Two special anniversaries occurred this winter. One – my 20th wedding anniversary – I wrote about. But the other slipped my mind until now.
February 8th marked my five-year anniversary of writing this column. It’s crazy to think that I’ve been writing here for that long. In many ways, it doesn’t seem like it’s been five whole years. But when I look back at how much our life has changed, it almost seems longer than half a decade. Just about everything was different back then.
When I first started writing for this newspaper, I was working full-time as a family assistance coordinator at the National Guard armory in Covington. My oldest, Zach, was a second-grader in private school, and my little Eli was just three, spending his days at a great in-home daycare. We were still trying to knit our family back together again after my husband’s year-long deployment to Iraq.
Now, five years later, I’m a stay-at-home, freelance writing, happily homeschooling mom. My big boys are in seventh and third grades, and my husband still works for the National Guard, but as a civilian. And we’re all kept running and laughing by the little tornado, Jonah, who whirled into our lives 17 months ago.
If you’re new to the Covington News and want to read more about what’s happened the past five years, the newspaper’s website has dozens of recent columns in its archives. My husband, also known as Mr. Web Designer Extraordinaire, has archived all 200-plus of them on my website, aptly entitled “Kari: A Splash of Pink in a House of Blue.”
Personally, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to go back and read that much about one middle-aged mama’s life, but hey – it’s free entertainment. Besides, if you’ve read my stuff for a while, you’ve got to be wondering what the rest of the family looks like and what crazy things I blog about between columns. So, stop by www.kariapted.com and see me sometime. On Monday, I posted a bunch of pictures detailing some of our homeschooling antics. Just make sure you read the disclaimer stating that I don’t really lock Jonah up in the cabinet while teaching my older sons.
I definitely feel grateful to the Covington News for taking a chance on a totally unknown writer, and giving me a weekly spot in the paper. I still remember how I felt when I picked up that first newspaper and saw my words and my face staring back at me in print. It was giddiness mixed with nausea and a heaping dose of dread. What had I done? How long would it take before the emails came pouring in, telling me how boring I was and how badly my participles had dangled?
But it never happened. Instead, I found out what I already knew, that this little corner of Georgia contains some of the nicest people in the universe. If you’ve ever taken the time to send an email commenting on my column, know that it’s been saved in a file I call “Writing Encouragement.” I value every kind word more than you’ll ever know. And when I’m facing a big project, or pursuing a personal writing goal that feels bigger than the universe, I go back and read those notes to strengthen myself.
Because writing can be a lonely kind of experience. Everyone is so busy these days – it’s hard to know if anyone is even reading what I’ve taken the time to pen, or if they’d even notice if I faded away. Sometimes submitting a column feels like sending a message in a bottle across the open sea, never knowing if anyone will pop the cork and read what’s tucked inside.
But I keep writing because there’s almost always a story to tell, and if I didn’t write, I’d go crazy. Some would say I’m well on my way to that destination as it is. Maybe so, but I’m glad to know that I’ve got some good people traveling along with me. Thanks for letting me chat with y’all every week for five happy, long years. I hope there are many more ahead.
Kari Apted is a writer and speaker residing in Georgia with her husband, three sons, and an ever-changing menagerie of pets. She writes a humorous weekly parenting column for The Covington News and freelances for various publications.more»