View More:’ve had a great deal of well wishes and concern for Kenley. We love that; thank you. I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk about her since we celebrated her turning 2 this week! I can’t believe she is already so big and still so little. She absolutely loves the nice weather we’ve been having so she can do her favorite thing, playing outside. Top activities include: swinging, bubbles, anything with sticks, following Daddy around and crying when she has to come inside. Her personality has really come out these past couple months. We have been told since she was teeny tiny that she is the happiest baby and she truly is. I know I said baby and yes, she is still MY baby.  Every morning she claps and gets excited about her vitamin. She says “thank you” so many times a day I can’t even count.  She blows kisses at strangers. She’s such a love bug.

How is she doing with everything related to Blakey’s diagnosis? Pretty well. She’s two, so obviously she doesn’t understand what’s really going on. She has been seeing more of my sister (Winsie) and my parents (Grandma “Jack” – a very hilarious story for another time – and Papa) while we take Blake to appointments or care for her. She’s been more loving toward Jeff and me because she can tell we’re sad.  We try not to hide our sadness from her, but we do shield her from the deep, deep pain (think sobbing; clearly, scary for a toddler). We make sure she knows it’s okay to be sad sometimes.  She throws tantrums more often these days. Part of that is because she’s a toddler; part of it is because she can sense what’s going on around her. Jeff and I (along with my mom and sister, who have been staying here on and off helping us) are trying to keep things as normal as possible for her. We’ve reached out to professionals a couple of times for advice and will continue to do so. Her well being, along with her sister’s, remain our priority.

I have to keep things honest and say one of the hardest things for me in this whole situation is the relationship between Kenley and her little sister. We were surprised by our pregnancy with Blake, since we had planned on having another child, but a little later on. When we found out Blakey was a girl we were so excited for sisters, but I was nervous. I thought Kenley would be jealous or too little to understand being gentle with a baby. They are only 17 months apart. Crazy as it seems, Kenley has never been anything but so loving to her little sister. She makes sure to give her kisses, say ‘hi’ and call her ‘cute’ a million times a day! She’s recently started talking baby talk to her; it’s one of the sweetest things I have ever seen in my life.

While I was still pregnant and when Blake was tiny, Jeff and I would sit in bed and talk about all the things they could do together. They’d be in school at the same time, be able to play together, get in trouble together, teach each other, cover for each other. The list would go on and on. We were so grateful they would have a sisterly bond; they’d have each other no matter what. Now my heart breaks when I realize Kenley probably won’t remember her sister. That’s hard. Really, really, really hard. Of course, her Dad and I will make sure she knows everything about Blake for as long as we live. I’m just afraid she’ll be too small to truly remember. Since this is now our reality, we take a massive amount of pictures. I write down stories about them for her to read when she’s older. We go on outings and plan projects for the two of them. While my heart continues to break on a daily basis, I’ve realized they will always be sisters; things will just look a little bit different than we thought they would. I struggle greatly with that loss for her. I’m sure I always will.

I knew from the second Kenley made me a Mama we were blessed. Seeing her laugh and play makes my heart so happy. When my thoughts take me to hard places I can look over at Kenley; she smiles and says, “Hey Mama. You good?” I get to watch her love on her sister, for however long we get that, and it’s something I treasure deeply. She brings us a lot of joy, a little sass and so much to look forward to. We celebrate her birthday this weekend and I can’t wait. Nemo (or ‘Momo’, as she calls him) is her current obsession. Apparently, they have discontinued that party supply theme, but we’ll come up with something.  We’re up for the challenge!

I have so many pictures like these. I picked just a couple. It’s a real snuggle fest!



6 thoughts on “Kenley

  1. So sweet! Kenney will remember Blake in the words & pictures you are providing her. That’s a huge gift. Blessings to you all.


  2. I love you so, Stephanie Geissler Reid! You are so brave to share your heart and pain with the world. You and Jeff and your family are doing everything right. While I wish with all my heart that things were different you are bringing joy to a tragic situation. You are stronger than anyone can imagine. You are loving and wise and so, so brave. I want to be like you when I grow up! 😉 More love than I can say. ❤


  3. This is the true definition of “bittersweet”. Being open to love while your heart is breaking is that painful healing place. No one “knows” but the people going through it, Stephanie. You are loved, loving, and sharing of yourself.. Kenley and Blakey are blessed to have you and Jeff for parents to show them this gentle, loving way. We all love you and yours….xo


  4. Read through tears. Someone used the word “bittersweet ” . Perfect word . Probably trite, but something I hear occasionally – joy shared is multiplied; sorrow shared is divided. Thank you for sharing.


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