Tag Archives: parenting

Trading Lasagnas

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I have two friends who were recently both injured at their jobs. The first one sent a lasagna to the second, just as the second was getting ready to drop off a lasagna for the first.

Trading lasagnas.

That what we do.

 

You drop off delicious homemade eggplant parmesan after my son is born. When you have your first little girl, I drop off a rotisserie chicken from Wegmans along with a bag of salad, Italian bread and cookies (because I don’t cook).

 

I find your three-year-old who has climbed over our shared fence in my kitchen looking for a snack. Years later, you come home to find a giant pair of sneakers by your front door and my son, home from college, hanging out on your couch eating a bowl of cereal.

 

On the way to work, I see your son who is rushing, super late for school. I pick him up and deliver him safely, and on time. When my son forgets his keys you let him stay at your house and feed him dinner when I am running late.

 

When I get home from summer vacation, you have replenished my fridge with milk and bread. When you get home from Thanksgiving vacation, I have turned up your heat so you’ll come home to a warm house.

 

When I am far away, visiting relatives, my dog who is staying with a dog sitter becomes seriously ill and his body starts to shut down. You take him to the emergency vet and pet him and tell him what a good boy he is while I sob over the phone—I still owe you for that one.

 

I have tissues and hugs ready for when you need a good cry. And you have the same ready for me.

 

Thank you friends, women, wonderful people. So glad I have you to trade lasagnas with. Couldn’t do this without you.

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NO

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My eighteen-year-old son went running the other night. As a white mom with a white son, my only concern was that he should wear something reflective so cars could see him. It did not cross my mind for even one second to talk to him about what to do if the police stopped to question him. I would never in a million years think I needed to tell him never to put his hands near his pockets.

 

But this is a conversation black moms are having with their sons every day. And I am so fucking sorry about that. THIS is why we need to stand and say #blacklivesmatter.

 

I support police officers. I truly am thankful that some people have chosen an occupation where they risk their lives to keep people safe.

 

I also believe that whenever people are in a position of power over other people, whether it’s physical, spiritual, financial, political or any other, there is the possibility for that power to be misused. And when that happens it is our job as human beings to stand up and say NO.

 

When SOME priests sexually abuse children we say NO.

When SOME teachers use physical punishment against children with disabilities we say NO.

And when SOME police officers consistently target people of color with the use of excessive force we say NO.

 

Most importantly we stand with the people who are being targeted. We tell them, “We see you and we see what is happening.” We stand together and we say NO. Over and over we say it.

Graduation

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When I was pregnant with you
I couldn’t wait for you to be born
Because I was so excited to meet my baby boy

When you were born and I held you
You looked at me with those big eyes
And then peed all over
I smiled and said, “Hey Kid, nice to meet you. I’m your mom.”

Hey Kid, I remember you in your baby seat and our cat Ellie
Doing some silly thing
You looked over at me and we smiled at each other
Sharing our first joke

Hey Kid, we spent many hours exploring the world together
I got to see through your eyes as we fought dragons with sticks
And collected beautiful rocks and looked for crawfish in the pond
Coming home muddy and tired and so happy

Hey Kid, I comforted you when you were sick, or sad, or hurt
A snuggle and a Band-aid
Band-aids were magic
Able to heal any broken heart

Hey Kid, today I watch you walk across the stage, ready to leap into your next adventure
I am so proud of you and excited to see where you will go
But I am the one who today
May need a magic Band-aid and a snuggle

An open apology letter to parents from a special education teacher

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Dear Parents,

We all start our careers somewhere and unfortunately have a lot of on the job learning to do. I know when I first started out as a special education teacher I made mistakes, and I still do. As a mom of a 13-year-old who is currently struggling in school, I also have the perspective of a parent who has to be a strong advocate for her son. And guess what, it’s freakin’ hard. After being a special education teacher for almost 20 years, I understand that advocating for my own child is very different from advocating for my students. There are so many feelings involved including fear, sadness, anger, love and frustration. With this perspective in mind I would like to offer the following apologies to all of the parents I have worked with:

  1. I am sorry if I ever made you feel judged.
  2. I am sorry if I didn’t have the confidence to admit when I didn’t know something.
  3. I am sorry if I ever called you “mom” or “dad” at a meeting instead of using your name.
  4. I am sorry if I didn’t focus on your child’s strengths.
  5. I’m sorry if I didn’t also let you know the struggles though because you deserve to have all of the information and not be blindsided at a meeting.
  6. I am sorry if I didn’t fully believe you were the expert on your child.
  7. I am sorry if I wasn’t brave enough to argue against rules and decisions that were not in the best interest of your child.
  8. I am sorry if I didn’t make sure to show that I truly liked your child.
  9. I am sorry if I didn’t make sure you knew I was on your side.
  10. I am sorry if I did not make communication and teamwork a top priority.

Sincerely,

Teacher, mom and oh-so-human being

My Village People

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I love the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” In my experience this is so true. And my village has changed over the years as my children have grown. When they were little, my village consisted of that guy I stalked when I saw him out my window taking a walk in the rain with a little baby in a front carrier and umbrella over their head. Feeling lonely and trapped in my house with my own newborn, I grabbed my umbrella and baby and followed this guy to his house, knocked on his door and introduced myself, “Hi, I’m Trista. I noticed we have babies about the same age.” What I really meant was, “I’m so lonely and need some new parent friends!”

 

My parents have always been an important part of my village. At around the same time I was stalking strangers with babies, I was having a little meltdown one evening. My stepmom called to see how I was doing and I burst into tears, “Not very well.” She and my dad came over, STAT, with mashed potatoes that we ate right out of the pot.

 

I once called my mom in a panic after my 3-year-old son’s penis got stuck in the zipper of his footie pajamas. It was quite traumatic! She sent me flowers after telling the florist the whole story.

 

And the lady across the street who came over to tell me that she noticed my 2 year old, who I thought was napping, making a hole in his upstairs window screen. He later explained that his dinosaur was hungry and liked to eat screens. Well of course!

 

As my boys have grown into teenagers I have an expanded village. My friends and neighbors who give my wayward children rides to school when they miss the bus. The neighbors who have a spare key for when one of us is locked out of our house.

 

My sister-in-law who has raised a teenage son and who I go to with questions like, “Did he ever….? What did you do when…..?”

 

My nephew and his fiancé who take my boys to do all of the stuff I hate doing like going to the state fair and corn mazes. Just think of what my boys would have missed out on with out these two!

 

And so many more, the crossing guard, dojo sensei, aunts, uncles, cousins, coaches, tutors and teachers. I have learned that it’s okay to ask for help, and the occasional pot of mashed potatoes. I am so appreciative for my village people. I couldn’t do this parenting thing alone.

My Fantasy Apartment

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I spent the weekend with girlfriends at a Women’s Adventure Weekend Camp in the Adirondacks. We had a wonderful time sleeping in bunk beds, taking hikes, eating in the mess hall and sitting by the lake chatting. We have made this trip together for about 9 years and it’s always a nice time to catch up on each other’s lives and spend lots of time laughing. This year we all described our individual fantasy apartments. You know, the ones we design in our minds during an especially crazy day with grumpy kids, messy houses, burned dinner etc. It’s interesting to see what we all find the most comforting and relaxing. Here are some of our apartments.

The Sparse Apartment

All white with very little furniture. One book, one plate, one cup, one fork, one spoon and knife. Nothing at all that needs any care or nurturing. No plants or pets. A space for a yoga mat next to a little fountain. No clutter.

The Jungle Apartment

Full of plants and pets. No kitchen. Lots of books.

The Hobbit Hole Apartment

Full of bright colors and cozy furniture. A fireplace and lots of soft blankets. Stacks of books. Dogs to curl up with on the couch. A coffee pot.

What does your fantasy apartment look like?

Back to School Awesomeness

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I bought a carrot cake tonight in anticipatory celebration of my boys completing a successful first week of school. And what exactly constitutes a successful first week of school. Well thanks for asking…

1. They got there every day. 

2. They had clothes on. And as far as I know, even clean socks and underwear. I know! Crazy right?

3. They even ate something before school. And I’m pretty sure they were totally healthy pop-tarts because I bought the ones without the frosting. 

So my point is, we pretty much rocked it out this week. Congrats to all of the other families who were back to school super stars like us!