Category Archives: Parents

Open Letter to My College Bound Son

Where do I begin? I have loved you your whole life and will continue to do so til my last breath. You have been so fun to have in our household. Your quick witted sense of humor, even dumb humor at times, always made me giggle. As an infant into adulthood, your easy going personality along with your permanent smile made parenting you so easy.

As you prepare for college there is so much advice I need to dole out to you. Murphy’s Law is for you to rebuff my advice as annoying or try to blow me off so I feel the best approach is through a letter. As I did with your sister, I will put this in an envelope and pack it up with your belongings as you move into your college dorm. When you long for a piece of home, or need that comfort of a mom’s love, you can read this letter. Know my heart is always with you.

Well, I must admit on your last day of school, I couldn’t stop crying. I wasn’t quite sure what I was crying about but it wouldn’t stop. Then it hit me. I’m crying because for the first time, I will not be physically by your side to problem solve with you or jump to your rescue. Letting go of you is way harder than I anticipated.

There a thousand things I love about you. I love the way you take life a day at a time and you never really sweat things. I love your fierce loyalty, honesty and humbleness. People gravitate toward you for a reason. You are warm, welcoming, accepting, compassionate, and genuine.

When you wake up in your dorm room for the first time sans your family, there are things you should be reminded of to keep you grounded. You now share a room with someone. Keep it clean! Be considerate of your roommate by picking up after yourself. After long days of classes and nights out, no one should have to walk through a mind field of dirty clothes or garbage, including you. That’s your first order of business!

For the love of God, set your alarm. I won’t be there to gently wake you up every morning ensuring you get to class on time. Make sure your alarm is set ALWAYS. You are now paying for college. Make sure you get to your classes as it’s on your dime now. Don’t hit snooze and say, I’ll just miss today. Nope, the more you miss, the more you have the potential to fall behind. Even on the coldest of days where you don’t want to go outside, get to class. Even on days that you may be hungover, get to class. Even on days you have a cold, get to class. Your sole job in life right now is to get to class, study, get good grades and PASS!

The time has come. Laundry time! Yup, don’t wait til your down to your last pair of underwear or shorts. Figure out a schedule and do laundry weekly. Knowing you, you might even skip the underwear just not to do laundry but suck it up buttercup. Laundry needs to be done and you’re just the guy to do it. Here’s the second piece to this puzzle. FOLD YOUR CLOTHES! Since I know you won’t be ironing and looking good is a priority, wrinkled clothes won’t work for you. Fold your clothes and put them away, just not in a pile on your desk or in a corner of the room.

You successfully completed high school and somehow with doing minimal homework. That comes to a halt immediately. There is no more skimming by. Your smarts alone won’t get you through college. Homework needs to be done and papers need to be written. Being a minimalist will be a detriment to you in college. Work up to your fullest ability proving to your professors that you are up to the task of college work. If you have an exam, STUDY FOR IT! Skip the night out with friends or a frat and choose school work over partying each and every time. There will always be another party or another gathering. That exam, well, there will NOT be another time. That exam counts toward your GPA.

Priorities, priorities, priorities! You are now living on your own for the first time. No one there to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. You are solely responsible for every decision you make and will deal with the consequences of those decisions both good or bad. Make smart choices. Parties and socialization are definitely the fun part of college but never forget you are there to earn a college degree. Academics are the priority. The end.

You’ve been a relationship for all of your high school life. Perhaps this relationship with continue in college and maybe it won’t. Decide what is good for you and what feels right. That relationship shouldn’t feel burdensome at any time. Your gut will tell you if and when you need to end it. Know it will be a lot of work to continue a relationship with you both being in separate colleges. I don’t want you to ever feel like you are missing out on something because you are bogged down by a long distance relationship. Keep in mind you will be exposed to many new people and people with different experiences. Be open to them and don’t pigeon hole yourself in a corner because you have a girlfriend. I’m not saying to cheat on her. Don’t ever do that! But every once in a while, take a step back and decide if it’s what you want. At this point in your life, it IS all about you.

For arguments sake and just to cover this topic, let’s say you end up single at some point in college. Be the guy that opens the door for a girl. Be the guy that isn’t a douche. Treat each girl respectfully. Don’t ever make them question where they stand with you. Be clear. Be kind but direct. Girls are emotional by nature and last thing you want is to have a girl cry over you. Be a gentlemen at all times and ALWAYS do the right thing by a female. Remember…if a girl says no, it’s no. Walk that girl to her dorm. If you are out at a bar with the a girl, make sure she gets home safe. Be the guy that every girl wants to bring home to mom.

At this point in your life, you may be unclear as to what career path you want to pursue and that’s ok. This is the time to figure things out. Explore everything! Take classes that interest you. You are going to spend your entire life working, make sure you choose a career you love. If you choose one major and decide it doesn’t interest you, now is the time to make that change. Figure out who you are and what you want out of life. I will be here to support your decisions and bounce things off of. There are tons of resources at school. Tap into them. Speak to your advisors and professors. They are your best educational resource. These people and these programs at school are here to serve you. Don’t be shy, step up and ask.

I’m excited for you to be attending a big sports college. Go to games. Enjoy everything that is at your fingertips. Cheer on your teams and have school pride. If feels good to be part of something. You are an enormously talented athlete and excel in all you do. You ARE good enough to play college baseball at Cortland. Should you change your mind, go to “walk-ons” and try out for the team. You will meet guys just like you that love to play ball and are the best. They will push you to do better and there is a brotherhood with baseball players you can’t find anywhere else. They become family for life. Think about that. If you choose not to play, it’s ok but stay active. Have pick-up basketball or football games with friends. Play softball or wiffle ball. Join the club teams. You are an athlete. Continue to be one!

Call your mother! Your life will be busy with school work, parties and friends. It is easy to get caught up in college life but remember there’s one person waiting to hear all about. She’s waiting to celebrate your successes, offer advice or just listen as needed. ME!! I want to hear all about your life as I won’t be there to see things first hand any longer. Know that you can call or text me at any time. I will always be here for you. I will be at Cortland in the blink of an eye should you ever need me. I’m only a phone call away.

Lastly and most importantly, be a good person. Be kind to everyone around you, student’s, staff and strangers. Befriend someone that might seem like an outsider. You never know how your actions or words can impact a person. If you see injustice at any point, I want you to stand up and speak up. If you see someone being bullied or treated like crap, you be that person to stop it. Do not be a bystander in life. You are an amazing kid and have always taken on the role of a leader. Continue to do that. Be someone that others look up to. Use that attribute for good…always.

Know that although you are at college, this is always your home. You are always welcomed here at any time. That no matter where your travels or life journey may take you, we welcome you home with open arms always. We are your comfort zone. We are the ones who will ALWAYS have your back no matter the circumstance. We are the ones who love you unconditionally. We are fiercely loyal to you and love you so much.

I wish you nothing but success, health and happiness in the next chapter of your life. You have always made us proud and I know you will continue that. You are the light of my life.

Love,
Mom xox

The Woman Behind The Myth

Welcome! Welcome! Welcome!

Life is full of twists and turns and today, we shall celebrate a twist!

For my steady followers, you might find yourself yawning during this blog but I encourage you to stick around. While you have pieced together my personality through my writings, and I have shared snapshots of my life, we are going to delve into who the woman behind the keyboard really is. I invite you to take a peek.

It’s a bit long, but stay the course.

Besides being a successful blogger, mom, sister, friend, daughter, and business woman, I am also a school board trustee. Interesting, right? If the answer is no, kills me to say but you might want to scroll past this latest post and I promise for continued entertainment in my next blog. Pinky Promise!

To my delight and surprise, I have found that the teachers in my district are directing parents to my blog. Wowza! I’m a lucky girl. I have about 95,000 views on my blog currently and I’m hoping my hometown peeps will push me over that 100k threshold. Repeat after me, YES WE CAN!

Now that I have a new found, extended hometown audience, I just want to give a shout out. Welcome people.

Let me tell you my story, rather than the myth behind the legend. Let’s talk facts.

Like any good Italian mother, my mother drilled certain things into my head and they have carried over to adulthood. Don’t put shoes on the table because it’s bad luck. Don’t open an umbrella in the house. Always tell the truth because the truth is never wrong and be a leader, not a follower.

I grew up as an independent thinker. I never succumbed to peer-pressure and honestly, was never one to follow the crowd for the sake of popularity. I’ve always been a forward thinker, problem solver, peace maker and a strong advocate for the underdog.

I grew up in a broken home with older siblings and my mom. She worked her ass off! She worked full-time and attended college full-time at night all in effort to provide for her four children. Despite being exhausted, and having limited to no funds, she always took me to see local high school plays, ballets and operas. She instilled in me the love of the arts and I share this passion with her.

Before baby #4 came along (that’s me, baby #4) my mother volunteered as a 4H leader and was a Cub Scout leader.  She has and still does have a strong belief in volunteerism.

Growing up, I was always the student that didn’t have a parent in attendance at school events, due to my mother’s working obligations. Since we had no money, I could never participate in after school activities.

For sake of anonymity, I’ll use just first names. Kristin was a year older than me. She was a pretty blonde girl, very popular, perfect family and she strut the halls of our elementary school with her green Girl Scout sash. I wanted a Girl Scout sash too! I ran home to ask my mother if I could be a Girl Scout. Unfortunately, we just didn’t have the money and that couldn’t happen. While disappointed, I never held a thing against my mother. She was doing her best and I appreciated it all.

Everyone WAKE UP! Hopefully you’re not dozing off. There is a reason I’m giving you these examples. I have core beliefs and I contribute them to my upbringing. I’ll refer back to this a little later in my blog, good reason to stick around.

For the sake of time, boredom and a limited word count, let’s fast forward.

My first child was entering kindergarten at the very same school I went to. It was surreal! She would now be walking the same halls I did. Sidebar: I never attended kindergarten because it was part-time back in the day so I was enrolled in full-time daycare. While I did skip kindergarten and can’t attribute that to my uncontested smarts, I did skip 11th grade. (Silent applause lol) 

I knew I wanted to be an involved parent and be part of my daughter’s educational journey, as with all my children. I immediately volunteered for class mom, assisting as the teacher directed. I attended every PTA meeting and my thirst for knowledge and information was palatable. I asked a zillion questions but some just couldn’t be answered.

This is where I made a choice and my path veered toward leadership. I sought information and there was no one there to provide it upon inquiry. So I took it upon myself, to attend educational sessions sponsored by the PTA to learn the rules, guidelines, procedures, and bylaws. I became an encyclopedia. I wanted to share the wealth of information I acquired.

I soon chaired events, held various positions on the PTA executive committee and ultimately was propelled to President. I navigated my way through the schools with parental, teacher and administrative support. We were a team,  all with the same end goal in sight, educating the whole student and making a difference in a child’s life, including my own.

I was a Girl Scout leader for seven years during my daughter’s entire tenure at the elementary school.  I was also a Boy Scout leader though that didn’t last long due to my son’s lack of interest lol! I wanted to afford my children every opportunity that I didn’t have.

If you were to ask those that worked with me, I’m going to go out on a limb and tell you that they thought I was fair, knowledgeable, accessible, calm, understanding, compassionate, passionate and student driven.

I made many initiatives with support of the committee I served with that I am enormously proud of and some still continue today. Just a few examples are Red Ribbon Week, PTA teacher grants and after I chaired the auction committee, our PTA solely funded the new basketball courts, benches and all the murals you currently see in the school today.

After exhausting my goals on the PTA, the next natural progression was the School Board. Like PTA, I have been attending school board meetings since my daughter was 5. She is almost 21 now. I listened at these meetings and asked questions. It quickly became apparent at the get go that the big decision making for our children’s education happened at this level. I found it mind boggling that I was sometimes the only parent in attendance.

Are you still with me? Let’s talk school board. Why do I serve?

I am a lifelong advocate and volunteer. I believe serving on the school board is one of the greatest acts of volunteerism. I serve for betterment of our community and as an investment into our future, the children.  This district has educated me and all my children and I want to give back as it has given so much to my family.

I totally believe in lending a voice to those children who do not have one. For the children’s parents who are indigent, for those that have immigrant parents with language barriers, for those with special needs. I want those children’s voices to be heard as well as the general education child.

My childhood has prepared me for all of this. My heart is big, my compassion is boundless and my urgency for inclusion is pressing.

Ok ok ok ok…I’ve gone on and on. Let me catch my breath! Condense Wendy, condense!!! Wrap it up.

While staff or parents may become focused on a specific issue, it is important to recognize that issues come and go within any school district. What is a priority today for a parent or teacher may not be tomorrow.

Being a trustee is a multi-facetted job. It is a fine line as we are elected to represent our constituents but we are employers to the staff of a district. Every decision by a school board is made in the best interest of the student. Sometimes people lose sight of that and become distracted or focused on a single trustee when truth be told, we work and vote as a unit of seven. No one speaks individually for themselves but rather for the board as a whole. We are one voice.

Before I was elected on the school board there were times I got frustrated as a parent and couldn’t understand why an action wasn’t taken when the solution seemed obvious. My blinders came off the minute I walked into that board room on my first day. There are so many moving parts, and confidential information which weighs-in on any decision made by the unit.

We create policy, procedure and the vision for the district. We also have a responsibility to ALL voters; singles, parents, empty nesters, and seniors. We work hard to keep programs intact and our teachers employed all while keeping taxes increases to a minimum.

For those that stand in judgment and wag fingers or look for minutia to attack, ask yourselves, are your actions in the best interest of a student? Are your motives with the student in mind or are your motives clouded by your own agenda?

I’m a fact seeker, let’s throw out some facts about me:

  • I love children.
  • I advocate for children.
  • I believe in educating the whole child.
  • I believe in exposing our children to the arts and thus, fight to keep a very successful theater program in place.
  • I believe in fairness, transparency and truthfulness.
  • I believe in open-mindedness and thinking out of the box.
  • I believe in exposing corruption and untruths.
  • I believe in volunteerism and giving back with no hidden agenda.
  • Lastly, I believe everyone should be an independent thinker, making decisions based on fairness and track record.

What I’ve also been exposed to as a parent, PTA member and board member are that labels get thrown around quickly and quite often unfairly. As in life, not everyone will see eye to eye in the education world. Parents begin to walk on eggshells for fear of being labeled anti-teacher. What’s unfair about this quick call for condemnation is often times; these very parents are the ones whom volunteer in classrooms, volunteer at school events, buy teachers gifts at holiday time and end of the year. These are parents who entrust their children with the teacher day in and day out and rave of their child’s success and growth. These are parents who believe they are taught by outstanding educators and brag to anyone willing to lend an ear. These are parents who want the very best for their child. A disagreement doesn’t constitute an anti-teacher position. Why do I know so much? Sadly, some have attached that label to me.

Wow, Debbie Downer! Ok group hug. Bottom line is I love my children more than life itself. I love my school district which I have been in for 46 years. I love my teachers even though occasionally they don’t always have love for me and I love being your voice on this Board of Education! Each and every vote I cast is not of my individual perspective, it’s a vote I cast for YOU, my constituents, and the actions I believe you would support and want.

So hometown crew, listen up! Rally the troops and get out there on May 17, 2016 and vote for me. Show me the love!

Big thank you to anyone that has read this blog or any other to date! I’m proud of my writing. Teacher’s let me know how I’m doing on grammar, sentence structure etc.. I’m open to it lol! Know that not every blog is for every person but give it a chance, be that independent thinker and maybe, just, maybe you’ll even find that you like them! Peace out!

Why Do Some Baseball Parents Have To Be Assholes?

I love baseball. It is not only America’s favorite pass time but mine as well. I love everything about this sport. I’ve heard some (unreasonable) people say that baseball is boring. I don’t get it. It’s a game filled with anticipation. I wonder what will the pitcher throw, a ball or a strike. Will the batter swing? Will the defense react in time to catch the ball? Lastly, will the ump make a good call?

Much to my delight, my oldest boy plays baseball and, dare I say, he’s pretty decent. Baseball combined with one of the loves of my life translates into a pretty happy momma. Watching him play ball is my favorite thing in the world to do.

Naturally, attending his games has exposed me to all kinds of parents. Here’s the thing. Why do some baseball parents have to be assholes?

I’m a true believer in encouraging a kid or a team, positive reinforcement. It was only two games ago when I had to listen to an opponent parent scream “drop it” or “strike him out”. Of course, this made me want to gorge his eyeballs out. I thought everyone read the parent rulebook that says, lead by example and you’re kids are likely to follow in your footsteps. Clearly some folks missed that chapter.

To my delight, this parent was ejected from the game the very next inning for yelling at the ump for what he perceived was a “bad” call. The guy was a Mensa genius because a scout was there for his kid. While his kid made a few errors (all kids do..WAKE UP!), I’m sure the scout walked away with a sense of what comes with that kid to college. A troublesome parent. I imagine, it is every coach’s nightmare. Ball players are a dime a dozen. Dump the kid with the loudmouth parent, and go back to the litter.

Kids are never the problem neither in baseball nor in sports in general. It’s the lunatic parents that accompany them and they ruin it for their child. Mr. Douchebag’s kid actually hit an amazing grand slam the following game but I refused to give him the satisfaction of a compliment. The kid certainly deserved accolades for a beautiful shot to center field but the parent was a gloating jerk.

At a recent game, the opposing team’s catcher got ejected from the game. It was crass weather conditions and he was trying to delay the game which was duly noted by the officials. Low and behold, the catcher (probably standing 6’2”) then went after the umpires. Here’s the question. Where were his parents? I would have ripped my kid off the field then had him apologize to EVERYONE. Nope. The parent watched the events unfold from the sidelines and only after the fact, walked away with him. For God’s sake!

I try to make a point of congratulating a parent when their son does well. That’s pretty much come to a halt with some people. If I say “great job”, I don’t then need you to rattle off your son’s stats. ANNOYING! Just absorb the compliment and relish in it. Don’t become a bragging douchebag. Or if I say, “which one is your son?“, I don’t need to hear “starting opening day pitcher” or “he’s a starter”. Please just shut the fuck up and say my kid is on the mound or my kid is in center. Geez!

I’ve been on teams where the parents on the SAME team were talking shit about other teammates kids, in front of the other parents no less. Seriously, how can anyone think that is okay? That leads to a lot of hurt feelings. Idiots!

It’s baseball. It’s a game. Chill the fuck out! You don’t have to scream at plays. Remember, when you act like an asshole, you ruin the game for the people exposed to your bad behavior. If we allow ourselves to be realistic, chances are, your child won’t be playing pro-ball. Be happy your kid has playing time, sit back and enjoy.

Maybe I should comprise a book on parent baseball etiquette. It seems like common sense, but it’s apparent that some are lacking that sense. Be a gracious parent, thanking those paying your child a compliment. Just watch the game, cheering on your kid and his team. No one wants to hear your bullshit, least of all me!