Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hopeful parenting, hopeful writing

Do you know about Hopeful Parents?

I mean, if you're here reading this, I'm sure you know about hopeful parents. But I'm talking about capital-H, capital-P Hopeful Parents, the online community that provides "grassroots support for parents of kids with special needs" - a space where, thanks to the tireless effort of its outrageously well-organized founder Christina Shaver, parents can come together through forum and chat functions and where parent-writers post daily - and, now, twice daily - about their lives, their children, and their hope.

I've recently joined the Hopeful Parents community of writers and will be posting there on the eleventh of each month. My first post is up - right here - today.

Hopefully, I'll see you there.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Mom - Not Specified Enough

My friend Niksmom once told me I was ubiquitous. At the time, I was flattered (I'm anyone's for a word like "ubiquitous"), but it seems that these days I might be experiencing a bit of a double-edged ubiquity.

A couple of years ago, I discovered that there was someone else out there on the Interwebz posting as Mom-NOS. I stumbled upon her accidentally, but, because we appeared to travel in different circles, I thought that the potential for misunderstanding seemed small. Truth be told, in real life I have a fairly ubiquitous Susan Jones sort of name, so I've gotten used to being one of many. For the most part, it hasn't been a problem (except, of course, for the time when Bud's dad and I were dating and he called the Susan Jones who not only lived on my street, but also had a phone number that was just one digit off from mine, and she told him she'd never heard of him... but I digress).

In the years that have passed since I discovered that other Mom-NOS, it seems that more of us have appeared and now I'm afraid we might have started tripping over each other. I have, sadly, not been able to stay current in my blog reading. In recent months, I have fallen behind in the lives of my blogging friends and have failed to reach out to expand my blogging network (which, I swear, is not from a lack of caring, but simply from a lack of time). Despite that, not long ago, I was on a friend's blog trying to bring myself up-to-date. I clicked on a link to leave a comment on a post that was weeks (months?) old, and there, in the comment section, was - I thought - a comment from me. But it didn't sound like me. It wasn't offensive in any way - it just wasn't the sort of thing I'd say and it wasn't said in the sort of way I'd say it.

I kept reading the comments and saw that my blogger friend had responded - and from her response I could see that she thought she'd responded to me. Suddenly, that theoretical potential for confusion that I'd tucked in the back of my mind became a tangible source of confusion, and I started to imagine the hurt feelings that could result if "I" started posting "I-don't-know-you-very-well" comments to blogging friends with whom I'd been through years of highs and lows. I could imagine my friends reading these comments and thinking "you don't REMEMBER that I went through..." and thinking that I'd checked out on them completely. Because, you know how it is - we moms in the autism blogosphere? We have been through a LOT together. We may never have met, but we know each other well. So an ill-placed "I-don't-know-you-very-well" comment? It would be akin to walking up to my brother and asking, "So, do you have any siblings?"

But, the Internet being what it is, and the slippery slope of pseudonymity being what it is, there is really no hope of reigning in this particular phenomenon. If anything, I imagine it will continue to grow. It is certainly another check in the column of "reasons to uncloak" - something I've begun to do in some circles anyway, but something that I still need to ponder a bit further.

In the meantime, know this: When I comment on blogs, I always, always, always link back here. If there is no link or if it links elsewhere, it is not me. I don't participate in chat rooms or discussion boards or support groups. I don't use this name for anything other than autism blogging. Almost all of my blogging happens here and when I post as a guest-blogger elsewhere, I will post a link to that guest post here.

I guess that's the best I can do for now. That, of course, and try to carve out more time to increase my presence in the comment sections of the blogging friends I care about deeply and the blogging friends I've yet to meet. Maybe then, with a little more effort on my part, I can start to reclaim some ubiquity in my own right.