The involvement in the About.com Readers' Choice Awards has been a whirlwind experience for me over the past couple of weeks. The word obsessed has been thrown around by some while I prefer to use conscientiously involved. I admit, I am extremely competitive and I have taken this contest seriously.
It has become a family affair. My father advises me to work the phones. My mother has sent emails to every contact she has ever made. Logan asks me every day if I am winning. My husband gives me updates on my statistics before I get out of bed. My step-parents have their office mates, bicycling buddies and extended family all voting for eSpecially Ben.
My husband does mutter under his breath that if I put all this energy to other uses, I may be able to cure a disease or run a small country. But that is for another day...and another contest. I can see it now, advertised in The New Yorker: "Person who comes up with best caption for this cartoon becomes President." I would be on that like white on rice.
I jest at the craziness that is now the norm for our household. However, in between voting, emailing, calling and updating my status, there has been cause for reflection.
The outpouring of love and support for this site has been wonderful. It is obvious how much people care about Ben and our family by the sincere emails, consistent voting and patience in hearing about this contest on an almost daily basis.
But some other things have emerged - in all the emails I receive, people talk about how "we" are winning. Those of you reading this feel a part of our lives and this journey. We are not alone because we have each other. How awesome is that?
Ryan has never been big on talking about Ben to people outside our family. Not out of embarrassment, but out of not knowing how to broach the topic or what to say with work colleagues and business acquaintances. Unlike me, I talk out my issues, problems and joys with anyone who will listen. It is therapeutic for me. It helps me get through the highs and lows instead of holding it all in. Because of the contest and wanting to support me, Ryan has told everyone about this site and voting. In doing so, he's let people into his private thoughts and feelings. He has received tremendous support from everyone. I think he is pleasantly surprised how easily people were able to give our family support. They also learned a whole new side of Ryan, the Dad side.
Then today, I received an email from our neighbors, Joe and Mary. Their dog, Kingston, has had a few friendly visits with Ben. I wrote about it last year. Joe is a graphic designer and he sent us several logos to use for this site. The heading at the top of the blog and the logo on this post are both designed by Joe. A few more will be popping up in the next few days.
I may curse each time I lose a percentage point in the polls, but life with Ben shows me every day that each experience is a new opportunity to learn about myself and others while growing into a stronger person. That is award enough. Thanks Ben.
...but still keep voting, I ain't giving up yet.