The Comments You Never See

Today, I’m sharing a story about comments and connections. But if you don’t make it to the end of the story, PLEASE leave me a comment today anyway. It’s worth $20 to someone who needs it. Read on…

comments count

I recently read a book called “The Blue Sweater.” I wasn’t really sure it was my kind of book until the author told the story of the blue sweater. Quick summary: uncle gives her a blue sweater with images of Mt. Kiliminjaro, she loves the sweater, kids make fun of the sweater, she donates the sweater. And then 10 years later she’s walking through Africa and sees a small boy wearing that blue sweater. Her blue sweater with her name still on the tag.

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That’s the moment when it hits her. And it hit me too. We are all connected. We all share some commonality and universality that we can never really understand. And as lofty as it sounds, that’s one of the reasons I’ve loved blogging for three years now. Because I start to understand some of those connections, usually through comments and reactions to my posts.

In the blogging world, I often tell people that comments are the equivalent of applause. A job well done. A post well written. But really, it goes beyond that. It comes down to how well you’ve connected with someone whether you meant to or not.

It’s the comments on every post that keep me going. That let me know that someone read enough to feel compelled to comment in some way.

But it’s the comments you never see that have a special place in my heart.

I keep my contact information plastered all over my blog. I like to hear from people. I love getting emails. It’s like the grown-up version of running to the mailbox to see if your penpal wrote you. In fact, if you really tried, you could probably find my address somewhere. And I’m okay with that. I’d probably invite you in for a lovely cup of tea.

My inbox does get a bit overwhelmed with too many newsletters and useless press releases and bad pitches (and the occasional good one!). But every once in a while, something sneaks in there unexpectedly. An email from someone I don’t know that comes in out of the blue.

I had one show up on June 7th, 2011 from a woman named Kim. From what I could tell, she wasn’t a blogger and clearly had never been to my blog before. And yet, this is what she wrote:

“I just googled “Will being a mom make me lose my identity?” and I found your blog.  I have only read your bio and started crying!  I am pregnant with my first and find that my scenario is the exact as yours was.  My husband and I are getting “older”, I’ve always liked children but really didn’t know if I would like motherhood but knew if I didn’t do it I would regret it for the rest of my life so HERE WE GO!

Now I’m scared sh*tless but find it so reassuring to hear you say that it’s not what you thought it would be but better!  I really can’t wait to dive in and hopefully find some reassurance as I read that what I feel is normal and that I’m not the only one out there that feels this way.  I’m afraid that because I will soon be a mom I will have to give up EVERYTHING I love and will never be able to pursue any of my passions any more.  Obviously I am aware that some things will definitely have to be put on hold but I’m afraid that they will just all disappear and that I won’t have anything left in life but to be a mommy.  Please say that this isn’t so.

Well, before I even begin reading your blog I want to say thank you for writing it!”

I wrote her back and she wrote me back and I think we were both in tears by the end of it.

And there are more people who never comment and never share a personal note with me. But I know they’re there. I see it in my analytics. I look at the search terms. They’re looking for answers, from me:

how to make my house apocalypse ready

should you cut nails if child screaming

reasons why batman is not a superhero

how to pronounce gewurztraminer

(and yes, they find these answers on my blog)

We’re connected, all of us. For some, the internet creates a barrier to others. For people like me, the internet only enhances those connections and lets us know we’re never alone.

Now, it’s time for you to reach out. Don’t be silent. LEAVE A COMMENT TODAY. Even if you’ve only ever lurked, today’s the day to come out of the shadows. Here’s why.

This post is inspired by Shot@Life, ​an initiative of the United Nations Foundation that educates, connects and empowers the championing of vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries.

During Shot@Life’s Blogust: Blog Relay for Good, 31 bloggers, one each day in August, are writing about people from our communities who have inspired us. Every comment on this post and the 30 other posts will be matched with a $20 donation (up to a maximum of $200,000). That’s 10,000 comments. And 10,000 children. $20 is what it costs to give one child four life-saving vaccines to help protect them against measles, pneumonia, diarrhea and polio. A child dies every 20 seconds from a vaccine preventable disease. We can help stop this.

In this amazing relay of even more amazing bloggers, I’m taking the baton from the beautiful Katherine Stone of Postpartum Progress who wrote her Shot@Life post yesterday. And I get to pass it along tomorrow to the very mighty Maggie Mason of Mighty Girl. You can visit Katherine’s post or Maggie’s post or any of the 30 other bloggers that are participating in Blogust and leave a comment on their Shot@Life post from now until August 31st.

Changing the world, one comment at a time.

  • jenleereeves

    I’m so glad I’m connected to you and all the great things you are making happen on the Internet. ((hugs)) to you and I’m so glad you were a part of Blogust.

  • lisa

    First time visitor! Great post. The blogging world is a wonderful thing.

  • Carolyn Ward

    Leaving a ‘hello’ to save a little life… My baby just got a vaccination and I’m so glad to have a chance (30 chances!) to provide that care to another little one.

  • Deborah

    Thanks for all you feel, share and do! Love this shot@life blogust stuff! You all rock to be a part of it! The world is getting better by the minute, I can just feel it! :)

  • Lisa Olivier Sorenson

    Beautiful! I am reminded of a talk given by a wonderful, wise woman from my church named Chieko Okazaki. She said, We can never afford to be cruel, ungenerous, or indifferent because we are connected in a pattern that only God sees. She talks about how in this pattern we support each other. I love this and believe it!

  • Dana

    I hope the comments still count. It’s awesome that you are participating in this!

  • Lynn Corbaley

    Katherine sent me.

  • Kate, Shopping Mama

    Thanks for sharing the story of the sweater.
    And thanks for participating in the Shot@Life post. What an amazing opportunity to give back.

  • Raquel

    You’re doing an amazing thing! Comments make the (blogging) world go round :-) Thanks for doing this Fadra

  • marina sorr.

    such beautiful words.
    and thank you for this chance to participate in this wonderful project.

  • Caro

    Thank you. You do good and important work.

  • Liz Thompson

    I have a folder for those comments no one ever sees and I refer to it often. Thank you for sharing your story, Fadra!

  • Marisa

    Love this post, and this idea.

  • Leanne

    Amazing. Thanks for sharing and letting me know about this project!

  • Feras Alfraih

    Thanks for your efforts
    Best wishes to all :)

  • Inward Facing Girl

    Now I’m going to read your bio so I can cry too. I remember being so freaked about about losing myself when I was pregnant with my son. I really think I’ve actually found myself now. :) xo

  • Serena

    I love this post, thanks for sharing and participating in such a great campaign.

  • Krista

    The nicest thing that
    was ever done for me, has actually been done by several people in my
    life… they were just “there”… cheering me on, pushing me when I felt I
    couldn’t go on, celebrating my successes, and loving me – flaws and all.

  • Rachel Deen

    Wonderful ‘blue sweater’ story. thank you!

  • ann

    You go girl!

  • Erin Linker

    Awesome story, great thing you are doing!

  • B

    I’m now looking up blue sweater for a read through.

  • Anne Hogan

    I have GOT to read that book! It’s on my list. :)

  • B

    The sense of community and connection is my favorite thing about blogs, thanks for highlighting it today!!

  • train_star

    Yes, we all are connected. Now I am going to read the blog posts you mentioned. You deal with such interesting topics.

  • Anne Parris

    Great job, Fadra. Looking up this book for my Kindle.

  • Rachel

    Thank you!

  • Jenn @ Mommy Needs Coffee

    I love that we are all connected. Maybe if we all realized this, we would treat each other with more respect. Or at least relax and laugh more. 😉

  • Lindsay

    This is great! I love the search terms. Clearly, this is a “well-rounded” blog!!

  • Cynthia Meents

    Thanks for sharing this.

  • Debbi Smith

    What a great story and a wonderful cause! :-)

  • Jenny Lu

    I love this caUse!

  • Meyser

    Great post! And I do get that same feeling with comments as I still get while running at the mailbox…

  • Stephanie

    How great to get a random email from a reader saying how much they loved your blog. Oh man, if that’s not confirmation for a job well done I don’t know what is.
    This is a great post and a great cause. So happy to see so many comments here.
    Keep up the good work

  • Sheila D Isbell

    We take the time for sooo many random things. But this? One comment = 1 immunized child. What is there not to say about that? Awesome! Each one, reach one.

  • Sarah

    This was an amazing post, I can honestly say i felt goosebumps.

  • Becca

    What a beautiful post!

  • Christy @QuirkyFusion

    I don’t think people realize how powerful their words can be. It’s such a little thing to write someone a note of thanks when they touch you, but it can mean quite a lot to the recipient. And now I want to check out that book.

  • Suzanne Chan

    Yay Fadra! Thanks for sharing! Words are so incredibly powerful, especially yours!

  • MommiFried

    For those mamas who do not get out much, the Internet has allowed us to develop connections and build friendships that we wouldn’t have established otherwise. I especially love the micro communities that develop around blog posts and comments. Great post! Thanks for sharing!

  • Positivelypamperedpatty

    Great post and an even better cause Fadra. Your the best!

  • Melissa Taylor

    Love this program!

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  • grumblebee

    kind of an old post and i dunno if this is still valid, but just wanted to “comment” and say I read this. I found your blog via The Laughing Cow cheese website of all places… LOL. (i think you won a contest they had awhile back?) Anyway, now that I’m here I figured I might as well look around… :)

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  • Hoperose

    Connection – almost 30 years ago, I gave someone I barely knew my classical guitar because he loved the sound so much and he was “guitarless” at that time. Fast forward to about 6 years ago, when I decided out of the blue that I wanted to decorate my living room in an African motif. Then rewind about 20 years, when I found out that “my” classical guitar was in Africa! The person I gave the guitar to later sold it to someone who went to Africa as a missionary. I love the idea that my old guitar was, and may still be, in Africa, maybe even healing souls with its beautiful sound! It really did sing like a bird and had a tone of which I havne’t been able to replace.
    Anyway, your post reminded me of how we really are all connected even when we don’t realize it. I have a connection with someone and something all the way in Africa, which in turn, is right here in my own living room!

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  • tonette17

    Recently I was really, really low on cash and debts were eating me from all sides! That was UNTIL I decided to make money on the internet. I went to surveymoneymaker dot net, and started filling in surveys for cash, and surely I’ve been far more able to pay my bills! I’m so glad, I did this!!! With all the financial stress these years, I really hope all of you will give it a chance. – 3xue

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