Tag Archives: tracy chappell

Every New Beginning Comes From Some Other Beginning’s End

Earlier this year, I told my sister-in-law a cute anecdote about something BB#1 had said just before his brother was born. As we shared a laugh, I didn’t really notice that the boy himself had gotten up and left the room.

So I’ll admit, I was a bit floored to discover later that he was angry with me–for telling a story about him without asking first. I didn’t consider the story an embarrassing one at all–it has never been my intention to make my children the butt of a joke or to humiliate them in any way, and I abhor the child-shaming that seems to be so rampant online these days (have some foresight, parents!) In actual fact, the point of telling the story had been to show what a clever toddler he had been! But I suddenly remembered being his age, and how I felt at being the topic of conversation–or more specifically, the source of humour–among adults, and I could relate.

It was probably around the same time that I read this post by Tracy Chappell: Why I’m Breaking Up With My Blog. As an editor and writer for Today’s Parent, Tracy had blogged long before I jumped in. And not for the first time, my friend made me think. Although I had purposely kept the boys anonymous online, hadn’t used their photos, and wasn’t writing for the size of audience she had (*waves to reader: hi, Mom!*) I couldn’t shake the feeling that she was right: that the older my kids get, the less their stories are mine to tell.

So although I’ve never been the most consistent of bloggers anyway, I found it more and more difficult to come up with posts that didn’t make me wonder, “would my son(s) want me to share this?” I suppose I could have just asked them, but really, as Jennifer Pinarski points out in her own blog (suggested reading for new parent bloggers!), that’s expecting a child to make an adult decision.

When I started this blog, I wasn’t sure of my focus–would this be a “mommy blog“, or a collection of thoughts on random topics? My most popular and most commonly shared posts have been those about reading. And when visitors discover my blog through search terms, it tends to be in their quest for information about PFAPA. When the boys first started having these periodic fevers, there wasn’t much about the condition online, so I chose to share our stories in the hopes of helping other families dealing with it. I hope that I have.

In 2015, my top five posts have been:

But the fact is, this blog is called Mum2BeautifulBoys. And as I wrote early on, one of the main reasons I started blogging was to keep a record of some of the little things about parenting I would otherwise forget over the years if they weren’t written down. So while I’ve explored other topics, it has usually been through my parent-lens. And if I want to shift my boys’ stories offline, I’m not sure M2BB has a reason to exist any more.

So what does this mean for 2016? I’m not sure. I will continue writing, but I may need to create a new space, with a new focus, and a new name (got any good ideas?) And pick up a pen to record my family’s more private moments.

In the meantime, Happy New Year, Mom! 😉

 

*These posts are apparently “out” for 2016.

 

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Memories of Tracy Chappell

When I checked my phone on Wednesday morning, and photos of Tracy Chappell popped up in my Facebook feed with words like “gone” and “missed”, it did not compute. I momentarily thought perhaps she had left her job at Today’s Parent, though that didn’t seem likely. Because surely such a young, vibrant woman could not be “gone”. Not the woman who had posted that beautiful picture of herself and her two little girls among the cherry blossoms the day before.

I met Tracy when we were both students in the post-graduate Print Journalism program at Sheridan College. I was immediately impressed by her positive attitude, her amazing writing, and her good taste in movies.

After graduation, it seemed she was always one step ahead: when I turned down a corporation communications position with a pension fund for a more “fun” job at CANOE.ca, I soon learned that they’d offered the job to Tracy first. She’d turned it down too, for a more “fun” job at Chapters.ca. Less than a year later, I found myself in a cubicle down the hall from her—at Chapters’ short-lived online home and garden shop, Villa.ca. Which meant lunch dates and shopping on Queen Street! As a content writer for the movie section (perfect for such a film buff), Tracy often got free passes to new releases, and I was fortunate enough to attend some of those with her. She confided she had fallen for a cute techie guy in the office. They attended my wedding–just two short months before Tracy and I and 70+ other employees were laid off when the Internet bubble burst in 2000!

But it wasn’t long before Tracy found her home on the Today’s Parent website (confession: I had applied for that job too.) In fact, she was one of the first people to know I was pregnant for the first time—because I had posted a question on the community forums she moderated and she recognized my “anonymous” handle. She feigned annoyance that I wouldn’t be able to make the trip to her hometown for her wedding because I was due the same day! But she was thrilled for me. And I saw the photos–she glowed with happiness.

Meanwhile I had found my own great job at Harlequin.com. We continued meeting every now and then for dinner or a movie (Tracy didn’t mind that I was already bawling during the opening montage of Love Actually). She was also one of the first people to know I was pregnant for the second time when we both attended a seminar on freelance editing and I confessed my secret plan to become a work-at-home-mom.

In recent years, we interacted mostly through social media, and of course, I kept up with her family like so many others through her blog. That thoughtful, positive, loving person that came through in her writing was the real deal. I loved the gorgeous photos she posted of her girls, who look so much like her, and so much like their dad at the same time. The perfect combinations. Her birthday letters to Anna and Avery reduced me to tears. And some of my own posts were inspired by hers. With kids about the same ages, I completely understood why she decided to stop blogging.

I must take full responsibility for not making more of an effort to stay connected in person, because if you knew Tracy, you know she was an amazing friend. I often envied her closeknit ties with high school girlfriends and her mom’s group. No, envied is the wrong word. Envy implies you think the other person doesn’t deserve what they have. Admired is better. She encouraged me to attend the Blissdom conference, but I chickened out, worried I would feel like an outsider, or a fraud. Another missed opportunity.

The last words we exchanged were via Facebook on May 18. Upon seeing my post about relocating, she replied “Oh, that’s great! Closer to me!” And I definitely planned to take advantage of the shorter drive to invite her for lunch, or a movie. To reconnect. You hear life is too short, but how often do we think, I’ll do that someday?

I have typed and retyped this last paragraph expressing my sympathies to those closest to her, her family and friends, but I don’t have Tracy’s way with words. Though maybe there just aren’t any for tragedies like this. So I will just say she touched so many people, in life and through her writing, and her grace, kindness, humour and friendship will be greatly missed.

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