If a Gun Walks Onto Campus

Before the beginning of a school year, a mandatory meeting is held that covers the idea of what to do if a gun walks onto campus. Everyone from cafeteria workers to the janitor attends. Not halfway through the meeting, many are in tears. It’s inconceivable that a teacher might end up taking a life to protect themselves and their students.

The burden on school staff to maintain “a safe and secure environment” for students is heavy and unsung.

I imagine that people train to become teachers because they have the gift of teaching. Of leading young minds to new places and rejoicing with them over the growth of a school year. They certainly don’t become teachers to get rich or because they like job security.

What other profession receives a yearly “pink slip” along with the assurance that “very likely” they will be rehired in two months? But no promises. What other profession balances Common Core, administration, gangs, parents, class sizes increases, grades, students, budgets, politics, sex, standardized testing, religion, cell phones, puberty, attitudes, drugs, feelings, sports, and glitter glue? You know, sometimes in a single day.

It’s something no one wants to consider and unfortunately, many communities have already experienced. I don’t believe anyone decides to go into the teaching profession thinking they will also act as a body guard. Or worse. Because what if the gunman is also one of the students you teach?

Where are the days we only worried about earthquakes, pop quizzes, and whether our outfits were cool?

Today’s message is short and to the point: hug your kids. Thank your teachers.

Read this first. Can you even?

What schools are working with: training.

Should teachers be armed? The debate.

What kids may be thinking about it: view.

Resources that teachers use: words for processing it.

Are the schools ready? Is yours?

Psalm 141:10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety.

The Forgetful Files is a safe, supportive space exploring different life challenges and big questions with courage, kindness, humor, and practicality. Please join the conversation by offering your unique perspective!

Vaping, School, and Your Kid

You know what I hate? Feeling naive.

If my girlfriend knows something I don’t know, she fills me in so that I can be as cool as she is.

If my kid knows something I don’t know, he hides behind a bowl of cereal, hoping no questions are asked before he runs off to school. Or in the case of my own brilliant and sarcastic child, he puts it in plain view and laughs at me for being naive.

Which, let me repeat myself, I hate.

Today I am advocating, once again, family conversation. The kind where the parent has to open a door, yank technology away from little Johnny, and ask some hard questions while remaining a calm, open-minded good listener. Like Ghandi. Or maybe Don Corleone.

He isn’t going to volunteer to have this conversation. Your education will be inadequate and you will glance into his room one day and notice the sweet little plants in his windowsill and think to yourself what a great parent you are that your kid knows about gardening and ambiance.

Little Johnny is growing pot. In his room. It’s so much cheaper than the dealer down the street, and organic, too.

Mom won’t figure it out. She is busy chasing toddlers. Or paychecks. Whichever.

As a parent, I died just a little when it was voted “legal” here in California because everyone interpreted that to mean “safe”. Pot shops opened up, serving a glamorous variety of goods.  Smoking a joint or a cigarette is just so pedestrian now…what’s a kid to do?

Enter vaping.

My contacts tell me that vaping has been the cool experience of choice in the school lavatories for the last year or two. Most kids are vaping socially, meaning there’s a party in the bathroom, and these kids are not really engaging their brains at the time – which, I suppose, is the whole point.

  1. It is illegal to have marijuana or nicotine in any form if you are under the age of 21
  2. but it’s the easiest form of both for kids to access
  3. and, the kids are pretty comfortable trying it and feel that a puff won’t hurt them.

Not the way popping a pill might, or drinking a shot of liquor might. And here’s why: because the industry says so, that’s why.

As you will notice during the picture time of this presentation, vaping is marketed to youth. Although the packaging is clear about what is in the product you are buying, this is the first thing thrown into the nearest trashcan. The vape pens are sleek little packages or covered in cute cartoon figures and the cartridges that you put into them come in fun flavors from bubble gum to gummy bear.

You won’t see this kind of marketing on prescription medication or alcohol. Not even on cigarettes. The potent thc content now on the market is scientifically engineered. This is not your mama’s pot. But the industry is going to make sure it’s your child’s.

Getting the rechargeable battery-powered pens is not too difficult. But this doesn’t matter because you can walk into the school bathroom during lunch and help yourself to the party pen being passed around. If I saw one in my kid’s room, it might register as another random piece of technology or a charger pack of some kind. It could be a pen or a highlighter. The different cartridges (“carts”) full of flavorful fillings can be purchased for $20 in the store, or conveniently at school for $30. I can see myself now, spotting some vape juice, “Oh, look, little Johnny is into essential oils!”

Vaping leaves a faint scent around you for only a few minutes as it dissipates. (“Wait, little Johnny likes scented candles now?”) Kids sometimes exhale into empty gatorade bottles and cap them tightly to contain the tell-tale smoke. Either way, you can walk into a classroom ten minutes later and no one will smell it on you. My kid can get high at school all day long and not be noticed.

“Why?” I asked certain knowledgable high schoolers, “Why would you want to smoke at all?”

They hadn’t really thought about that question. I had plenty more. Why would you pass around a communal anything and put it in your mouth? Do you know which product is inside it? Or what strength?

“Hey!” calls a friend from the little group huddled in the bathroom, “Try this! You just press the button and inhale.” Many kids caught vaping are just trying it.

“But I didn’t know what it was. It was just one puff. They’re my friends. It didn’t look like it was hurting them. What’s the big deal?

Well, for originality, ask the group if anyone there wishes they could quit.

There’s one who might be brave enough to confide in you. Nicotine is addictive. Sometimes they will tell you that they began vaping in order to stop smoking cigarettes. Ask how that plan is going. And the kid vaping alone in the bathroom stall? He’s not going to share.

(And this is where you might one-up your kid and mention you know that “dabbing” is not just a dance move.)

From the time a student leaves his house until the time a student returns home, the school has a certain level of responsibility for behavior. Whether my kid sells carts off campus or just delivered money from the sales, whether he took one puff at a friend’s house or bragged about it on social media, there are civic consequences. There are words like “suspended” “expelled” or “police” involved.

The burden on school staff to maintain “a safe and secure environment” for students is heavy and unsung. Next week we go further into it.

Our kids are in over their heads. They’re being advertised to and presented with something they know little about and understand even less. Vaping is touted as “safe smoking” and it’s clearly not. We need to have some conversations.

So I am here to fill you in and start you off. And you and I will be cool together.

(Resources are included via text links. Click em.)

Picture Time:

Sunset Sherbert. Delish.

Because you always wanted to smoke a strawberry. Admit it.

Now you know how to spell “Shwifty Sticks”. You’re welcome.

I CAN. NOT. EVEN.

The Forgetful Files is a safe, supportive space exploring different life challenges and big questions with courage, kindness, humor, and practicality. Please join the conversation by offering your unique perspective!

There Be Bullies

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.

This month, we are focussing on issues in the school system (and this means any school system: homeschooling, charters, etc are not exempt) that are prevalent, insidious and hard for us to talk about with our kids.

Bullying has been around since Cain and Abel, but if Eve had given them smart phones I think they could have avoided going out into the field altogether and Cain could have ruined his brother from the comfort of his couch.

What this means for today’s kids is a perceived power imbalance (which is what sells technology in the first place) so magnified that the result, more times than we want to look at, is death. Death of an idea, death of self-worth, death of a child. Please stop right now and call, text, message, hug, or high-five a kid. It doesn’t have to be your kid. And you don’t need a reason. Every kid needs that little ping of positivity because – people listen up – we are fighting an undercover avalanche of insidious bullying.

And you count. I’ll wait while you send it….

According to my many teacher friends, schools are educating kids about proper web use and ethics. They know it’s hard for some kids to admit to being bullied, so it’s discussed regularly in the classroom. Some teachers have an app that can check a kid’s iPad at a moments notice to see if it’s being used appropriately. They have counselors, social workers, and technology staff and partner with police and programs for nonviolence and peace. The message they are sending out is: “Bullying is not right. Everyone deserves a safe place to be in school.”

But of course, there’s a flip side: how do you distinguish between bully behavior and normal, age-appropriate immaturity, or even teasing between two children who both think it’s funny? The “bully” label is easily triggered in students and parents alike and they expect dramatic reactive steps on the part of school staff, regardless of the circumstances. (Here’s my fun story on that.)

Usually a quick, real-time intervention by the teacher, having kids apologize or just a stern talking-to, resolves many incidents. Seasoned teachers definitely know the difference and they also know their students personalities.

But the teacher is not you, the parent. (Unless of course you are homeschooling like Eve was and we are praying for you. Get yourself a favorite aunt who will take your kid for ice cream and have this conversation.)

You, the parent, should also be using real-time intervention by talking to your kids about when they were bullied and also when they bullied someone else. The answers are perhaps not so important as the process of opening the discussion. We all have to find ways to get along on the planet and this is a good place to practice the conversation. Earn their honesty by trusting them to find solutions along with you. Suggest ways they can hand out those little pings of positivity, too.

Conversation Prompts:

  1. Technology is just a tool and you control the “off” button. No one can access you via technology unless you allow them to. Others can block you, too, if you lose their trust.
  2. Bullying can be physical, emotional, or verbal. Harassment or intimidation via technology is called cyberbullying. Look up your school policy on it and read it together.
  3. Make an action plan as a family. Consider and act out scenarios where you are the target, the witness, and the bully in turn. How do you feel? What can you say? What will you do?
  4. Restorative Circles will give you the dialogue you need, and here is the other side of that with examples.
  5. Find resources on stopbullying.gov.
  6. Find more resources from the national PTA here.

“Love your enemies as yourself” Lev. 19:18

The Forgetful Files is a safe, supportive space exploring different life challenges and big questions with courage, kindness, humor, and practicality. Please join the conversation by offering your unique perspective!

Neighbors and Other Suburban Wildlife

Good morning everyone and welcome to today’s installment, “Neighbors and Other Suburban Wildlife”. I’m joined by TV legend, Mr. Rogers, and editorial intern Melanie Williams, quoting from her book, “The Reader’s Digest Practical Problem Solver”, circa 1991, page 142, column 2, “Neighbors”.

 

**canned applause**

Jolie: “Thank you both for being here with us. I’d like to begin with an obvious question for Mr Rogers. In your expert opinion, Fred, would you consider a good neighbor to be elderly, retired, and nosy…or young, raising five children, and cranky?”

Fred: “Thank you for asking. Is the elderly neighbor wearing a cardigan? Does the young mother have her lace-up shoes on?”

Jolie: “Mr Rogers, the question is more about which house on the street produces the most stress on the neighborhood. For example, in order to be a good neighbor, would a house full of bachelors need to invite the young mother over for a beer when they throw their monthly motorcycle club soirees?”

Melanie: “Excuse me, but neighbors need not be nuisances. Invite your neighbors over occasionally. Make sure they know the layout of your house and make an effort to learn theirs. Such knowledge could be important in a crisis.”

Jolie: “Sorry Melanie. No can do. My grandmother did that once and the minute she left for vacation, the neighbors cleaned out her house. Left a bit of wire on the wall and that’s it. Took every clock and cabinet. The cops were all “smh” over it.”

Fred: “Must’ve lived on Sesame Street.”

Melanie: “To smooth year-round relationships, establish a council with the authority to consider such neighborhood problems as roaming dogs, loud parties, and unkempt lawns.”

Jolie: “That’s called an HOA and most neighbors find them the biggest nuisance of all. Most of my hood want the right to throw a quinceanera into upwards of three in the morning and we replaced our lawn with tidy flat dirt years ago because of the drought. I mean. My neighbors did. Um. Fred?”

Fred: “Bob Dog was a dancer. I wouldn’t describe it as roaming. Melanie, if Bob Dog was dancing in your front yard, wouldn’t you think he was a good neighbor?”

Melanie: “Some people prefer to keep their distance from neighbors….”

Jolie: “Of course, if you live in an apartment complex, you might have neighbors stomp around overhead while you’re trying to sleep or throw your laundry right out of the washing machines to make room for theirs…”

Fred: (pulling out a puppet) “Is this the Neighborhood of Make-Believe?”

Melanie: “Why not start a neighborhood newsletter? The kids can be reporters.”

Jolie: “Um, yes, Fred, it must be. Melanie, if you see kids roaming the streets with paper, it’s toilet paper and they are on their way to TP their rival football team captain’s front yard. They are going to pick oranges from the next house over and throw them at passing busses on the way home.”

Fred: “Officer Clemmons would have to think about that one.”

Melanie: “If fruit has gotten overripe, don’t throw it away. Puree it in a blender with a little lemon juice and spoon the result over ice cream.”

Jolie: “Melanie, you’ve skipped over to page 93. And why do you sound like Siri? Reader’s Digest doesn’t pay their interns very well. I’m afraid we’re out of time, Mr Rogers, if you could just queue up the trolley? Thank you. Gentle readers of the blog, if you have any pesky neighbor questions for Fred or Melanie, please leave them below in the comment box and they will reply as soon as possible.”

Fred: “That’s one thing that helps to make good friends: playing together.”

The Forgetful Files is a safe, supportive space exploring different life challenges and big questions with courage, kindness, humor, and practicality. Please join the conversation by offering your unique perspective!

So It Begins

Dear Forgetful Files Family,

If this little blog beauty landed in your inbox, you have just witnessed magic. After a GREAT many hours of wand-waving and occasional violently whispered secret words that only magicians use, the jolietunnell.com website was born. You will NOT have to re-subscribe because you are my peeps and where I roll, you roll.

If, however, these words of extreme optimism drifted your way on the breeze, please do join the party and subscribe. I have quite a line-up for this year’s blog posts, focussed on creating opportunities for families to hold conversations on the hard stuff. This is a safe, supportive space that explores different life challenges and big questions with courage, kindness, humor, and practicality. Please join the conversation.

Okay. Playtime.

Begin on the “Home” page. Take a long look around. Click on everything. Not only does The Forgetful Files blog live here, but so does my new freelance writing business, Gobsmacked! I have a page devoted to the writing and selling of future books, where you can sign up separately to receive my monthly progress newsletter. If you notice anything out of place or not working correctly please let me know. Send me a note in the Contact Form, play around on my Facebook Page  or visit my Pinterest Page. You know the drill.

And if you’ve always wanted to see your name and photo on a fabulous website, write me a Testimonial for the bottom slider!

Thank you for making magic with me. You guys rock.

Let’s get this party started.

“Gobsmacked” = utterly astonished, astounded. And also, it sounds like fun.

Under Construction

Good evening everyone!

Today’s installment was set carefully aside and I hope to post it next week with the attention it deserves.

I am birthing a new website, something with plenty of room to grow and full of possibilities of course, and having a lot of fun in the process. The Forgetful Files will migrate into a freshly decorated space and be joined by my freelance writing business, Gobsmacked! Samples of my latest writing projects are going in. (If you know someone who needs fresh copy to support their goals, please put them in touch). Then we’ll have to connect some social media, add a logo or two, bring in PayPal. There’s a place where my first book will go once I’ve, you know, written and published it…

Build it and they will come.

You are going to love this!

Meanwhile, have a fabulous week and stay tuned for the grand opening. I will send you a notification so that you can get into the new site and Subscribe all over again to the blog. Unless I can do magic. I watched a guy on TV last night and he won “America’s Got Talent” with a couple of magic card tricks. He won over the guy who shackled himself into a spinning wheel of death and had to escape crossbow arrows, a bear trap and a flame thrower.

Although my week looked a lot more like the spinning act, magic won. You may not have to re-Subscribe. No promises.

Click here to maintain your suspense for a few more days….

 

How to Make Friends in a Shark Tank

In the world of full-time employment, out there in the weeds of xerox machines and customer service, there are these things called “coworkers” and – just like your neighbors and your children – you don’t get to choose them. Nope. You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.

Most of the time. Unless you want to step into the lavatory stall, close the door, and silent scream. That’s a thing.

Jobs can be fun. Right?

“You’re too happy,” commented my coworker early on, “You like people too much. I give it six months. You’ll be jaded and cranky like the rest of us.”

“Jolie, you are a fish in a little pond,” a senior director manager type human said to me once, when I was considering a move up the corporate ladder into a larger professional arena, “but in that circle….they are sharks. You will need to learn survival skills. Don’t trust anyone.”

Too late. I already considered every person in that shark tank my “friend”. We were all helpful, kind, courteous, even going out to lunch once in a while. I couldn’t think of a single reason why any one of them would turn around and have me for lunch instead.

But adult friendships are trickier than third grade ones. I thought I had a friendship that was outside of office politics, the lady being quite worthy on her own two feet, but her loyalty to her boss was stronger than mere courtesy to me, and even though she apologized after the fact, she had not prevented me being thrown under a passing bus.

She was sorry/not sorry.

There were bigger fish fries than that, but are hardly worth recounting. I have since been told The Rules: under no circumstances do you consider a coworker a “friend”.

Even if you go to Happy Hour or yoga with these fish. Even if you “donate” an exorbitant amount of personal money towards an office baby shower gift for a fish from the next department over that you’ve never even exchanged paperclips with. Even if this fish swaps intimate mom stories with you and brings you Valentines Day treats and laughs with you over morning coffee.

If this fish has a personal family emergency, I am expected to act like my own mother was in a  car explosion and make sure “the office” is supportive with donations, flowers, and cards. We will cover his work load with concerned faces and ask how the recovery is coming along.

But.

If this fish senses that I am drifting into their territory, or if the boss needs bait for a bigger fish, or perhaps I am just not taking their teeth seriously enough, queue the Jaws theme song.

I am investing more time and money and love languages with these fish than my own family. In return, I am to expect…shark bites?

This concept is so far out of my box that I don’t know where to begin. So I asked a thirteen-year-old girlfriend for some help. We agreed that relationships in both school and office arenas are based upon being temporary and the “every man for himself” attitude. And we suppose everyone goes in with this expectation. Which is a huge waste of possibility, in our opinion.

Somewhere out there in the deep blue sea is a company getting this aquarium thing right. Employees are trained that there are enough krill and plenty of waves for everyone.

I still have a habit of petting sharks, treating them like shiny yellow tang.

Perhaps the only way you will know for sure whether you made an authentic friendship at school or work is if the person is still friendly after the building is gone. If you remove the competition and the politics and the teeth, and are left with a real person with no agenda, I’d say you can finally call that fish a friend.

Everyone else can go jump in the lake.

Sorry/not sorry.

Just keep swimming.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Rom 12:18

The Forgetful Files is a safe, supportive space exploring different life challenges and big questions with courage, kindness, humor, and practicality. Please join the conversation by offering your unique perspective!

Eldercare Where?

Now is the time to instill a great respect for elders into our youth. When my great-grandchild solemnly approaches and begs to know how I have retained my wisdom, zen, and flowing hair, I will deign to tell her.

“Facebook,” I will say.  And also, “Photoshop.”

At the moment, however, my kids regularly discuss the day when they will “prop me up in the Old Folks Home”. Especially right after an argument. “Just you wait,” they say cheerfully, “We will put a poster of Fiji in the window and you won’t know any different.” They pat me on the head. “You’ll be so happy.”

Conversations like this are why I have a friend like Brenda-Lee.

“Can they do that?” I ask her over a glass of Pinot Grigio.

She laughed. Then she reminded me that I am (and will be in the entire foreseeable future) a grown adult and can do what I want. Some people retire, sell their house, buy a camper, and drive all over the country living the vida loca. And some of us move to India. But if you are looking for somewhere local to hang your hat, and the spacious house where you live is no longer serving it’s purpose, then it’s time to go home hunting.

Brenda-Lee is a senior placement advisor; she helps families identify options when they are trying to decide if and where an elder in the family may need to move, whether it be independent or assisted living arrangements. (For example, click here.) Her skillset is free to families, so I sat down for a chat.

Here are some concerns that usually open the conversations between generations:

  • Is there a risk of falling? Can 911 be easily called or are emergency pendants or call alerts needed? Are railings, etc installed in the home?
  • Are medications confusing or forgotten? Who is keeping medical records updated?
  • Is personal hygiene declining? Is there a significant weight loss? Are meals being skipped because of effort involved or lack of company or variety? Are particular dietary needs being met?
  • Is there opportunity to continue staying active or attend fitness programs or the pool? What about hobbies, educational, or cultural activities? Are volunteer opportunities available?
  • Do bills or laundry or dishes pile up? Is home maintenance neglected? Have utilities been disconnected? Is there a need for a gardener or housekeeper?
  • Has driving become slower or are traffic signals missed? Is relying on or arranging transportation for appointments, errands or outings a challenge? Is there pushback to “not be a bother”?
  • Is there a higher risk of being victim to a crime? Are strangers let in the home or personal information given over the phone?
  • Are there frequent phone calls because of a fear of being alone?
  • Or perhaps there are less phone calls as isolation or depression creeps in? Are social functions being missed and friendships dropped? Do neighbors still chat over the fence?
  • Will there have to be a move regardless, in order for family members to be closer to each other?
  • Does it make more financial sense to modify the home and hire help or to sell the home and address all of the concerns in one community living area?

She’s got some valid points. From where I’m sitting, it sounds like living in an all-inclusive resort, only it comes with a maid.

Take my money. Or rather, take my kids’ money. And they can take me to Fiji on the side.

The little smarty-pants.

But – like all of our January articles insist – moving is a life transition that no one takes lightly. There is a period of mourning over how things were and a hopeful anticipation of how things will be, regardless of the circumstances.

I will leave you to your own conversations and please do share any advice you may have.  If you would like to chat with Brenda-Lee, too, about moving in the San Diego area, click here.

(Meanwhile, click on any of my other links because life goes on, my Tribe, and I insist you have a laugh over it.)

Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he, I am he who will sustain you. Isaiah 46:4

The Forgetful Files is a safe, supportive space exploring different life challenges and big questions with courage, kindness, humor, and practicality. Please join the conversation by offering your unique perspective!

I Love Moving, Said No One Ever

Welcome to the third week of January, where we are addressing the larger question of “Why in the world would I move on purpose?” and the smaller question of “How many boxes does it take to contain college textbooks from 1992?”

When my girlfriend moved from SoCal to Missouri, a moving company showed up on her doorstep, packed the entire contents of her house including the cats, and re-fluffed the lot in her new and much colder home.

When I moved five miles across town, I packed the precious contents of my house for maybe five minutes before tossing every other item into the donation pile. It was easier for the Goodwill to store my belongings until I got my bearings in the new house. And by bearings I mean staring into a box labeled, “kitchen” and seeing a plastic chicken.

You don’t know what’s important until you have to move it.

True to the rules we laid out, let me put it to you like this:

  1. Identify the transition:
    1. I moved my family from our home of 22 years to one with a staircase in it.
  2. And its little pile of emotional baggage:
    1. I feel that houses should not come with staircases. This is, and you may quote me, a “bummer”.
  3. Here are my Pros and Cons:
    1. Pro: Free exercise for buns and thighs.
    2. Con: Not being able to see my feet when carrying items on said staircase.
  4. This is worth remembering:
    1. Buns do not enjoy landing hard on a stair edge.

To get a better idea of my wildly swinging pendulum of emotions when attempting to move, read this.

Meanwhile, let’s hear your thoughts.

PS: What is the expiration date on college textbooks? Ten years? Twenty? Just because they aren’t in the fridge doesn’t mean they won’t grow mold. Don’t ask how I know this.

Of the making of books (and other clutter) there is no end. Ecc 12:12

The Forgetful Files is a safe, supportive space exploring different life challenges and big questions with courage, kindness, humor, and practicality. Please join the conversation by offering your unique perspective!

Leaving Home for College

Good morning everyone and welcome to our next installment in the January series on “Moving”. Today we are going straight to the experts for advice about the transition when Little Johnny moves away to college.

As far as I can tell, I have successfully sent three children to college while managing to keep them living at home. The fourth kid is up for grabs but unless the right college grabs him, I will have the honor of four college graduates and zero dorm experiences.

On the other hand, I also have a kid with nothing but dorm experiences and zero college degrees.

There are pros and cons.

But I am obviously not an expert.

I watched a coworker send her son to another state for college and he was homesick and she was optimistic and the week before winter finals that boy got the flu. His entire building got the flu. He called her from the floor of his room and she did what every sensible mom would do: she overnighted him a case of Gatorade, and begged him to pass his finals.

That Christmas break, he came home and refused to leave.

Meanwhile, I know a few Little Johnnys who have managed to go back after Christmas break, and I have some nuggets of wisdom from the moms who survived it:

  1. Believe they are adults. You raised them right and it’s all in there. When needed, your voice is in their head even if it’s screaming “Dumb*ss!” Which will happen many, many times in the first year.
  2. The campus life schedule (especially in a dorm) is not the same as the class schedule. It’s erratic and unscheduled. This means calling home is not a priority! We made a deal to not bother them if they simply called every Sunday to check in. And they did.
  3. College and living away is tough and there are calls home that make you want to rush in and take care of it . Having to give phone advice and help them through life from a distance is HARD and a whole new perspective. This is a reminder to empower and encourage. Follow up with a full glass of wine (coping measure).
  4. Join the parent group on Facebook. Most don’t allow students in so you get to share the feels and get insider info too! I missed this with my first student, but found it with my second. Ours has moderators that have links to info, Senior parents armed with experience in the trenches, invited guests like the Chief of Campus Police, support from parents who live locally and even an Uber driver file. (This is) your support while the student insists they “got this” lol!
  5. Learn what Venmo is and join – this is how roommates share expenses, lunch dates share the check and Mom sends money for a much needed frappacino after a hard test.
  6. I also completely support getting in on the college sports team fun!
  7. It’s that hard realization that they live somewhere else, and have a life outside of you and the small family you had together with all of your kids when they were little. That day in and day out you don’t know what they’re doing, how they’re doing, and that they’re doing it apart from you.
  8. I guess you wonder will they come back and will it ever be the same? But it will never be the same even when they do come home because they are adults now. They leave with their childhood and return with a form of adulthood. I guess that’s how it’s meant to be: it’s the end of an era.
  9. Wow, I didn’t expect the intensity of the sorrow of saying goodbye to him as we send him back across the country today. It almost seems worse than the first time we did this last fall. I’m so thankful that he’s happy and thriving in his college environment, I can’t imagine how hard this would be if he weren’t.
  10. I also thought that it would be easier to say goodbye to them once they left for the first time, but every time they come home for winter break or spring break or summer break it’s equally hard to say goodbye as they go back to school. I feet sad every time. 
  11. I think of how it must feel to be my parents standing on that step, watching their heart go away again and again. I can physically feel the pain of time passing in my body, and it makes me realize how valuable beyond riches it has been to spend these special days together in our cherished home.
  12. And lest these feels and formulas be a wee too much, here is the only idea I had prepared for this moment. A mom has to do what a mom has to do.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecc 3

The Forgetful Files is a safe, supportive space exploring different life challenges and big questions with courage, kindness, humor, and practicality. Please join the conversation by offering your unique perspective!