Tag Archives: high school

The Famous Graduation Post 1 – This is Not a Dress Rehearal

I have decided to make this an annual post at graduation time of year. 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. It still makes me cry. Funny how she is now a COLLEGE grad, one year out and has been living home, soon to move on to her own apartment. THAT will be some post… the final launch.

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 communities, family, Jana, parenting

Time to Cry Tuesday – The College Graduation Post

I thought it would be a good idea to give fair warning in the title to all my friends who are about to embark on the road trip to graduation.

College graduation? Really? How could that be, she looks too young to have a child that age.

What? She doesn’t look so young? Oh right, she just thinks she does. Because she displays adolescent behavior she still feels like she herself is a college student. AND she is a little nuts with this talking in the third person thing. Ah, cut her some slack, her kid is graduating!

Ok, kiddies, here goes:

Four years? Has it actually been four years since I sat at this very keyboard and banged out the High School graduation post that brought us all to our knees? I suppose so, for as I look down at this keyboard I see that the passage of time has worn away any visible signs of both the ‘i’ and ‘n’ keys. (Odd, I know. There must be some significance to those letters, but it escapes me)

I have spent a lot of time thinking about this next rite of passage for my first born. At the beginning it seemed to not be such a big deal; certainly not compared to the emotions of her High School graduation. Sending a child off into the world felt monumental. It was the first step on the long journey of letting go. A tape loop of the curly-headed little whirling dervish danced in my head as I thought of leaving her halfway across the country.

She was SO ready.

I was so NOT.

For the most part we both did really well with it… until the first time she got sick and I felt just how far Madison, Wisconsin was from home. But she survived. And so did I. With flying colors, actually.

As graduation grows closer, the ‘not such a big deal’ theory is starting to get some holes in it. Who the hell am I kidding? I cry at Applebee’s commercials for G-d sake! I sent a 19-year-old kid off to college and this amazing young woman is coming out on the other end. It was like some crazy science experiment… 2 parts Badger, 1 part personal navigation and a 100 inches of snow a year. Shake well, supply digital equipment, a warm coat, a semester abroad, a shoulder to cry on when needed (aka, bitch too) and wait 4 years to see what it morphs into.

And morph she did! She is one of the few people on this earth that can put me in my place and not piss me off while she is doing it. She makes me laugh till I cry and cry till I laugh. She has my warped sense of humor tempered with a level head and a kind heart that floors me more often than not.

Did I mention she and her 80 lbs. of shoes (20 lbs a year) are moving back home. I suppose getting her back makes it easier than letting her go.

Sort of. But as much as she loves us, and our home, we are not foolish enough to think that this is where she wants to be. And as soon as her next chapter begins she will move out… for good this time.

Ouch. Sort of.

Here’s the thing (which BTW is the phrase she always used as a teenager to preface a difficult discussion… ironic). It is time for Miss Jana to become who she will be. And, like most young people her age there is a part of her that is scared to death. So this is for you my sweet girl:

I have always told you that you can do anything that you set your mind to (except maybe pee standing up… that one is tough). You can. Not everyone knows what they want to be when they grow up – most of my friends still don’t. The most important thing is that you just keep growing up – for the rest of your life. And equally as important, never forget the wonders of being young. Passions will find their way to you. Necessity will rear its looming head and drive you to reach your goals. Life is funny.

When you least expect it, you find yourself just where you should be.

Begin Anywhere.

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Time to Cry Tuesday – ‘That’ dream

You know ‘that’ dream. The one you have when you are a little stressed out. When you are probably more anxious than you care to admit and it needs to go somewhere.

And there it is, in the middle of some really good REM you find yourself going down that rabbit hole to the land of no return. Somewhere in the back of your mind you know you are dreaming but it still gets you every time anyway.

Mine is the classic, late for class, didn’t study for the test and have no idea whatsoever where the hell the classroom is. And it is in the middle of the semester. AND, I am in High School, no less.

I had this dream last night. The added twist this time was that my daughter was in my class but she did not wait for me. I had no idea what classroom it was in, nor did I remember what my schedule was. I found my way to the office where my friend Rona was working and she typed out my schedule for me on my iPad (she can be sweet that way). Then I ran into an actual friend from HS and she acted like this was all very normal.

Ok, seriously, I am 51. I don’t even have any KIDS left in High School. Don’t you think it’s time I upgrade the anxiety dream?!

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Filed under Time to Cry Tuesdays, Uncategorized

Tales of Open School Night

open-school

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.

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Filed under education, family, gary, humor, parenting

Time to Cry Tuesday – First of the Lasts

(this post is dedicated to my girls who have parented a matched set of kids with me since pre-school. you know who you are. thanks for always being there).

We have all been here before. We have all been here before. We have all been here before. We have all been here before. (No, I am not being annoyingly repetitive for no reason, I am quoting David Crosby)

Parental Déjà Vu.

Today marked the unofficial beginning of Danny’s senior year; varsity soccer practice 2-a-days. In seventeen-year-old-ese that means constant running from 8-11:30 and then again from 5-7:30.

Not wanting to be over-dramatic about this, but today, as I wondered through Staples after dropping him at practice, gathering office supplies, bombarded by obscene amounts of back-to-school signage, I realized that this was it.

IT.

Today is the first of the lasts. Last sports season as a parental spectator, last back-to-school season, last school year of having a kid home, last 10 months of an offspring in residence.

Right about now is when I would be sticking my fingers in both ears, babbling to drown out what I have to say next.

I remember all this with my first child. That combination of excitement and fear of losing the life we have known for the past 20 years.

Parental Déjà Vu.

Let the games begin and let me remember to savor ever one of these lasts.

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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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

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

Time to Cry Tuesday – I Can

basketballwithmike

Imagine a toddler falling in love with his Little Tikes basketball hoop and finding a life’s passion at a tender young age.

Imagine that same little boy, no more than 10 years old, shooting hoops in his ice-encrusted driveway during the dead of winter. Hour after hour. Defying all laws of frostbite and logic. Driven to perfect his shot at all costs.

Now imagine him as a crazed adolescent bouncing that damn ball throughout the house, driving his mother over the edge. (part of the fun, I am sure).

Fast forward to 9th grade and this young man struggles with the decision to leave his friends and the security of his hometown public school to attend a private High School and be part of an elite basketball team. Forgoing summer camp opportunities he chose to play basketball year round to hone his game. Playing through injuries and, well – not so gently put – height challenges. All without a single complaint. Never saying die. Always pushing forward, doing his best, working his hardest. With a smile on his face.

‘I can!’

Mikey Buckets, they have called him. He is smart, swift and driven. What he lacks in size he makes up for in court sense. I have known him since he was in utero and quite frankly I have come head to head with his determined style on some not so pleasant occasions during his early years. But as we hoped, he channeled that determination to be the best he could possibly be. Against all odds.

The reason I am writing about him today is because I could not be any prouder if I had carried this child myself. This past weekend, as a 10th grader on varsity, his team won the state finals! A dream realized for a young man who never listened to the mean-spirited commentary that he was too short. Too white. Too green. Too suburban. Too much of a dreamer to make it in such a competitive sport.

So here’s to you Mike, I am proud to say at your tender age of 15 you are an inspiration to me. One of my heroes. And whenever I think I can’t, you will remind me that I sure as hell can.

We love you! 

(but PLEASE, can you stop dribbling that ball in the house!)

The photo above is Mike and my son Danny. A REALLY long time ago.

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 games, teenagers, Time to Cry Tuesdays