Recently I was asked to name something that made me feel proud of myself. The question caught me way off guard.
Stop and think about it for a second. What would your answer be?
My first impulse was to say the kids, because it’s true, I’m proud of being their mom. But it isn’t really something I do alone; Jackson and Abby are pretty spectacular on their own. (And if I’m being totally honest, raising these Bensten kids takes a whole village and the neighboring town over.)
On the spot, my mind scrambled to things like, I drank a whole bottle of water before noon today! Or, I made it to work and back home with the gas light on! You know, really stand-out accomplishments that make me seem like I’ve got it all together. Haters gonna hate.
But then I found my answer: I’m actually really proud of this blog. I decided to start it on a whim, without any real direction, and it’s grown from there. I’m proud of the posts, some funny, some informational, some cathartic. I found a way to give my story to the world.
Watching some of the posts go viral was pretty cool. I started blogging in July and the site’s been viewed almost 72,000 times since then! I didn’t think anyone would really read them! It’s funny to me that the most popular post was the one I wrote the quickest: Hey Full-Term Baby: Here are 10 Reasons Why Preemies are the Real Rockstars. Whew, some of the mean comments I got on that one…I’m working on my thick skin.
If I’m honest, this blog has been a long time in the making. It stems from a SMAD (School of Media Arts and Design) degree from JMU, with a concentration in print journalism. Did you know I actually wanted to be a TV reporter? After one semester interning at the Harrisonburg ABC affiliate…um…NO THANK YOU. Reporting is way harder than it looks. It seems all glamorous and super, duper fun, but it’s a lot of stress and hard work for little pay unless you make it big. And you have to do your own makeup unless you’re Barbara Walters. So instead, I decided to pursue marketing/public relations and eventually design.
About three years after getting started in my career, Ev and I had lovely, rolly, polly Jackson. Almost four years later, sweet itty, bitty Abigail. And much like the chemo did to Jackson’s appetite, I lost my taste for just about everything. Except for being a caregiver.
Eventually I’ve learned to balance doctors and appointments and therapies. I enjoy sending them off to school and going back into the office. They’re both happy. Though neither of them remember being sick, it’s changed everything about me from the way I see and understand the world to the way I react to things that used to keep me up at night. These days I just kick the Big, Bad Wolf in the nose and go right back to sleep.
I hope this blog is here for people who need it. I hope a dad searching for Neuroblastoma survivors finds Jackson. I hope a frightened mom looking for positive stories about premature babies with brain bleeds finds Abby. I hope one day I’ll get the ambition to write my book. I hope Abby stays in her bed tonight. I hope Jackson stops ramming his new remote control truck into my foot when I cook dinner. I hope, I hope, I hope.
Hope can do great things, you know.
I’m looking forward to what the next year has in store for Mothering Miracles. Here’s to 2015!