Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Our Shady Tree's Ode to Amazing MommyBloggers

I am coming a little late to Her Bad Mother’s contest to love the heck out of other MommyBloggers you call friends. Over the past 19 months, I’ve experienced the worst lows of my life. The upside to that is that I’ve discovered just how lucky I am. Blogging and reading other blogs has been therapeutic. I’m not sure what I would have done without them. I’m adding my Ode to the post-Mother’s Day week celebration of marvelous mommies who inspire me and make me glad to be human, a woman, a mommy, a sister and a friend.

I might never have started my blog without the example of Trista. Danny had a blog and even encouraged me to create my own. Still, it wasn’t until I visited Team M.E.A.T. for the first time that I began to grasp the importance and fun of what I now know as MommyBlogging. She has been my best friend for more than a decade. I can never honestly doubt that God exists or that God loves me because of her. She is honest, hilarious, loyal, caring and a joy. We experienced the ups and downs of adoption and first-time motherhood together. We’ve experienced the surprise and tribulations of unexpectedly soon second time motherhood (hers more unexpectedly sooner than mine – HA!). When Danny’s father had an emergency double bypass surgery just a few weeks before Ally’s due date, she came to my rescue. Since Ally’s birth, she’s always been there with support and has never once made me feel like a burden – although I’m most certain I have been. Last but not least, she has an awesome MommyBlog. If you are unfamiliar with adoption you will learn a lot. Abby and Ethan are so very close to my heart. I’ve never been so honored as I was the day that Danny and I were asked to be Ethan’s godparents. I love you with all my heart, Trista!

Blogging seems to have a domino effect. I started my blog after Trista. My sister, Donielle, started her blog – Triple Happiness – after seeing mine. Donielle’s blog details the life of a multi-cultural family. Her husband, Peter, is from China. Together they made one beautiful little girl named Sophia. There is five years between Donielle and I. We fought a lot as kids, but grew closer after I went away to college. She’s the only person other than Danny with whom I’ve shared a bedroom. How much closer can you get? I would love Donielle and want to be her friend even if we weren’t related. It’s nice to be able to feel that way about your siblings. I know that not every one does. Most recently I love the fact that we get to be MommyBloggers together. I never expected to be having children with my siblings because of the age differences. Thankfully life usually doesn’t go along as expected. Because of the distance between me and my family, blogging has helped us maintain contact and see each other’s children grow up. Even though you’ve known a person for almost 30 years, it is surprising what you find out by reading each other’s blogs.

Keeping it all in the family, Trista’s husband’s sister Tracy has a wonderful blog about her family. Her children are precious and looking at Lana is like seeing baby Tracy all over again. I remember very well when she was just a tiny baby – and I mean tiny. There is a picture that I have etched in my memory that was taken when Tracy was less than a year old. I have always had a pretend love-hate relationship with Tracy’s father. We tease each other mercilessly. In this picture, I am jumping in the pool to splash Tracy’s dad and he’s wagging his finger warning me not to. Tracy’s mom is in the background holding Tracy. I will say again that she was so tiny. There were many times I would be holding Ally on my hip like Tracy’s mom and I would stop and think, “This must be what it was like to hold Tracy.” Tracy has the most spirit of anyone I know. She was in my youth group and we had so much fun together. I hope that my girls are like her. It’s hard for me to believe that she’s a wife and mother now. Isn’t she still in high school? We both have moved away from our families and that is a bond that we share now. I remember well how it felt those first few years after I moved to Virginia. I read some of Tracy’s posts and I am right there with her. I hope that when it feels that way that she knows that she’s not alone.

Danny is an only child, but he did have a friend growing up that comes as close to being his brother than anyone else – Daniel. Luckily for me, Daniel married a wonderful woman who I get the pleasure of calling my friend – Melissa. She homeschools Jack and Katrina and they are the sweetest and most polite children you’ll ever meet. I really respect the way they are raising their children and blending their family. Her children are slightly older than mine. Watching the way she parents them gives me confidence in myself. I can’t tell you how good it feels to know that other mothers have had similar experiences and have survived to tell the tale. Her friendship and advice has meant so much to me.

Although I’d like to think otherwise, Trista’s life continued on after I moved to Virginia. In order to be closer to Mark, she moved away from Grand Rapids as well. It is there that she met Jenny, the friend I’ve never met in person. Trista must have told her about my blog. One day out of the blue she responded to one of my posts about Allison’s birth. I am so thankful. I don’t know what else to say. She, like Tracy and I before her, followed Trista’s example and started a blog about her family. I hope that someday we can finally meet in person. Until then, it’s just nice to know that she’s out there planning scrapbooking weekends with Trista.

Over the past few months, Kary has been an important part of my life. At one time we worked together. She still works with Danny. Danny mentioned my blog to her and the rest has been history. We’ve bonded over Weight Watchers at first, but we share a lot more in common than that. We are able to build each other up with our strengths and understand each others weaknesses. It always makes me happy to find an email from her waiting for me. Had I happened upon Her Bad Mother before Mother’s Day, I wouldn’t have been able to add Kary to my list. It’s as if it was meant to be. Kary Nation made its glorious début today. I’m looking forward to watching her blog evolve.

Our Shady Tree is proud to be part of the MommyBloggers sub-culture. Until last night I never knew that such a thing existed. It’s amazing the things you will uncover simply by clicking on the Next Blog button. If you haven’t lost hours doing that before, it’s well worth it. You might run into freaks but you just might find some friends that will soon become a part of your daily life.


Melissa O. Markham said...

Jennifer, thanks so much. I am honored by your words and your friendship! God bless! Be sure to stop by my homeschool blog and visit (I spend most of my time there these days!) www.homeschoolblogger.com/writmm

Melissa O. Markham said...

Jennifer, thanks for visiting my homeschool blog. I have loved playing games since I was small. Jack is visiting a friend tonight so that is what Katrina and I did to while away the hours. Hope to see you soon!

DD said...

I have to admit I didn't want to see my blog evolve the way it has. But I'm starting to appreciate that I have a wonderful opportunity to keep blogging; just not about the stuff I had started it for.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your time at my place. I promise to do the same.

BTW, your girls are beautiful!

Kary said...

Thanks for the ode, Jennifer. I consider Our Shady Tree and your emails a lifeline to me. Our similar struggles are uncanny. I can't wait to "evolve" my blog.

Trista said...

You are so sweet! I love you with all my heart, too. And you were NOT a burden to me.

I love your post. I'm SO glad that blogging has been therapeutic for you - it has for me too, especially helping to expand my mind about adoption.

I love you very much, girlie!

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean. I blog a lot on myspace.com and it really helps me. Sometimes you just need to write things on-line that you don't feel like saying out loud. I love what you've done with your blog & thank you for sharing it with me. (Shanna)

the quists said...

I am so surprised and overwhelmed that you think so highly of me! I love you Jennifer, and I am so thankful that I can read your blog too! I feel like I have learned so much about you and I would love to meet your sweet girls someday! Thanks for the emotional support with the move...It is nice to think I am not alone! What you wrote made me cry!