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My youngest-about-to-graduate-high-school daughter taught me an amazing lesson recently. The thing is, I didn’t start out parenting in lesson-ready mode. 20 years ago, my parent-to-be assumptions were clear cut: this parenting thing would be a strictly one-way, mom-is-teacher & daughters-are-students in this family/classroom combo thing. And yet despite the clarity of my pregnant brain at the time(s), my girls have not stopped teaching me from the moment of their births. Like all children, my kids didn’t come with the soon-to-be-much-needed directions. And while I had influence and the final say-so (usually), the lessons only truly became clear after learning from…
According to the parenting rulebook, it is illegal to argue with your child about whose anxiety is worse. Still, when it comes to the angst of my younger daughter’s college applications, we are neck-and-neck. No argument necessary. ** Her stress is tipping the scales. Not surprisingly. For her, this is the big “IT”. Her life is completely geared to going to E** college – because this is THE ONLY college that she will ever be happy at. THE ONLY college that will lead to her dream job. THE ONLY college that will propel her into her dream life. THE ONLY…
Hard as it can be, I try to talk with (not at) my teens. And when I’m not talking, I’m listening. (Which, by the way, is more important.) And when I’m not talking and not listening, I’m watching. (Though I also watch while I talk and listen.) That is to say: I’m watching them grow up. I’m watching them change. I’m watching them become more ‘this’, less ‘that’. I’m watching their favorite 'whatevers' change: their tastes, their habits, their clothing styles, their mannerisms, their tone of voice – all change, change, change. Subtle. Extreme. And in between. Until the new…
  Three weeks ago, TiffinTalk launched. We told you we would. And we did. This came after 15 years of writing cards just for my daughters. And it came 3 years after my business partner changed my daily handcrafted construction paper note cards with their stick-figured artistic drawings (Well, I do a damn decent willow tree...) into beautifully designed masterpieces with puzzle pieces of fun photos that end in full reveal for the fronts of the weekly-themed cards with their clever (and educational) “tiffin tidbits” on the back. He realized that I had actually written over 4000+ different thought-provoking, open-ended…
  I’m living in the 21st century. But, it is my 21st century where I control my technology; where technology does not control me. In my 21st century, my connections may be via LinkedIn and other social media, but I am connected to the people I can talk with, not text with. I share emotions, not emoticons. I crease my eyebrows, not cap my letters. I ask my questions in real time, rather than listening to the silence of an unanswered text and panic – did I misunderstand or utterly ruin our “relationship” with a misstated text or misread tone?…
  Adults know deadlines all too well. The good ones. The bad ones. They loom. They sit on a distant horizon. And suddenly, they slap you in the face with their message notifying you: DUE TODAY (holy cow!), DUE YESTERDAY (oh SH*!*), DUE TOMORROW (phew! still time ... ). At the start of her senior year, my daughter applied early action (not to be confused with early decision, rolling action, regular admission...) to her favorite college – the one that had THE program that she wanted/needed/dreamed of. The decision deadline was far enough away that she could (almost) think about other things.…
  Tomorrow is my nephew’s birthday. Danny died 5 months ago, but tomorrow is his birthday ** It is a tradition in our family to call and sing “Happy Birthday” to other family members and a few close friends on their eventful day. Over the years, my girls and I have perfected something damn close to 3-part harmony. (They were born singing; from the beginning, they sang instead of spoke before they finally took lessons with professionals. I, on the other hand, was born wanting to sing; so I just try not to embarrass them too much more than I already…
There is one piece of my daughter’s college application process that is entirely mine, or rather, my responsibility to do with her. Insert doom and gloom music here … HINT: Anything left over from Halloween including the blood curdling screams will work – except that they’re too brief and not nearly scary enough! It’s the FINANCIAL AID paperwork from H-E-L-L. I confess to becoming completely and utterly stressed as we fill out these forms. And yes, we do them together. My reasoning: If she is old enough to go to college, then, she is old enough to understand family finances.…
Once upon a time ... ...in a family that you may know (or maybe is your own?), there lived two sisters. Their jobs, as defined by the intricate sequences embedded in sibling DNA, were to love, protect and annoy the hell out of each other. And so they did. Separated by only 2 1/2; years, the sisters had unique and distinct personalities. This surprised nobody except their parents. First-born soon became the dominant child. She commandeered the sibling ship, set all the rules of the open seas, and often ordered second-born to walk the plank. This usually took the form…
Yawn. Today’s parenting buzzwords are: LAZY and BOREDOM If only! These are the words that contradict everything (we feel) we need to give our children, all the opportunities (we feel) we need to provide for them, all the classes and extracurricular activities (we feel) we need to sign them up for so that they can … <<I’ll let you finish that sentence but I suspect that the word “college” will be somewhere in that ending and I further suspect that it doesn’t matter if your child is 6 or 16, the ending will be about the same.>> ** Here’s what…
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