I did something tonight, which may not seem like much, but to me it is huge.
I began to write a book, typing 686 words of what will, God willing, become the beginning, middle or end of my book.
I told my husband what I did (at that point I was only at 426 words) and wept a bit. This is a really big deal to me. I've tried to start writing a book before. I've jotted notes. I've written pages. But nothing felt like it was really the start of my story. This felt different. This felt like it was IT.
I know people will ask what I am writing about. And part of me does not want to say--like I have a secret patent pending invention that someone will steal. Also, while tonight firmly feels like start of IT, I don't really know where my story will go, exactly. I am nervous to even say out loud what I am writing a book because what if everyone thinks it is silly or trivial or simply narcissistic. What if I am just a delusional, big faker without a story to tell or a crap writer because I don't pay enough attention to the rule or the grammar. What if I don't finish it? Or what if my day jobs get in the way?
It's a little bit scary to share yourself.
But, I keep coming back to 686 words. I did it. I wrote 686 words. I just have to do this 999 more times and I'll have a book. Then, of course, I have to organize it and read it. I have to find someone else to read it and rep it. I have to find someone to publish it. I have to believe it, so others believe in it, too.
The first step to believing is saying it out loud. So here it goes: I am writing a memoir.
My memoir is about being the parent of a child with an IEP. I know for sure that some of you will relate to this journey. Others of you won't even know what this means. And more will think this isn't even a story to tell.
It is to all of these people that I am writing. That is my audience.
The parents who relate to my journey--they know the daily battle of endlessly supporting, advocating and monitoring your child's education plan. I see you. I know you see me.
Those who don't know what an IEP is--well, it is you that should open your eyes. 14% of American school children have an IEP--7.3 million kids. This is not a small unfortunate sample: this is a meaningful population of boys and girls who do not fit in the boxes we create at school.
And, it is the people who don't think there is a story to tell that I am writing to. Some of these people find parents like me to be annoying or whiny or subjects of pity. These are the people to whom I've been pushed aside by; the people who simply live in a privileged bubble without awareness or understanding of the walks other parents take and the critical need for their children to be given the tools they need to thrive.
IEP parents are often invisible--even when we are the loudest people in the room.
I intend to be seen, 686 words at a time.