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EDITOR'S NOTEBOOK: Not Very Good at Good-Bye

Honestly, Waukee, it's not you, it's me.

Here's a little-known fact about me: I suck at saying good-bye.

I was the girl in high school who couldn't break up with "that one clingy guy" because I was afraid to hurt his feelings.

I was the one who kept a land line for years after I got a cell phone even though no one but telemarketers ever called on it.

And, I'm the girl who still has a Hotmail account even though Gmail is much easier to use.

But now, there's no more time to sidestep the issue. I just have to come right out and say it: I'm leaving Waukee Patch.

Ugh. I feel sick just having typed that, but it's true. After 17 months as the local editor here, I've decided to step away from the job and focus, once again, on my family.

As I'm sure some of you know, in addition to being a writer and editor, I'm also a wife and mother of three. My oldest child is 6 and my twins are 4 and those little monkeys are my entire world. 

Last July when I started working for Patch, I had just come off five years of being a stay-at-home mom. It's one of the hardest jobs I've ever had. Long hours, sleepless nights and feelings of isolation often made me long to work full-time again. Not only that, but I missed writing. It was my passion and we had been apart for far too long.

So when a friend suggested I apply for a job with Patch, I jumped at the chance. The promise of covering community news, working from home and being able to do something I love while getting paid for it? Sign me up!

This job - no - this experience has been all I had hoped it would be and more. I've met and interviewed some of the most interesting and amazing people. I've cultivated more than just contacts or sources - I've made friends. I dove headfirst into a community I knew very little about and came out feeling like something of an expert after all I've learned about Waukee.

Now, undoubtedly, there will be a few of you who say, "Good riddance," as I make my exit this Friday. That's OK. I have no regrets about how I did things at Patch. If there is one thing I would want people to know it's that I am human. I make mistakes and that, just like your 9-5, this was my job and I did the very best I could.

Where will I go from here? Honestly, I don't know. I think the first few days without Waukee Patch will be hard for me. No more will I stumble out of bed, hair a mess and still in my pajamas to see what I might have missed overnight. No more will I reach for my computer at the end of a long day just to make sure all the stories are in order so readers get a good dose of news first thing in the morning.

I know, at least in the next few weeks, I will read more books, play more games, give more baths and be home to kiss my kids goodnight every night. I will volunteer at their holiday parties, take them to dance class and gymnastics and pick them up from school every day.

I will watch my 6 year-old daughter perform in "The Nutcracker," meet good friends for coffee and schedule more date nights with my husband. I will take long baths, watch more movies, get more sleep and take better care of myself.

That said, I'm going to miss you, Waukee. Like crazy. I'm a little in awe at how attached I've become to you all.

So maybe this isn't good-bye but rather, "See you around." Because no matter how hard I try, I've never ever been good at good-bye.

Janyce Page November 28, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Best of luck to you, Jody! We appreciate what you have done for the Waukee Patch and you will be missed.
Megan VerHelst November 28, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Oh, Jody. This makes me so sad. You've been with us from the start – with ME from MY start when Patch was barely a blip on Iowa's radar, and when there were only a couple of us flying by the seat of our pants trying to figure this all out. Now, a year and a half later, I still value everything you did for Patch. Everything you did for us, your coworkers, and everything you did for me. Your support, your guidance, your humor, and your leadership was something we could always look to and rely on no matter what happened. Patch was lucky to have you, and your kids (and Tim) are so lucky to have such a devoted mom. We'll miss you, Jody! But maybe now we can have that lunch we always talked about. ;)
David Leonard November 28, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Thanks for all your hard work on Patch, Jody, and good luck. Stay-at-home Mom (or Dad) is one of the most meaningful jobs in the world. Who is taking over for you at Patch?
Jody Gifford November 29, 2012 at 05:30 AM
David, no one has been hired yet but we have a team of writers and editors who will cover Waukee in the interim. Waukee Patch will soldier on in my absence. I promise you that.
jenny December 03, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Jody, although I'm in Urbandale, I usually read many of the Patches close to me: Johnston, Waukee, WDM and Ankeny. Have a happy 'retirement'!!! You will be greatly missed by many. Enjoy your time at home with your children! After almost 40 years at the post office, I finally retired in 2009 and am loving every minute of it! I'm sure that you'll feel the same!!

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