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Whats making me happy this week 04.05.13: boy shorts, dad guitars, and fluorescent adolescence

photos:
1. old dogs, as good as they get
2. cowboy songs
3. singer, from tom huffey’s “mirror” series

I sure would like to know what’s making you happy this week!

In the meantime, here’s what’s making me happy this week:

1. Mani/pedi AND I used a LivingSocial coupon. Happy!

2. NPRs Story Corps podcast. If you ever need your faith in humanity restored, listen. They are short, too short, but I am so moved by these I cry at…every…single…story. Does that make me happy? Yes, it does.

3. Body by Gap boy short undies that came in the mail this week. Yes indeed, new pretty underwear makes me happy! TMI? I know it makes other women happy. Does new underwear ever make men happy?

4. Cowboy songs by the Cactus Blossoms. I volunteered at the Ark this week and had no idea who the performers were. These fresh-faced brothers were the warm-up band. They had me at the first few notes of their sweet cowboy harmonies.

5. Not sure if Tom Hussey’s “Mirror” series makes me happy, but they make me something…introspective? This is how I see myself when I look in the mirror, so much younger than what the world sees. In my mirror, I’m still wearing braces.

6. My son reminded me of the Dad guitar scene from Flight of the Conchords. If you haven’t seen Flight of the Conchords, you will likely not find this funny…But you should get the FotC DVDs…really.

7. I’m finally reading George Saunders. Not “Tenth of December,” according to the New York Times, “the best book you’ll read this year” -which I think was last year. Instead I’m reading “Civilwarland in Bad Decline,” as recommended by Glen Weldon from Pop Culture Happy Hour. I’m happy that I am finally reading the celebrated Saunders. My name finally came up on the library wait list. Is the book making me happy? No. I do get why Saunders is so fêted, but his satire is so close to the edge in my mind, that to me, the stories are equal parts funny, smart and terrifying.

8. I watched Skyfall and Casino Royale with my boy (and wrote about it).

9. My boy and spouse are spending the week in DC and are having a great time! I’m smiling right now just thinking about it. And very soon I will be hitting the road to visit my dear daughter for the weekend, also making happy!

10. The Humans of New York FB feed always makes me happy, but it’s this poem by a student, Fluorescent Adolescence, I found on HONY this week that I thought was pretty fantastic. I wish I had the author’s name.
Sometimes youth is not wasted on the young.

this bond girl

April 4, 2013

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Bond girl?

photos:
1. judi dench as “m”
2. bond’s casino royale swim suit
3. max and his smart girl, agent 99

I watched my first James Bond movie last week, Casino Royale with Daniel Craig. Yes, I said my first. Ever. No, I’m not Amish.

I don’t like violence and I don’t like movies in which the female characters are nothing more than eye candy. But I am a mother of a teenager whom I adore and who will soon be off and running…fast and far away from me. So when invited by this boy to watch Casino Royale and Skyfall, I was willing to give it a try.

I was pleasantly surprised by these movies, in fact I look forward to seeing more. There was violence, yes, and I was born with a dominant sensitivity gene, so I didn’t love that part. But it wasn’t quite as violent as I had imagined.

As far as females, well Judi Dench was the most powerful character in these films and she kind of rocked in her toughness. There were definitely creepy parts– please James, sex with two different “owned” women in the same day and no hint of protection? Shall I teach you about STDs and exponents? Yikes.

I have to admit I almost blew my chances at watching Skyfall due to my obnoxious questions and comments during Casino Royale. I could not help but say things like, “Oh, he kissed her, she’s going to die.” “That one is going to turn out to be a bad guy.” My son accused me of seeing the movie before. He just needs another decade of movie watching to see the patterns. And besides, how can you have a new Bond girl if the old one is still alive? No Bond girl survives for a second movie, does she? And if you have a crazy, demented, bad guy, constrained and locked in a “display” cell with all 4 walls exposed, and he’s chill…he is going to escape. Saw that movie. It was called Silence of the Lambs.

When I was anxious someone was going to get hurt I couldn’t help it, “Is he going to die?” “Does he catch him?” “Where are they going?” and the worst…”What did he say?!”

I KNEW I was being obnoxious but I couldn’t help myself. I saw the words shoot out of my mouth and float in the air in front of my face before my brain could tell my mouth, “Shut it!” Guess who I sounded like—My OWN mom. (You are NOT obnoxious mom. You are awesome, ALWAYS. But you do ask questions during movies.)

Even more obnoxious, was when my son laughed at James Bond’s swimsuit, “Look how short his swimsuit is!” and I replied without a laugh, “Yes…just look.”

I’m the worst.

Luckily my dear son forgave my movie watching indiscretions, or maybe he is so used to tuning me out they didn’t even register. He allowed me to watch Skyfall with him a couple of days later. I was much better behaved.

Clearly I’m not the target audience for Bond films, I’m more of a Get Smart gal. But I’m going to keep my mouth shut and fake it, so I that I may be able to spend 20 more movies? 30 more hours? sharing time with this boy I love.

road tripping

April 2, 2013

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road tripping

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photos:
1. arches national park, delicate arch
2. a cowboy’s first stetson, purchased in moab
3. north rim of the grand canyon
4. canyonlands
5. sunset at canyonlands

My son and husband hit the road today for Washington, DC, and oh how I wish I was with them. I will be visiting my daughter this weekend at her college, which I am happy about, but I wish we were both going with them to DC. I love vacation road trips with my family.

I am not sure how it is in the rest of the country, but here in southeastern Michigan, home of the Motorcity, we are all about being behind the wheel of our automobiles. Or maybe because it takes more time to drive from Ann Arbor to some parts of Michigan than it does to some parts of Florida, we think nothing of a 12-18 hour road trip.

My family has often driven to the warm sunshine of Florida for spring break. We have also driven to DC and Virginia. NYC is close enough that we considered driving, but the thought of dealing with NYC traffic was too scary, so we flew. (Insert Arrested Development’s Gob chicken dance hare– chaw chee chaw chee)

This year, with my daughter now away at school, we don’t have the same breaks. Family spring break road trips, all family spring break trips, are a thing of the past, My son is itching to be the age where he can take trips with just his friends, so I’m sure even divided spring break trips will soon end.

So I am dreaming about a summer family road trip. It is unclear if we will be able to coordinate our schedules for a family trip this summer. It will all depend on my daughter’s employment situation which, in my mind, is a priority. But that hasn’t stopped me from thinking about it.

Some people will think I’m crazy, and they will be correct, but I love the driving part of a trip almost as much as I love the vacation itself. I love sharing a book together, via an audiobook, the way we used to when our kids would let us read to them every night before bed. I love it when I hear my kids unexpected bursts of laughing from the back of the car—while they watch a movie together with headphones on.

I remember driving in the early morning sun through the Rockies on I-70, which twists and turns through the towering mountains, as a river cascades down on one side. I remember feeling such incredible joy at traveling in the midsts of such beauty with my family right there with me.

Real talk- it is not all bliss. But you knew that. An argument ensues every time we have to choose a restaurant. The goal never seems to be eating at a restaurant you enjoy, the goal is getting to decide where we are going to eat that is not the place your sibling wants to eat, even if it is not the place where you really want to eat.

I remember at least one occasion where we pulled over at a rest stop and made one or the other kid get out of the car and told them to go be by themselves for awhile. And then we locked the car doors (stellar parenting skills right there). I’m sure the one who had been assaulted made smirking faces from the back seat window…

But really and truly, for the most part, the driving is great. And the fact that my kids are asking if we can drive out west again this summer, tells me they enjoy it too. I think because our lives are pretty stressful, that time with nothing to do but drive, or listen to an audio book, or watch a movie, to look out the window at the amazing landcape of this country, or just to process—this downtime in the car is kind of a luxury. And we are pretty good at planning car entertainment. We buy or rent movies before we go, we stock up on audiobooks and music, we make sure we have a car charger for electronic devices…not sure I would have done these trips in a pre-electronics age.

Two summers ago we drove to the Southwest: Zion, Bryce, Arches, North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Dinosaur National Monument and through the Rockies to get there. The summer before we did the Rockies, Tetons, Yellowstone and Dinosaur again. Oh such great trips. I’ll spare you the 4 hour slide show. It would be much better if you just go and see for yourself.

This year I would love to travel to Yosemite, San Francisco and maybe drive Highway 1 to Oregon to rendez-vous with my Seattle sister and her family. I think we would need to fly out and then rent a car to drive up the California coast. That would be a very long drive. We will see…

The worst part of driving, even worse than kids fighting in the car, is the drive back home. Oh Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois…or from the south, through Ohio…Gah! After awhile your fruited plains and amber waves of grain get really, really boring, especially after seeing those purple mountains’ majesty in Colorado, or Tennesee, or Pennsylvania. It is in these states that the media usually runs out, and where begins the stress over all of the work that faces us when we get home…

And still, I’ll take it. The team bonding power and shared discover of this vast and varied country of ours far outweighs the downsides of a long road trip.

And really, how much more time do I have with these people I love so much when we are just focused on each other and our shared experience?

The answer is at least 72 if we decide to drive to California, and back, this summer.

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What’s making me happy this week 03.30.13: photos, a pickpocket, and sarcastic waitresses

photos:
1. happy card from my daughter
2. minestrone soup
3. Owen Was Here facebook page: Beautiful Detroit

Here’s what’s making me happy this week:

1. A homemade card from my daughter. I love that girl.

2. Minestrone soup. So easy to make and so delicious topped with parmesean and fresh basil. I’m not sure what the definition of superfood is, but I think this might be this.

3. My community college photography class. I will be sorry when it ends, even though I’m pretty sure I’m the worst in the class.

4. …speaking of photography, the Owen was Here facebook page is making me happy. Daily, beautiful, photos of Detroit and Detroiters– refreshing to see Detroit featured in something other than “ruin porn.”

5. Dinner at my friend Suzanne’s house made by her spouse who loves to cook. Beef bourguignon (yes, I did have to look up the correct spelling for that one)– Tres magnifique! As was the company.

6. I’m not sure that I can say Apollo Robbins is making me happy …but he sure is intriguing! I first heard him on NPR’s Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me! But he was recently featured in the New Yorker, which I read after hearing him on WWDTM. He is a Las Vegas performer who goes by the subtitle: Gentleman Thief. He is a pickpocket who robs people on stage, even though they know that is exactly what he is going to do. He takes their wallets, scarves, keys, watches, cell phones…and he explains in many videos how he does it.

7. Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me…that show always makes me laugh.

8. Getting warmer and sunny here finally! Snow is GONE.

9. …speaking of sun…Ritchie Haven’s version of Here Comes the Sun is making me happy. (The intro is long, stick with it!)

And I say, it’s alright.

10. breakroomstories.com (where restaurant workers post the good, the bad and the ugly stories and photo from the field…) Some of it is raunchy, but a lot of it is very funny.
Be sure to look at the “tip jar” photos.
Sample Post:
Me: “Hi, I’m Megan, I’ll be your waitress tonight.”
Customer: “Well, hi, I’m Joe and I’ll be your customer for tonight”
Oh, the laughs that were had. ._.
-Megan

I love Megan!

what now son?!

March 29, 2013

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what now snotty son?!

photos:
1. my boy at 4, he looks just like my sister
2. my boy at 6
3. my boy 15, who will now not let me take and/or publish photos of h
im

When my kids were little I remember commiserating with a friend about parenting a toddler.

You may be familiar with the frustrations of toddler logic:
If is see it, it’s mine.
If it touched it, it’s mine.
It I want it, it’s mine.
If its yours, it’s mine.

Her advice was, “Just make sure that when someone walks in on you dealing with your toddler, it’s clear which one of you is the toddler.”

Oh how these words have been echoing in my head as I parent my teenage son. He frustrates me so much sometimes…I’m not sure it would be clear to someone walking in on us arguing, who is the teenager and who is the parent.

We are taking a photography class together two nights every week at the community college. We now keep at least one seat between us so we don’t get into any more arguments during class.

I am sure just my presence- that I exist- often drives my son up the wall. It’s the way I felt about my own parents at his age. I remember blaring the Elton John song “The Bitch is Back” when I was mad at my mom. I’m sure it was prompted by her telling me to clean up my bedroom. What a brat I was. (Sorry mom! You know I adore you!)

My friend Suzanne’s daughter is a junior in college and her daughter, with whom Suzanne has a great relationship, recently said to her, “I don’t know why I couldn’t stand you when I was in high school. I really don’t understand what my problem was.”

I do get it, this need for independence. I think it’s tricky for my son because I know he actually likes his parents. He has told me that he likes taking the photography class with me…though I never would have guessed that by his snarky behavior toward me during class. But I get that too.

Last night I was trying to help him format a paper for school and he was frustrated and stressed with how much more work he had to do. He has some crappy word processor on his computer and I was trying to help him figure it out.

I told him there was likely a formatting window, like there is in MS Word, where he could just put in his parameters, and he wouldn’t have to “eye” it. He told me in a mean and snotty way that I didn’t know what I was talking about, that he WASN’T using MS Word! There IS no formatting window!!! His subtext: You’re an IDIOT and I hate you.

Guess what I found a few minutes later. The formatting window.

OH! What now son?!!
(I didn’t actually SAY that, but I THOUGHT it. And he knew it. See, what I mean about not being able to tell who is the teenager? )

This negative interaction went on until I finally said, “Forget it. You’re going to treat me like this while I’m trying to help YOU? Nope. I’m going to bed.” A few minutes later I heard him meekly call down the hallway, “How do I make a citation?” My reply, “Google it.” And I went to bed.

I felt badly lying in bed not helping him when I know he needed help. I knew he was stressed and frustrated, and none of us are at our best when we are stressed and frustrated. But trying to help seemed to only fuel his frustration, and mine.

He and I both need to figure out how to better handle these situations. Sigh. Is it possible to teach your teenager who both loves and hates you how to treat people civilly even when they are completely stressed out? And when I say people, I mean me.

Luckily his ever-patient father arrived home and helped him with the rest of the paper.

My son is a really good guy. He is funny and loving. He apologizes when he should. He marches to the beat of his own drummer, which I admire. He is dyslexic and dysgraphic, so school can be challenging—but he works hard and does very well. He loves learning. He is comfortable with himself. He is comfortable with people of all ages, races, and backgrounds. He still gives his grandmother and aunts and uncles full-on, sincere hugs when he sees them—often towering over them while doing so. I do adore this man-child.

It is tricky business parenting a teenager, and I imagine it is trickier business being one. I supposed if my biggest challenge with this kid is to get him to treat me better when he is tired and frustrated and needs my help…I have it pretty easy.

But I’m not sure that is my biggest challenge with this kid.

My biggest challenge is how I react to his behavior…Ugh. More wine please.

what's making me happy this week: 03.22.13

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photos
1. red and white paper straws
2. will’s 5th birthday cake, taken and made (both the cake and the boy) by my dear sis
3. pug shaming

Another cold, gray week, with snow always floating in the air. Nothing serious, in fact sometimes it’s so light and fluffy and purposeless that it blows upward, just riding the air currents in front of my window, as if to say, in a creepy, sing-songy voice, “Flooooooraaaa, we’re still heeeere.”

So again, CRUCIAL to focus on the happy!

What’s making me happy this week:

1. Red and white paper straws…I was shopping for lightbulbs.

2. My nephew’s 5th birday cake! I want that NOW!

3. Doing an image search for “pug shaming” and reading the photos—thanks to my dear daughter for this.

4. Family party. I have a big family with several siblings who live too far away. So when one of our prodigal siblings return to Michigan, as happened last weekend, we have a party with my mom, food, sisters and brothers and in-laws and food, cousins, food, nieces and nephews, food, Apples to Apples, food, Just Dance on the Kinect, food, showing each other funny youtubes and food. Plus more food. It is best to avoid politics and religion at these gatherings, so we eat.

5. Flight of the Conchords “Feel Inside (and Stuff Like That)” video. If you don’t know Flight of the Conchords, you NEED to buy their show on DVD (sadly, only 2 seasons).

6. Joy the Baker podcast. Oh these women make me laugh. And a bonus, they help expand my vocabulary— for example “blazing” is a term for wearing a blazer, as in “I am blazing today, so I hope it will be warm enough not to wear an additional coat.”

7. Linoleum block printing. So fun! I’ll post photos tomorrow.

8. One day this week, at my request, my son unplugged from his earbuds, plugged into the car stereo and played this most excellent choice of songs to perk us up (warning it will be in your brain for at least 5 days). Turn the volume up to 11!

9. …which reminds me of the poem, More than a Woman, by Billy Collins, which I just listened to him (BC) read, also making me happy. Reading it here is faster, but taking a minute ot listen to him read it is pretty fantastic.

10. Looking at my blog makes me happy.
Sometimes throughout the day I will just type in this URL and say to myself, “I made that.” It feels good. It is something I wanted to do for a long time, but I wanted to have everything figured out, every piece in place, a plan, a strategy. One day I thought, you will never have time for all that so just jump in and learn as you go. So I did and I am. I just haven’t told too many people yet…

I hope you are able to find something that makes you happy this week and especially today. If not, google “pug shaming”…

hedgehog: real talk

March 19, 2013

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photo credits (all taken by my daughter):
1. dandy showing off his sniffer
2. dandy in the dandelions, smiling?
3. dandy goes to college
please ask permission before using any photos

Meet Dandelion, my daughter’s pet. She had him at school with her for a few weeks, but he was too noisy at night so he’s back with us. She took these amazing photos with a tiny Canon Powershot pocket camera– smaller than an iPhone. Talented lady.

A couple of weeks ago I warned against getting a pug for a pet. I didn’t mean it. You know that. I meant it to prepare you for the joys of pug ownership—real talk.

However, I do mean it when I say don’t get a hedgehog. Really, this time I’m serious.

Hedgehogs are cute and interesting, but that wears out after a few weeks. What you’re left with is a cage to clean weekly, and even worse, what our family so crassly calls, “the wheel of poop” to clean.

Hedgehogs are nocturnal and are used to traveling miles at night. So, at night, Dandy gets on his wheel (unlike a hamster, wheel this one is solid) and he runs and poops all night long. His food has molasses in it. Nuff said.

They really don’t like people. When touched, they puff up into a painfully spiky ball and huff and jerk in a small, sudden way to try to spike you. If you leave them alone they will calm down and then they walk around (and poop randomly while walking) and explore— just don’t touch. You can put them on your lap, or hold them in your hand— as long as you are not touching their spikes, they relax and will start poking around with their noses. What they are looking for is a small dark hole to hide in- a way to escape from YOU.

If you ever want a hedgehog reality check, let me know. We will need someone to take care of Dandy when we go on vacation this summer. We will bring his cage, his food, protective gloves, the wheel of poop, and a wire brush and small chisel for cleaning it.


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Photos:
1. my girl, bell’s diner
2. http://www.drawnandquarterly.com/blog/2007_05_01_archive.php
3. office white board dino (by dear daughter)

It has been a very long week, which included a Friday night and all day Saturday work event, and a note on my neighbor’s car apologizing for backing into it and taking out the headlight. (I may sound cavalier, but I’m still sick about it.)

It included saying goodbye to my daughter as she headed back to school after spring break; switching to daylight savings time— spring forward! Not as fun as it sounds; and a warm, promising, sunny Sunday followed by freezing rain, snow, cold and a reminder that we live in the Midwest and what suckers we are to think the snow was over.

All the more reason to focus on the happy!

What’s making me happy this week:
1. Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast—from which I shamelessly/fully stole the title “what’s making me happy this week”
I don’t always agree with this group of NPR culture nerds (Linda liked the Les Mis movie? Wah???) but I adore them from afar, and am always taking notes for interesting stuff to explore. (p.s. “nerd” is a term of endearment and highest praise in my world.)

2. The musical Next to Normal at Meadowbrook Theater. Almost as fantastic as seeing it on Broadway three years ago (see how I dropped that in there? See how cool I am?). Three Tonys. One Pulitzer. Productions are popping up around the country since the book was released last year. Really, if you have the chance, see it. You will not be disappointed. Watch the youtube videos for a taste. Did I mention it’s about mental illness, family dysfunction and loss? All the characteristics of a great musical!

3. Bob Loblaw’s Law Blog. Why? Because Arrested Development always makes me happy.

4. Bi Bim Bop (at Bell’s Diner, with my girl)

5. This Boden sweater I preordered months ago on sale finally arrived (and if I were being compensated for this mention, I would be even happier! but I’m not…compensated.)

6. Lynda Barry at the Michigan Theater. Cartoonist, playwright, artist, teacher, therapist? now neuroscientist? In her introduction yesterday she was described using the m&m lyric, “when a tornado meets a volcano.” Years ago, my kids and I wrote a list (still on our refrigerator) of 10 people living or dead we could invite to THE GREAT dinner party. Lynda was, and is, at the top of my list. Yesterday, I listened to her wisdom and humor. In person. In the gorgeous, historic Michigan Theater. Good day.

(She was here in AA as part of a FREE lecture series—next week Ken Burns. Mossimo Banzi is coming soon- 50 extra points to anyone who knows who this is!)

7. My son singing every word of “the devil went down to Georgia” to me while driving in the car because he can memorize anything after hearing it once and because him singing this song in a Charlie-Daniels-badass way makes me laugh.

8. Sharpies. I’ve been making my “to do” lists with them this week. Oh so satisfying.

9. My nephew Will’s 5th birthday.
In his words, “Hope you get a great day!”
Growing up too fast and too far away. That boy has a special light that shines in him.

10. The dinosaur with braces drawing on my office dry erase board.

I hope you have much that is making you happy this week. If not, pick up a sharpie and make a list, or doodle…I promise it will help.

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diy: pretty flower bracelets

When my daughter was home on break last week we had a long list of projects we wanted to try. These bracelets were one of the few we got to!

I saw this project on the Oh Joy! Blog and wanted to give it a try: {Valentine’s Day} Floral Friendship Bracelets…

We are so ready for spring and those flowers are so pretty!

We changed a few things:
1. We didn’t have the time (or the production team) to dip dye the ribbon (though I do like that effect).

2. Instead of using real flowers, we used artificial so the bracelets would last. Finding artificial flowers for this was not as easy as I had expected. I found some papery flowers in the scrapbooking section at Michaels, and we bought a bunch of coral flowers that were on a plastic stem. We pulled them off and pulled out the plastic stamen that attached them to the stem leaving just the fabric flower. I don’t think I would use the paper ones again. I had worn the yellow one (paper flowers) to work before I took the photos and they had been in and out of my coat sleeve a few times and look a little worse for the wear.

3. Instead of using hot glue, we hand stitched the flowers to the ribbon. Not pretty on the backside. This can be covered with another ribbon for those who have the time!

4. My daughter used a snap fastener on the back—which is much more practical than tying a bow. I think I will do that with mine, which I now depend on someone to tie on me (and the long ribbon ends are not great when you are using the ladies’…)

5. We singed the ends of the ribbon in a flame (grill lighter) to keep them from fraying (a tip my mom learned from Martha Stewart).

Once you have the supplies, these are quick and easy to make!

lockdown

February 23, 2013

lockdown

Yesterday we learned via robo call that our daughter’s college had an emergency and it was on lockdown. I don’t even have to describe the images that came into my head. You know the images.

I texted her, “Please call me when you can.”

She replied, “I can’t. I’m so scared.”

With no additional information, we, and she, and her fellow students and professor, had no idea what was going on. They only knew it involved a gun.

The incident turned out to be less threatening than we were all imagining. Someone just a block off campus, not a college student, had threatened to shoot another and was locked in his apartment. The police were trying to get him to come out, which he eventually did.

While I think I did pretty well in crisis mode, I felt like wailing and gnashing afterward. How do I protect my daughter, and my son, in this crazy world? How can I care and comfort her in such a situation from so far away? I wanted her home. I wanted her here where I could protect her. I wanted to impose my own lockdown.

But even at home, I can’t protect her from these situations. When she was a freshman in high school we had another robo call about her school being in lockdown. This was not at some college in another state, but at her sweet little high school in downtown Ann Arbor, just a 10 minute walk from my office, in a relatively safe and comfortable community.

A robber who was holding up a jewelry store downtown had run from police toward the area of the school. That time we received good information throughout the crisis via more robo calls. We knew what the situation was. We knew the police were immediately inside the school with tracking dogs (the police station is about 3 blocks from the school) and we knew when the lockdown was lifted when they found no robber.

We also learned after the lockdown was lifted, first via text from our daughter, that someone in a dance class noticed a man’s feet sticking out from behind the curtain of a storage area. As the teacher tried to get the students out of the room, the robber realized he had been discovered and yelled, “I don’t want to hurt anyone, I just want to get out of here.” The students stood aside as he bolted from the classroom and the building. (He was found shortly after hiding, wrapped in insulation, under the porch of a home.)

I can’t protect her from everything. If she is going to live in the world, if she is going to do meaningful work in the world, if she is going to change the world for the better, then she will have to live, LIVE! in this sometimes-dangerous world. Keeping her under my wing safe from all that is scary and hard would just make for a miserable person who is unable to cope as an adult. So, no home lockdowns.

My comfort in these lockdown situations is that in both cases she was not alone; she was with friends and with kind strangers. Some of the strangers are now her friends. Yesterday she and her classmates were in it together. They shared information; she shared her jolly ranchers. They tried to make each other laugh. They took care of and comforted each other.

Our children are not alone and it’s best for them, and for us, to learn that they can find strength, comfort and compassion in the people around them, and in themselves. All of the love and safety we have provided them when they were young, they can find and cultivate in others as they get older.

I will always drop everything to try to comfort and to be with my children when they are facing a crisis, now and 40 years from now. But I am learning that I will be part of a bigger support team, with members who will be right by my children’s side much more quickly than I can be.