Category Archives: education

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!)

Leave a comment

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)

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.




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



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

Congrats are in order

Like This!

Today was the big pre-college Bed Bath and Beyond shop. I believe this is branded as Pack and Hold, or Equip Your Space, or spend as much money you can on crap that you will throw out in May when you move out of the dorms (which was the tagline that got killed I am sure).

For those who have not done this yet, if your kid goes to school out of town, they give you a price scanner and you pick out all the stuff you need. Then they contact the store in the town where the college is, check the inventory and pack you up for storage in their ‘pods’ till you get there. Saves a lot of aggravation and shipping costs.

Apparently the same scanner is used for bridal registry. (admit you were all getting worried about the illustration looming up there at the top of this post)

Jana came with us to boss her brother around help her brother pick what he needs for the dorms. As I was trying to force the pop up laundry basket back into the package it exploded out of examining the pop-up laundry baskets, an employee passed by:

Employee: Congratulations (I thought this was a sarcastic remark about my struggle with the laundry device from hell).

Jana: For what?

Employee: Aren’t you two newly engaged?

Awkward silence.

Then awkward hysteria.

This guy thought my kids were a couple about to be married!

I am sure this is illegal in NY State.

If only we did not have to go back and ask the guy where the duvet clips were. (don’t even ask what a duvet clip is).

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook


Filed under college, conversations, danny, education, humor, Jana

Tales of Open School Night


This was it. The last open school night. After 16 years, tonight marks the last time we will walk the halls – forever lost – searching for the right classroom.

Instead of getting all weepy about the end of an era I will tell you the funniest thing I heard all night. This is from a dad who always makes me laugh.

“I have spent the whole night following around the wrong middle-aged mom.”

He told me that with each frantic class switch he would try to keep up with his wife and each time followed the wrong ponytail down the hall, only to hear his cell phone ring with his wife on the other end reprimanding him for getting lost again.

Let’s face it, moms. We bring our husbands to these things to show the teachers that there are two concerned, involved parents in the household and we make sure that we sign their names on the sheets so they get credit.

Uh oh, now I am sure that I am in big trouble with all you REALLY involved dads out there, but please understand you are in the minority. Don’t get me wrong, Gary is into going(ish). He was very impressed with the SMART boards and the amazing course offerings… for real! But if given the choice I am sure he would prefer hanging out in the halls socializing.

Kind of like being back in high school, isnt it?

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog.For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

1 Comment

Filed under education, family, gary, humor, parenting

Time to Cry Tuesday – Hit Send


We are here. Where, you ask?


On the other side of ‘send’.

And with that simple click of the mouse, Danny – the baby – has submitted his first college app.

Too melodramatic, you say. Hmmm, well I say you are all too vocal tonight. How do you like that?

Tonight, as we were watching promos for ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ – the movie adaptation of one of our favorite books from his childhood – that crazy app went soaring through the interwebs and officially turned my little boy into a college applicant.

‘It roared its terrible roar and gnashed its terrible teeth’ and transformed ‘that little boy who made mischief of one kind…

and another…’

into a man(ish)-type person.

Never in the history of ‘send’ has such a small gesture meant so much. (ok, I agree I AM leaning heavy on the melodrama pedal here). But there is something both exciting and petrifying about the idea of this process beginning.

First kid launched? Of course that was monumental. Second kid off? That means all sorts of things. Yes, even more than looking for that special cat food parmesan recipe because we are paying for two kids at the same time.

It means sad things like the end of an era. But it means exciting things too. Like having actually survived custodial child-rearing (with minimal scars). And not having to travel during school vacations.

So here’s to ‘send’. May it bring to my boy all he dreams of and send him where his new life will begin.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog.For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook


Filed under college, college applications, danny, education, family, teenagers, Time to Cry Tuesdays

College Move In: Year Three


Year one was the year of the space bags. I was simply out of my mind. Seriously, the dog was nervous that she would find herself in one of these bags with the air sucked out of it with a vacuum. It was the year of the famous 10 lb. dorm room in 5 lbs. of luggage.

Year two was the sorority house move in. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 degrees, of course no air conditioning, 3 flights of steps, a lost printer and the embarrassing UPS story about the lost 21 lb. box of shoes.

I swore I was done with move in and move out, but when your kid is only home for 3 days in August you sacrifice some sleep and break every nail on both hands just to squeeze out a little more time with her.

This year lacks drama big time. Home from camp on Sunday, upack, 13 loads of laundry, and re-pack. This kid is amazing, in 45 minutes she packed for a whole semester. It took me longer to pack for the 2 days I would be gone. In my defense there was a weather check and I had to make adjustments.

So off I go to Madtown, one of my favorite places. With my daughter, one of my favorite peops.

I am sure there will be a few good blog posts out of this one.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook


Filed under education, family, Jana, moms

Time to Cry Tuesday – This is not a dress rehearsal…

I have decided to make this an annual post at graduation time, until next year when I will have another graduate to write about. I wrote this before I was a blogger. It was an email I sent to those who had been parenting with me since preschool. It was written on the morning of my daughter’s HS graduation. Funny how I have become the mom in the last paragraph. Perfect timing as she is leaving tomorrow for the summer after just a few short weeks at home.

This one is for all my girls (and guys) who are launching their girls (and a guy) this year: to Jo (& Mo), Karen (& Todd), Joyce (& David), Maddee (& Alan), Susan (& Neil), Michelle (& Daryl), Lisa (& Rob), and Nancy (& Uncle Neal). Grab your tissues and your hats, this one is not for the faint of heart!

This is not a dress rehearsal…

or watch the temp when you decide to iron the graduation gown. 

6AM on the day that my first child graduates high school. 

how can this be, she was just a curly-headed little whirling dervish whose door i had to hold shut as she was throwing her ever famous brand of temper tantrums. that same door with the loose latch from all the times she slammed it for effect when she stormed into her room in her tweens. you know the one, who at five years old marched into nuerosurgery to ‘get her neck fixed’ and never once asked ‘why me?’. 

who was that radiant young woman that walked out of the house wednesday morning with her car packed and her keys in hand saying, “don’t worry mom, i have the garmin GPS, i don’t need a map!” 

well i think, perhaps, i need a map today. someone tell me how to navigate this road. we surely have had enough practice. we graduate them ad nauseum – from the 4’s, kindergarten, 5th grade, 8th grade – the most graduated generation of all times. you would think we would get used to it. but this year’s cap does not have flourescent orange and green finger paint decorating it. this kid has actually grown up! how dare she. does she not know that my bravado this year has all been an act. of course i could not be ready for her to be the competant, independent, grab-the-world-by-the-balls person i worked so hard to raise. does she not know i was only kidding!! wisconsin?!! that is halfway across the country! 

i digress – back to the gown and the iron. being a working mom i always look for ways to overcompensate and make sure that i am doing the mom thing as well as the work thing. so, of course, they both are never really quite up to the standard i expect. somewhere in the 4-page green directions for graduation (you know the one, where the assistant principal gives them a 10 bullet list for how to enjoy graduation and prom, 9 of which stress not drinking or doing drugs) there was mention of taking the gown out of the bag and ironing it. at midnight i was the mom who would just hang it up. at 6AM i decided no daughter of mine will graduate with a wrinkled gown! 

so why is it, exactly, that they make these things out of the same material as basketball shimmer shorts?! 

no, you will not be able to notice my daughter by the big brown iron mark on the back of her white gown. but if you look close, you may notice that on the front left shoulder the fabric is, how should i put it, a tad ‘melted’. 

as jana would say, ‘it’s FINE’. as my parents would say, i did it ‘the Amy way’. 

a huge thank you to the jana who has become one of my favorite people on earth to spend time with. surely the one that knows me the best, and loves me anyway. sometimes it seems that she is raising me. i think her humor and radiant smile will get me through this one. levity has always been her strong point. 

love and congrats to all of you who have been in the parenting trenches with me the past 18 years. for some of you it is your first, others, your last. it is never easy to watch them go. but then again, we could all use a rest. and as my mommy mentors tell me, they come home, stay out all night, sleep late and bring lots of laundry.  

let the games begin!

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone

add to : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine :  :  : TailRank : post to facebook


Filed under communities, education, family, friendship, Jana, moms