Tag Archives: coming of age

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

This is 21!


There are countless milestones and rites of passage in the lives of our children, but none have quite the impact of turning 21. We can heave that great sigh of relief that they are now ‘legal’. Don’t get me (or my newly 21-year-old) started on the legal drinking age, but let’s just say I am thrilled to announce my offspring have kept the track record of not getting ticketed (or worse) for underage drinking or fake/borrowed IDs. Quite the feat in a Big 10 college town.

All that nonsense aside, becoming an adult has little to do with chronological age. My boy has done me proud in the grown-up department way before he crossed this legal threshold, without ever losing the lightness of heart of the child he once was. His 4th grade teacher called him a happy go lucky deep thinker, and that description still fits him perfectly.

This past year our family has learned a boatload about what it means to be there for each other, and young Dan has risen to that occasion every time. All while still finding a way to make me laugh no matter what the circumstances.


Happy 21st Birthday, Danny boy, may you always keep your sense of self. And may you stay forever young. We love you.


Filed under danny

Time to Cry Tuesday – Blank Inside

Of course this card is ‘Blank Inside’. What could they possibly have written that would have been as amazing as that image on the cover? It stopped me in my tracks as I walked down the street. It was sort of like simultaneously staring at the accident and going to a small town carnival while taking hallucinogenics. Not that I have ever done that, but – you know – it is how I would imagine it to be.

As soon as I took the shot, both my daughter and I agreed that it reminded us of one of her friends. I immediately posted it on her Facebook wall.

So, this is where the Time to Cry Tuesday piece comes in. (I am sure you were wondering where I was going with this). I have known this particular friend of hers since pre-school – almost her entire life. I have watched her grow up as I have watched my own kids.

I consider her one of my own.

Her humor is like ours; leaning towards the offbeat (is that an understatement?) . She is bright and fun and funny and…

the first person I thought of to share this with.

Which made me realize that all these little girls had grown up to be women who I love to be around. Their wit and wisdom is beyond their years and they have a way of making me laugh at a moment’s notice.

And they can surely teach me a thing or two about honing my Magnet for the Absurd skills.

So here’s to you, Miss Kate, a blog post dedicated to all you have become. I cannot wait to see how far you will go.

Hugs, love and come over and bake any time your little heart desires.


Filed under Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time to Cry Tuesday – Sunrise, Sunset


The title of this post is for my brother. This is how I will be able to tell if he is reading. What, it’s not all about me and my blog?

When we were growing up my mom had a friend with a beautiful singing voice. At every Bar or Bat Mitzvah she would get up and sing Sunrise, Sunset with the band. As you would expect, all of us kids would roll our eyes, giggle a little, suffer glares and shushes from our parents and fidget our way through to the end of the song.

Years later, at my brother’s wedding, she got up and sang it again. As young adults the eye rolling was replaced with a wink, we had long since learned to stop fidgeting and our parents were way too busy full out weeping to worry about the likes of us.

Fast forward a quarter of a century. (this, too, is for my brother – everyone loves to think of themselves as being married for any fraction of a century, right?)

This past weekend I attended the Bar Mitzvah of a friend’s child. But this was not just ANY Bar Mitzvah. This, my friends, was the celebration of the last of the First Thursday children coming of age. The First Thursday group has existed since the month he was born, he is our measure for the length of our friendship and as you can imagine, he is our little mascot of sorts because of it. (surely every 13 year old boy would love to be referred to this way.)

Yes, number 18 has now become a man. Funny, but he still looked so young to me. Until the video montage looped its way into my line of sight and I saw all those kids frozen in time as they were when they were small.

Then I looked back on the dance floor and caught a glimpse of my sweet *J* (not Jana, this is my other J) in that beautiful blue satin dress the color of her eyes, of *N* and *K* in those drop dead sequin numbers with the high heels that would surely cripple the likes of me. And *V* dancing up a storm as if the whole damn world was her living room and she had it by the balls.

That’s when it friggin’ hit me. Like a ton of corny, OMG-I-have-surely-become-my-mother bricks…

I could have been singing the lyrics to Sunrise Sunset in my head.

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.

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Filed under communities, family, moms, parenting, teenagers, Time to Cry Tuesdays, Uncategorized, women

This is not a dress rehearsal…

With the graduation season upon us (today was the last day of classes in our district), and by request of a friend who flatteringly remembered an email I sent last year, I have decided to post this reflection. This certainly falls under the category of finding the time to cry. Even if you don’t have a graduate, this one will probably require a tissue:

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! 

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Filed under family, humor, parenting, women