How a little nudge changed my life

My BFF Gigi used to have this blog. It's gone now, and I am still sad about that. It was a wonderful blog. She was a teacher, and a damn fine one, and her blog was about education. She read lots of other edu-blogs, and had really interesting things to say about her experiences in the classroom, as a mother, and her unique outside perspective on the state of education today. She's the kind of mother and educator and person I hope I can be someday.

I actually met her through her blog. Her son and I met on a stoop one fateful day four years ago, and he told her about me and she wanted to ask me some questions for her blog about my school experience. So, before I ever saw her face, I got to read all of this amazing wisdom she has stored up. We shot a few emails back and forth, and then one day she wrote this post about me. I wish I could link you to it, because it's the most flattering thing anyone has ever said about me.

Me and her? The rest is history. My point is that she was the first blogger I have ever met, and hers was the first blog I ever read. I was hooked. I followed every link she put up; I read her whole blogroll, daily. My son was just entering Kindergarten and I was eating up anything I could get my hands on to brace myself for the American Public School Experience.

Her son used to hang out with the boys and me in the hallway, playing soccer or gluing stuff together. Every now & then, he'd say something like, "You know that thing you do with the boys where you [insert unorthodox parenting technique here]? You should really write that down. That's good."

No one had ever said I was a good parent before. I had just never thought of these stupid things I do with my kids as good parenting before. I didn't have any other mom friends, and no parents of my own, and really not any resources for parenting tips. I got to thinking about it, and I thought that maybe, just maybe, someone else out there in the internetowebosphere was in my same boat, and that's when I decided to try out this blog thing.

And so, on January 18th, 2005, I put up my first blog post. The first few months of it were choppy and random. I was still relatively new to the internet in general and wary of spending too much time on it. As the months rolled on, however, I got into a groove. The blog started to evolve. People started reading it. Yes, they were extensions of my inner circle of friends, but still...people were reading my blog. And they weren't emailing me threatening to turn me over to Child Services or the Grammar Police.

Now, almost 3 years later, I cannot imagine my days without it. I think in blog posts. I have tried to kill this thing a few times now, but I just keep coming back to it, and every time I come back, I'm a bit renewed. It's my old boyfriend that I just can't dump because god damn it he smells so freaking good. I would totally make out with my blog if I could.

I used to write when I was younger. I was quite prolific and, sometimes, what I wrote got noticed. I had teachers come to me, asking if I was interested in publishing my stuff. I wrote this one poem in fourth grade that got entered in a national competition and totally smoked the asses of kids way older than me and won me a trip to meet the President (Reagan, maybe?). I wasn't allowed to go (thanks, mom!) but still, it was an honor. And then, one day, after a long series of events that don't matter anymore, I just stopped. I stopped playing the guitar, I stopped playing the piano, and I stopped writing.

I have a lot of anxiety over this whole writing thing. I worry that it's not ever good enough and that I'm not clear enough and that I am too sarcastic. Keeping this blog, though, it is helping me get over that, albeit slowly. I still say totally way too much, I love starting sentences with but and I throw a lot of yo's in here, because I am Bart Simpson. I underachieve. I think that keeping this, every day, has helped me realize that no matter what I end up doing, I want it to have to do with the written word. I am in love with writing again. I want to find a way to get all the real, profound things I have floating around in my head between Dora and the science fair on paper. This blog has given me a direction to look in again.

So, thanks, Gigi, for your blog, and thanks, Chris, for pushing me all the time and thanks, January 18th, 2005, for changing my whole damn life.

And thank god in heaven that today is the last day of November.