Mary Dell writes: On January 18, 2012, Lisa and I held our breath and clicked the “publish” button on Grown and Flown for the very first time. With that single keystroke, our blog was born. We were excited, we clapped, we hugged, we poured ourselves another cup of coffee and sat down again, and wondered, what exactly do we do now?
We had scant knowledge of blogging and social media on that snowy winter day. Sure, we had our personal Facebook pages and read The New York Times Motherlode column faithfully. But we were unaware of the myriad elements that are part of blogging.
To friends and fellow bloggers we know in real life, and to countless others whom we know only virtually, we express our deepest gratitude for reading, commenting, tweeting, sharing and emailing us your private thoughts. (Please continue to share G&F with your friends, we are thrilled with every new reader you introduce us to.)
We read every single entry from you and have been touched by all you have shared of your own lives. Although Grown and Flown is a platform for our writing, it truly exists because of you and all that you contribute to our pages. We wish we could invite you all to a massive, real birthday party with chocolate cake and champagne! Maybe someday….
In the meantime, whether you are now drinking coffee in your pajamas, stealing a few minutes in the office, sitting in the carpool line reading this on your phone, or relaxing in front of your laptop at the end of a very long day (glass of wine nearby), we present our highlights of this year at G&F.
The overwhelming favorite post for this past year was Lisa’s stunning, Knowing My Sons a Little Less. If you have ever wondered why your heart feels at the breaking point of pride and pain as your children grow up, read this post and wonder no longer.
We noticed that our readership picked up steam from May to September, coinciding with graduation to the beginning of the school year. Our second most read post was Top Twelve Dorm Shopping Mistakes which we published in July. Did we say how much we have learned to love Pinterest and all who have pinned this post? Thank you!!
Interestingly, our third highest post, Nine Reasons I Regret Being a Stay at Home Mom was one that Lisa wrote in June, 2013, and that readers continue to discover. The ambivalence that many moms feel about working and/or staying at home with kids remains a constant in modern American life.
We don’t know how to thank our friend, TBKilman, for making her incredible photography available to us. Though it is nearly impossible to choose our favorite images, we both loved the two above, Girl In the Snow and Rush Hour that grace this post. She has a wonderful eye behind the lens and, as a mother of four kids (20-25), personifies the ethos of Grown and Flown: Parenting Never Ends!
In every week of our blog’s life, Lisa and I have turned to each other – or texted, more likely – this question: “how do people do this alone?” We have found collaboration to be the secret sauce for G&F as we (attempt to) divide and conquer social media platforms and fill in for each other when life intervenes. We are each other’s editors and believe our writing is the better for it, with the qualification that we are both terrible spellers, unfortunately.
This year, we expanded our collaborative model by welcoming guest bloggers whose writing gifts were humbling. Thank you, thank you to these writers for the amazing essays they allowed us to share with our readers.
Marjorie Rosenblatt, Cathy Donovan, Darryle Pollack, Martha Handler, Sue Robins, Aline Weiller, Jennifer Breheny Wallace, Becky Blades, Barbara Solomon Josselsohn, Emily Genser, Susan Berger, and Liane Kupferberg Carter.
Lucky us, to have a chance to meet in person and to interview these two authors. Lacy Crawford’s excellent fiction book, Early Decision, is one that any parent with a college-bound high schooler can relate to. Becky Blades is both author and illustrator of the most charming book we saw all year, Do Your Laundry of Die Alone. If you are the mom, aunt or friend of a young woman in high school, college or a recent grad, do not hesitate to buy a copy today. Read it first and then pass it on with the heartfelt advice that Becky offered her own two college-aged daughters.
We were indeed honored to be recognized by The New York Times and to have Lisa appear on The Katie Show this year. Writing for Forbes, The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, The New York Times Motherlode and The Washington Post On Parenting was thrilling for us. We would be kidding you if we said the recognition by national media didn’t matter to us. It did.
What Happened in 2014
This was a watershed year for Grown and Flown, and for Lisa and me, personally. It was the year we anticipated and dreaded in equal parts. Our youngest two kids, the ones who met in third grade and the ones who referred to us (with a tinge of snark) as “faux empty nesters” when we began G&F, graduated from high school and left for college. When we dropped them at their freshmen dorms and we also dropped the “faux.” We have arrived at the empty nest stage of life.
Looking to 2015
We will continue to write about parenting kids ages 15-25 as we have done since the beginning and, now that our two eldest kids are college graduates, we will have much more material regarding young adulthood. Additionally, in November, Lisa was hired by About.com to be the “Young Adult” expert for their digital publication (the 18th largest media platform in the US). You can see a listing of her stories to date to read even more about millennials in first jobs and first apartments, trying to figure out life as we once did.
We close with saying, again, thank you for the generosity of your time. We truly hope that you continue to be part of our circle. If you are so inclined and have story ideas or essays of your own, please drop us a note at [email protected] While we cannot promise to publish everything we receive, we are thrilled when we can add a voice to our duet.
Sincerest wishes for a Healthy, Happy New Year for you, and, of course, your children too!
Mary Dell and Lisa