Super Kids, Super Friends, Super Mom-Stepping Up and Stepping Out
I am going to blog more extensively later about this, but as most of you know, my young son (age 9) has had Type 1 (Juvenile) Diabetes for the last two years. These two years have seen him endure over 7,000 blood sugar tests, thousands of insulin shots, and hundreds of insulin pump infusion site changes. And in the future he faces devastating complications, such as blindness, limb amputations, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke, and others.
Last year we walked as The O'Connor Lions to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's search for the cure. We raised over $5,000 and I was really happy and grateful to everyone who was able to donate. Much love.
We're walking again this year and I WILL link up today (each page includes a personal story, and you can donate via ANY of the links below).
Donate to my son's walk
Donate to my daughter's walk
Donate to my husband's walk
Donate to my walk
But I'll wait till later in the week to post the "official" walk notice.
Thing is, I wanted to discuss something that my diabetes support group has been discussing. That is to discuss in a non-whining manner the people who do donate, the people who don't, and why.
We're fortunate in that most, if not all, of our family members understand how vital this issue is to us. Last year we got many donations and I hope to meet or exceed our goal this year. One thing I tend to get now that this is our second year of walking for the cure is "why are you doing this all over again?"
Because there is not a cure yet. My son's life is still in danger. That's why.
We've just started our fundraising and I'm hopeful we'll have a big response, even though it seems a bit slow to get started. However, many people's family and friends just don't seem to get it. They ignore emails or hem and haw about donating. And don't get me wrong, these people aren't strapped. These people COULD donate if they chose to. They just don't. Rather than whingeing and complaining about it, we are all trying to figure out why. Maybe they need to be approached differently. What do you think? Comments are MOST welcome.
The consensus among us parents seems to be that many people just DO NOT GET IT. They don't get the seriousness of this disease. They don't realize that insulin is not a cure. They don't get that this is not just a Girl Scout cookie fundraiser, or a wrapping paper sale for school. THIS IS A MATTER OF OUR CHILDREN'S LIVES.
On average, our children's lives will be cut short by FIFTEEN YEARS because of this dreadful disease.
"I'll donate when you see fit to send me a personal letter."
"We already donated to your daughter's Girl Scout cookie sale."
"Didn't I give to this last year?"
Maybe that's the way you need to frame it to people. But I don't know. All our letters are pretty strong. I've read so many. They all break my heart. So where are we going wrong? Why aren't we getting through?
Yesterday I received a personal letter from an author from one of the writer groups I approached for a donation. She wrote to tell me she couldn't donate... because she was sponsoring her husband's mega-bike ride for the cure. Her sister died at age 40 from complications of Type 1 Diabetes.
Reading her message, I began to cry. I wrote back and told her how grateful I was that she reached out to me. She truly understands the importance of a cure.
Her sister lost around 30 years of a wonderful life due to this dreadful disease. These days, the years of life our children lose are down to 15.
But that's still too many.
Then there are the people who really step up to the plate and surprise you. Someone on our list mentioned that her local realtor gave a huge check, even when her close friends didn't donate at all. Thank God for these people.
One such person in our lives has been thriller author Lee Child. Even though I have never met Lee in person, and he does not know our son, he came through with an extremely generous donation.
Why? I don't know because I am not him, but I think Lee understands that this is not just another cookie sale for an arts program, or lemonade stand for extra books for a school library. This is a matter of life and death. Perhaps Lee, as an author, is unusally empathetic and able to put himself in another person's shoes. I don't really know. I'm grateful, either way. MANY big thank yous to Lee and to the people like him in all our lives.
And now, onto my Girlfriends Cyber Circuit entry!
Meet Birdie Lee, clerk at Marvel Fine Food and Beverages and an average, middle-aged single mother of two teenagers. Until one ordinary morning when, on the floor of her bathroom, Birdie discovers a Stain of Unknown Origin--a stain so intense that nothing can remove it. When all her attempts fail, Birdie does the unthinkable: She loads her Swiffer with every cleanser she owns, aims, and shoots. Suddenly, Birdie becomes endowed with extraordinary powers. Now Birdie must somehow balance it all--her smug ex and his overachieving new wife; two teenagers and a string of PTA meetings; her own budding romance; and her beloved town of Astro Park, whose very existence is threatened by a mysterious force sneaking its way into every household. A delightful, well-earned escape, Confessions of Super Mom is an amusing vindication of the overlooked everyday heroism that is a woman's life.
However, the children grew up. (Although occasionally she still has to make sure they don't stick their fingers in electrical sockets. They are, after all, boys.) After moving to the Chicago area, Melanie put in a brave couple of years with the PTA. She drove her sons to soccer practices, track meets, music lessons and orthodontist appointments. In short, she was in training to become Super Mom.
At an age when many women throw themselves back into their careers after raising their children, Melanie looked around and realized she never had one in the first place. After deciding she wasn't creative enough to start her own business (like all those women on Oprah), she turned to the one thing she did know: Books. A bookworm from the time she was able to form words, Melanie realized that what she really wanted to do was write books. So she wrote one. It stank. She buried it out in her backyard, next to the compost heap. She wrote another book. It didn't stink quite so much; in fact it got her not one, but two literary agents. Still, nobody wanted to publish it. She wrote another book. It stank the least of all, and led her to her current, wonderful literary agent, but still it went unpublished. Then she wrote CONFESSIONS OF SUPER MOM. So far, nobody has said that it stinks. In fact, so many people like it that the sequel, SUPER MOM SAVES THE WORLD will published by NAL in early 2007. And finally, at long last, Melanie has a career. (And old men in nursing homes everywhere breathe a huge sigh of relief.)
-- Publishers Weekly
"…fun twist on the superhero tale comes packaged with a socially responsible message…" -- Booklist
1. How did you get this idea for this book? Please describe how the book grew from a glimmer of an idea into a whole novel.
2. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Don't spend too much time on one project; if you're not getting very far with one manuscript, put it away and move on to the next one. When I hear of authors spending years trying to get that first novel published, my heart just breaks; most published authors' "first novels" are anything but, and I don't think people want to hear about that, frankly. And too - if you want to have a career you have got to have more than one novel in you. So you have to learn when to let go of projects and move on to the next one.
3. What's your writing day like? Any tips or tricks for getting organized?
I think that in the beginning it's important to keep to a set schedule; mine was from 12-3, every day. I never told myself how many words I had to write; that was too daunting. But I did tell myself I had to write SOMETHING every day. But then, at least for me, once you've been doing this for a while you find that you can jump right into the writing whenever, wherever, and the schedule isn't so regimented. But I think I only got to this point by training myself, in a way, by writing to that precise schedule, early on.
4. What's been the most exciting thing about publishing? The most frustrating?
Oh, definitely - the first time I held a copy of my hardcover. That was magical, and I cried a little, and I remember my editor suggesting that I take that first copy and write in it how I felt when I saw it. (I wish I'd taken her advice! But alas, I didn't.) Frustrating? Well, I think the discovery that I didn't really get to make the decision as to how & when I moved on to the next project. I knew I'd have very little control over the decisions related to the books under contract; I didn't know that I wouldn't be able to submit new work when it suited ME; that there are a lot of other considerations to take into account, from now on.
5. Do you think you might write a follow-up to this book? If not, what else is in the works?
And last week I just mailed my next manuscript to my agent; it's a wonderful, magical novel about miracles, Vaudeville and George Burns - with a comatose rock star thrown in for good measure - that I absolutely love! (Of course I love all my novels, but the one that I'm working on is always the one I love best.) And I have an idea for something else brewing in the back of my busy brain.