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My Velveteen Friends, The Ones Who Keep Me Real and Grounded
Contributor
Written by
Melissa F.
August 2010
Contributor
Written by
Melissa F.
August 2010
Our words - how we write them, share them, make an impact with them, change lives with them. That's what BlogHer10 was about. Sometimes it was even about the words that didn't need to be said because they already had been written. I had the words from The Velveteen Rabbit running through my mind after meeting a certain group of very special friends to me, the bloggers known as the "autism moms" or the "autism bloggers," for lack of a better description. Those of us who pour our hearts out here 24/7 onto our keyboards, writing about our kids, the controversies, our deepest inner-most feelings. They were, all of a sudden, here. Real. "Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real." "Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit. "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real, you don't mind being hurt." "Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?" "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real, you can't be ugly, except to folks who don't understand." ~ The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams Margery's words surged unprotected through my mind on Friday and Saturday, as I met one Real velveteen friend after another after another. Friends who I know only through this space, through our blogs, through my words and theirs. My imaginary friends, as some might have said, and in some ways they were right, because before this weekend there was no way to believe otherwise that such beautiful, genuine, caring people in this often-cruel world could have possibly existed. But exist they do, and exist we did, together, during a few brief hours in New York. Most of us (I think, I'm not sure) were meeting for the first time. We were there to learn, to educate, to share, to laugh, to celebrate, to hug, to cry, to love. In one of the first panels of the day ("Blogging Autism: Shattering Myths, Opening Eyes, and Finding Your Tribe") our words about our children and our siblings, spoken to a room full of other kindred spirits and to those curious about this world of which we speak and live, did just that. After the panel (which I'll do a separate post on, I think) we had lunch together, taking up more than three Birds of a Feather lunch tables. ("I finally get to sit at the cool kids table!" I tweeted.) On Saturday, several of us met up again to celebrate Kyra Anderson's booksigning of Gravity Pulls You In: Perspectives on Parenting Children on the Autism Spectrum, which she edited with Vicki Forman (who, we learned during BlogHer, has been named one of the Must-Read Moms 2010 by BlogHer and Parenting Magazine, along with several others from our amazing group). We even had a special surprise guest appear at Kyra's booksigning: Susan Senator. I had a chance to tell Susan that her book, Making Peace with Autism, was one of the first books I read after my son was diagnosed and how through her book and her blog, I was introduced to the world of autism blogs and this wonderful community. In talking with Susan, she echoed the words that had been in my head all weekend. "You're all real," she said. "I mean, I knew you were real, but ... you're real." "I suppose you are Real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled. "The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always." (The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams) It lasts for always. It lasts. For always. Yes. Yes, I believe it will.

Let's be friends

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