Category Archives: college

Graduation Time

grad capNope, no one in my house is graduating. But for some reason I found myself going back and reading all of the graduation posts that I had written for my kids. I guess it is that time of year. It all seems so long ago, and like yesterday at the same time.

I will tell you that here on the other side, we are all doing great and happy to have made it.

Here is a little roundup for those who are going through the graduation dance. Don’t worry, I promise, you will all be just fine.

Jana’s High School Graduation

Danny’s High School Graduation

Jana’s College Graduation

Danny’s College Graduation

Iko’s Obedience School Graduation (JK, if you have ever met her you would know she would definitely be a dropout!)

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Filed under childhood, college, danny, daughters, education, family, gary, humor, Iko, Jana, moms, parenting, pets, school, wisconsin

Time To Cry Tuesday – Graduation (the final one)

danny-grad
A graduation post? Again? Didn’t I just do one of these? I suppose three years could be considered ‘just’ in some circles.

Each time my kids donned a cap and gown, I came here to share the overwhelming emotions attached to watching one’s child ‘grow up’.

There was Jana’s HS graduation; my first experience of letting go. I reread it today and it seemed like both yesterday and 100 years ago. (yes, I cried)

Danny’s HS graduation post brought back the memory of the pending empty nest (which by they way empties and fills again a few times before it is truly vacant). For some reason that was the first of two posts where I had an overwhelming emotional experience in a Starbucks. What the hell is that all about? (Yes, I cried again)

Then there was Jana’s college graduation. I marveled at the woman we had grown as I continue to do every day (yeh, more tears).

So many milestones, so many emotions.

But this time we finally got it right. Instead of all that overwhelming emotion, our graduation trip was a true celebration. We simply had fun! And although I felt very sentimental about leaving Madison after 7 years, I was more excited about my second child starting his life. Danny, in his matter-of-fact, self-assured manner, set the tone. He cut us the slack to be proud but kept the reigns tight on not making it all too big. We have simply had way too much big this past year, and he knew that. With humility and confidence he taught us how to do what he does best… be here now, go with the flow and most of all – enjoy life. (with shades on, of course).

Sure there were mixed emotions, how could one not miss a town with this view that had flyers for a band named Diarrhea Planet and reverse evolution graffiti on the sidewalk. This place is awesome. And my kids are more awesome for having lived there. But all things change. And change is good.

Here is my net of it all:

When your kids first leave for college it feels like an amputation. You think you are losing something you can never get back. You worry about your life changing drastically. Your heart aches as your head is telling you to knock it off and lose the drama. You dread your parental obsolescence.

Here – on the other side – you realize that your kids are not part off you, they enhance you. And you them. You never lose them, for no matter where they live they share their lives with you. Your life will change drastically, and that is a good thing… if you kept going at that custodial parenting pace much longer you would explode. And being someone again, instead of someone’s parent is the natural progression. Let’s face it, you have stuff to do!

Sure your heart will ache from time to time as you watch them struggle and grow, but it is a good ache. It is the physical manifestation of how much you love them. Just like when they were little, they will most certainly fall. The hard part is not trying to fix it for them when they do.

But most of all, parental obsolescence is simply a contradiction in terms. They will always need you, just differently. It’s all good.

Congrats Danny boy, thanks for the best weekend ever. You make us so very proud.

Every.

Single.

Day.

Now go out and be all you can be (and be careful).

 

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Filed under advice to my son, college, danny, education, family, graffiti, moms, music, relationships, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time to Cry Tuesday – The Flying of Time

boy-grows-up

Time flies. Where did the years go? How could he be so old? All those cliché lines of motherhood… why do I roll my eyes at these sometimes and at others they bring me to my knees?

Today I am teetering. Yes, I am more emotional than usual these days. And yes, having him home during the hardest 3 months of my life has been both a comfort and a joy. But the straw that broke this mamas floodgate today was this yearbook ad I did for my son when he graduated HS (yeh, it is both a blessing and a curse to have a mom who is a graphic designer). I came across it today on my Pinterest motherhood board (don’t make fun, I work in the mom blogger market). 

That ever-changing face. The same one that now sports a scruffy beard and fronts such a level head for an almost 21-year-old. This boy has turned into a man that I am so proud to say I raised. Part luck, part skill, parenting him has been such an amazing ride.

I am watching him this week between an internship and the journey back for his senior year in college. Gone are my days of checklists and phone calls, Bed Bath and Fed Ex, doctors appointments and errands. He has his list and he is checking things off as they are complete. He may not handle it the way I would (seriously, Dan, are you really moving into an apartment you have NEVER seen?), but he handles it all.

Also gone are the butterflies I used to get when my children would leave. Volumes are written this time of year about the leaving of the nest – but not many write about being comfortable with the dance. If we do our job correctly, they are good to go. And we should be ok with that, even if we get a little weepy during the transitions.

While perusing the motherhood board (for work, I swear!), I came across this quote that says it all for me:

It is easier to build a boy than it is to mend a man.

– Mahatma Gandhi

He is surely ‘letting his life proceed by its own design‘, of that I am quite certain. But he is using the foundation we built to spring from. And that is all any parent can ever hope for.

Faring thee well, my (man)boy, faring the well.

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Filed under advice to my son, college, danny, parenting, Time to Cry Tuesdays, wisconsin

Big 10 Mom

badgers tickets

Yes, that is my desk. Yes it was a Monday morning and I had plenty of work that had to be done. And yes, I really do have that many screens.

This Monday marked the 7th year in a row (one year being a double with 2 kids involved) that I have been in charge of making sure my little Badgers are able to get their season student football tickets. If you know anything about attending a Big 10 school, you know what serious business this is.

When my daughter first went to UW you had to Fed Ex in your forms. For some reason I missed the last pick up and a friend and I drove frantically through town chasing down the Fed Ex truck. (yes, I have friends who would do this with me)

Why, you ask, is this my responsibility and not theirs? Let’s see, for at least 6 of these 7 years at least one of them was a counselor in the Adirondacks with no cell service and no computers. (worth doing it to know they could actually unplug for the summer) And this year, young Daniel is a working stiff, riding the Long Island Railroad at the exact time that the tickets went on sale.

I am happy to report I am 8 for 8 on season tics for my kids.

Next June I will have that same bittersweet feeling about not having to do this as I had when I did not have any camp trunks scattered all over my living room the second week in June.

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Filed under camp, college, family, humor

Time to Cry Tuesday – Letting Go, Global Version

luggage

As a parent, every few years you are faced with another rite of passage, another adventure your child is about to embark on, another chance for you to show your chops as a parent. Although your heart is hanging on to the hem of their pants as they walk through that door, your head is ready to let them fly…

again.

The last time I wrote one of these my boy was off to college. Seems like yesterday, yet here we, are 3 and half years later and he is off for a semester abroad in Seville, Spain. I thought now would be a good time to give him one of my famous lists of advice. I do this every so often to remind him, or more likely myself, that I am not quite through imparting wisdom just yet. If I write it here instead of tell him all this to his face, I spare myself the humiliation of the sighing and eye-rolling. So here goes, in no particular order.

  1. Don’t be THAT American. This is similar to what I told my kids when they were first starting to experiment with drinking. Don’t be THAT girl/guy, the one that gets wasted and pukes on themselves. Don’t be THAT American simply means respect the local culture.
  2. Try to really SEE Europe, don’t just drink Europe. This is obvious to me and quite ridiculous to him. Hopefully somewhere in between will be his reality.
  3. Keep your eyes open and soak in everything. You never know what might wind up being the answer to what you want to do with your life.
  4. Be Smart. If it feels wrong, it probably is. If it seems unsafe, it probably is.
  5. Eat Everything, within reason. No explanation needed.
  6. Don’t be a dick (not that you ever would be). Again, the international version. This is like number 1 on steroids. Check the ego at the door and you might as well leave the egocentric there to keep it company.
  7. If you have to play beer pong, make sure you win the 100 Euro. Self-explanatory.
  8. Amsterdam – you MUST see the Anne Frank House. As Jana said, as a Jew it is your responsibility. Period.
  9. The rest of your time in Amsterdam. I do not need details, thanks.
  10. Have the time of your life. This one should be easy.

In all seriousness, you are an amazing young man and have always made us proud. We have no real worries about this trip. We are just a more than a little jealous.

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Filed under advertising, animals, college, danny, Time to Cry Tuesdays, travel

Mom Fail

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Packaging. It can be so deceiving. At first glance the red and white box simply seemed to be the inhaler I had just picked up from the pharmacy, so it went in the ‘to pack’ pile for my son’s semester abroad.

Ok, so it was the dog’s ear drops instead. Hey, she never let’s me get near her with them, anyway. Someone might as well use them.

I know, a wheezing American in Spain would probably not have seen the humor in that.

Mom fail or honest mistake?

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Filed under college, danny, health, humor, Iko, moms, pets, travel

Second Floor Live Porn in Madtown, WI

Yeh, that post title is a blog whore’s way of getting some (albeit unsavory) traffic. So shoot me. And no, my son had nothing to do with this… I hope. Actually, he could very well have been one of the dozen or so people gathered on the street watching this unfold, or undress as the case may be. A big thank you to Dr. Jimmy for sending this one to me.

This is one crazy story. It appears that 25-year-old Kevin Horner (seriously? is that REALLY his name?) took to jumping on the bed of a second floor hotel room in – of all places – Madison, WI. Mr. Horny, I mean Horner, was jumping in front of the window of his room at the University Inn on Frances and State Streets…. sans pants.

I happen to know his corner quite well as it directly across the street from the freshman dorm that both my kids lived in. In fact, you could be running on the treadmill in the second floor gym and look straight into the window that Kevin was wiggling his johnson in. (no not on Johnson Street, that was Frances Street).

The arresting officer said his goal was to keep any innocent bystanders from being exposed and offended by the view. Damn, that guy is no fun! Unless of course the Horner Johnson was, in fact, an offensive looking one.

Horner admitted, “I made a mistake and should have kept my pants on”.

Why is no one asking why a 25-year-old was jumping on the bed?

Can’t make this stuff up.

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Filed under absurdities, college, current events, danny, humor, travel