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Ferguson Vigil

I haven’t written here in 12 days. I’m fairly sure that’s the longest stretch since I started the blog in 2006. While posting has become lighter over the past year as responsibilities change, children grow up, social media beckons, it still makes me twitchy to step away from Mom-101. And yet, I couldn’t write. Not about some glorious family vacation memories, not about the funny things Sage is saying, not about the most perfect NYC weather in the history of all Augusts ever, and not about anything.

Because, Ferguson. (More)

24 shards of brilliance

camp pickup ©mom-101.com This is a post I hope you will leave a comment on. Because it will save a life, thanks to the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life Campaign. A real life of a real child. Please read more info below.

This year, as my readers know by now (along with anyone who has been unlucky enough to run into me at any point for the last month), my children went to sleepaway camp for the first time. The day I arrived to pick Thalia up after two weeks to see the remarkable young woman she had started to become, was one of the most amazing, memorable days of my life. Or as I referred to it on Twitter, one of the worst days of her life.

(Sorry kid. This returns us to our regularly scheduled lives. Also, take out the garbage.)

I’ve been online very little over the past week, instead drinking in the incredible maturity and change I’ve seen in both my children live and in person. In just more than a week, there have been so many firsts.

I’ve seen Sage set the table by herself for the first time without being asked. This week on family vacation, I’ve seen Thalia help herself to salad. (Win of epic proportions.) I’ve seen them make their beds, correct my own making of my bed (well!), write more letters than I ever thought possible, recreate plays and sketches and songs which make no sense to me at all. I’ve seen Sage put herself to bed without 18 requests for water or temperature changes or another doll – no that OTHER one. I’ve seen them cut pancakes or pour milk instead of asking me to do it. I’ve seen them go an entire 24 hours without playing Minecraft. I’ve seen my formerly reluctant swimmers jump into a pool off by themselves, emerging triumphantly with cries of WE TOUCHED THE BOTTOM MOM! WE TOUCHED THE BOTTOM!

Pool ©mom-101.com Then just last night, perhaps the biggest first: I sent the girls off on their bikes with friends, telling them, “just be back before dark, okay?”

I never thought I’d hear those words come out of my mouth.

Ever.

I know a lot of you can relate.

It is the most beautiful, scary, terrifying, remarkable, wonderful, awe-inspiring, painfully lovely thing to actually notice these moments in which our children show signs the adults they will grow to be. It’s like spotting fireflies with your family at night, as we did this weekend. You stare and stare at a single spot in the woods, hoping to catch that bright, brief twinkle. Maybe you will and maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll see it then you won’t see it again for a long time. Maybe you’ll see it but no one else will. Maybe your kids see it and you miss it. Or maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll see a ton of those flashes of light all at once, all together, so everyone can feel a part of it. When that happens, your heart feels full to the point of bursting.

I want more mothers and fathers to experience the firsts, however small: The cutting of pancakes, the writing of letters, the jumping into the deep end.

You can help make that happen for other parents.

Lately, I’ve seen discussion online about whether “the stuff we talk about online” matters. Or really, whether it translates into action. I’m going to go out on a limb and say, hell yes. (Eh, I’m not one to pull punches.) Can’t we all think of dozens of examples just off the tops of our heads? Twitter conversations that impacted businesses, or the news media, or entire governments? Blog posts that raised money? Formerly undiscussed issues brought to the forefront with a the combined efforts of a community?

Yes we can.

To quote a line that’s stuck with me for the past two years, you serve the best by doing the things you love the most. And lucky for me (if not my friends and family at all times) I love talking. I also love commenting. I love having discussions with you all and learning and growing from them. Whether it’s discussing gender issues so that one day our kids will feel they can be whomever they want and have a positive impact on the world; or discussing how to get more kids vaccinated  so they can live to do great things too.

We can talk about own children’s firsts, and we can also make sure other children get to experience more of their own firsts too. There is no moral relativism. It is all good.

So.

For every comment on this post, one vaccine will be donated by Walgreens to a child in need around the world.I hope that you will leave one, then share this post so others can to. (And I pretty much never ask for that.)

In comments, share your favorite of your own child’s firsts from this summer. If you don’t have children,  share a first from your own childhood that reminds you of growing up. Tell me about how your own kids are doing with swimming or bike riding or independence these days. Or you know, just say hi, and support the effort.

Every comment you leave here counts, as well as those you leave on the other Blogust bloggers’ posts, all month long. Yesterday it was Nicole Morgan. Tomorrow it’s Kimberly Foster.

So leave a hundred. Leave a thousand!

That would be a pretty good first.
Shot@Life: Power of Vaccines Infographic | Mom-101.com

More about Shot@Life’s Blogust 2014: During this month-long blog relay—an amazing group of North American online writers, photo and video bloggers and Shot@Life Champions will come together and share stories about Happy and Healthy Firsts. Every time you comment on this post and other Blogust contributions, or share them via social media on the Shot@Life and the United Nations Foundation pages, Walgreens will donate one vaccine (up to 60,000). Blogust is one part an overall commitment of Walgreens donating up to $1 million through its “Get a Shot. Give a Shot.” campaign. The campaign will help provide millions of vaccines for children in need around the world through UNICEF and WHO, specifically for polio and measles vaccines in countries where they are most needed.

Sign up here for a daily email so you can quickly and easily comment and share every day during Blogust! For more information, visit shotatlife.org or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

223 shards of brilliance

Walking together | ©Mom-101.com

In June, to celebrate the last week of school, I let my kids walk to school by themselves. It’s about a 3 minute walk, in which they pass roughly 800,000 friends and schoolmates (give or take) that they know. I debated about it for months, however.

My kids are highly responsible. The route to school involves no major streets to cross. They know how to look both ways and make eye contact with a driver at stop signs before they cross. They  know about stranger dangers. In the end, it seemed a sensible choice.

We did about 16 practice runs first, in which I walked behind them and pretended I wasn’t there.  They were marvelous. (Or as marvelous as a child can be doing something as mundane as walking a few blocks.)  So when I sent them off that one morning–watching them the entire way, but don’t tell them that–it was monumental. A big step for both of us. A major milestone crossed off, another one of the small freedoms a parent starts to bestow on a responsible tween who has earned it.

And yet I confess I was terrified to write about it here.

Absolutely panicked.  (More)

105 shards of brilliance

Hello Muddah…

7.28.2014

We hung a left onto the long gravel road and as the figures at the end became clearer, I could hardly contain my excitement. When I dropped the girls off at sleepaway camp a week earlier, I knew I would miss them. I didn’t realize just how strange and difficult it would be not to talk to them [...]

You know you want more…

You’ve got mail.

7.20.2014

I’m cuddling on my bed with my girls, pens and envelopes strewn about the covers as I teach them how to address an envelope. I’m also trying to explain the difference between email and mail and why we need a stamp in the first place and why it costs $.49 to send a letter that could be free [...]

You know you want more…

The other L-Word. Well, both L-Words.

7.16.2014

This is a post about how I fucked up. And other stuff that I think is way more interesting than that, unless you’re some sort of strange person who actively wants me to fuck up (hi, my 10th grade English teacher who probably still hates me), in which case  you can just focus on that part. [photo [...]

You know you want more…

On Thalia’s 9th birthday, the biggest parenting cliche in the world.

7.06.2014

I swore I would never be the parent who gazes at other parents holding newborns or wrestling toddlers into clip-on cafe booster seats and saying to them, it goes so fast. But I am. I am that person. Feel free to hate me. I hate myself for it.   2005 Of course when I approach the poor unsuspecting [...]

You know you want more…