Welcome to the World, Mesabi Tribune

Much like Athena, the greek goddess who sprang from her father Zeus’ head full grown, the Mesabi Tribune has also come into the world, fully formed.

The Mesabi Tribune is the result of the coming together of the Mesabi Daily News and the Hibbing Daily Tribune. Each newspaper and community covered has brought their essence to this new publication. No longer separated, the Iron Range is now covered by the Mesabi Tribune- your source for the region’s news, six-days a week.

My name is Leah Ryan and I am a reporter based in the Virginia office. Although my reporting has been published by both MDN and HDT, my columns have only been read in MDN. I am glad to say that now you can read my ramblings in the Mesabi Tribune, every Sunday and occasionally on Wednesdays.

To introduce myself, I would like to start by acknowledging that I am a packsacker. I was born and raised in Williston, N.D., where my mom, and later my now-husband, were both managing editors of the Williston Herald.

I think of myself as your long-time neighbor — even if I do need to be told where a certain beach can be found or how to “correctly” pronounce sauna.

After our marriage five years ago, my husband and I moved to Eveleth.

We had met in graduate school before moving from Illinois to Boomtown USA/Williston.

One day I came home from my job as the traveling librarian for the rural school district with a stack of papers. “Sign here, and here and here,” I informed him. That is how our life in foster care started.

After settling down in Eveleth, buying a new home and getting a few dogs, we re-entered the foster care world, this time through St. Louis County. We had several placements, one long term. After that boy left our home, we realized we were ready for our own type of permanency.

Our favorite social worker, Teri Kesti, matched us with her favorite kids- plus, surprise!, bio mom was expecting. We adopted Shannon and Mick last year.

My dad, Grandpa Ryan, gives all of his grandchildren nicknames (OK, his kids, too. Mine was Gorbachev due the birthmark on my forehead). Now, he says he is working on building his Irish gang.

Grandpa’s nicknames are the names I call my children in the newspaper.

Why? Because I can be an embarrassing mom! They deserve the illusion of anonymity.

Shannon is our 13-year-old. Like Athena, I joke that she, too, sprang full-grown into our family. Shannon is an amazing young woman. She is hardworking, loving, infuriating and brilliant- she is all teenager.

Have you heard of Tic-Tok? All I know is she learns dances from it and can’t pass a mirror without doing the twitching moves. I think this is the nervous way her natural athleticism is able to escape since she hasn’t been in a sport since COVID.

Irish Mick Ireland, Mick, is our 11-year-old. He is all boy but with cuddles on the side. Small children flock to him and we tease Mick that he is the leader of our neighborhood gang of kids as their heads are always popping up in the front window asking him to play.

He, too, is hardworking, loving, infuriating and brilliant. My son knows every single one of my buttons and how to push it. Often, in the midst of bickering I will see a smile leak onto his face giving away that he is purposely getting a rise out of me.

Baby Bulldog lived with us for a while but was reunited with their bio mom. I am pleased to report that all is well and Bulldog is being a great big brother to the newest baby.

Recently, we told our social worker that we are ready for a new fos-adopt placement. This would be a child who’s case looks like it will lead to parental termination and adoption; a foster placement with a possibility of adopting. Basically, it would be like us telling our families we are “trying” to have another kid while reiterating that foster care is focused on family reunification.

The kids have been begging for months for a baby sister! I just tell them to pray and God will bring the right person, at the right time, into our family. No matter how long or short they live with us, every child in our home is treated and loved as family.

When recently visiting with my mother-in-law I told her not to hold her breath but at some point… There are a lot of ifs and maybes in the lives of foster families.

This is what you can expect from my columns — a woman figuring out how to be a mother, daughter, wife and friend. I write from my heart and head, often figuring out how the two come together while writing.

Honestly, in life I just want to be a good person and do the right thing. Yes, I’ve messed up and I’m not perfect. My columns are a way that I search to find out what being a good person is and what is the right thing to do.

What I write is my opinion, my view on the world. I also want to know your opinion: What is your view on a topic?

I encourage readers to reachout to me with ideas, questions and comments. I love getting physical mail and try to always respond!

Thank you for reading our first edition of Mesabi Tribune. I’ll be waiting for you on Sunday — bring the coffee and donuts (or the Strawberry Banana French Toast from Village Inn. I always split that with my husband and talk him into getting a skillet breakfast or eggs benedict)!

Leah Ryan can be contacted on Facebook, by calling 218-471-1327, by emailing lryan@mesabitribune.com or by mailing Mesabi Tribune, Attn: Leah Ryan, PO Box 956, Virginia, MN 55792.

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