They’ve Learned to Stick Together

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My son’s 8th grade class has largely been together in the same school, since Kindergarten.  They’re about 100 strong, navigating themselves around technology, friendships, fashion, adolescence, sports, school and a world that only brings more uncertainty with each passing day.  They were babies when terrorists threatened the United States on our soil on September 11th.  They were first graders when one of their teachers resigned to battle depression.  Continue reading

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Remnants of Fun

I went down the basement just now.  One-thirty pm.  There are pillows and blankets all over the floor,  three dead water bottles and an empty cookie package.  Gaming controllers are strewn about.  Some went home with the boys.  My son sits in his gaming chair, glasses on, hair askew.  He’s focused on his target on the screen, but not totally socially awake yet. Continue reading

A Word Hug

I started blogging after being inspired by a woman from my church, the mom of my son’s friend.  I noticed how she took her gift for writing and connected to people.  She moved people with her words.  She shared her thoughts and opinions and really put herself out there by telling pieces of her life, day by day.  In revealing herself, she let people in.  I wanted to do that.  It looked so intriguing. And warm. Continue reading

The Ledge of Misfortune

A man I grew up with sits in jail tonight.  He’s one day into a three year sentence for having a gun.  I’ll piece together what I know of the story from news accounts, online comments and the grapevine to tell you how he got here.  I heard it was a .22 rifle.  Online they questioned why he would choose a rifle for self defense in a city.  I’ll guess that it had nothing to do with self defense in a city.  It was about being a farm kid who hunted. And he wasn’t living in a city.  He was on the outskirts.  I have never wanted to have a gun of any type, but my brothers and my dad have them and in some cases they think of them more like collector’s items or a piece of their childhood.  I know that sounds weird if you’re not a farm kid. Continue reading

Life in the Moment

My dad told me the other day that he saw his old friend Fred at Christmas Mass. They shook hands and wished each other a Merry Christmas. It had been a couple of years since they’d seen each other – but they used to work together. Dad admired Fred and on the way home from church, he said to Mom “We need to go out and eat sometime soon with Fred and his wife. They’re such a nice couple.” Continue reading

Don’t Talk to Mom

Teenagers.  One of the things I just can’t get used to is the fact that I have the wisdom of experience, and yet, my teenagers need to talk to their friends in order to work out their problems.  Well, that’s the girl.  I think the boy talks to no one.  He talks, just not about the issues that really bother him…not about the things that are important.  He buries those down deep and instead talks about video games and basketball and what’s new on Youtube. And when it all boils to the surface, he blows up in some way. 

I have not mastered the art of having a meaningful conversation with a teenager.  I may never get there.  For now I cherish the nuggets of time when my kids will open up to me, just a little.  I get to know their friends and their friends’ parents when that’s possible.  I pay attention to the things that interest them, so I can join in the conversation.  I love the carpool rides home from school.  Those come with news from the perspective of other kids, and a whole pile of nonsense. Continue reading