This week has been rough. For so many reasons. And it’s also been a blessing in some ways because it has brought me back to the beginning and reminded me once again what is important. I’ve had a really hard time getting this post written this week. I would have to say because I knew it was going to break me to write it. And since I haven’t stopped crying while I wrote it, I know I wasn’t wrong.
Almost six years ago I started my little foray into blogging. I was quarantined at home with a preschooler who couldn’t go to school because he was a germ magnet. He had a little brother who could not risk getting sick. So we couldn’t leave the house. Period.
It’s not a stretch to say I felt like I was losing my mind. I was desperate for some kind of human contact and like so many others I turned to the internet. Real life friends were busy with their own lives and basically forgot about us. It was a hard transition to take and broke my heart. I needed friends and I needed an outlet.
I had been thinking about starting a food blog for a while, but wasn’t sure I had anything to offer. I barely had anything to offer emotionally at the time anyway. Being vigilant 24/7 for your babies health sharpens your world view and is exhausting and draining. But I still needed some kind of outlet.
So, on New Year’s Eve, I made cookies, took terrible pictures, wrote up the recipe and a really lame post. I then waited a few days before I pulled the trigger, hit post and started this ride.
This ride has been a life and sanity saver for me. That was why I have always said I was ‘conquering my world, one recipe at a time.’
As many know though, you can’t just write something and expect that magically people will find you. I wasn’t looking for traffic. I was looking for a community of like-minded friends. I found that when I started seeing something called the Daring Bakers (which later grew into the Daring Kitchen).
The name was fantastic. The people were fantastic and inspirational and I desperately wanted to belong. So I swallowed my nerves and sent an email to Lisa at La Mia Cucina, one of the founders of the group.
Lisa was funny, gracious, kind and exactly who I needed in my life. She welcomed me with open arms and a virtual hug. I poured myself out to her in emails. She could have ignored me or laughed me off. But that wasn’t who Lisa was. Instead she chose to save me.
The Daring Bakers was about community and learning together and being brave. These were my people. I wanted to impress them, but didn’t need to. I was welcomed. Bad pictures, lame sense of humor and all.
It’s not a stretch to say Lisa helped save my sanity. I found other events and groups and friends from there, but stayed doing the Daring Bakers for a couple of years. Then life took a big turn for me again. I found out I was pregnant with Kayla. At the time I was terrified. I was sick. I couldn’t go near a kitchen and was run down, trying to take care of two little boys, and so afraid that we would have another preemie or worse, not make it to even close to full term at all. Or that this time I wouldn’t make it through and would leave two little boys and a husband without a mother and wife.
I again emailed Lisa. I again found the virtual caring, love and support I needed. She let me know that my home with the Daring Bakers would always be there for me. Even if I couldn’t participate for months.
And that was just what happened. From June till December, I barely wrote anything at all. I thought I was going to have to be done with blogging and heart broken again at the thought of losing my friends and community. But I didn’t. They were still there for me. I’ve made friendships that have still lasted all these years later.
When I made it closer to the point when we had Cole, I decided to participate one more time. The challenge was for Gingerbread Houses and my boys really wanted to do that. Kayla wasn’t due until around March 1st and I thought I could handle it. So we gave it our best shot.
This would end up being my last Daring Bakers post. Kayla arrived on Valentine’s Day. The bottom dropped out on my world yet again when I was told she had Down syndrome. While I can see it as a blessing now, at the time I didn’t know what to do.
I do know what helped me through though. And it was community. A community I know would have never been open to me as easily without the support of Lisa.
The world is a poorer place because this last Tuesday, we lost Lisa. It was unexpected. And though I hadn’t had much connection to her in the past few years, it brought everything back to me. My heart hurts.
I wanted to go back to the beginning and remember Lisa. This week I’ve been reading through her blog. I’ve laughed. I’ve ugly cried. And I’ve learned about myself.
How many people in this world can say that they have had such an effect on so many people’s lives? Not many. Not so profoundly.
So today, the community that has changed so much is coming together to honor again the life of such a beautiful person.
I came across an old Meme that started long ago where you posted 100 things about yourself on your blog. The irony didn’t escape me that #88 on Lisa’s list was that she hated Tuesdays. And a Tuesday would be the day when she was taken from us far too soon.
So, to Lisa and all my old friends. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for giving me this happy place that I could call mine and be me.