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.

How a comment on a blog changed my life

On April 24th, 2006, I put up a little post that simply said, "I'm moving to Canada". On April 28th, a young man from New York City left a comment. It wasn't actually directed at me; it was a response to a comment left by David. The thing is, he'd never left a comment before and I didn't even know he was reading this thing to begin with.

And so began the love affair between me and The Retropolitan.

Has it only been 1 1/2 years? It feels like forever.

I have met a lot of amazing people through this blog; David, Andy, Chris, Diane & Darla, to name a few. I have had the pleasure of actually real-life meeting a few of you, but I know that the odds are I'm never going to sit in a room with The Retropolitan. I doubt I'll ever know how he holds a fork or where he puts his napkin, but it really doesn't matter. Because I think I already know those things.

Dear Retro, thank you for leaving that comment that day. Thank you for the daily emails, the e-hugs, the random bits of insanity. Thank you for Wilco, and Sarah, and Genna, and Batman. Thank you for sharing bits of your life with me, things that there are no good reason to have shared. I've never actually looked you in the eye, or seen your eye at all for that matter, but when I talk to you, it's like you're right there in the room. I can't explain it, but I really feel like I know you somehow. You aren't just a person on the other end of and internet connection, you are someone that I know and that I love and that matters to me.

I know a lot of people, and I have a lot of relationships, but I can count on my hands how many of those people really, really get to me, how many I would jump in front of a train for. I have this thick wall I keep around me, and I use that to very carefully keep most of the people in my life at a distance, because I, well, I have some attachment issues that I'm not getting into right now. But with you, I never worried. I knew from day one that you were in, and you were in for life. I can't explain it, and I don't want to.

You were supposed to leave that comment all those years ago; I was supposed to meet you. You have enriched my life in some small way every day since I've known you. You made that whole debacle last year a lot easier, just by being around. And you let me write on your blog for a few months. I thought only Andy was crazy enough to do that.

I could ramble on and on, but I'm sure you have some birthday drinks to attend to, so I'll wrap it up. I love you and I am so very thankful for having you in my life. And as REO Speedwagon said so elegantly, I'm going to keep on loving you. Because it's the only thing I want to do.

Happy birthday my friend. Thanks for being born.

How Lunch Changed My Life

NaBloPoMo post #2

I decided I'd start with one of my life-altering moments, and I decided that not because it's my favorite one (I honestly didn't think ya'll would pick it) but because I got lucky enough to be asked by a certain brilliant, witty, awesome, hot chick to guest blog today for her, and I am too lazy to type different post. So I'm cross-posting.

For the Kid: How I met your mother.

Dear Kid,

Someday you're going to be all grown up and scientificating and stuff, and you're going to stop one day in March; you're going to get a call from your mom to pick her and her best friend up from some whiskey bar at 3:29 am because they're all shnockered and can't drive. And you're going to wonder how your lovely momma got tangled up with such a weird woman. Here's how it all happened.

One day, a girl from Illadelphia hopped on a plane and became a girl from Arvada, CO. Her evil step mother wanted her to go to Pomona High School, because that's where she went, but her father realized that Arvada High School was, like, 4 whole steps less to walk to and sent her there. This girl was very nervous, and totally scared, and started the second half of her junior year at this new school filled with dread.

A week or so later, the girl that sat across from her in the world's least informative Chemistry class, a girl named Caty with the best bangs the world has ever seen (and she still does), looked at the girl and asked if she was from Philly. The girl answered that she was, and Caty said she was from Pittsburgh (GO STEELERS). And that was about that. A day or two later, the girl was sitting alone at a lunch table in the back of the cafeteria, and Caty came over and asked the girl if she'd like to come sit with her. The girl did.

This, dear Kid, is one of the moments that completely changed Auntie Mr Lady's life. In a school cafeteria. You never know when it's going to happen.

At Caty's table sat a boy named Scott, who auntie Mr Lady ended up dating for 3 1/2 years, a couple other assorted people who stayed friends with me throughout high school, and your mother.

One day, your mom came over to my house for a visit. She walked in and said something I will never forget. She said, "I love coming to your house because it's always messier than mine." That day, I smiled. For the first time in a very long time.

Your mom and Caty were totally BFF's in high school. I was really close to another girl, and the four of us sorta ran together. We had lunches together and hung out after school together and there were weekend trips to Boulder to mingle with the hippies and listen to Big Audio Dynamite on cassette. There were Lollapalooza concerts, odd tasting brownies, school musicals and loads of silly Monty Python jokes.

I used to hang out at your mom's house a lot, because they let me and I liked it there. Your aunts were almost never around, but when they were they were hilarious and older and COOL. Your meemaw, well, she's the nicest woman alive. She was comfortable to be around and I'd never seen a mom who was nice and pleasant and relaxed before. I kind of leeched myself on to your family, and they kind of let me, and it was lovely.

And then, one other day, your mom and I were in the hall at school and got to talking about something or the other in the VERY SERIOUS department. We ended up gushing a whole bunch of secrets that I think we'd never told anyone about before. We had THE MOMENT.

I graduated high school; your mom and Auntie Caty and most of our friends still had another year. I got a job, and bought a car, and had a boyfriend, and was totally busy. I didn't see an awful lot of them. And then they graduated and went off to college, and that was that. Your mom and I kept in touch as best we could, which wasn't very much at all. Your mom totally came to my wedding, though, and so did Auntie Caty, and I'll never forget the look on your mom's face when I asked her to be my maid of honor. I'm not sure she realized before then that I was hopelessly devoted. And then your mom went off to Ireland. And then your mom met you.

I remember being at your baby shower and all of your mom's college friends were there, and I was pregnant with 2of3 and really upset that night. It took me a long time to figure out what was wrong with me that day, but I think that it had a lot to do with seeing your mom in a new light. She wasn't the cheerleader from high school anymore. She was a woman, with an incredible mind, a great education, loads of swanky friends, and now about to start her own family. And Auntie Mr Lady is a great big insecure scardie-cat, and I thought I was losing her.

And then, one night, after a great big todo, you came into the world, and into her life, and into mine. I came to meet you and I brought your mom the only gift i could think of, Guinness and Marlboro Lights. I looked at you, and looked at your mom, and I saw forever. I saw watching you grow, and watching your mom raise you, I saw myself playing some role in that. I also saw the Guinness and the Marlboro's in that picture, but that's a grown up story.

So far, so good.

So, Kid, when you get that drunken call in the middle of the night, you can blame Auntie Caty. With one random moment of kindness, she gave me the best gift I've ever gotten ever. I will never, ever be able to repay her for it, but I'm always going to love her for it. And you can blame yourself, too, because this thing, this mothering together, is the whole reason I met your mom in the first place, and I know that now, and if it wasn't for you we wouldn't have the perfect perfectness we do.

Cross Posted here. Double your pleasure, double your fun.