Tag Archives: parenting

Once A Hawkeye…

IOWA HAWKEYE

So, my baby graduated from college, marking the end of a parenting era for us. Four up, four down. Four Hawkeyes. When I tell people that all of our kids attended the University of Iowa, they naturally wonder if my husband and I had also attended. And…no we hadn’t. We actually both went to Loyola University of Chicago. Iowa just sort of…happened. Continue reading

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Go Big Or Go Home

  
In this episode, Marilyn talks about going big, taking risks, and following your dreams…all in the name of happiness. Tell us about a time you followed your dreams. Was it worth the risk?

http://www.wherearemyglassespodcast.com

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People, Let Me Tell You Bout my Best Friend…Or How I Unwittingly Became An Uber Before That Was A Thing

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Do you remember the day you met your best friend? I do and quite honestly, if I had known her as a kid, I probably wouldn’t have liked her, and I’m quite certain I would never have been allowed into her circle of cool friends, of which she was the undisputed reigning queen. The stories I’ve heard from her childhood friends, her husband and even herself confirm this. But fast-forward a few decades and the circumstances of our first meeting placed me at the top of her A-List because she saw something in me; something that I could offer her that she desperately wanted…transportation of her kids to school.

When we moved into our new house, I was welcomed by several friendly neighbors bearing cookies and other treats, so I thought Monique’s visit would be no different. By the way, if you haven’t already guessed, Monique isn’t her real name (is anyone really named Monique??) It’s just a moniker she uses when she joins me on various undercover assignments. Yes, we do that on occasion…  https://boxwinebudget.com/2012/02/10/i-know-what-you-did-last-sunday/

But, she heard through the grapevine that the new neighbors had kids who attended the same parochial school as her own offspring. An idea was quickly hatched in which she wasted no time ringing my doorbell, handing over a plate of brownies and introducing her daughter, who stood like a little cherub by her side. Turned out, my daughter was the same age and both were registered to start kindergarten at the same school. Monique also had an older son the same age as my boys. Before we moved in, they were the only kids in the neighborhood who attended this school, as all the others went to the local public school. So those parents were of no use to Monique. I, however, was heaven-sent, as the daily grind of shlepping her son to and from school was growing wearisome.

So, you might wonder why on earth I would ever want to befriend this self-absorbed person? Simple. She really isn’t awful at all. Well, maybe just a little, but in a totally good way. And yes, you can be bad in a good way. Turns out, those are my favorite kind of people. And I probably would have never known that about myself had she not approached our doorstep with that smile, those cookies and that agenda. And from that day forward, no one has ever made me laugh as hard as she can and no one is as eager to join me on my subversive missions, which I seem to have with alarming frequency.

Together, we have navigated the treacherous waters of parenting young children and teenagers, managed to find colleges that actually wanted them through graduation and beyond (well, we’re still kind of holding our breath on that last part) and even (WARNING…SHAMEFUL PLUG AHEAD…) collaborated on a collection of humorous short stories detailing our harrowing parenting experiences (Living The Dream On A Box Wine Budget) as well as a second, darker novel about a desperate woman’s unorthodox method of stress-management (NUMB). And we attended numerous writer’s groups, only to conclude that we were WAYYY better writers than those collections of losers. In all fairness, they probably weren’t ALL losers…

But best of all, she always enthusiastically joins me in my (sometimes outrageous) schemes to get rich quick. And with a friend like that, ummm… we’re probably going to need someone willing to bail us out…

Living The Dream On A Box Wine Budget: 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B006EU1SP6


NUMB: 

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ELICULY


 

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One Day At A Time…

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Faith is taking the first step when you don’t see the whole staircase.  -Martin Luther King, Jr

This is a story about faith. It is a story about hope. And more than anything, it is a story about love; the deeply profound love of a mother for her child. Beverley Jean Blanc was born in Lousiville, Kentucky in 1971 and moved to Moline, IL as a young child. She lived the typical life of most kids, going to school and working as a teenager at the local Hy-Vee grocery store. After high school graduation, she had an exciting opportunity to travel to Europe to perform with her choir. Life was good for the young girl. Beverley attended Blackhawk College in Moline for two years when she married Adam. After the wedding, the newlyweds moved to Macomb, IL when he became a student at Western Illinois University.

During this time, she worked two jobs while he went to school. Upon learning that she was pregnant, what should have been a cause to rejoice, was met with the news that he wanted to leave her. They agreed to counseling in hopes of saving their marriage. And things did seem to look up. Bev continued working and taking care of the new life growing inside her. At twelve weeks, during a routine prenatal visit, she was told that her baby had stopped developing at around seven or eight weeks.  The child had died. Completely devasted with this news, Bev and her husband moved back to Moline where Adam had secured a job with the Rock Island, IL Police Department. Soon after his return from the Police Academy, Bev suffered a second miscarriage. Her third pregnancy would prove the charm, however, and, while frightened at the very real prospect of losing another child, she was also extremely happy that this pregnancy seemed to be a healthy one. After all, Bev deserved some happiness. Her euphoria was short-lived, though, when one morning, Adam simply announced that he didn’t love her anymore. Bev was five months pregnant.She found herself back at her parents’ house, regrouping. But not for long. Adam got the shock of his life, I’m sure, when Bev returned to their home, woke him out of a peaceful slumber and said, “You’re leaving me and your unborn child. Get your shit and get out.” Beverley Jean Blanc was a new person from that day forward.

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The Partial Daisy

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How hard is too hard to push your kids?  Where is the line between letting them just be kids and insisting they be involved in activities?  When our oldest son, Mike, was young, we thought it was very important for him to participate in sports. It seemed only natural to sign him up for baseball and soccer every summer, spring, and fall.  As he grew older, he added basketball to his list.  At the same time, my husband and I wanted him to learn piano and drums and play in the school band, so that was just more to add to the calendar.  Of course, he also took swimming lessons every summer and attended tennis camps, as well as scouting.  He was going to be a well-rounded kid if it killed us. Continue reading

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I Feel Like A Woman…Well, Sort Of…

I wrote this post three years ago after sending my youngest off to college. She is now entering her senior year and managed somehow to thrive without mom hovering over her. Although, she might disagree… Hey, I might not be the cookie-baking, after-school-snack offering June Cleaver, but I’m still a mom. Just the kind that is ecstatically happy when my kids aren’t around. Is that wrong??

 

Woman Crying picOver the years, I’ve often wondered if, perhaps, somewhere in the dark recesses of my chromosomal make-up, I might be harboring an extra Y marker. I say this because I’ve never been the mom who gets weepy on the first day of kindergarten,  high school, college or graduations from said institutions. In fact, when my youngest was headed for all-day kindergarten, I could barely control my euphoria. Move-in day to college has never been an occasion for multiple boxes of Kleenex.  Is there something wrong with me?

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Confessions Of A Seventh Grade Nothing

THE GLORY DAYS

I was recently asked what job I dreamed about having as a kid and, at first, wasn’t really sure how to answer because I don’t ever remember dreaming about being a particular “thing.” But as I thought more about it, I guess I could say I thought about being a teacher. Not because I had any great desire to teach or an over-abundant love for children. Neither did I entertain any grandiose imaginings of my future self making a profound difference in a kid’s life or presenting myself as an unsung hero, inspiring young minds to seize the day. No. My adolescent self entertained thoughts of teaching while sitting in my seventh grade classroom, hoping and praying that the teacher would not utter the words that I knew were inevitable…”Pick a partner and…” It didn’t matter how that sentence ended because those first words, the words I dreaded, would simply paralyze my twelve year old brain.

I was the new kid at Queen of Martyrs school on Chicago’s south side. The path which led my little brother Paul and I there was a bit circuitous, but was the result of a hasty move from our old, comfortable neighborhood to a new and completely foreign world.  No longer was I accepted simply by virtue of my last name. I was a legacy at my old school, having had five older siblings pave the way. Everyone knew us. I was the mascot of our grammar school football team, my eighth grade sister, the captain of the cheerleaders. Life was good.

That all changed when we transferred schools and I came to the brutal realization that I had nothing going for me. Suddenly, I was a gangly, stringy-haired, self-conscious, nerdy introvert in desperate need of a friend, but sadly lacking one. Oh, did I mention I wore glasses and a retainer? I wasn’t cool. I was the most uncool kid you could imagine. A few kind souls reached out to me. They were the other kids on the fringe whose welcome I happily accepted. My brother didn’t suffer as much, having found his niche as a star of the fifth grade football team. Soon, his reputation garnered a little respect for me and I was able to bask in his shadow.

But his benevolent umbrella couldn’t help me when I was stricken with the inevitable order to find a partner. The worst were days when my possible partner was absent. My heart would go into absolute panic-mode as I’d scan the classroom, silently beseeching someone – anyone – to notice me and offer to partner-up.

Those were the times when I fantasized about becoming a teacher. As a teacher, I would NEVER, EVER direct my students to “find a partner” or allow them to arrange their desks as they wanted – an activity that would send the other kids into fits of joy. No, I swore that would never happen on my watch.

Well, fast-forward four decades and I never did become a teacher, which is probably a good thing. But, to those teachers who may find themselves reading this, I now beseech you to always consider the the outcasts when addressing your classroom. That is one way you can leave a lasting impression on those kids. The smallest acts of kindness will always be remembered, as will the hurtful moments of isolation, which seem to plant themselves deeply into one’s psyche.

I suppose the silver-lining of that experience is that I was able to draw upon those memories to teach my own kids to notice the outsider on the playground and be that kid’s friend. Because he needs a friend. So I guess I did become a teacher after all. Class dismissed.   🙂

 

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