This past weekend has been a head trip... in a good way and a not so good way.
The not so good way had me slightly obsessed and paranoid about this Parents Magazine Blog Contest. Many times over the weekend I was checking numbers - how many new visitors? What is my vote percentage? And I was feeling very paranoid about my writing. I mean come one, the other nominees have books and newspaper columns and millions of readers and...well...they use correct grammar and punctuation.
The not so good way had me feeling under pressure about my content. As I replayed old blog posts over the weekend, I fretted about today's entry. And tomorrow's. And next month's. Should I stop posting day to day things? About getting ready for a consignment sale... or Gavin's new shoes... or Brian's snack choices... or our butterfly experiment? Is this post or that post "tissue worthy?" Do I need to be deeper? Expose more of myself? Be... different??
But as the weekend went on, I realized many things... about this "contest," about the other nominees and about me.
They chose me before I even knew I was being considered. That was what I had to keep telling myself all weekend. The editors at Parents Magazine didn't choose me for what they thought I might turn out to be. They didn't choose me for how my writing may change. They chose me for who I am today and the stories I tell about our real life. (Because let's face it - you can't make this crap up!)
Over the weekend, I delved into each of the other nominees blogs. Suddenly they weren't "the competition" anymore. I found myself reading Jo Ashline's entries out loud to Ed as we were lying in bed. Her post "And a Little Child Shall Lead Them" reminded me so much of my relationship with Gavin and spirituality. Jo and I corresponded several times over the weekend and I already feel like I met an old friend. And Deanna's blog about her two children found me relating left and right. Her daughter has Down's Syndrome and her younger son is very close in age - much like Gavin and Brian. Her post, "The Milestone Competition" had me nodding the whole time. I remember how bittersweet it was to watch Brian soar past Gavin in that department. I feel like the whole world is aware of Glennon Melton over at Momastery - she's an extraordinary person and blogger. She has written many posts that have gone viral, but her post called "Fourteen" is my all time favorite. It's one I think about often - even months and months after I originally read it. I remember my struggles with an eating disorder and it was like she had written my words. Finally, there's Dan. A single Dad who I wasn't sure I'd relate to much at all - but I was sucked in, as millions monthly are, and clicked on the post that summed up this whole experience for me. It's called "The Disease Called : "Perfection" and I hope you'll read it. His main message? Be real.
So the time I spent worrying about changing for a new group of people that may never come or stay was wasted. I need to just stay me.
I'll still report when the boys get impossibly adorable buzz cuts...
And when they have visitors - like our former helper, Miss Katja, who we love...
I'll still write about Gavin's progress and post unbelievable and inspiring videos of simple things like this...
...and tell you that this Wednesday, Gavin will complete his "5K Marathon" at school. I'm charging my camera batteries as I type this. There is going to be a big celebration as he walks the final leg in the school hallway. You won't want to miss it!!
And I'll keep you up to date on my Mom as she sells the family home and creates a new life after losing my Dad.
We were all at the house this past weekend helping her with some things. I took this photo of Gavin near the top of the stairs and didn't expect it to come out looking like it did. But when I looked at it, it took my breath away. This child has such a bright future ahead of him. I just know it.
I was lucky enough to bring home this desk from my parent's basement. I used this desk as a kid and spent many hours playing "school." It's so sweet to see my little boy enjoying it now.
So yes... a funny thing happened on the way to today. I realized that this "competition" has changed many things. It has brought new friends into my life. It has increased Gavin's exposure to the world and, in my eyes, could possibly bring him closer to someone recognizing his diagnosis. It has exposed me to new blogs that are written by wonderful people that I could learn so much from. And, most importantly, it has reminded me how important it is to stay true to myself.
To just be real.
Thank you, as always, for loving our family like you do.