About Laura

With five kids, one with special needs, a handsome son-in-law, a perfect grandchild (seriously, aren't ALL grandchildren perfect??), a even handsomer husband, my career as a NICU RN....what else would I be doing but juggling?

teach them well

You know when you have those conversations with your child about respect for authority, for those who are called to Protect and Serve their community…and those who protect and serve this community 70 or more miles from their own homes because the pay scale and benefits are better? Every opportunity you have, you teach them that they are our helpers and they are here to protect and help us when we are in trouble and all we really need to remember is to always follow their instructions doing exactly what they tell us to do and we have nothing ever to worry about (as long as we have done nothing wrong) because they are here to protect us and serve us. They deserve our honor, our respect, our trust as they bravely serve us and protect us and we talk about this with our kids, all the time…

I know, Mom. What about my friends J and A and my friend R?

What about them?

Well, J and A are Mexican and R is Black and…well, on the news…

:::sigh:::

On the news…

So…

What then do you say?

I mean, you remind your son not all Cops and not all Brown people and not all Black people…

And you see your White Privilege right there  glaring at you because you are not having the same conversation with your teenaged son as J’s mom, or A’s mom or R’s mom is having right now.

Of course you are not.

But right now what we really need to worry about are professional athletes expressing their First Amendment Rights as American citizens in a way that in our humble opinion is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Teach them.

Teach them well.

They will teach you too.

I’m not going to answer any questions today and it’s no offense to you guys. I think the state of things in the world today is very interesting. I think you have players that are trying to take a stand and trying to be aware of social issue and try to make a stand an increase people’s awareness and put a spotlight on it and they’re being ignored. Whether they’re taking a knee or whether they’re locking arms, they’re trying to bring people together and unite them for a cause. I think the last couple days a couple more guys have gotten shot and killed in the middle of the street. More videos have come out of guys getting killed, and I think people are still missing the point. The reason these guys are kneeling, the reason we’re locking arms is to bring people together to make people aware that this is not right. It’s not right for people to get killed in the street.

I do a lot of community service. I go out there and try to help kids and try to encourage them to be better and to aspire to more. And when you tell a kid, “When you’re dealing with police, just put your hands up and comply with everything,” and there’s still a chance of them getting shot and no repercussions for anyone, that’s an unfortunate time to be living. It’s an unfortunate place to be in. There’s not a lot you can tell a kid. There’s not a lot you can try to inspire… a person when you say, “We need black fathers to be in the community to stay their for your kids,” but they’re getting killed in the street for nothing, for putting their hands on their cars. And I think that’s the unfortunate part, that’s the unfortunate place that we’re living in. And something needs to be done. And so when a guy takes a knee, you can ignore it. You can say he’s not being patriotic, he’s not honoring the flag. I’m doing none of those things. I’m saying, straight up, this is wrong and we need to do something. So thank you guys, have a blessed day.

~ Richard Sherman, cornerback, Seattle Seahawks

and just when we imagine we know everything

As my darling 4th daughter, Jodie, turned 20 this year, I was fairly confident that we have this parenting teenagers down. After all, ask any of our family, friends, acquaintances, people we pass shopping at Target and they will GO OUT OF THERE WAY TO TELL YOU HOW PAINFULLY DIFFICULT IT IS TO RAISE TEENAGE GIRLS!

No, really.

‘They have. Literally any and every chance that came along.

And they have been right…well, sometimes.

My darling husband and I have four amazing daughters, who as teenagers challenged us in ways that made us certain that our mothers’ curses upon us were very real…and in ways that we could have never, ever imagined. Raising teenagers in the brave new world of social media? Did we really see that coming?

But we survived.

We did not die.

None of us.

And now, with four young adult women making their way in this world in their own way, we have imagined that we might actually know what we are doing raising teenagers because pseudo-experts told us girls are hard and boys are easy.

Heh!

All y’all know nothing!

Nothing!

Believe me.

But one thing, as parents of teenagers, remains true still. We are really, really good at embarrassing our adolescent children.

 

Taking your teenaged son to a Styx Tribute Band concert might seem to be a perfect way to provoke the best of eye rolls and more and because of all the eye rolls, heavy sighs and never mind, Mom. 

This should be easy. One would think so, but no. Although joking about wearing an old Styx concert tee might be too meta did result in a half eye roll coupled with a really, Mom.

You’re going to write about this, aren’t you, Mom?

Well, maybe.

Fine. Make sure they know I had fun, because I did.

Of course.

:::he rolls his eyes:::

He did have fun hanging out with Mom, Dad and all those old people.

Yeah, he is also suddenly so much taller!!!

He’s rolling his eyes again right now.

we the people

A recent conversation with one of my children challenged me and inspired me.

I deleted Facebook from my phone.

So many reasons why but mostly because of all the noise…Election, Black Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, Trump, Hillary, building walls, Allepo, Kaepernick, the National Anthem, the Bill of Rights…and on and on and on…and a desire to be present here and now. Besides, only old people are really on Facebook everyday…making all kinds of noise.

The conversation provoked me and inspired me and yet here I am, not quite ready to delete Facebook from my phone because I just might be one of those old people on Facebook everyday.

It’s true, y’all…the millennials and younger just are not on Facebook…even if you are friends with your kids on Facebook. There are so many other choices out there in social media world where their parents don’t hang out…and, like vinyl, actual face to face interactions and conversations is the new thing…apparently.

At least that is what she tells me.

I can’t delete Facebook from my phone just yet; but I am close. Like my child, I just can’t stomach so much of it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and my friends and I love that we can be social together there. Except lately many are not. I mean, how social are we posting our political and social point of view as if it is THE ONLY one anyone should have when it coms to this election season or which lives really matter or the start of a sporting event or which Amendment of our Bill of Rights is the most important Amendment of all and if family and friends on Facebook don’t agree we must BLAST them and anyone else on Facebook because that surely will compell them all to agree with the only RIGHT opinion…yours.

The shade our Founding Fathers are throwing our way right now is strong.

A friend of mine recently became a US citizen which is super cool. She prepared and studied hard for a test which I seriously doubt quite a few of my Facebook family and friends born in the USA could pass…dare I suggest the ones especially who are the most vocal in their political leanings and how one must position themselves when the National Anthem is playing at a football game…who also will post how hard they are trying to get out of jury duty?

The way I see it, standing, sitting, kneeling at the start of a football game is not a measure of who is the most American of all; but it is something we all, as Americans can enjoy and choose (for now) thanks to that First Amendment in our Bill of Rights.

That same darling clown of mine who deleted Facebook in order to be more present does not stand when the anthem is played but she does vote and does report for jury duty without complaint. I might not wholly agree with her reasoning, but I am super proud that she willingly accepts her rights AND her responsibilities as a citizen of our United States...and I literally can not be prouder.

seeing red

When I see him like this, I see the same strong will that was with him when he was just a one pound micro preemie fighting to live.

I see focus.

I see strength.

I see a determined thoughtfulness that astonishes me as I see this amazing boy child of mine becoming a young man.

A young man who has just earned a red belt.

And a brand new dobok…not a moment too soon because he was outgrowing the old one.

the names

Fifteen years later, today I am going to leave this right here because literally anything else is just noise.

“The Names”

Yesterday, I lay awake in the palm of the night.

A soft rain stole in, unhelped by any breeze,

And when I saw the silver glaze on the windows,

I started with A, with Ackerman, as it happened,

Then Baxter and Calabro,

Davis and Eberling, names falling into place

As droplets fell through the dark.

Names printed on the ceiling of the night.

Names slipping around a watery bend.

Twenty-six willows on the banks of a stream.

In the morning, I walked out barefoot

Among thousands of flowers

Heavy with dew like the eyes of tears,

And each had a name —

Fiori inscribed on a yellow petal

Then Gonzalez and Han, Ishikawa and Jenkins.

Names written in the air

And stitched into the cloth of the day.

A name under a photograph taped to a mailbox.

Monogram on a torn shirt,

I see you spelled out on storefront windows

And on the bright unfurled awnings of this city.

I say the syllables as I turn a corner —

Kelly and Lee,

Medina, Nardella, and O’Connor.

When I peer into the woods,

I see a thick tangle where letters are hidden

As in a puzzle concocted for children.

Parker and Quigley in the twigs of an ash,

Rizzo, Schubert, Torres, and Upton,

Secrets in the boughs of an ancient maple.

Names written in the pale sky.

Names rising in the updraft amid buildings.

Names silent in stone

Or cried out behind a door.

Names blown over the earth and out to sea.

In the evening — weakening light, the last swallows.

A boy on a lake lifts his oars.

A woman by a window puts a match to a candle,

And the names are outlined on the rose clouds —

Vanacore and Wallace,

(let X stand, if it can, for the ones unfound)

Then Young and Ziminsky, the final jolt of Z.

Names etched on the head of a pin.

One name spanning a bridge, another undergoing a tunnel.

A blue name needled into the skin.

Names of citizens, workers, mothers and fathers,

The bright-eyed daughter, the quick son.

Alphabet of names in a green field.

Names in the small tracks of birds.

Names lifted from a hat

Or balanced on the tip of the tongue.

Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory.

So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart.