Wednesday, June 28, 2017

It was the worst of times. It was the best of times.

Yes, I know the title of this blog is incorrectly plagiarizing a very well known phrase. I promise, it's intentional.

"How do you deal with the bad news?" It's one of those questions, we TV folks get asked often. And it's a really valid question. Thankfully, I work at a place that understands viewers want to watch more than the bad news, but still, we do cover tragic things that happen. 

But the story, hopefully, does not stop there.

I'm reminded by a phrase that often pops up in social media feeds after terrible tragedies. It's attributed to a man who could bring peace to children with the calm of his voice and the flip of his shoe. Mr. Rogers. "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”

Tonight as I sit and prepare for the 10 p.m. newscast, I'm reading a report filed by reporter Maya Saenz and photojournalist Kevin Rempe. They went to a home in Farragut, Iowa that is considered unlivable because of a tornado that tore through this afternoon.


The family is okay. It's been just hours since this happened, and yet the report says, "after the storm, came the help..from neighbors, friends, relatives." People heard a family was in need and they came calling.

Look for the helpers.

Sometimes we cover news about the worst of times, but even then, there are glimpses of the best of human nature.


(photos and video courtesy Maya Saenz)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

You would've liked this life.

Dear Dad (or should I say Grandpa, Mom has now taken on the title Grannie from virtually all of us),

I miss you.

Just this week, Jack, my oldest, has been spouting out that phrase nonstop. Maybe he knows those words are swirling in mama's brain. I'm not a big anniversary person, but still, every year, when June 22nd rolls around, I remember what I wish were not true.

I wish June 22, 2004 never happened. I wish you were still here. I know you wish you were here too.

It's been 13 years.

You have five grandchildren you never met. You have a daughter-in-law. You have a son-in-law. You have people who love you even though they only know of you.

Listing all of them makes me a bit angry. I suppose the "it's not fair" feelings have not fully subsided more than a decade later.

I wish you could hear Maya sing, Clara laugh, Etta squeal.

I wish you could see Jack give his cynical stare he gets from me which means he gets from you. Emme's smile. I wish you could see that.

I can't tell where my selfishness ends and empathy begins. I think they've become one. I grieve for my loss, but more than that, I grieve for you, and what you're missing. You would love being a grandpa.

Last Christmas, Maya (she's 10) wrote about what she wanted. She said she wanted her daddy to be able to spend time with his daddy again. I say that not to make you sad, but to show you how much you're still a part of us.

My kids will grow up knowing that a good book should be read outside when the weather is nice. That a strong work ethic will get you far, but make the most of your family time. Summer is meant for baseball and grilling out. Never skimp on a good trip. Expand your mind at museums and concerts. And shower children with love. They should never question the love.

Yep. You're here.

If the sign of a life well lived is the mark you make on others, then you succeeded.

It's just...I miss you.

It's a phrase a two-year-old can say clearly. At 36, though, I can't fully explain to him the depth of those words. And as a mom, I hope he doesn't have to really feel their meaning for a very long time.

I love you, Daddy,

Jenny