Sheltering With My Blessings

2020 WildeOur girls were sent home from college on March 13, so it’s been three weeks since we started social distancing and two days since shelter in place was put into effect in our state. To say that we are living on top of each other is an understatement. To say that there haven’t been arguments and disagreements would be a lie. However, to say that it’s been 24 hours each day of nonstop misery would be grossly inaccurate.

Throughout these past few weeks, we’ve experienced both good and bad, and I’m determined to come out of all of this remembering the good, such as…

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With Justice For All

2020 Rebecca CUA shirtMany years ago, Ken and I became certain that our oldest daughter would grow up to be an attorney. My aunt once called her ‘strong-willed.’ Her teachers said she was ‘gifted.’ As a child, her debate and reasoning skills were beyond compare for her age. Even after skipping a grade, she continued to show wisdom beyond her years with her ability to apply logic to any situation. 

Without prompting from us, Rebecca joined the Mock Trial team in high school and then captained her Mock Trial team in college. The local attorneys who stood in as judges at her school meets labeled her ‘the bulldog.’ Standing up in a courtroom, facing a judge, and arguing a case fueled her intense passion, not only for the law but for what was right and wrong, just and unjust, fair and unfair.

The only thing that had us questioning her career path was her extreme empathy. Was she tough enough to be an attorney? Did she have thick enough skin to fight for her clients without becoming emotionally involved? Was her honesty and integrity best served in another sector? Was this really the right path for her?

Well, here we are… Read more

Motherly Musings

Summer is winding down. Many of my friends have already waved goodbye at the bus stop, the school, or the dorm room. As the end of the summer approaches, I find myself reflecting over the summer, the year, the many years. I certainly don’t know everything, and I’ve got so much more to learn, but there are things that strike me as some of the things I’ve learned as a mother… Read more

I Was a Free-Range Kid

I’ll never forget it. I was six years old, a new first-grader, when I found out that a girl in my class lived in my own neighborhood. For kids or parents of private school lineage, you know that’s a big deal. Often, my classmates, at the Catholic school I attended, lived as far as thirty minutes away from me (my daughters have friends who live over an hour from us as our school is the only Catholic high school in nine counties). To have a friend just three blocks away was a dream come true. I can still picture the houses, cars, dogs, and yards that flew by as I raced my little, purple bike down the sidewalk. Down one street, past an intersection, turn right, almost to the end of the block, and there it was. And there I was, almost every day thereafter. Without my parents. Without a cell phone. Without a tacking device. Take that in for a moment. I was a six-year-old, on the street alone, and it was glorious. Read more

Unconditional Love

Dear Daughters,

The past several months have been wrought with changes, good and bad, and events that will shape you and your future. From graduations to new schools to the loss of your grandfather, you have been met with joys and sorrows, forced to make decisions and changes, and been led to greater awareness and understanding about yourselves and the world around you. And what a world it is.  Read more

Ten Things Your Teen Should Know Before Leaving Home

DSC01651The summer of 2016 will soon come to a close, and a chapter in my life will end.  For almost my entire adult life, I have been the mother of three school-aged children. While all of my children will still be in school for a few more years, the dynamic is shifting, and my world is changing. This was possibly the last summer that our oldest, Rebecca, will be living at home.  She will graduate from Mount St. Mary’s in the spring and go on to law school.  She is already looking into the cost and availability of apartments in Washington, D.C., and she reminds me often that she will not be returning home after graduation.  Of course, I remember telling my mother the same thing when I was at this stage, but desire is often met with that brick wall called affordability, and I ended up living at home another year until I married.  But the reality is that she will still be in school, and she will need to live close to the city, so I will have to get used to one of my children no longer being a resident of my home.  As Rebecca embarks on her senior year of college and her sister, Katie Ann, starts her senior year of high school, here are some things that I have realized every high school graduate should know how to do: Read more

Waves of Emotion

Almost ten years ago, Ken’s aunt and uncle made us a deal we couldn’t refuse.  Fifteen years earlier, they bought an above-ground swimming pool from a store that was going out of business.  They had every intention of putting it up in their yard for their two little girls.  Well, one thing led to another, life went on, and the pool sat unopened in their garage. Their girls had grown up, gone to college, and moved out, and the pool was of no use to them any longer.  The pool was ours if we were just willing to drive the two hours to pick it up and then figure out how to put it together.  It DSCN4727had no pump or filter and no ladder, but it was spring, so those things were readily available.  Ken went the very next day to pick up the pool, and I scoured Craig’s list for the missing pieces.  By the time Ken got home, I had secured a filter and pump, and a few weeks later, Ken’s sister had located a ladder.   Read more

A Season for Changes

There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to give birth, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them; a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces. A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to be silent, and a time to speak. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.     Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

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We’ve all read the verses or at least heard the song.  Every school choir seems to sing it at some point.  It has been featured in movies and in books.  Many reflections have been written about the words attributed to Solomon (although the author is not actually identified).  But I believe there is a line that is missing, something that each of us experiences over and over throughout our lives – a time for change.

One could argue that every line in the passage is about change, and that is very true.  Birth and death bring change as do tearing down and building up.  Scattering and gathering can be catalysts for change as can seeking, losing, keeping, casting, rending, sewing, speaking, loving, etc.  We are faced with changes, both large and small, time and time again, every day.  I am reminded of this more and more each spring as graduation time is thrust upon us, whether we are ready or not. Read more

The Agony of the College Search

 Katie, my high school junior, and I have spent the past two days touring four different colleges (with Morgan in tow). A couple weeks ago, we visited one school, and this weekend we will visit another. I’m not sure what takes a worse beating, my pounding head, my exhausted body, or my aching feet. Searching for the perfect college is not for the faint of heart.

When I set out to choose a school, over 25 years ago, I had no idea where to begin. My parents had not gone to college (shout out to Mom who never gave up on getting her degree after becoming a busy mom). As a student at a rather large high school, I didn’t find the guidance department particularly helpful. It was all a guessing game, so I did my best to guess what the right fit would be for me. I failed miserably. I did no visits, conducted no research, and made no comparisons. I chose a school from a catalog at school, applied, received a full scholarship, and signed on the dotted line. Within the first month of school, I knew I had made a huge mistake. At the end of the year, I transferred to the school where one of my best friends attended. It was a good experience, and I graduated with honors; but looking back, I’m sure it would not have been my school of choice had I done things the right way. Read more

Why It’s OKAY To Be Friends With Your Kids

DSC08130Yesterday I saw yet another article about why parents should not be friends with their kids.  I see memes all the time warning parents about this, and it seems that every magazine, parenting blog site, and advice column rails against the pitfalls of being your child’s friend.  While I do understand where they are coming from, I have to respectfully disagree.  You see, I am living proof that it’s not only possible but beneficial for parents and children to be friends, even best friends. Read more