This is a post I have been pondering for quite some time. Truth be told, I’ve written it dozens of times in my head, but hesitated to send the words out into the world. Why? Because as much as I KNOW this post isn’t about any one person, I am pretty certain that there are people in my life who will think this is about them. But it’s not. It’s not about any single person, or any single incident. It is about setting the record straight for anybody and everybody who doesn’t understand why I am sharing our family journey – and that group of people does include some extended family and friends.
So if you are reading this and include yourself among my extended family and friends, please believe me when I say this is not about you. And with that out of the way….
We are quickly coming up on the first anniversary of We’re All A Little Broken. What started out as a way for me to first process my own thoughts and emotions, quickly became a way for me to provide a peek into our lives in an attempt to help loved ones understand our reality. In the early days of the blog, my solitary goal was just to help family and friends understand the day to day challenges in our house. But somewhere along the way, the little blog bloomed into a small community of people all over the world who are reading my words and finding some meaning. Somewhere along the way, our story began to resonate….with those who read and can see a similarity to their own family in us, with those who read and see the struggles and triumphs of their own loved one in my son or my daughter, with those who read and are having their own perspective shifted, with those who read and sigh with relief to know that they are not alone on the journey.
Time and again this past year, I have been overwhelmed by the positive response to We’re All A Little Broken. But it hasn’t been all positive. There are people who have questioned my intent, and even some who have wondered out loud if I might be opening my kids up to ridicule by sharing our story. There were enough of these questions, that I actually spent time really wondering if I am being helpful or harmful. And while I do share openly about the challenges we face in our family – autism spectrum disorder, childhood mental illness, learning disorders, fibromyalgia – I do not over share. I do not tell the stories that feel too fragile. I take great care to balance out the raw and broken bits of our story with the beauty that is found in our day to day reality. And the people who are beside me in this day to day reality – my husband, son and daughter – are all incredibly supportive of me telling our story. So do I think I am doing harm by sharing our story? Absolutely not.
I know that there will always be people – both in my personal life and in the world in general – who will never understand the intent and message in my words. And that’s okay. I’m not writing for them. I am writing for me. But more than that, I write for the people out there who do understand the intent and message in my words.
I write for my son, who can’t always find the words himself to express his experiences or feelings, but he reads my blog and tells me how proud he is that his story can help other kids.
I write for my daughter, who is already an amazing force for good in this world and I hope that she find some inspiration in my journey as she charts her own path.
I write for my husband, who is my partner, ally and greatest supporter in this life we didn’t expect.
I write for the childhood friend who has confided her own son’s struggles that in many ways mirror my son’s challenges.
I write for the high school friend who has shared her daughter’s challenging journey with me.
I write for the college friend who talked with me about her own hunches and fears on the eve of the first in a series of diagnostic appointments for her young son.
I write for the friend who’s adolescent nephew has been recently hospitalized as he battles with depression.
I write for the woman I have never met, who sent me a message thanking me for words that helped her feel that her family was not alone in their own struggle.
I write for all of the parents and caregivers who are searching for answers.
I write for all of the family and friends who are trying to understand and wanting to be supportive.
I write because the raw and broken parts of our lives are as real and formative and important as the beautiful parts of our lives.
And I will continue writing as long as somebody out there continues reading.