Sunday, October 2, 2016

A final blog post for now

Almost 13 years ago, I started a website built by my ex-husband to chronicle the life of our newborn baby.  We posted pictures of her that let me stare at her face when I returned to work after my maternity leave was over.  In May 2004, the focus of the site shifted to an online journal to write about the daily struggles with her leukemia and eventually, her death.  

Though it has changed names a few times, I kept the blog going for 11 years.  However, I haven't written once in over a year.  For this, I am deeply apologetic.  I've read the comments from past readers accusing me of not caring or of not being a sincere person because of it. That's fine, think what you must.  

The truth is, I got stuck with writing.  I've started multiple blog posts before today to say a goodbye.  It's not that my story or life is done or so perfect that I no longer need a blog.  It's that I no longer feel like this is a safe zone to post things.  Posts that I have done have been thrown back at me, even used as a threat.  Something I wrote about my blended family got misconstrued and there were hurt feelings.  There were situations I would have liked to write about but I felt that I couldn't either due to the confidentiality for that family member or because I did not want to have backlash from the other side.  

These are excuses, I know.  I should have at least taken the time to write.  I'm sorry.  

Life is good right now.  It's busy, that's for sure.  We have two kids in braces and a third going in to braces, so I am doing a lot of extra tutoring to make side money for the family.  The girls are all still extremely involved with theatre as I am as a volunteer for them.  I have show managed four shows and we started my fifth to show manager this past month, Annie Jr.  Maggie is Kate, one of the main orphans, and Katie is Sandy the Dog as well as Mrs. Pugh.  They love it.  It takes up the majority of our free time, but the girls love being at the theatre.  All their best friendships have developed at the theatre, so it has become a large part of their social life as well.

Maggie is now in the 5th grade and Katie is in the 1st.  My stepdaughters are in 9th grade and the oldest started college at a small Christian university, The King's University, in Texas.  Out of respect to them, I will not blog further about them, but I will say I'm thankful they are in my life in some way.  Katie is big into karate and just test for her junior green belt.  She is ecstatic because that means sparring now.  We go to the gym for karate three times a week.  Katie is just as energetic and wild as ever, but she remains the funniest person I've ever met in my life. Maggie is on her 10th major production with North Texas Performing Arts and loves every minute of being on stage.  She is our head in the clouds sweetheart who is often doing more daydreaming than anything else.  Maggie is in choir at school once a week after school and takes voice lessons as well.  See, they are BUSY! I'm basically a taxi service on a daily basis.

I'm still at my school and loving it.  I teach five French classes a day and one leadership class.  It's perfect for me.  I'm always working and usually have more plates to juggle, but the job is what I want.  One day, I hope to go back to school and get my Master's in Education Administration.  Yep, I want to be a principal one day.  Preferably for middle school.

Rob and I are doing great together.  We both volunteer as youth leaders for our church on Wednesday nights.  I'm so thankful for Rob and his influence on my spiritual growth.  When we first started dating, I knew he was going to church, but I didn't go.  He didn't ask or pressure.  Six months into our dating, I asked to go along with him.  I cried throughout the entire service since the sermon was titled "The Hurt Pocket" and focused on life's hurts that keep us from having a relationship with God.  I began attending with him, but I was still nervous.  Four years ago, I rededicated my life as a Christian.  Two years ago, we felt called to serve as leaders.  Rob and I faithfully attend Wednesday night service each week with the students.  He is now leading 12th graders and I have 9th graders who I have been with since they were in 7th grade.  We love it.  It has been such a blessing for our family and our marriage to serve in this way.  Last Sunday, I was baptized again.  Our youth pastor baptized me with Rob, Maggie, and Katie standing alongside.  Cleansing in so many ways.

Our future will keep us here in the area for many years to come.  The girls are happy in their school.  Maggie even starts at my middle school next year.  I can't even begin to fathom that my girl will be a middle schooler.

There will be hard times for us, for that we can be certain.  There will be times I wish I could come back to this blog to write, but I fear that what I would write could be used against me as it has in the past.  I won't blog anymore, but I will always be thankful for the years I had this site.  I'm grateful to everyone who has read along the way.  

With gratitude, 
Jenny 

48 comments:

Elisabeth said...

Jenny, you don't have to apologize or offer explanations. You don't owe any of us anything! You opened your heart and your life to a bunch of strangers and we prayed with you, hoped with you, and cried with you through Allie's illness and passing. You have been a huge blessing to many of us! I have enjoyed reading your posts for the past several years and I am happy to hear you are doing so well. Prayers to you and your family for a happy and joyful future! Thank you for sharing your world with us!

Joy said...

❤️
I'm glad you caught us up. I never commented once in the 10+ years I've followed your blog, but I'm so thankful God has done such a great work in your life and has met you right where you are. Blessings to you and your family.

michellek said...

Elisabeth said it about as beautifully as possible. No apology is needed. Nothing is owed. Your priority has always been your family, and that is as it should be. We are grateful to have been allowed a glimpse into your life. You have inspired many. You have given hope and strength without even realizing it, and I have no doubt you will continue to do so in your own way. Blessings to you and your family.

Cair said...

I'm glad Elizabeth posted first, because she said what I thought (though I think I might have posted once or twice).

Your blog has been a blessing. You owe nothing to any of us in blog land, but I do appreciate your saying good bye. I'm happy for you that you and your family are thriving. Xoxo

Debbie said...

I so agree with the other comments. I have been following since Allie and your openness and honesty has been such a blessing. You don't owe anything to any of us. I will miss your post and feel as if I know you even though we have never met. I am so very thankful that God has you and your family in such a great place. You are such a blessing to me and thank you for sharing your life with us. I pray God's greatest blessing on you and your family. You deserve it. Thanks for this post.

Kristina said...

Popped up in my Google reader and I enjoyed the update! Don't apologize. Just post or not post whatever you like. Great to hear you are doing well though.

Jessica said...
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Jessica said...

I've never commented on your blogs before, but feel compelled to say I'm sad to see you leave (but totally understand). Your blog was very inspiring and I didn't feel guilty for following along. There are so many useless time-sucks online (that can make me feel guilty!). But your blog was encouraging and I was always inspired by your dedication to all areas of your life (motherhood, teaching, travel, and organizations). It's terrible something as wonderful as the blog has been used negatively. Thank you for being open and sharing so much over the years. I'd leave your blog and want to be a better person. I think you've been a teacher to so many of us reading about your journey. I wish you and your family all the best!!

kathy said...

i will always remember reading your words, thoughts and feelings through allies illness. i remember the day she passed reading your blog as if i was there experiencing it right along with you. My son was 2 months younger than allie at the time. you let us into your life during the hardest time. you let us feel and hurt with you. it has forever changed me and allie is often on my mind, especially when i see a sophie giraffe hanging out of a baby;s mouth. i am happy that your family is thriving and that you are in such a good place....you deserve it. i wish you well on your life's journey...........thanks for letting me be a part of it!

Amy Brant said...

Jenny, thank so much for the update. I am sad to see that you won't be blogging any more but happy for you that you have arrived at this wonderful place in your life. I'm sorry that your blog had gone from an enjoyable thing to something that causes you stress. I secretly hope that you will come back now and then to updates us on you and the girls. Take care of yourself, you will be missed! XO

Jayne Kitchin said...
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ShanRey said...

Jenny,

I echo exactly what Elizabeth said!

I have followed your journey since the beginning. Cried, laughed, cried some more and prayed with you. My life has mirrored yours very closely and you gave me hope when there wasn't any. Thank you for pouring your life onto the pages of this blog. Thank you for being there and sharing your life. Glad to hear things are well and life is moving forward.

Jenn said...

You really don't owe anyone anything. I am sad to see you go as I have read your blog from almost the beginning. You have let people, complete strangers, into the biggest moments of your life and that couldn't have been easy. Whoever used your writing against you has their own problem, they shouldn't be in your space if they can't respect your opinion. :)

Laura Lee said...

Thank you for your update, I often check on you and was pleasantly surprised.
God bless you 💙

One crazed mommy said...

Awwwww - you will be very missed. I've been a follower since the Baby Center days, and I wish you the best in everything that life has to offer. You have been such an inspiration over the years - and I'm so sorry that your safe place to put down your feelings became a place of hurt. But thank you for sharing your sweet Allie with us, all of your ups and downs, and you! Take care and know you will always have a virtual friend in SC thinking of you and your family.
Jenng73

Jill said...

Thank you for all that you've shared. I never imagined when I followed your journey with Allie that I would lose a child of my own. I'm so glad that your life and your family are so happy. Lots of love xx

Carmen said...

I have followed your family since you lost Allie. I will never forget you or your girls, that includes Brandy. I always think of Katie on my Grandson's birthday, they were both born on January 23, 2010. I wish all the best for you and your new family...Goodbye for now, hopefully life will always be so good you will never need our support again, but if you do we will be here for you....<3 :)

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Megan Norman said...

I have followed along since the early days when Allie was sick. At the time I had a baby and a 3 year old. Your love for teaching and your students inspired me to go back to university and get my teaching degree. I have been teaching for nearly 10 years now. I originally taught kindergarten and 1st grade but now am teaching 6th grade. I am glad to hear that your family is doing well. Best wishes from Megan in Australia

Mimi said...

I will miss you I have read your blog for YEARS and I feel I know your family.....I wish nothing but good for you.....hugs

Jo said...

I appreciate your post and respect your wishes but would love to hear occasional check ins about the safer things that you cite in your post. Only at your comfort level...or maybe have subscribers to the blog that you can screen? I know none of these suggestions are foolproof. Wishing you love and happiness always.

Nicole said...

I was on babycenter, way back when, back when Allie was undergoing her treatment. I started following you then. Throughout the years, I check back, to see how you are doing, to see how the girls have grown. I feel like you are a long distance friend, that I've known for many years. I'm so sorry that your blog has turned into a negative place for you. People get so "brave" behind a computer screen, and often lose a filter. But please know that I have cried with you throughout the years, been blessed by your resilience, your courage, your weakness, and your openness. And have felt so fortunate to have a little window into your life. Wishing you nothing but love and happiness.

Paula said...

Jenny, so wonderful to hear from you! I wish you and family all the best! Keep the faith.

Sincerely,
Paula

Unknown said...

I have followed your blog since Ally was sick. I am so sad to hear that there have been hurtful comments. You opened your heart and your life to strangers. You do not owe anyone an apology. It is your blog to write or not write. I wish you continued happiness. You and your family deserve it.

Nana Sue said...

Jenny, I've followed since the beginning...I've lost a daughter during these years, and frequently thought about you and we went through the "stages". You've been a blessing to me. I'm so happy your life is so full of love, children, and Rob. Take care of yourself!

KirstyB said...

<3 Thank you for a final update! You have to do what works for you and your family. You owe us nothing! I'm so happy you are happy and living your life to the max. It sounds like you are all super busy but content. We should all wish to live such a fulfilled life. I continue to think of you and your family often.

Dana Dennis said...

Thank you for coming back to say goodbye. I'm sad for you that people have used your blog posts against you. I understand what it's like to deal with "the other side". I wish you nothing but good health & happiness for you and your family. It's been a joy to read your blog for 13 years. Cheers!

Bonny said...

Thanks for this, Jenny. Blessings on your future. xoxoxox from New Mexico.

timi68 said...

Jenny,
I'm so sad to see you go :( I too have been a faithful follower since day one of Allie's illness. I too have cried, and laughed and hoped and prayed for you and your family. It sucks that people have to be so cruel, but know one thing that we are all happy for you and wish you nothing but the best. We would love to hear from you once in a while just to see what you and your girls are up to. Do you have a FB page? Wishing you the best! xoxoxoxoxo

Katie said...
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Katie said...

I was a member of the babycenter December 2003 board. My son was born the same day as Allie, so I think of her often.


I'm sorry people have given you a hard time. I pray that you continue to grow in your relationship with God and that your girls are happy and healthy. I wish you the best in all you do.

MommySpice said...

Thank you for the final post. Like so many others, I too have followed since the early days of Allie's illness. I've prayed, cried, laughed, and cheered thru your posts. You are a great writer and I'm blessed to have found your blog so many years ago. Grief is a long process, and I'm so VERY thankful to hear about your renewed faith. God is amazing and it's encouraging to hear that you & Rob are serving together and leading youth because you're so good at that as a teacher. You'll continue to be in my prayers.

Kelly Hooper said...

Jenny - thank you for the update. I have followed your family since the BabyCenter days with Allie. I was an admin for the January 04 board, I cried as I read the updates, and having kids so young myself it really hit home. Through my own trials of life (divorce being a single parent, getting remarried) I enjoyed reading your posts because I could see part of myself in them.

As several others before me have said you owe no one anything. I'm glad things are going well for you & your family. Best wishes.

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snekcip said...

Goodbye for now Sweet Jenny. I was grateful to be touched by your family. It is evident that God used you in a mighty way, so many have been touched by your story. I was excited to see an email from HFC website and was able to hear your voice. It was nice to "put a voice behind the beautiful words you shared with us for 13yrs. I pray for continued Blessings and many years of happiness.

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ツ αngie said...

I have followed you since the baby center days, and participated in the light the night walk here in Atlanta with the Allie's Angels team. Your story touched my heart and my life and I thank you for sharing it with all of us. Take care of yourself and Be blessed!

Jackietex said...

Jenny, I'm so sorry that your blog turned into a negative. I started reading your blog shortly after Allie passed away and it has been a joy to see the turns in your life that have led to the happiness you enjoy now. I wish you all the joy possible.

Unknown said...

Jenny,
I am also from the Babycenter days and have followed you and your story through the years. I am saddened to hear that anyone would ever use your blog against you. What a terrible shame. I am so happy to hear that your life is going well and that you are happy. I even happier to hear that you have returned to your faith in the Lord. What wonderful, joyous news! I pray that He will continue to guide you and lead you. Love and prayers, from Ohio!

Tracie Perkins

Another Miss M. said...

She's the strongest person I "don't" know, lol. I started reading in '04, my baby was a month younger than Allie. Talk about a person God used for blessing others... Happy to hear she's found Him again :) And yes, the internet can cause a little strife in our lives... Totally understand. Shed a tear just now, I'll miss her blog. ~ Peace...-Lori

LaJodster said...

Jenny,
I too have followed you from the Babycenter days and wondered often how you are doing. I've been thinking of you now especially since it is December and Allie's birthday!
I hope you are as happy as you sound and that you come back and blog again someday, I miss reading your updates and I am sad that some haters are making you stay away.
I wish nothing but the best for you & your family!
God Bless,

Jody(Who had a doggie named Chevy too) in NJ

Krista Rohlfing said...

I've been around since the early days of your blog with Allison. I realize that I'm a few months late on this but felt the need to say bye, Jenny. :)
I've lived a somewhat parallel life to yours. I didn't lose a child to cancer. I lost my mom and after how badly that hurt, I assume losing a child is soul tearing pain. I, too, am in my second marriage with a man who stole my heart after an awful divorce (from my high school sweetheart as well). I never thought I'd remarry. But I never thought that men like ours existed. I have 2 girls and two step daughters and I teach. Anyway, I grew with you and changed. I recall your weight battles (did that too) and your questioning of God. I was in the same spot myself for quite awhile. I'm just finding my way back. Thank you for sharing your life with us. I'm so very happy for all of you. You deserve it! Happy New Year. I hope 2017 is your best year yet.

Shan said...

Jenny, I just wanted to say that reading your blog has been such a privilege for me these past 13 years. Our babies were born on the same day in 2003, and I belonged to a pregnancy/parenting chat/support group that you also visited. Initially, I was praying for you and Allie and following your journal. My heart broke for you when you lost her. I cried with you, prayed for you, and stayed (mostly) quiet, out of respect for you. Over the years, I have enjoyed checking in with your blog a few times a year, and soon discovered we were living parallel lives in so many ways. We have similar tastes and senses of humor. I got divorced around the same time you did, and I remarried a little later than you, but am happily living in Oklahoma City with my husband and two girls (17 &13). My stepdaughter lives in Ft. Worth. (Her name is Allie, and she's a teacher who speaks fluent French!)

I am so sorry that you have been the victim of ill will and no longer feel safe sharing your thoughts. While your musings have been and will be greatly missed, you don't owe us an apology. We are the ones who should be thanking you for allowing us to share in your journey. I still light a candle for Allie twice a year at church, and I always will. And I will always be rooting and praying for her beautiful mother, who seems so like me in so many ways. You have a lovely soul, and a beautiful family! I wish you all the love and joy in the world! Godspeed!

Ashley Fulton said...

We love you guys!!! Best wishes for all of you!

Unknown said...

I have followed you since my baby center days. Your writing will be very missed. xxxx

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John Williams said...

Wishing you all the luck in the world and great success too! From all the comments here, you sure will be missed! May the future bring you all the happiness and joy that you wish for. It is great to know that you are pursuing your Masters and good luck with your dream of becoming a principal someday. I myself volunteer at many charity organizations in India
and feel that more people should give back to the society. You are doing so by teaching. Wishing you good luck and health.

Hoops Report said...

I'm glad Elizabeth posted first, because she said what I thought (though I think I might have posted once or twice).
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