I won't lie; when this blog first came into existence almost 10 years ago (gulp, goosebumps), I babysat it like it was my nephew in the NICU. (When John was born three years ago tomorrow -- two months prior to his due date and with head trauma to boot -- I visited the NICU often. I usually went after dinner, when my kids were settled and when his heroic parents finally left his side to get a bit of sleep. When I wasn't holding him, I would watch the numbers on the screen above his incubator, examine his little body and his precious movements as if those numbers, that body, and those movements were the most important things in the whole world. Because to our family, they were.) I could write about John for a whole book, but let the metaphor end here, and suffice it to say, years ago, I babysat this blog and people's responses to it like they meant the world to me. Because they did.
Ten years ago, thanks to my brother (John's dad) who showed me how to see the "analytics" of the blog, I experienced joy in watching people in over 90 countries consistently read something I wrote. I still don't understand how it happened, but at the time, I was scared out of my mind and the distraction of writing and then babysitting my writing helped. At a time when I wondered what more I'd get to do with my life, I felt valuable in seeing that what I was writing meant something to someone else. Plus, I felt loved. Heard. Insightful. Who doesn't want to feel that?!
In one month, August 8, 2022, I will (God willing) reach the 10-year anniversary of my diagnosis. I would be lying if I said I haven't been looking at that date. Watching that number on the calendar. Five years felt big. Ten feels monumental. And standing in the shadow of a monument can feel really overwhelming.
Part of this burst of energy to begin to write my book is fueled by that anniversary. It's even fueled, a bit, by fear, but more on that sometime soon. It's largely fueled by my mother, who doesn't just inspire me with her faith in my abilities and the constant insight she gives me without even trying, but with the practical support I need to actually do this. And it's fueled by something deep inside me that just knows: this is what I need to do if I am going to live, really live, as me.
At the same time, I'm trying not to babysit these little blogs. I'm practicing for when I start to put more writing out into the world. I can't control what people will say about what I write so I may as well practice surrendering now.
Still, I peek. I smile. And I'm so grateful for the people who believe in me. Again, who doesn't want to feel that?!
I have two solid guesses as to the person who left this comment on my "It's Time" blog, and there's a little magic in not reaching out to either of them to say, "Was this you?" So I haven't done that (yet?) and rather, I've just been reading these words over and over.
The brave and warrior part are sweet but I don't really pay much heed to that. How can I believe that when I'm reading American Dirt? What I have done is like 0.00000000001% of what others do in this world. But still, I'm grateful for the sentiment.
But just read those words: "Goals, not dreams. Not an if, but a when, marked in your time, your pace, to reach your planned goals." Dang. For me, words are often precious gifts and when shaped in the way this person shaped them, I feel like Anonymous left me a gift worth billions.
This morning, shortly after 6:30 a.m., I made a new note in my novel's Scrivener document. I called it, "Goals, not dreams," and I mapped out the plan.
300 pages by December 31. A full draft of the novel, messy and in need of months of editing, but complete by the end of 2022. That's the planned goal, with a pretty little table and mini-deadlines all mapped out as of today. That map will take me the distance. Planned goal. Born in a dream.
Thank you to Anonymous for sharing the precious gift of your words. I promise, I won't babysit, but every now and then, I'll quietly open the door and peek in to check on these sleeping babies. Because who doesn't want to feel that?!