Friday, April 12, 2013

Riding the wave

So there was a minor little sports story that seems to have everyone up in arms around here:)  That's right, I'm blogging about the blog.  It's what we bloggers do.

A little background here.  I am the stay at home mother of 5 ages 13 and under.  I started this blog when we set out to adopt from Ethiopia.  Yes, there is a reason for the name.  The blog has followed our family as God blessed us with two children that happened to be living locally.  Since, I've written about adoption, being a large family, a multiracial family, social justice issues, mothering 5 children often with extras around as we are a part of Safe Families.  All of this is seen through the lens of my love of Jesus and His love for me.  It's the only way I know how to see life.   I blogged because I am a writer.  A writer no one reads or pays but a writer all the same.  It's never mattered to me how many people read it.  I am a writer because I write.  Sometimes 50 may read, sometimes it's 300.  Two evenings ago, I sat and blogged about this mailer I received about a local high school basketball coach and the small little blog garnered some mucho attention.  

Mucho, as in 1300 before I went to bed that first night and now, after having been shared on FB and tweeted and retweeted and last night picked up by the news, it's at almost 8,000 hits and previously I've had 10,000 hits in the history of the blog.  A 4 year history.  Sports are powerful my friends.  A sad little commentary on our society I think.  However, hundreds more have also gone on to read about my passions and that feels good.   Maybe someone will read about living a life of faith or adoption or Safe Families.   Maybe they'll want to read more.  And maybe they'll read this one story about basketball and I'm okay with that because as a writer, it is nice to be heard.  It feels good to have captured the feelings of so many.  And let's face it, this story really isn't about basketball at all or this coach.  This story is about one of entitlement.  This story brings up the issue of parents throwing money at their children's problems, parents and the example they too often set for their children...however well intentioned.  This story is about how much sports has changed and how it used to be about exercise, healthy competition and learning life skills like playing as a team, hard work and determination.  It's about common decency and respect for others, even if you disagree with them.  It's about bullying.  It's about a society with skewed priorities.  So I'm okay if my numbers return to 5 today.  Because God gave me a voice and a gift and He asked me to use it.  Whether that touches 5 or 5,000 lives isn't for me to worry about. 

Behind the scenes yesterday was hilarious.  My friends kept texting about sports talk radio and how they were talking about it.  That they had seen the blog here and there.  It was fun to see the excitement for me and very cool to watch the numbers rise throughout the day.  I wondered how many shares and retweets I needed before I got the tshirt that says, I went viral.  Can I check that off my bucket list yet? 

Yesterday afternoon, standing makeupless in yoga pants and a tshirt folding laundry on our kitchen table, I got a text that WISHtv would like to speak with me and they will be here in 30 minutes.  30.  Picture this, mom running up stairs hollering down to kids to leave all their stuff in their backpacks and hang up their coats all the while trying to find clothes that say I'm ready but not trying too hard.  20 minutes to go...All the kids are grabbing laundry and putting it away.  I'm throwing dirty dishes in with the clean ones sitting in the dishwasher.  Texting my husband what is going on so when he pulls into the neighborhood he is not freaked out by the news van sitting in his drive.  10 minutes to go....Run back upstairs to throw on some makeup while the kids are still scurrying about.  "Mooooooom, Grace says we really have to act like we love each other."  Yes children, that would be nice. 2 minutes to go..... "Moooooom, can I watch Netflix?"  No, not now.  Well, that did it.  No to Netflix and unnamed child is on a heap on the floor crying and letting out a guttural cry of how I'm no fun and it's always so boring around here.    Uh, excuse me?  Are we in the same house right now.  I'd love boring. 

I finally got everyone settled with a snack and a game and heard the knock knock knock.  The reporter and photographer were very nice.  The children were very tame.  I was a hot sweaty mess from running around trying to look 'normal.'  The patio door was opened and it was raining and both of these things combined made my naturally curly but blown out very straight hair start to curl in an odd fashion.  I could feel it happening as I spoke to the reporter.  I could actually feel it getting bigger.  Deep breaths. It was the quietest my children have ever been.  Ever.  I thought about hanging on their leg asking them not to leave.

As I closed the door behind them, I took a breath and wondered what had just happened.  Then I looked in the mirror and blinked my eyes 3 times wishing for a do over.   I am definitely a writer, not a speaker.  I stumble over my words and can't seem to form an intelligent response when asked a question.  My mind races and I babble and after they leave is when I think of the genius points I could have made.  Deep breaths.

Another station called.  I declined.  I don't want it to seem like this is a me against them.  It's not and I already had plans to meet friends for dinner and that's way more fun and less stressful.

Watching it all on the news was even more frightening.  We critique ourselves in a way we would never do to anyone else.  I was appalled at my weight, my hair, my obviously sweaty face (or now that I'm on tv do they call that dewy?).  Regardless, the image of me bothered me.  This morning as I showed it to the kids, none of them commented on any of that.  They were proud of me for using my voice to stand up for someone who was being picked on like I've spoken to them about countless times before.  They were proud of my writing and that I had the courage to voice what some would only think.  They were proud so many connected with something I had put a voice too.  Wow!  Schooled again by those babies.   A good friend set me straight too.  She reminded me how many people could learn about some of these social justice issues I feel so strongly about, about the bigger reason this happened.   

That is cool to think about.  The number is up to 9,300 now.  9,300 reading that post is good but what is even better is almost 1000 have read the one prior to it.  And the others.  The ones that shout about my God and His work in my life.  How quickly I had made this about me.  And my looks?  Society has done a great job instilling my low self-esteem.  Really?  9,300 people just read your work.  Who cares?   I doubt this little twist in the road will bring me the writing career I've dreamed about.  It won't bring me fame or riches.  (Except I did get an offer to buy me a drink)  I'd be lying though if I didn't say it felt good to be heard.  To use my voice for good.  9,500 now.  Somebody hand me my yoga pants;)


Armstrongs said...

cannot tell you how bad I want to sit in a corner of your home for 2 hours and just laugh.
appreciate so much who you and your family are and who you are not

Jen said...

Wow, humbled. Thank you.

Eva Taylor said...

Umm, I love you friend!! You inspire me! Thanks for using your voice for good, and you were beautiful on the news and I think you're even more beautiful because I know you personally. Heart of gold right there friend.

Michelle Barnett said...

Another great read proud to call you friend.

Christopher Lingren said...

Just as Michelle said, another great one. So thankful to have you in our lives. You are such an inspiration in so many ways, and we just all love you, and your entire clan.

Mark Wickersham said...

We'll still stop in from China. :-) Thanks, Jen!

Kerri said...

Jen, God has plans for everyone, but not all of us are open to receiving those messages. You live your life as "all ears". What an inspiration for others to stop and really listen. Hugs!