Sunday, May 21, 2006

A Week Late and Several Marbles Short

Where has The Discontented One been?

1.) Sulking, discontentedly. Hiding in a deep, dark mental cave. Basking, if you will, in a long dark teatime of the soul.

2.) Re-reading The Da Vinci Code, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Life, the Universe and Everything, and Borges' Ficciones. In an attempt to reorder her brain cells in such a fashion as to make them cease to wish sulking. It didn't really work.

(Yes, fellow book snobs, I know The Da Vinci Code sucks, from a literary standpoint, in terms of writing quality, but the twisted plotting is fun, and I was in a free-speechy stick-it-to-the-whiny-establishment sort of mood this week, even though I wasn't doing much talking).

Of course, like all of you other MommyBloggers out there, I thought Her Bad Mother had an excellent idea in her Mother's Day Mommy-Blogger Love-In. I found out about this whole beautiful bloglove exchange when Andrea over at Little Bald Doctors put me (*blush*) on her Mother's Day honor roll.

But did I post? No. I drafted. I dawdled. I re-drafted. I edited.

I finally got fed up with these sort of delay tactics, and turned off my computer for three days.

Now, here I am, swimming frantically in the fading wake of the Love Boat (By the by, did I mention I can't really swim?) Chasing the caboose of the meme train. Arriving at the blog party just as the DJ packs up and the waiters start collecting empty champagne bottles and ushering the last few weepy drunks out the door.

However, I am nothing if not one of the world's greatest procrastinators.

And some people need some props here, and I suppose they come better belated than never.

So, here they come, the women you've all been waiting for:

Mommybloggers who've made a difference. In my life, and I suspect, in the lives of many other women looking for the wit, wisdom and companionship of other mothers online.

I'll start with one of my earliest supporters in blogland: Andrea of Little Bald Doctors

An amazingly prolific blogger, Andrea never ceases to amaze me with the consistent beauty and coherence of her long, frequent, essay-quality posts. Despite coping with her own stressful day job and her husband's erratic work schedule on top of the trials and tribulations of mothering a two-year-old, this woman is a regular blogging machine who puts weaker blogbeings such as myself to shame.

She is also one of the most versatile bloggers I've come across. I never know when I visit whether I'll find a charming anecdote about her son's freakish obsession with Spongebob, or blistering social commentary about the state of mainstream journalism. I will not be at all surprised to see her name on the NYT Bestsellers list as soon as she finds time to finish that thriller she's working on.

Then there are Lisa, of Midwestern Mommy, and Dawn, of I Am Doing The Best I Can.

I can honestly say that finding Dawn's and Lisa's blogs really actually seriously and truly rescued me from a black pit of despair.

When I started blogging here at Blogger, I was still struggling to come to terms with my son's serious eating problems, trying to wrap my head around the fact that I was trying to mother a baby who JUST WOULDN'T EAT. My very first entry on this blog was a sort of a cry in the wilderness, searching for understanding I felt might never come. After months of healthcare professionals running invasive, often painful tests on my child, shaking their heads in befuddlement, and nearly always finally insisting that all of my son's problems must just come down to "manipulative behavioral issues" on my son's behalf which they could only attribute to "inexperienced parenting" on mine, finally, I found a group of occupational therapists who were able to give me a true diagnosis: my son had Sensory Integration Disorder, and it actually wasn't my fault.

And then, hard on the heels of this much sought-after diagnosis, who should appear almost instantly from the internet ether with words of support and wisdom but Lisa and Dawn? Women who also each had a child with this disorder. Kind strangers who showed more understanding and compassion about what my son and I were going through than I'd received even from some close friends and family members.

Lisa, a powerfully (if occasionally oddly) funny woman who seems to constantly wear her wry sense of humor as an impenetrable armor against the slings and arrows of parenting, makes me laugh out loud with almost every single post, and she handles the hurdles of raising a child with special needs with a grace and perspective I aspire to daily. Lisa radiates positive energy into the world through her computer.

And Dawn, whose daughter has learning disabilities and ADD on top of Sensory Integration Disorder. Dawn who had been a professional childcare expert before being a mother, who thought she knew how to handle any kid on the planet until her own came along. Dawn who had to wait not my measly eighteen months, but FIVE YEARS before finally getting a diagnosis for her daughter's many health and behavioral problems.

As I read her archives I discovered that nearly every difficult, scary thing I was going through with my own child, Dawn had already been through with her daughter-- in fact, that Dawn and her daughter had already both been through far worse-- and they were both still alive and kicking. Kicking serious ass, in fact. In tandem. I always imagine their house is sort of like The Matrix.

I started reading I Am Doing the Best I Can because it made me feel like my family and I weren't alone with my son's mysterious illness.

I keep reading it because it's one of the best damn blogs I've ever found.

I am sure by now that Dawn realizes I've been stalking her like a madwoman since the day she first left a comment on my site, and yet, she's much too polite to question me about my mental health. She's just classy like that. (Although I'm sure if she saw me in person wearing, say, an oversized track suit and worn-out tennis shoes from Target, she wouldn't hesitate to turn me in to the Fashion Police).

More recently, I've become positively addicted to Liz at Mom-101, who is probably one of the best writers on Earth, and most assuredly deserves whatever astronomical salary I hope to high heaven someone is actually paying her for flying between New York and L.A. weekly for her supercool advertising job, often having to leave the second most adorable baby I've ever seen behind for several days.

Liz describes her struggle to balance her home life with her career with such pathos-inspiring immediacy and such breathtaking beauty that I sometimes feel convinced if enough corporate overlords were forced to read her blog, Congress would suddenly pass a law declaring every day a Take Your Baby to Work Day.

But I'm probably giving the corporate overlords too much credit.

And my newest blog crush is Lildb over at I Obsess, a fairly new blogger whose well-composed musings remind me a lot of myself a little over a year ago, when my son was the same age her son is now. Only she writes better.

But you know, the sappy truth is, Mommybloggers, I love all of you. (And Daddybloggers, I love you too!)

One of the main reasons it's taken me a week to finish this post is that I actually wanted to write about my whole damn blogroll. And a lot of people who aren't on my blogroll. Even a couple of people whose blogs touched me months or a year ago, who sadly don't have time to write anymore.

So much in my life changed when I became a parent, and so many of my real life friends have since drifted away, unable to handle my new child-altered lifestyle. One of the hardest parts of parenting my son, for me, has been the feeling of isolation I've felt from the adult world since I quit my job and began working from home.

And yet, through the parenting blog community, I have been able to find so much amazing advice, support, and companionship. I never believed a virtual world could be so fulfilling. I am grateful to so many of you for helping me keep my own sanity, often by publicly sharing how close you've come to losing your own.

Thanks, friends.


Andrea said...

Wow. I don't know what to say. You, Jae, have done what no other person in the universe could've done. You've rendered me speechless. Thank you. Thank you for your kind words, for being my first reader that I didn't know IRL, and for being one of my biggest supporters. That's all I can say. Thank you.

And don't worry about being a little behind. This love fest keeps on giving and it's wonderful! Just wonderful. Her Bad Mother did say that there's no deadline and she'll post the love fest links for as long as she receives them. Don't beat yourself up. Period. (I guess I did have more to say.)

Dawn said...

You have actually made me blush. And yes, our house is just like the Matrix. Only I wish Keanu in the black leather would come out, instead of all the Agent Smith's I keep coming across. Oh Keanu, where for art thou, Keanu?

And we SI mom's have got to stick together, for every old hag who has some sick advice about forcing our children to do something, or punishing them for who they are - Yeah, thanks. You and your mini-gestapo can go eat you crackers in your toyless hell over there.

OK, Now I am rambling, but unrequited love does that...

Lisa said...

Hi there,

You are so very sweet for all of your kind words. And I have to laugh at the image you have of me! So I'm odd? What's THAT mean? (Giving you crap. I know I'm a total dork.)

I've been meaning to do a post where I tell people what I love about my fellow bloggers but have been too lazy.

Maybe someday. But honestly, you made my week!

Debbie said...

Praise. I can never live up to it. Especially when it's undeserved.

I'm nowhere near possessed (well, that's debatable) -- of the skill to twist words into the lovely shapes that you are capable of.

Still, I'll take the crush, and return it back to you, tenfold. I think you rule.

I'm just honored to receive the occasional comment from you, nevermind a samplin' of the love spread in this post.

's funny; I just remembered how, when I commented here for the first time, that I had to register for a blogspot account in order to be legit, and I was like, "oh, great, I gotta jump through hoops to post a comment that is about as exciting as lukewarm milk. hooray. I'm sure this girl is *never* going to acknowledge my existence."

heh. so I'm glad I didn't listen to *that* voice. for once.

Jaelithe said...

Hehe Lisa, I was referring actually to your own comment about you and your husband sharing the same odd sense of humor. I don't actually think you're strange ;)

Jaelithe said...

Okay, may I submit to the world of Typepad, Livejournal, etc:

Non-registered posting.

Mom101 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mom101 said...

Here I am, reading your post and nodding along, yes, Dawn is amazing...yes Lisa, awesome...Andrea, yep, just found her and love her...and I'm composing a comment in my head about what good taste you have when--what? Me? You wrote about me?

I'm sitting here (in LA, no less) totally humbled and a little misty. And I'll probably end up rambling which is my way of compensating for being a loss for words. I know I can make readers laugh, but you just made me feel like I actually connect with people and I think as a writer, that's the highest praise there is. Thank you, truly and deeply for that.

Oh, and today was Take My Baby to Work Day, if only just for an hour. It was divine.

Anonymous said...

Yay, now I can continue to be lazy by not creating a blogger profile and thus being one step closer to starting on my own blog!

Anonymous said...

All awesome bloggers and a great tribute to all of them!

Ruth Dynamite said...

What a beautiful tribute to people I'm not all that familiar with - yet.