Posts Tagged ‘ bloggers ’

When Bad Things Happen to Bloggers You Love

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Gavin Chasing RainbowsThis isn’t an easy post to write. And it won’t be an easy post to read.

But I hope you’ll read it, because it’s about a blogger who’s special to us here at Parents.

Kate Leong, a mother who writes the blog Chasing Rainbows, was catapulted into a parent’s worst nightmare a few days ago. On April 10 she posted this short, urgent update on her blog’s Facebook page:

“Gavin went into cardiac arrest and is being choppered to DuPont. It’s very grave. Please pray.”

Those of us who have been following the blog and Kate’s Facebook updates sent prayers, strength, and positive thoughts for Gavin’s recovery. The love that poured in from many who don’t know Kate, and knew nothing about her even a few short days ago, would be enough to restore even the most cynical observer’s faith in the human race’s capacity for kindness and compassion.

I’ve never met Kate. But in some small way, I feel like I know her. I became acquainted with Kate through our magazine’s annual Blog Awards contest, for which I’m the editor. Kate’s blog, “a mommy’s quest to make the impossible possible,” was a finalist in the category “Most Likely to Have You Reaching for the Tissues.” She had the support of fellow co-finalist Momastery blogger Glennon Doyle Melton, who believed in Kate’s blog so much that Glennon encouraged her readers to go vote for Kate.

Kate was surprised she’d been nominated, and so excited to be selected as a finalist. Chasing Rainbows didn’t win, but on the Friday after the votes were in, Kate wrote me the most gracious email. She thanked Parents for including her in the contest. It brought her many letters of support, referrals, and suggestions in her efforts to get help for Gavin, who Kate said remained undiagnosed and whose multiple health problems were “a mystery to everyone but God.” As Kate modestly wrote, before the exposure of the contest, her blog had had “a good little following.” But she’d never felt the need to promote it. The competition, she said, gave her the push to do just that.

While Chasing Rainbows didn’t claim the very top honor, Gavin, she said, was the real winner. Kate wrote: “One day, when he’s no longer a mystery, I will drive to Parents’s offices and introduce you to him so we can thank you in person.”

Yesterday, on April 14th, Gavin David Leong died. He was 5 1/2 years old.

He died on his mother’s birthday.

Those of us who were following Kate’s updates last week knew this was coming. Kate had told us the fight was over. A picture on the Chasing Rainbows Facebook page of Kate lying in a hospital bed beside Gavin, looking lovingly at her gravely ill son, unconscious and his eyes parted, is an image that will likely haunt me for the rest of my life. Through the horror (does any other word suffice?) of it all, Kate never stopped blogging, and in her words and pictures, she brought us a window in real time onto an experience that no one should ever, ever have to suffer: losing a child.

Last Friday, after I closed Kate’s Facebook page, left work, and headed home, I thought about that sweet email to Parents from Kate, which expressed such hope and optimism for Gavin. She’d sent it only last month.

That evening, I was filling the tub for my 1 ½-year-old. She was pulling bath toys off a nearby shelf, and enjoying watching them splash into the water. Rubber duck. Shark. Cup. My mind wandered to Kate again, and to Gavin. And to his brother Brian, and his father, Ed. I thought about the terrible pain Kate’s already endured as a mother, as readers of her blog know, and how really, really unfair life can be. And my heart began to race, I felt sweat at my temple, and I had to catch my breath. A casual observer might have said I was having something akin to an anxiety attack. But later, I was able to recognize the feeling, because I’d had it before: sitting in the waiting room at a famous cancer hospital, long after all the treatments and prayers for a friend’s recovery were over, after the goodbyes had been said, and we were just waiting.  Waiting for the inevitable to happen.

The feeling was helplessness.

When you irrationally say to no one listening, Make it stop. Just make it stop.

Why do bloggers affect us so much?

They’re not our family. They’re not our friends.

Certainly, what we feel for someone we know and love is not the same as what we feel for a person we’ve never met.

But that’s the thing about blogs: They affect us because they generously invite us in. Bloggers share many parts of themselves, their families, dreams, hopes. We feel a connection that transcends the barrier of a screen monitor. And when a blogger you like is suffering in a way you could have never imagined, and you’re watching that pain unfold post by post, picture by picture, it hurts because it almost feels like it’s happening to a friend. Because in a way, after reading dozens or hundreds of their posts, you do know them, maybe even better than you know some of your “real-life” friends. When a child dies, it hardly matters if you’ve been acquainted with that mother’s circumstances for years or since last week. You hurt deeply for her.

As one woman on Facebook posted to Kate, reflecting a sentiment that was repeated over and over: “We don’t know each other, but my heart is with you and your whole family.”

People often lament the breakdown of community in our society. And therein lies the power and beauty of the blogging world: In a few days, Kate’s fan base and support network grew from hundreds to thousands. Her fellow bloggers rallied around her, as did an ever-growing army of caring strangers. In the past few days, I’ve been receiving thoughtful emails from other bloggers in our contest, wanting to tell me about Kate, and Gavin.

They feel like they knew them, too.

To honor Gavin’s memory, Kate is asking for this:

“I have a special project that ANYONE can do—that can be FREE—and would be the best birthday present you can give me…. I’m asking you to help someone… document it with words and or a photo… and place it on the Chasing Rainbows Facebook Page. Then be sure to check the page often to get inspired by the outpouring of love.”

Will you help someone?

For Gavin, and for Kate?

Photo: Gavin via Chasing Rainbows Facebook Page

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Nominate Your Favorite Blogs In Our 2013 Parents Blog Awards

Monday, January 7th, 2013

It’s that time of the year again: our annual blog awards!

Between now and January 27, you can nominate your favorite blog (or your own) in one or two of six blog categories:

  • Most likely to have you reaching for the tissues
  • Most likely to make you laugh
  • Most likely to inspire you to change the world
  • Most likely to make life as CHO (Chief Household Officer) easier
  • Most likely to wow you with photos or  videos
  • Most likely to help you achieve a personal goal

We’ll select five finalists in each category, and then leave it up to you to select the winners!

Voting will take place between February 6 and February 24. The winners will be announced on Parents.com on March 1, and then featured in an upcoming issue of Parents.

Visit our Facebook page today to cast your votes.

 

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Time Cover Strikes a Nerve

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

In case you missed it, Time magazine sparked controversy this past week after debuting the cover of their weekly news magazine, which featured 26-year-old Jamie Lynne Grumet breastfeeding her 3-year-old son, Aram, with the bold headline “Are You Mom Enough?”

The article accompanying the cover discusses attachment parenting–which includes three principles: breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and “baby wearing.” Discussion has been heavy over the controversial cover and the principles it attempts to discuss. Three of our Parents blogs weighed in on the topic:  High Chair Times, Parents News Now, and Love & Diapers. Check them out by clicking the link. Then, tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Image via Time magazine

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Carpooling Parents Don’t Always Use Booster Seats
Parents use booster seats inconsistently when carpooling with young kids, according to a new study.

One-Room School Also One-Student School
In a prosperous ranching corner of Montana, Amber Leetch, age 11, makes up the entire Sunset School District 30.

A Blog as Therapy for Teenagers
Researchers find blogging provides a therapeutic value for teenagers.

Updated Guidelines for Treating Babies Exposed to Drugs in the Womb
The question of how best to help babies who have been exposed to drugs in the womb — including prescription pain medications, antidepressants and illicit drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine — can be an emotionally charged issue. Bringing science to bear on the issue, the American Academy of Pediatrics has just updated its guidelines on treating these infants.

British Teen Hospitalized After Eating Nothing but Chicken Nuggets for 15 Years
Talk about being a picky eater. A British teenager reportedly has eaten “practically nothing” but chicken nuggets for the past 15 years. And now she’s paying for it.

Blood Found in Home Belongs to Missing Girl
Blood discovered in the home of the father of missing Maine toddler Ayla Reynolds did come from the girl and was “more blood than a small cut would produce,” the girl’s family says investigators told them.

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Enter the Parents Best Blog Awards

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Blog AwardsAt Parents, we’re a big fan of blogs. We have real moms and dads blogging for us every day and we’re always updating our GoodyBlog with parenting news, stories, and lots of fun giveaways.

But now we want to hear from you! We’re looking for the best, most useful, and most innovative blogs on the web for moms and dads. Is there a blog you read every morning before the kids get up? Or is there a blog you just have to check during naptime? Tell us! You can nominate your favorite blog (including your own) on the awards homepage. Blogs can be nominated in the following categories:

  • Best Craft for Kids Blog
  • Best Family Travel
  • Best Daddy Blog
  • Best Mom Tech Blog
  • Funniest Mom Blog
  • Best Food Blog
  • Best Kids Health Blog
  • Best Gear and Toys Blog
  • Best Mom Fashion Blog
  • Best Special Needs Blog
  • Best Local Mom Blog
  • Best All-Around Mom Blog

There will be two winners in each category—a People’s choice and an Editor’s choice. The People’s Choice will be solely based on who has the most votes and the Editor’s Choice will be chosen by the bloggers and editors of Parents.com and the editors of Parents Magazine.

We’re looking for blogs that surprise and delight us, make us laugh, cry, think, take action or compel us to constantly hit refresh. If you know a blog with that special something, help it get the recognition it deserves. Nominate it today!

The contest begins on August 1, 2011 at 12:00 am EST and ends on October 15, 2011 at 11:59 pm EST.

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Meet Our Newest Blogger: Ellen Seidman

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Ellen Seidman

Ellen Seidman had been looking forward to having a child since she was one herself. “I had a history only of baby love” she wrote on her blog Love That Max. But after a healthy full-term pregnancy, Seidman’s son Max had a stroke at birth and was left with cerebral palsy.

Although Max’s diagnosis changed her life, she hasn’t let it slow her down. Seidman has held senior positions at many magazines, is currently a freelance magazine editor and has found time for a new Parents.com blog To The Max. She writes about the misperceptions people have about children with special needs and how her family tackles them. Seidman does not want pity for her son or the rest of her family, husband Dave and daughter Sabrina, 6, but she does ask one thing: Say “hi.”

Check out Seidman’s new blog To The Max (and don’t forget to say “hi”)!

Meet our other featured bloggers:

Heather Morgan Shott, High Chair Times

Richard Rende, Red-hot Parenting

Jill Cordes, Of F I Sing

Check out all the blogs!

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