Seven years. That's longer than my son Shale lived. It's longer than I've called Jumby my own.
It's been seven years since I sat in front of my computer, listened to the squeal of dial-up internet and contemplated starting my own blog. It was late at night, I was exhausted from too many nights filled with nightmares of my recently deceased son and I was dangerously close to losing myself. I was so very broken on the inside.
I've said it many times before, but I'll say it again. Blogging saved my life.
I didn't know how to navigate through a jungle of grief and I was exhausted from my efforts. I didn't know how I got to where I was and I couldn't find the way back to the person I used to be. I was lost in some weird labyrinth of life and loss and my compass was buried with my son.
I was desperate to feel something and to find myself and in one brief moment of clarity I realized the only way back to myself would be one word at a time.
And so Redneck Mommy was born.
First Internet Selfie! Holy batwoman, send out the bad hair signal!
With my very first post and every post after, I found a bit of the person I once was all while growing into someone new. I started to heal.
I never expected Redneck Mommy to grow into what she became. I never expected to find an audience, a community or even best friends. And yet, I found each of those things, and more.
I've loved, I've laughed and I've cried. I've been published in a book, in magazines and in newspapers across North America. I've spoken at conferences across two different countries, blogged from different corners of the world and I finally understand why roaming fees are the devil. I've been on television, the radio and the lady who runs the post office thinks I'm famous.
I'm not about to ruin her delusions about me. That would be cruel.
Redneck Mommy will always be a part of who I am. Just as I will always be the mother to a boy named Shale, I will always be the lady who thought it would be a good idea to publicly brand herself a redneck as she wrote about her blue thunder.
But who I am now no longer resembles who I was when I first started this blog. I hope I will never again be the person who was so wounded it hurt to breathe.
Time won't heal a mother's fractured heart. But it can help it hurt less.
My time here hasn't just been about healing and coping. It's been about growing and thriving. My kids weren't the only one who have been growing up and growing older these past seven years. I have too.
I've the not so fine lines around my eyes to prove it.
Something's never change. Computer selfies and bad hair for the win.
My blog now feels a little like how my son's pants currently look. A little short around the ankles and too tight around the waist. It's time for a change.
For years now, I've talked about walking away from Redneck Mommy, but I've never been able to pull the trigger. I'm attached to this space and this identity and quite frankly, I was scared to let her go. I don't really know who I am if I'm not the wise cracking blogger with the cartoony blog.
It took me a while to figure out I'm not really the Redneck Mommy anymore. And when I realized I had begun dreading attaching myself to her, I knew it was time to let her go.
I'm grateful for my time in this space and for all the support, success and friendship I have found along the way. I am thankful for each of my readers and for everyone who has taken the time to share their thoughts and comments with me.
But it's time. I'm letting go.
All these years, all these words, and I finally found what I was looking for: Me.
It's time to stop fearing change and to keep growing into who I have become. It's time for me to just be me. Blue thunder and all.
I hope you'll stick around for my next chapter.
See you on the flip side.