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I was looking at photos for a quick post and found these. Puppies. Cheap shot. I know.

The first two were taken in Wisconsin when I was visiting my daughter. We were leaving a Target and my daughter saw signs that said “Puppy Sale” in a pet store window. She asked, “Do you think they have actual puppies?” I said, “Likely just puppy supplies, but no harm in looking.” I was right, and I was wrong. They had puppies, but you know what she is saying with her eyes, “I NEED him Mom. Please?!”

The last one is my handsome Finny modeling what my son calls, “shameware.”

Can you see Finny’s wonky smile? So few teeth. So many directions, rows and angles. My neighbor Maddie was sitting outside on the grass petting him the other day, staring into his mouth. I said, “Are you enjoying Finny’s teeth Maddie?” She replied with a little wonder and dismay, “There’s just so much going on in there!”

Back to the shameware. The morning of our trip to visit my daughter for her birthday I left a large bag of gifts on the floor by the kitchen door so I wouldn’t forget to pack them. Then I left for work. I came home two hours later to drop my son off and he motioned me to come into the house— the bag of gifts was empty and ripped and the gifts were all over the kitchen floor. Only one was ripped apart. Decimated.

There was no food among the gifts so I had no idea why he got into the packages. I realized the one he ripped apart was a gift from another Ann Arbor mom to her daughter, Sarah, who attends the same school as my daughter. She had asked me to deliver it to Sarah and had included another identical looking gift box for my daughter. I knew the one for my daughter contained a t-shirt, so I assumed the identical package for Sarah was also a t-shirt.

As we searched for the t-shirt from the torn apart package, my son noticed something like black dirt on my dog’s cushion—TEA! There hadn’t been a t-shirt in Sarah’s package. It was tea. Which my dog had consumed. Yum.

Since my old dog is now deaf, he cannot be shamed by the disappointed quality of my voice when I try to scold him. He just stands and happily wobbles his donut tail. My son decided to make shameware out of the bag Finny had torn apart. When that fell off too easily, my son fashioned shameware out of a smaller bag. Perfect fit.

Does Finny look shamed to you? Not to me either. More like plotting to make a dash for his cushion so he could lick up the rest of that tea.

Later I emailed Sarah’s mom to apologize and she said no problem, but in addition to the tea, there had been chocolate covered espresso beans in the package. Yes, he ate those too.

It would likely have killed a lesser dog, with better teeth, but Finny has survived eating a pound bag of m&ms (nearly killed my husband though, I was out of town) and a bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups, foil wrapping and all. I didn’t even take him to the vet for this one. I had to leave town after all…

(Don’t worry! He seemed pretty normal when we left at 5pm, and we had a dog sitter who I checked with several times over the weekend. Finny is alive and well and overweight according to last week’s visit with the vet. And yes, I do realize that if anyone should be wearing shameware…)

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back in the hammock

May 15, 2013

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We have had a hammock in our backyard forever. I think it started as a first father’s day gift to my husband, which is a mean joke since he is the person in our family who uses it least.

We usually have to buy a new hammock each year, as the squirrels have a great fondness for chewing the rope to bits. Our current hammock is up for the season and is going on its third summer. Haha squirrels! One point for the humans! (Though it’s likely the squirrels may be avoiding it because it’s made from some unknown toxic substance so maybe, Haha humans!)

I cannot stand to just lie in a hammock, and say, nap, or read. I am not wired that way. I used to give my kids terror rides in it when they were little, which they have loved. (I am wired that way.)

Every now and then, over the years, someone says to another, “Want to go lie in the hammock?” And on warm summer night at midnight, they lie in the hammock, side by side holding hands, or head to foot, always complaining of the foot, listening to far off sirens and dogs barking and doors closing in our little town, trying to see stars through the heavy canopy of the giant maple that hold one end of the hammock.

Usually the two in the hammock would be my daughter and me.

Last August, on a very emotional morning when she said goodbye to her little bedroom, house, backyard, town and family for her first year away from home, the last thing we did before she left was to lie together in the hammock, side by side, holding hands.
That was hard. She was so sad and so uncertain.

And look at her now. She conquered her freshman year and all of the challenges it threw at her, which were many. She made the dean’s list both semesters. She sang, studied science, made new friends and learned what it’s like to attend a very small college (1,200) in a very small town.

And now she is home.

And we are back in the hammock. Side by side.

catching up

May 14, 2013

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photos:
1) the best birthday package
2) birthday heart from my 15 year old son, clean kitchen included
3) My dear mom and my dear sister Jen

Back from my blogging hiatus. I hope. Something had to go. I have been away from most of the past 4 weekends.

My dear sister from Seattle was here for a too short visit. Our family spent a weekend with my daughter for her birthday at the end of April. I had my final exam for my photography class. You roll your eyes, but there was a great amount of technical information to learn, such as the electromagnetic scale and length of the color waves that is viewable to the human eyes (400 – 700 nanometers in case you were wondering).

Then it was my birthday. Guess what was in the package from my amazing friend Cathy? A vintage red purse and a Catherineholm fondu pot! As I told her, I hugged them to my chest when I opened them! That woman! I have to be careful about what I post on my blog!

The night of my birthday my husband and I went to the simulcast of “Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me!” a nerdy NPR radio show that we love and have seen live several times. I came home to a giant chocolate chip heart-shaped cookie/birthday cake, made by my 15 year old son. Even more of a gift– he cleaned the kitchen when he was finished! Yes, my son cleaned the kitchen after baking. What?! Who is that manchild?!

The next day it was back to my daughter in Wisconsin to pack up her dorm room. Before leaving Ann Arbor, I went to pick up a rental van and was asked if I remembered to renew my driver’s license, which expired on my birthday, the day before. No van for me. Still haven’t renewed that license. Yikes. So we packed up my Prius, and what couldn’t fit we had packed and ready to go for my husband, who (new plan) would now be renting a van midweek, when he had planned to travel to get her anyway (after her last exams). While in Wisconsin my daughter and I drove an hour to meet my friend Cathy for lunch. I wish I could see her every weekend.

Back to Ann Arbor. The photography class ended. (A on the final, A- in the class. Gah! A MINUS?!) Two days later my daughter returned home. Hooray! My mother got in a car accident, not her fault. Her dear car which was old but low miles and pristine condition was totaled. Airbags deployed and she is fine.

Then it was mother’s day which included too short of an overnight with my mom, and too quick a visit with too few siblings and their families, shopping for teenager clothes (gah!), taking the dog to the vet, and a too short visit with my mother in law. Mother’s day weekend also included– white steamed pudding with raspberry sauce (made by husband), a peanut butter and chocolate cheesecake (made by mom), blueberry pie (made by husband) and lilacs— which are finally out and smell like the start of summer.

The last month also included nights volunteering at the Ark, an attempt to exercise more and oh yes, work— my busiest time of the year at work. I won’t sleep well again until my summer programs end on June 28.

Next up? Renewing my driver’s license. Helping my daughter find a summer job, and helping my son decide on how he wants to spend his summer (in addition to his volunteering at a zoo). Helping my mom get a new car—a team effort with her and my siblings. Putting my dog on a diet. Working on my flower beds. Exercising more. Maybe I’ll clean my house and do laundry one of these days! Oh yes, then there’s work…

In the spaces in between, I plan to blog…though it may be about how to get my whites whiter and how to get a pug to lose weight…That’s my life. And I’ll keep it, but I’ll understand if you need to move on in order to stay awake…

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Another installment from my photography class. I only have 3 more classes and one more assignment, “Love”. Tricky.

I wasn’t so fond of my results on this Stop Motion assignment. Not for lack of a beautiful and cooperative subject…It was me, and very dark, grey winter days. (These were taken in January.)

The top one, the hair photo, was the one I turned in. You can see my dear niece was so willing to try anything in the cold snow! She’s 11 and has such a great spirit. Can you tell by her outfit? Neon, glitter Uggs, monster hat. In retrospect I’m wondering if eliminating one of the brightest colors would have improved the shots. It would have been something to try.

I also tried tossing some flowers up in the air…but I just couldn’t get the focus. And now I see I need to correct the color in the tree branches, which I now know how to do in Lightroom using the Lens Correction: Remove Chromatic Abberation tool.

One of the photos I liked the best from my classmates was a shot taken of a young woman in a swing…the shot was taken from the ground so she was framed against a blue sky (he went out on the right day). Her swing was twisting, she was laughing, her curly hair was flying…and he had specifically asked her to wear a red jacket. The red jacket against a bright blue sky was perfect. Hmmm. Another lesson from a classmate: If you’re going to direct a shot, then direct the shot!

Our next assignment was panning motion which was a giant fail for me. Maybe I’ll try to take more of those before posting.

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what's making me happy this week 04.21.13: cowboy boots, love revolution and label makers

photos
1) my daughter studying in her cowboy boots
2) a never ending stream of colorful finches at my mother’s birdfeeder
3) my niece discovered her mother’s new label maker

What a week. Every day contained deep sorrow at the news from both here in the U.S. and around the world, and joy for time with my dear sister from Seattle who came for a too short visit.

My sister left yesterday and the world spins madly on. Thank goodness the sun is finally out or I may not have made it out of bed today.

While some of the items below may not have actually made me happy, they did make laugh, and that’s a good step.

1. Cowboy boots and my daughter make me happy. (Definitely not in that order.)

2. My mother lives in the country and has a constant stream of birds at her many feeders. I spend a night at her house a couple of times a month and it is so relaxing to sit a her kitchen table in the morning, drinking coffee and watching the birds, and to be in her company.

3. Family I visited with this week– my sweet sisters, my hilarious niece and my dear mom.

4. The only way to deal with heckling from opposing fans – balls.ie

5. Have you seen this? The girls who burns her hair off with her curling iron “how to” video? 12 million hits in 5 days. I don’t know if I would have thought it was funny if I hadn’t also watched her appearance on Ellen. So watch both. Girl wins in the end because she is just adorable.
Watch this one first:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdVuSvZOqXM

Watch this one second:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVzbds5tOOw

6. My son and I volunteered at the Ark last night for Brother Jocephus and the Love Revolution Orchestra. Just what the doctor ordered this week. So much energy! I have never seen our little music club so full of dancing people. They play a mix of New Orleans type gospel/rock, and some interesting covers— like ELO’s Mr. Blue Sky and Queen’s Somebody to Love. The lead female singer, Samia Michelle Mounts, is amazing:
See her here singing Somebody to Love: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eL_FGjyCuA
Another video of the band here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPZCnwdlTVc

7. ELO’s Mr. Blue Sky. Old School. So appropriate for those of us living in Michigan. Finally a sunny day!

“And today is the day we’ve been waiting for.”

8. My son and I have a “night time” photography assignment due for our photography class. So, last night after volunteering at the Ark, we drove around Ann Arbor until midnight taking night time shots. It was a lot of fun. We ended up in places I wasn’t so comfortable being at 11pm, but my son reminded me he was big and buff. Haha. Tall and lanky, yes. Big and buff, not so much. It was fun being out and about taking photos in the dark.

I think 8 is more than acceptable for this crazy week. I so hope you have found something that has at least made you smile this week.

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.

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”…

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.