Before I jumped in headfirst into this deep, deep pool of bloggy-ness, an unbelievable story was brought to my attention courtesy of my beloved "Today" show. At the time, I was actually thinking about starting a blog, or un-blog, or whatever this is, but I was, in no way, ready to commit.
In the middle of the chaos of a September school morning, my eyes glanced up to the television and the chyron below the people seated on the couch being interviewed included the words "Supermom" and "Blog." Well, since I am obsessed with supermoms and with wondering if they really exist, I had to check that story out. And after listening to this group of siblings talk about the tragedy that had struck their family, I headed over to my computer to check out the blog of the supermom that was mentioned - the NieNie Dialogues.
Now I know many of you, if not all of you, are like "Oh yeah, Nie Nie, of course. Like you didn't know about her already?" Well, my non-blogging life is not that long ago so let me remind you that when you're a mom without a blog, there's really not much chance to know about a well-known blogging mom, you know?
So on that fateful September day, I was introduced to a blogging mama who had tons of followers and was about to add tons more - all because she was critically injured and burned in a horrible private plane crash. I remember the early days of discovering her blog and I was literally in shock as I read the updates as she and her husband fought to survive - all while their four young children were being cared for by Nie's incredible sister, C Jane, another blogging mama extraordinaire.
I remember crying real tears when I thought about what this family was enduring and praying that she would survive so their children would not lose their mother. Half-obsessed with this mind-blowing story of tragic survival, I scoured past posts of Nie's to learn more about who this woman was.
Who this supermom was.
From what I read and learned, Nie is the kind of woman I am not. Nie is the kind of mother I am not. She seemed to handle the struggle of mothering four young children with a grace and ease I do not possess. She had a knack for living her life bursting with creativity always looking for the next homemade art project. She had a way of seeing life with optimism and she worked at giving that perspective to her kids. Her energy seemed boundless - her ideas never-ending - her love and patience for her kids infinite.
The fact that we existed at opposite ends of the supermom spectrum was perhaps best exemplified in a post where she wrote about doing a project with her kids where she wrote upbeat messages on slips of paper like "Smile, someone loves you" or "Someone wants you to have a happy day!" and she took her kids to not only hide these messages around a busy shopping area of her town but also they would then hide and watch people find the messages so as to see the happiness they were spreading.
Are you kidding me?
To put it bluntly, she bugged me.
But I felt bad, really bad, admitting it because here she was fighting for her life. When I read her posts and saw the pictures, my own insecurities as a mother deepened. "Who does this shit?" I thought, "I would never EVER think to do these things she does."
No matter how shitty I felt reading about the kind of mother Nie was, I couldn't stop reading. I just couldn't. Something kept drawing me back in. Somewhere in between the baking, and the cooking, and the photography, and the gorgeous self-portraits she is known for, and the painting, and the sewing, and the crafts, and the art projects, and the faith she exudes, and the way her life felt like one HUGE artistic expression, I became...well, inspired.
And that is where, to me, the best of blogging exists. In the unknown, undefined, private space of a moment in time when one soul with a story touches another soul with a story.
In both reading Nie's past posts and by reading the updates posted by C Jane, I began to realize that Nie was actually not that different than me at all. Sure, she expressed herself much differently than I do and she did all of those typical "supermom" things much, much better than I do, but in the end she was a mom choosing to fight for her life despite all the odds stacked against her because she couldn't stand the thought of leaving her kids.
And you know what? I would do the exact same thing. I would fight. Nie made me realize that.
And boy did Nie fight hard to stay on the planet. And she's still fighting. For those of you who don't know, she started posting again this past Friday. She has returned from death's door looking very different as a victim suffering burns on over 80% of her body but she is alive. All because a mother's love is the deepest love there is and she refused to let go.
She simply had to get back to her kids. To make them dinner. To read them a book. To tuck them into bed.
Just like I do. Just like we all do.
So this Tuesday's Tribute is for Nie. For helping me realize that being a supermom really IS a state of mind and it's time I start getting MY mind into the right state. Sure, I don't cook, sew, craft, blog, or do anything that well at all, but you know what I do well? I love my kids well and I'm willing to go to the ends of the earth to make sure they are fed, read to and tucked in.
And in the end, that may be all they need.
A Jay and Deb Production.