Best of 2012: Happy Birthday, Mary Tyler Mom!

Two Januarys ago I started Mary Tyler Mom.  I had just returned to work after four years of being at home after moving to Cancerville.  I was adamant that I would not be writing about cancer or grief with Mary Tyler Mom.  My vision, if you will (as all good blogs start with a vision that gets quickly tossed aside, right?), was to write a blog about working and mothering.  Ha! Two years later, I quit my job, am in the middle of the adoption process, and somewhat gainfully employed as a writer.  That is simply crazy to me and nothing that I would have imagined two years ago.

This here blog is one of my greatest successes in life, unexpected as it is.  I write my words and people read them.  For criminy’s sake, named me one of the Top 10 Inspirational Bloggers.  I mean, SheKnows knows, you know?  And you readers voted me as one of the Top 25 Family Blogs by Moms (No. 2, yo) through Circle of Moms.  What a dream.  Seriously.  I feel lucky, lucky, lucky for that.

That said, anniversaries and birthdays always make me want to take stock.  I am one that likes to look backwards before I look forwards.  Mary Tyler Mom is evolving and I am still not quite certain what my blog wants to be when it grows up.  A book?  A newspaper column?  A Bravo reality series?

I don’t know, and that is pretty damn exciting.

In the spirit of looking backwards before I look forwards, here is a collection of my twelve favorite posts of 2012 — one from each calender month.  Turns out, I write a lot about emotions.  Pfffft.  Go figure.  For someone who didn’t want to write about cancer or grief, well, five of my top twelve posts are about cancer and grief.  They say to write what you know, so I guess I’m following that piece of advice.  And a reader turned friend once told me that my best writing comes when I have a bee in my bonnet.  There are no less than four bees that made this list, buzzing around those bonnets.

Without further delay (cue drum roll, please), I give you my own Best of 2012 list.  If you’re new to me, check them out.  If you’ve been around a while and feel taken for granted, this list is for you, too, as great blog posts are the gift that keep on giving.

January:  Barbie v. Cancer – the post that resulted in strangers saying I should be shot dead just for suggesting kids with cancer needed research more than they needed a bald doll.  Not to mention the American Cancer Society exploiting my words as justification for why they so shamelessly ignore pediatric cancer.  And I’d show you that post, but they deleted it.  Bastards.

February:  Toddler Ten Commandments – just a fun piece of humor about how raising a toddler is infuriating.  And exhausting.  And for the birds.  And one of the sweetest privileges I’ve ever had.

March:  Live Organ Donation:  A Tale of Two Kidneys – when my friend Andy opted to donate his kidney, he asked me to write about it.  That was pretty cool.  I learned a lot about kidneys with this post.  And what it means to be a decent human being.

April:  Easter for Heathens:  Religious Holidays When You’re Not Religious – I am so damn proud of this post.  I broke the rules and wrote about religion here, or more specifically, my lack of religion.  That took guts.  I remain really proud of the results.

May:  The Good Enough Mother – Ha!  This is a more thoughtful post than it seems about how my parenting and most everything in my adult life has been influenced by a mid-century psychoanalytic theorist.  Winnicott rules.  It’s also the very first thing I published under my own name on The Huffington Post, which made me feel like a real rock star.

June:  RIP Children’s Memorial Hospital, 1882-2012 – potentially one of the most meaningful and important things I have ever written.  I started the post with a bit of an axe to grind, as I was truly sad about the closing of Donna’s hospital.  In the end, it was cathartic and almost universally praised and featured in both The Huffington Post and the Chicago Tribune (online edition).  I still hear from doctors, nurses, and fellow families from Children’s Memorial about how meaningful it was to them.

July:  Yin, Meet Yang – This might morph into an annual tradition, posting on the eve of Donna’s would be/should be birthdays.  It helps to get the sadness out, to grieve what should have been, but never will be.

August:  Adoption 101:  The Visit Ends – Sigh.  This was tough to write and tough to read, even five months later.  And while most folks who read this short series that chronicles our first visit with a potential birth family were supportive, some weren’t, including close family.  It still stings to read the raw power of so much sadness.

September:  Donna’s Cancer Story:  One Year Later – I am so glad I thought to write this exploration of what it was like to write about something so wrenching and emotional.  It still puts things in perspective for me.

October:  A Walk in the Woods:  Finding the Teachable Moment – I am still learning how to do this whole mothering thing.  Ain’t no way I have it figured out.  This post is about doing just that — learning in the moment so that our kids can learn from us.  I also just adore the photography in this post and hope to include more of that in 2013.

November:  Mommy Bloggers and Douchebags – well, I just love the headline and it goes from there.

December:  It’s the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine) – written at the request of my dear friend, Nikki, from Moms Who Drink and Swear, who gave me my first big break in this here blogosphere.  A thoughtful post about a bottle cap and a life’s philosophy.

Thank you for keeping me company, reading my words, sharing my words, and sticking with me through the Terrible Twos.  Can I get a collective WOO to the HOO for 2013?

Ummm, cake.  Nom, nom, nom,
Ummm, cake. Nom, nom, nom.

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