Category Archives: Kids

From Manager to #1 Fan


Here’s something you probably never imagined when your kids were little: There will come a time when you, the parent, are no longer the most important person in your child’s life. Over the years, so slowly you may not even notice, you will transition to a position of diminishing influence, and will lose the power to make any of life’s calamities all better for your growing child. For years, you were the one to take out the splinter or bandage the skinned knee, back when your offer to kiss it and make it better was gratefully accepted between gulping sobs. The kissing and making it better part works its magic for years, until someone’s heart gets broken or someone fails their driver’s test. Little by little, kids begin to seek support systems elsewhere.

Now that my three children are grownups and parents themselves, I’ve observed yet another subtle shift in our relationship. My time as head consultant, chief strategist, giver of pep talks, and go-to source of advice ended pretty much after they graduated from college (or was it high school?). Where once I felt like the manager of the team, I now sit back and observe the individual farm clubs that comprise my childrens’ families today. But at least I have a good seat in the stands, where I can comfortably watch the action and cheer for the players while enjoying a well-deserved cold one.

Sometimes, though, I look back fondly to the old days, my glory days as a mom, when my children came to me for approval and affection. Now I find myself on the other side of the equation—eager to hear their approval of what I’m doing, and hoping that they’re even mildly interested in knowing what that might be these days.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how my parents must have felt when I was wrapped up in my life and my kids, and didn’t give much consideration to what was going on with them. When we spoke on the phone, they’d want the full report on what the kids were doing, what my husband and I were doing, where we’d been, what books we were reading, what new places we visited. Did I show much interest in what they were doing, where they’d been, how they felt? Sure, I would listen as they rattled off details about their latest trips or their most recent injuries or illnesses. I can’t say that I paid very close attention or asked them many follow-up questions. I’d call them when I had something good to report, or when I felt guilty for not having called in a while. I guess I now know how they might have felt. It’s not the best feeling.

Back in those days, we had answering machines that would catch calls when we weren’t home. Usually, the message from my father was something like, “I’d love to hear the sound of your voice.” It’s something I’ve started saying—or emailing, messaging, or texting—to my kids lately. They have so many more ways to hear that plaintive message from me now. I can even use a sad face emoji to underscore the way I feel when I really do need to hear the sound of their voices. I get it, Dad.

People talk about the transition from manager to consultant where our young adult children are concerned. But after that stage, when they really don’t need the services of the same consultant who used to dry their tears and make them blow their noses—what comes next? I think we’re all trying to figure it out.

They still need a mom though, no matter what. That’s a job title you can never outgrow.


Remembering my dad today, on what would have been his 97th birthday. Miss the sound of his voice…



Aunt Augusta’s Chair

 An excerpt from my book, in which a special chair follows our family through many transitions. This is from one of the “artifact” chapters that are woven into the story of the fire’s aftermath. There is only one black and white photo in the book, but there are so many more… I first saw thisContinue Reading

Kids and Books: #World Book Day

Just kids reading (or being read to)  

Double Diptych

To paraphrase Pogo, Throwback Thursday come on a Tuesday this week. I couldn’t resist posting this pair of photos.     Part One: The Cookie Boys First the father:                                Myles posing in front of a giant gingerbread person. He/she actually looks a little menacing. . . And then the son:                                                    Hello. My name isContinue Reading

and this is the sun’s birthday

In honor of my son’s birthday today, I’m posting a re-run. I used to tell him this story, or parts of it, every year on his birthday. Now that he’s a daddy, maybe he’ll carry on the tradition when his little boy turns three next month… Halloween, 1980. Not too much longer…      Continue Reading

Trick or Treat

It’s almost Halloween, so I’m raising this one from the old, dead, Zero to Sixty in One Year blog.   Whose arm is that? I have no idea This photo was taken at an Intensive Care Nursery reunion picnic at UCSF.  My daughter spent several months in the ICN as an infant. The reunion usedContinue Reading

Back to School on Throwback Thursday

Once again, wishing all the little school girls and boys a good morning! In honor of the first week of school in my neighborhood, three kindergarten pictures and a kosher version of  “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl”  by Smokey Hogg. My class picture from kindergarten Caitlin’s first day of school Madeleine in pigtails, like her grandmaContinue Reading

Dancing with the Sons

  I used to do it every chance I got. These days, it’s easier to scoop up the grandsons for a little dance around the house. After viewing my Listen to Your Mother reading yesterday, I kinda wanted to see this post again. So, sharing an oldie today. Some special memories of dancing with theContinue Reading

When a kiss could make it better

As high school graduation nears, I’ve seen a number of “what I won’t miss” and “what I will miss” posts, reflections on the looming empty nest and what life will feel like without the familiar sounds, smells, and crap underfoot that are associated with teenagers. Some real heartache is in those words–along with the anticipationContinue ReadingContinue Reading

It’s back! The Rejection Collection, Part V: A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do

This was my 450-word entry for the Erma Bombeck essay contest. I might have submitted something that didn’t mention the “D” word. Oh well. . .   Looking back on it now, I should’ve done things very differently. But I was pregnant with my third child, I had an ailing cat, and I couldn’t getContinue Reading