Kelle Hampton is the Golden “It” Girl of blogging with the Down syndrome community. She perches firmly atop a shimmering pyramid of thousands upon thousands of blogs written by parents of kids with Down syndrome – for, as I have written, there is a startling correlation between having a kid with Ds and a desire to blog.
This is how she became the “it” girl: Kelle had written a post shortly after the birth of her daughter – a “surprise diagnosis” – and basically had everyone in the whole wide world, even myself, crying over it. We were passing the tissues and loving her, and then it seemed that she turned to….tea parties. An awful lot of them. And endless large glossy photos of her well groomed, well dressed children, her laughing self and her gleaming house. I don’t care if she’s said her laundry isn’t done or her place is a mess: her place is a messy place like the Octomom has a “few” kids.
And so. She had rocketed to success through her birth story post, the Ds community was on its knees in front of her, NDSS had her blog as a first point of reference for new parents, she was set as a figurehead for the Ds community… and I felt a bubbling resentment that besides an occasional token shout-out to Down syndrome, her blog was purely about the blog’s title, “Enjoying the Small Things.” Fair enough in most cases, but I was judging her on the basis of the fact that she had been lifted high by the Down syndrome Community and I didn’t feel she was paying it back. Not about making her blog be about Down syndrome – why should it? – but by trying to advocate more, by paying the love that had been showered upon her forward. Even a little.
Fast forward two years.
I am fine with her now. Kelle’s a homegirl. From a very different suburb, maybe, but she’s still there.
These are the reasons:
- She is a startlingly gifted writer and photographer, talent pours out of her like light does Las Vegas. She oozes the stuff. She can string up a bunch of nothing and roll it around in her barrels of prose and have it emerge like a Saint’s wisdom. Let’s give credit where it’s due: she is good.
- Unlike a certain somebody’s father, she does not pretend to know everything, does not spam around in relentless self promotion. Refreshing!
- She has come out of her shell and is talking a lot more about Down syndrome. Snippets here and there, great posts more than sometimes and things that have nothing to do with tea parties in Florida.
- She has raised over $200,000 for the NDSS in this year alone. That is pretty freaking amazing.
- Back to talent: aside from being a gifted writer and photographer, she is a creative powerhouse of energy. This bit of admiration comes with a dollop of chagrin perhaps on my part: how on earth does she do it all? I mean, the only thing she needs to add to it all is homeschooling and well, she’s thinking about doing that too, right?
So, I like her. I think that’s fortunate because she’s coming out with a book in April and is accepting pre-orders for more than 1,000 copies. It’s going to be a screaming commercial success and I’ll bet that just like most of us enjoy lots of Lady Gaga or Adele (ahem, speaking for myself anyway), we’re going to get a bit close to ‘enough’.
It’s a good thing I’m starting on a positive note.
I just finished Kelle’s book, “Bloom” – and have reviewed it.The review is a bit long – and surprising, given the positivity of this post, perhaps.
It can be found here.
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.