Thank you, Internet.

I grew up entirely without the internet. I was able to access it at the library only, from about fifteen years old onward. A mere few days before my first child was born, I owned my first-ever "smartphone"--meaning a phone that had data for accessing email or websites, not just calling or texting. It is the internet I blame for my ability to parent many intellectual levels above how I was raised. When I felt powerless (which was all the time), I researched. Knowledge truly was power.

My childhood gave me a clear idea of what NOT to do, but I was left with such a vast chasm between my childhood and the kind of mother I wanted to be. The internet was equally vast, and I felt empowered by the internet's ability to fill the chasm of my own understanding.

I had access to other mothers, especially seasoned veterans. Their posts were sometimes informative, sometimes validating, many times they were both. I never felt alone. There was a post for every possible ailment, question, and a forum for discussion.

I got to see (LIVE) what critical thinking looked like. My mother, I suspect from suffering poverty, untreated mental illness and addiction, among other things, seemed to lack the adult development necessary to think critically. It has been such a valuable skill to me, especially as a mother.

I have spent over a decade of my life having the world at my fingertips. I have asked every imaginable question. It has been very healing--like therapy. I have fallen in love with humanity. I have been horrified as well. I am absolutely thrilled with the variety.

Most of all, I am thankful. I will probably have a lifelong relationship with the internet, but my passion is waning a bit recently. I feel (perhaps) another cycle creeping in. Being simply informed or sharing posts feels inchoate. I'm ready to practice my theory in the world. I hope to be the change I wish to see in the world.

Mostly, for me, that starts with changing myself first. Secondly, I'd like to find ways to change through love, long suffering, gentle persuasion. I hope that I can remember the balance between knowing that I am a powerful being, and remembering to be carefully conscious, while at the same time not letting my fear of failure stop me from making mistakes and getting messy.

I no long do superstitious things to keep suffering at bay. I now welcome my triggers and look for understanding. I get curious instead of defensive, and I enjoy being present. I lean into pain. I have an inner voice. I have learned to adapt.

Mostly, I've learned that I suffer, but I don't die. I'm still living.

So now it's time to start living.