Way back when I began this blog (which is a subject that came up at BlogHer, when DID I begin Pinwheels, and I didn’t have a ready answer for the question, maybe I should add my archives, to which I said, Who cares?) I thought it would be a good way to share experiences with other families, as a way of helping us all along this path of parenthood.
I still feel that to be true.
And that’s the reason I wanted to write about the NDSC Conference in Boston, and about the BlogHer Conference in San Francisco–for those of you wanted to attend but couldn’t, so you’d get an idea of what you might have felt or experienced if you’d been there; of course, the lens is mine and the filter is through my own experiences.
Which is why I’ve had a bit of difficulty writing about San Francisco. It was the city of my childhood; the place of my growing-up years, and this is the first time I’ve been back. And because of this, I was terribly distracted from my life as a special needs mom at BlogHer, and I was very much my 10-year-old self, revisiting (or trying to) places I thought I remembered.
If I were a photographer, these are some of the photographs I’d have taken: the pastel-colored houses stacked along a hillside as we drove into town, in my shared airport shuttle with the guys who called me “Montana!”; Hi guys, I made it back!
Or the musician with the beautiful, sad green eyes who played jazz trumpet in the square across from the hotel. One evening, he played Chet Baker’s, “My Funny Valentine,” and I almost felt as if I were home.
I wandered around China Town, too, and happy memories came back to me of things I thought I’d forgotten, like rice cakes and jasmine tea and though I was unscucessful, I searched and searched for a restaurant that used to serve meals in booths with sliding embroidered curtains.
Instead, I witnessed a dragon dance in the alleyway, which I took as a sign of good fortune. And I remembered that I’ve always loved the smooth, green glow of jade. I bought my little boys kites from an import shop, and I got Tom a big-bellied, smiling Buddha, because really, who couldn’t use a little extra luck in life?
And I met friends, new and old, who all have written about this weekend already. I am so, so fortunate to have these kinds of women in my life.
It sounds like a nice tourist trip, no? Or maybe a trip down memory lane?
Yes, and yes.
Which is why it’s been difficult for me to know what to say here, at Pinwheels. But I’ve finally got it. Like many things in life, sometimes the passage of time lets the silt settle, and what you’re left with is the moments that resonate as truths, to you. Here are mine:
Lisa Stone, speaking about the importance of blogging. She’s a Montana gal and she related to me the story of waiting on her front stoop, as a girl, for the mailman to deliver the most recent copy of Seventeen Magazine. What freedom, when it arrived! For a few moments, her life was updated, and she was in touch with the currents of the world. To which I replied, “I understand! On the ranch, we get mail once a week, on Thursdays. I don’t know what I would do without the Internet.”
Then there was the closing address, which featured popular bloggers Heather B. Armstrong and Stephanie Klein. There were some truths about the writing life, but mostly, it was a discussion of the trappings of fame and celebrity, which is something I’ve never known.
Instead, what stayed with me were the words of moderator Elisa Camahort Page. She said something to the effect of, I blog because I can. I can never know what my grandmother was thinking, as a young woman and a Holocaust survivor, but I can leave my own words, for others to discover.
It meant so much to me: I don’t think this blog will mean fame, or fortune. But it is my hope that it will be a record of our times; and it will be my voice, for my family and my children’s children, some day. So that they will know how much I loved them, and how I tried to show it.
My fellow panelists wrote about it here and here and here and here.
Thanks to HappyKatie for the liveblog, and to the ladies at BlogHer for putting together such a powerful and clear sign that blogging matters, and that it’s here to stay.