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letting go when your kids leave for college

Alex and Sara on kitchen counter

Our nest has been empty for half a dozen years — yes, that picture, above, was taken a long time ago — but every time September approaches, I get nostalgic about back to school time. I wish I was still making trips to the store with my kids for notebooks and pens and backpacks, and sharing their anticipation about their new teachers and which of their friends would be in their classes.

Those Septembers come and go shockingly fast, though, and suddenly, instead of dropping your little boy off at preschool, you’re leaving a young man who’s taller than you in a strange room three thousand miles away. Instead of kissing your little girl goodbye for the day, you’re kissing her goodbye for who knows how long.

I think there are few moments in a parent’s life as emotional as sending a child off to college.

It’s such a turning point — for both of you. And it is so painful to let go.

Here a few tips for making the transition a little easier: [Read more…]

welcome home, alex! the electronics have been waiting for you :)

Alex and me laughing

I hope he’s still laughing after he sees the list we have for him …

I am so excited that my son is coming home for Thanksgiving tonight! (I wish my daughter was coming home, too, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards this year.) He’ll be here for a week and a half, and I can’t wait to spend time with him.

I’m looking forward to staying up late with him, talking and binge-watching TV, going to the movies together and having lunches at In-N-Out since we’re now the only two meat eaters in the family.

Last time he was here, it was only for a short weekend visit and he had a lot to do so we didn’t bother him with, um, the electronics. We might have snuck in a quick little, “Hey, could you just take a look at this for a minute?” because he is a wiz with these things but we literally had to bite our tongues not to ask him the million questions we have.

This time, though, he’s home for a nice long time.

Heh heh heh. [Read more…]

my proudest parenting moment

shih tzu

This is a Shih Tzu. Can you see where this story’s going?

I’m off to visit my daughter in Portland today, and can’t wrap my head around the fact that she’s done with college and is now out on her own, ready to take on the world.

As I was packing for my trip, I started thinking about her as a little girl and was getting all teary about how fast time has gone, how can she be 22 years old already, blah blah blah.

Then I remembered the scene which turned out to be what I consider my greatest parenting moment. And I stopped crying and actually stood a little taller.

This story is worth sharing 1) as a public service announcement and 2) in case she’s telling a different version to some therapist somewhere. [Read more…]

my baby just graduated college. what do i do now?


I never thought of myself as someone who defined herself by her children. Whose life was so closely intertwined with theirs that I would feel lost once they left home.

But apparently I am. [Read more…]

when winning is a crime

Blogger Idol Week 6: Our assignment this week was to write about a hot topic in the news.

Babe Ruth

My son emulating the Babe at Cooperstown.

I’ve spent many emotional hours in baseball dugouts. I’ve supported players through dry spells, celebrated underdog victories and been moved to tears by the genuine camaraderie between teammates.

I’ve heard players express deep yearnings to attain the same level of success their idols have and I’ve also heard them wonder out loud whether to use performance-enhancing drugs to get there – not because they would give them an advantage but because not taking them would put them at a disadvantage. And they couldn’t afford to be in that position because they desperately wanted to be scouted to play ball – in college.

What the hell are we teaching our kids? [Read more…]

blogger idol: i really need your votes this week!


This is how hot my topic for Blogger Idol is this week.

It’s Week 6 of Blogger Idol, and our assignment this week was to write about a hot topic.

As you know, I’m pretty opinionated (ha ha, that’s an understatement!) but I ended up writing about something you might not have expected from me.

The judges’ scores are so close this week, it’s all going to come down to your votes. You’ve been so great about keeping me in the game and I hope you’ll continue!

Please click here, scroll down to the blue column that lists the blog names, and vote for Midlife at the Oasis. Make sure to wait for the pop-up confirmation that says “Thank you for voting.”

And, if you have friends/family members/co-workers/strangers you meet on the street who have any kind of electronic device, please ask them to vote for me, too! Voting closes at midnight Central time on Thursday.

Every single vote counts!

my epic parenting fail

Self-esteem in girls

My daughter went back to school today to start her senior year of college.

Before we dropped her off at the airport, though, she asked me a question that still haunts me: “Did you ever decide what your most beautiful body part is?”

I know I have to give you some history to put this into context but I’m ashamed to say that my answer, much to her apparent dismay, was a mumbling, stumbling, look-everywhere-except-in-her-eyes, “Uh, no,” followed by an awkward, giggly, high-pitched, trying-to-be-light-and-jokey, “Still thinking.” [Read more…]

An Older Mama (Uh, Me) Talks to One of the Lil’ Mamas About Raising Kids Then and Now

I was so lucky to meet so many great people on our trip to Australia with Oprah (yes, I love to casually fling those words around!) and it’s inspiring to follow what they’ve been doing since then.

You may remember Cecelia Behar-Bush (left), who wrote a powerful guest post for us, from The Oprah Show — she’s the woman who announced her pregnancy to her husband at our big bash in Sydney, so it’s fitting that she and Lauren Price recently joined Lil’ Mamas, the brainchild of their friend, actress Alisan Porter Autenrieth. The three partners refer to it as “not your mama’s mama blog,” and it’s so honest and funny and real, I wish it had been around when I had my first baby — 23 years ago!

Cecelia thought it would be fun for me, as an eldermom, to pass along my words of wisdom to the new moms who make up her audience. I assured her that, although I am definitely approaching the elderly stage, I am not particularly wise and that she should adjust my advice as she sees fit since I did feed my eight-month-old daughter french fries and unhesitatingly place my newborn son on the floor in front of our beloved chow chow for her approval. (Of the two, I only regret the french fries — and even that, not so much.)

So, I’m answering the questions instead of asking them. Thanks, Lil’ Mamas, from … a Big Mama??? Oy. [Read more…]

the mother of all storms

The biggest storm in history is hitting the East Coast, my children are in the middle of it and I’m 3000 miles away from them. This bothers me way more than it bothers them.

Hurricane Sandy

[Read more…]

"Bully" — The Controversy and the Bottom Line

Bully by Lee HirschThe powerful new documentary, Bully, by award-winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch, continues to be surrounded by controversy. First, the profanity spewed by some of the bullies in the film caused the MPAA to give it an R rating, taking away its accessibility to the kids who really need to see it (a decision which has since been overturned and the rating changed to a more accurate PG-13). Most recently, the movie has been accused of oversimplifying and distorting the problem. [Read more…]