JEN'S ZEN ~ Rebirth

Hello! I’ve missed you.

Strange times as we begin here again at JEN’S ZEN ~ Rebirth.

Like you, I’ve read too many political posts on Facebook. I’ve watched Trump give his acceptance speech, listened as Hillary spoke her concession. I’ve heard President Obama and the call to unify: the time is now (right after the anti-Trump rallies end) to come together. I get it. We all get it. Win, lose or in-between, emotions are running high, and many are fearful over the great divide that is currently the United States of America.

One needs only to be human

to feel the current mood of our nation.

When I chose Nov. 15, 2016, as the day to launch Feel These Words and bring back JEN’S ZEN, I knew we would begin again in the aftermath of the election, but I simply could not prepare for how these days right here would feel. I didn’t know exactly what would be happening in our homes as this blog came to begin again, the conversations we’d be having with our children.

I had planned to simply welcome you back, and give a special shout to those of you who’ve been with JEN’S ZEN since the beginning, since Great Lakes Bay Moms and “Shadow Work.” I wanted to tell you that Great Lakes Bay Moms, a group of dynamic women behind a regional parenting website, has scaled back efforts greatly and no longer runs articles or JEN’S ZEN. How it happened quickly and peacefully, and how the group was ultimately run by moms (who carpool, clean, load and unload laundry, change diapers and nurture while attending playdates, moving out of state, birthing babies) who needed to take a step back.

I wanted to explain to you that, as a freelance writer, I originally wrote JEN’S ZEN for Great Lakes Bay Moms, a writing assignment like many I take on in my profession. How I met the Great Lakes Bay Moms on assignment, actually, and wrote an article about them for a magazine. How I found myself enamored with their intentions, and joined them and their efforts. And how, at a meeting in 2013, I blurted out, “I feel like we need to offer something more [than a family-friendly event calendar], something personal …”

And JEN’S ZEN was born, though I had no idea at the time

that this blog would come to become

something very personal to me.

I wanted to share with you how grateful I’ve always been for your comments, shares and beautiful understanding. Creating a platform for parents was intended; the magic of resonating with all of you couldn’t have been planned. And I wanted to thank you. Writing JEN’S ZEN to and with you has reminded me, time and again, that this concrete-hard thing called Parenting is raw and real. And universal.

Considering that much regarding JEN’S ZEN has been unplanned by me, I’m going to tell you that rebirthing this parental platform into our current election-sick times was not necessarily planned, either. And yet, I couldn’t be more grateful than I am at this very moment to be writing from the ground zero of Parenting again. Trying to muck through the mush in our minds, searching for something (anything) steady, JEN’S ZEN has offered me this, yet again. I sincerely hope it will for you as well.

At a time when common ground seems eerily scarce, this blog is coming full circle and beginning again on the same premise it began years ago: here in JEN’S ZEN, we are the same. Our nation may be reeling through differences and division, and you may have danced happily at Trump’s acceptance speech or sobbed during Hillary’s concession.

But here in JEN’S ZEN,

we drop all roles except one.

Here, you are a Parent.

Whether you go to work in pencil skirts or utility boots, suit coats or overalls, and whether you break glass ceilings or install glass windows — here, you come home to kids.

Here, you hold little hands of those who depend on you to guide.

Here, you look teenagers in the eyes and attempt to inspire truth and trust.    

Here, you answer tough questions, pave way for dreams, and whether you’re black, white, purple, poor, rich, gay, straight, vegan, Christian, Buddhist, all or none, you try your hardest to provide for your little ones in the best way that you know how.

It’s here, Parents, where noise is familiar and hard decisions are daily life, that we meet again in JEN’S ZEN. With and through — not regardless of — our differences, we’ll be doing what we all do.

Because the damn dishes are never done. Laundry is a cruel joke. And because children are beautiful lessons in patience and counting … 10, 9, 8, 7. Breathe.


GRATITUDE GIVEBACK: In honor of officially launching Feel These Words, I sought out nonprofit organizations via "10 Days to Launch: FTW" on Facebook who were interested in receiving a free writing service. Thank you to those who messaged and mentioned, and I will keep you posted on the future project with Hospital Hospitality House of Saginaw!

Jen W. O'Deay