where wildly different is perfectly normal
Fresh year, fresh start
Fresh year, fresh start

Fresh year, fresh start

January 8th is my Blog New Year, the anniversary of when I jumped into the deep end of online writing and learned to do werds things in full view of the internet. Thirteen years and counting, it’s taken me places I could never even imagine back then.

I look through some older posts and get nostalgic, remembering how wee widdle the boys used to be. Doesn’t appear that either one will ever tower over their Amazonian mother (who is starting to embrace heels for the first time in her very tall life), but they’re certainly bigger and hairier and smellier than they were when I first started blogging. They’re also snarkier and hella more fun. I love having teenagers. They are funny and curious and passionate about their lives. Somehow we managed to raise interesting young men, and Tom and I are enjoying them now more than ever before.

I look back through some older posts and get twitchy, remembering how painful some of those days and weeks and months were. Feeling so alone, trying to figure out just what the absolute HELL was going on with our son. What felt like never ending therapies and interventions and consultations, so many of them with the eventual answer of “Well, we’ve never seen a kid like this, we think there’s something going on, we’re not sure exactly what, but try ABC-XYZ-PDQ and good luck!” So many tears. SO MANY TEARS. My tears of frustration and fear; an 8 year-old’s cries of “Stop trying to fix me, I’m not broken!” Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and let 2006 Jen know that it really will be okay, but I’m pretty sure 2006 Jen would throw things at 2019 Jen and 2019 Jen would absolutely have that coming. Things were hard, and the light at the end of the tunnel was a mere whisper of a rumor, not even an oncoming train. And things didn’t even start to get crazy and hellish for a few years yet. 2019 Jen would like to avoid 2011-12 Jen forever, thank you very much.

So what now, Jen?

So after 13 years of blogging, I find myself at a new place in life. It may reek of feet, stale food that is still on the plate you took to your room four days ago what is wrong with you I swear to GOD I’m gonna have words with your mother!, and Febreeze (yes, it’s bottle of liquid chemicals, but for the love of being the only female in the house, can we lift a grateful HALLEFREAKINGLUJAH to the heavens above for Febreeze?), but it’s calm(er) here. There are fewer tears, and those that do break through are about 51/49 in favor of tears of laughter over those of pain, frustration, and fear. I have more time for projects that interest me, more time for my students, more time for life.

When winter finally gives up here in northern Illinois, you can smell the thawing ground. It is one of my most favorite scents, because in addition to smelling delicious, it means that winter has broken and new growth will climb from that break. I feel like my life is there now. Winter is breaking and there are amazing things growing for me.

Big and exciting

This summer I will be one of the keynote speakers at the SENG conference in Houston, July 19-21. I am honored and humbled and flat-out gobsmacked by this. See also: nervous, excited, and hopeful that I don’t spray colorful language through the mic as I inevitably trip over my heels and go down as gracefully as a roller-blading giraffe. I’m thinking flats may be a good idea. I’m also thinking that becoming a hermit for the next several months so as to work on the keynote is an even better idea.

Also darned exciting

My friend and co-conspirator, Kate Arms, and I were interviewed for the upcoming Bright and Quirky Summit. It’s a free online webinar for parents to help their bright and quirky kids thrive. Our segment is Sunday, 3 February, discussing burnout prevention when raising a G2e kid. I can’t wait to see it.

Near and dear to my heart

The aforementioned Kate and I have also teamed up with Dr. Christiane Wells of Third Factor to offer monthly webinars on thriving in life when you have complex families. My presentation, Lessons From the Practice Room, is up next on February 10. We also have a private Facebook group for parents of these amazing kids, where you can get the support you need for YOU. Remember YOU, the pretty awesome person raising complexity on nothing more than caffeine, hope, and spite? Yeah, this group is for YOU.

And a bunch of other stuff

But wait! There’s more! I’m soloing with one of my high schools, working on book #2 and have a great idea for book #3, am working on articles for eventual publication, I’m planning a blog design refresh, and that’s all in the first half of the year.

scared paper bag GIF by davidsaracino
Juuuust a lil’ freaky how much this looks like me

In conclusion

(WordPress updated its editor and I am having way too much fun with it.)

Thirteen years is just the opening act, yes? The best is yet to come, yes? I think so, and 2019 will bear that out. I can only imagine what making the werds here on the internet will bring next.

Whaddya think?

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