because there was a baby to feed and a Grandmother to sit next to and then mourn and resumes to help my Mother print and mail and then someone that read my blog asked me if I could use a laptop that they weren’t using.
Days later a box arrived from across the country and the crumpled up paper of my family’s life began to unfurl.
We navigated the passing of my Grandmother with the knowledge that people from around the world were thinking of us as we planned her service and made the long trip to return her home.
A woman I never would have met if not for my blog offered my family and I a place to live and saved us from having to seek out space in a shelter.
We moved several states up and worked through our grief and the crumpled paper continued to open as I shared everything with you all and you lifted us up and gave us advice and support.
I recognized that we were in a grey area, coming out of the dark and heading into what would hopefully be lighter. It had to be. Oh the grey days lasted a long time but I found that even on a particularly hard day I could still shake out of it by simply acknowledging that I had a healthy son, I had a safe place for us to live, and friends? Oh friends I had in buckets!
The day that Mother was offered her job in Philadelphia is one of the best days of our lives as a family. When I was able to share the news on my blog and on twitter I was euphoric in tears. When comments like, “I hope you don’t find it weird that I am crying with you…” came in I totally got it. We were going to be ok. We had survived something very, very horrible for us and it was going to be behind us now.
We have been on the other side of the dark side for almost six months now and my outlook on so many things have either changed or sharpened. I am hyper sensitive when I hear of other families in crisis and stress and I am now more aware of how lucky I am that I have such an amazing support system in place. It’s been here for as long as I began my blog and the very first person left me a comment.
I worry about women and moms that don’t have an outlet for expressing their anxieties. Where does it go?
Recently I started paying attention, and I mean real attention, to the other single mothers that I follow on twitter. A lot of them are so funny and outspoken and they make me laugh out loud. But I have some followers that are quiet and tweet late at night or early in the morning. Simple tweets talking about a hard morning getting out of the house or an even harder evening getting their children to bed. I try to respond when I can – just to let them know that they are not alone. No one should feel alone. It’s one of the reasons why I created the single mother union on twitter. It’s a list of other single moms on twitter (all from various circumstances) and we try to actively rally around each other.
I know this kind of rally from being a part of such a powerful blog community and it feels natural to extend it to a place like twitter. You can tell the women that are new to this kind of simple support – these are the women that bloom when you simply let them know that you are thinking of them. Seriously – a simple, “you are on my mind today” is huge when you are a single mom. It helps keeps those tree falling in a forest fears at bay because it means that people see you and notice you and think of you.
But how do we find all of the women that need this kind of support? I honestly don’t know and I want to.
I am incredibly honored to have been invited to attend (along with a few other BlogHer members) “Conversations with Coca-Cola”. It’s an event happening at the Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta next week. I will be meeting with some high-profile people from Coca-Cola (including some of the company’s top women’s leadership). One of Coke’s messages is living positively and they are going to have two jam-packed days of discussions and activities focused on this message and how social media can be a positive thing in people’s lives. I am so excited! (I’ll give you the hashtag soon so that you can follow along with the conference if you want.)
Also? I love my Coke Zero way more than a person should so I am totally geeked out to see where it comes from.
Since I am going to be in the Coca-Cola mothership, so to speak, do you guys have any questions that you want me to ask the head honchos? Seriously. What would you ask the people behind Coca-Cola if you had a chance?
Now to get the disclosure stuff front and center: Coke is paying for my travel, my hotel and all of my activities while in Atlanta. BlogHer is compensating me for writing about my experience. All of my opinions about my expectations, the experience, the conference, are entirely my own.