The weather is getting warmer, the pool is open, and the school year has two weeks to go. Yet, for some reason I can’t stop thinking about the fall of 2010.
Back then our youngest child had just started kindergarten, and I was enjoying my new-found freedom of five whole hours without having to clean up from someone getting their own juice or explain why Oreos at 9:00 a.m. were not a good idea.
I was using my precious time working on the kids’ computer carefully constructing my comment for a parenting Web site.
My heart was beating fast and I had the excited feeling I get every time I try something new. I was so unsure of what I was doing that I called my friend Maria to talk me through it.
“Okay, so I’m on the site. I wrote my comment. Now what do I do?”
“Is there someplace that says send?”
“Um…Yes, there it is.”
“OK Kathy, hit send.”
We were both laughing at how this was my first time ever sending anything over the Internet.
I took a deep breath and pushed send.
“I did it!” I felt like I just cured cancer.
My dreams of a spotless house, homemade bread, and beautifully knitted creations that I would learn to make ended that day.
Somebody “liked” my comment and I was hooked. In a few short weeks, I went from someone who had never sent an e-mail to being a mom with a blog about a possessed dishwasher.
Each new comment or new follower I got on my site was cause for celebration. Maria and I would meet for coffee and discuss how many followers I added that week, or how many people commented on a post.
I would call my husband Joe and squeal with delight as I got a new fan on my Facebook page or Twitter account. All of a sudden the girl who didn’t know anything about the online world now couldn’t get enough of it.
At the age of 45, I started to feel a passion for something that I hadn’t felt since I had given up acting and singing many years before.
Well, that’s not entirely true, I was and still am passionate about my role as a mom. But as much as I adore that role, my kids are growing up. I knew I was entering a new chapter in my life and felt the need for something more.
I had been toying with the idea of writing for a while. In fact it was Maria and Joe who had encouraged me to start exploring parenting web sites and thinking about blogging.
For the longest time, I felt the need to find a purpose in my life. When I was younger, I’d thought my calling was singing and acting. But as much as I enjoyed performing, I always stopped short of fulfilling the potential others saw in me and I knew I had.
I’ve always been my worst enemy.
My biggest fear was that my headstone would read, “Here lies a women who had a lot of potential.”
Opportunities would come my way, and I squandered them. Success was something that I almost shunned in favor of safety and security.
The one thing that did not come easily to me was motherhood. And that is the one thing I fought for.
Four miscarriages in a little over a year, countless tests, and doctors appointments did little to discourage my quest for motherhood. When we finally welcomed our son Tom into the world, I knew for the first time in my life that this was a job I was called to do.
I might have been sleep deprived and a victim of “mommy brain,” but I loved being home and spending time watching Tom discover the world around him.
I felt doubly blessed when three years later I gave birth to our daughter Lizzy. And then really felt like we hit the lottery when our third child, and my comic relief, Peter, was born.
Motherhood remains my passion. I loved my job as full time caregiver.
It became doubly challenging when it was discovered that Tom had some developmental issues. I wasn’t just in the mommy zone, I had entered the special needs mommy zone.
All of a sudden my own struggles with dyslexia and my interest in early childhood melded together and I had found a purpose like no other.
I was convinced that if I was diligent and picked up every issue the minute it cropped up, Tom would not only overcome any challenges, he would exceed every one’s expectations.
Speech, physical, and occupational therapy sessions became a normal part of our day from the time Tom was 18 months old and continued to be a part of our life as Lizzy and Peter came along and had their own sets of issues.
I developed a bit of a reputation as a mother, to some I was a tireless champion for my kids, to others I was an obsessive pain in the neck.
Funny thing though, when it came to my kids, my people pleasing went out the door. I was determined to get to the root of my kids’ issues and help them thrive.
Watching my children meet and exceed expectations was and still is thrilling. Tom is finishing seventh grade, and he’s become an amazing student who works hard and has learned to be his best advocate.
First grade has been a great experience for Peter, and he is learning to use language to let the world know just how bright he is. He even got ahead of the curve and was doing second grade math. I love it when my children start to show the potential that tests have never predicted.
My early success at helping Tom overcome his challenges had me feeling a bit overconfident. I really believed that if I worked hard enough, I could solve all the kids issues, or at least help them work through them.
This belief was really challenged when our daughter Lizzy’s issues cropped up, and nothing we did seemed to bring us answers.
The pain and sadness that accompanies the realization that your child has a severe impairment was stretched out since Lizzy did not fit any standard diagnosis.
One day it would seem like we found the answer only to be dropped into despair the next as a new issue would crop up.
Specialists and tests became a normal part of our life. We had to watch her struggle for every word, every milestone. Five MRI’s showed significant brain damage, but not one doctor could tell us why or how it would effect Lizzy’s life in the long run.
Then one day I knew, I just knew that the life I had hoped for my daughter was not the reality. Acceptance came slowly. Yet all along we watched Lizzy work so hard and stay so happy despite all her challenges. Her happiness became my one desire for her. I will do whatever it takes to make the dreams she has for herself come true.
Watching my children work so hard to overcome the challenges they were given taught me a powerful lesson. My kids didn’t give up, and I wouldn’t let them.
What would happen if I started to get honest with myself and really strive for a professional goal I wanted to attain? Was I all talk and no action?
As I started to write and share our families story online, I started to feel as if I was on the path I was meant for. From the day I got my first like on the parenting site, to starting and growing this blog, I have been on a wonderful adventure.
I made myself a promise when I started writing and blogging that I would take it wherever it led. No self sabotaging, no letting fear get the best of me.
Which brings me to my big announcement. On July 16 my business partner, Val Curtis, of mental-chew.com and I will be launching an online magazine for moms: Bonbon Break…cause every mama needs one!
I sometimes laugh at the idea that the woman who didn’t even know how to e-mail two years ago is now starting an online magazine.
I am having a ball and have been amazed how quickly this new adventure has unfolded and can’t wait to share my new baby with you. As July 16 looms closer, I’ll have more details for you.
If you go to bonbonbreak.com now, you wont’ see much, all the fun is happening behind the scenes. But you can subscribe to our newsletter, which will update you on our progress as we get closer to the big day!
Of course, you will still find me here each week writing about my crazy life and my crazier dishwasher. That’s not changing.
Thank you for showing up each week and sharing this really exciting time in my life. I’m amazed at where I find myself now. The support I have found here has been priceless and means the world to me.