A decade ago, on May 16, 2012, I wrote these words:
“My name is Jennifer Bardsley and I am one of those awful Californians you hear about who sells their itty-bitty condo near San Francisco and buys a beautiful house in Edmonds. But it’s OK to still like me because 1) I’m really nice, and because 2) my husband has roots in Edmonds that run five generations deep. I know that readers in Snohomish County will agree with me when I say that circa 1940, or circa 2012, this is a wonderful place to raise kids. I am very excited to give voice to ‘I Brake for Moms.’ My goal is to channel all of the thoughts that you or I might have had while driving our kids to piano lessons, or nearly running somebody over with a gigantic shopping cart at Fred Meyer, and funnel them into a column that is funny, thought-provoking and relatable.”
Ten years later, it’s still a privilege to write for you. The past 520 weeks have changed my life. I’ve gone from a small-town mommy blogger to a sweet romance author whose books have hit bestseller status in four countries. That success comes from me not giving up, but it also comes from you being my audience. I might never have received my first book contract if my agent hadn’t been able to tell that first publisher that I wrote a column called “I Brake for Moms.”
I am extremely grateful to you, and also to Neal Pattison, the former executive editor of the Daily Herald, for giving me the opportunity to do this. Having a writing deadline every single week for 10 years has been challenging, but I’ve never missed a deadline, not even when I broke my wrist or had amnesia. Now, when I read through past columns it’s a history of my family’s life. And who knows, maybe I will take a collection of my first printings and make a “I Brake for Moms” book someday.
Writing this column means walking a fine line to share as much as I can without invading my children’s privacy. There are a lot of funny stories I could have shared but haven’t. There are complaints I might have written but have chosen not to. There are hurts and celebrations that I have kept off the page because they are not my stories to tell. Maybe some day my kids will grow up and write a column about me called “Life With Mom.” If they do, they’d know the drill, never send something to print without first gaining your family’s approval.
Ten years into this, I still believe that Snohomish County is a wonderful place to raise a family. Thank you for being part of mine. Thank you also for reading and subscribing to The Daily Herald. I write fluff for a living, but journalists work their tails off to bring you news that matters. When you support local journalism, you’re protecting democracy, and that’s a great value for every American family to embrace.
Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @jenniferbardsleyauthor, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as Jennifer Bardsley Author. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.