Proud Moms Tweet

When my older son graduated college last spring, he had a job offer in his pocket. I followed that company on Twitter and then immediately forgot that I had. They didn’t tweet very much, and the tweets that did come through were from their British division (judging by their spelling of “personalisation,” so I didn’t expect to see any references to my kid and his work.

I knew that, this week, he’d be in Philly for work, attending a big event. And there were suddenly lots of tweets from a usually-quiet company account. Some of the tweets had pictures.

Like this one.

original tweet

I retweeted it, adding a “there’s my kid!” remark. It’s cool to see him all grown up and hard at work.

The next day, my son called to tell me that one of his coworkers had commented, “Hey, somebody’s MOM retweeted my tweet about the event yesterday.”

My son said that this quickly morphed into a discussion about whose moms even know how to tweet, and that he’d said that I work for a blog and know more about social media than he does.

Which was quickly followed by, “Is this YOUR mom?” as a phone showing my retweet was handed over.

Well, yes, it was me.

So he called to ask how I’d found out about the event hashtag. (No such luck. I only saw the photo because his company was retweeting everything with that hashtag.)

At least I didn’t tweet this version for his coworkers to see.


He didn’t say he wanted me to unfollow, though, asking instead if there had been any other photos of him in the Twitter stream.

It’s neat to listen to him talk about his work. I’ve talked to him about mine, because he can appreciate what it is to build a page with jump links in HTML. (I was ridiculously proud when I learned how to do that.)

I’ll probably try harder to refrain from retweeting any more photos from his company. No promises, though.

Photo source:
Bottom photo modified by the author.

Oh Happy Day!

Happy weekend, really.

This weekend Big Brother graduated from LaSalle University.

Stephen graduation 1Magna cum laude and all.

He’s the one in the multicolored stole, which signifies the Justice Through Service Award. As a Service Scholar at LaSalle, he served in soup kitchens, tutored neighborhood children, participated in AIDS outreach, joined a group of 100 college students from around the country in a huge Habitat for Humanity effort, and more–10 hours per week for his whole four years.

DSC_0034In addition, he played bass, guitar, and mandolin in the Campus Ministry band every weekend for Mass.

He completed a double major in IT and Computer Science in 4 years and never once called home to tell us he needed money.

baccalaureate Mass

Congratulations, Big Brother! Words cannot express how proud I am of all your accomplishments.

They Held Down the Fort

I’ve got to hand it to my kids. Because TheDad is absolutely swamped at work (and has been for about a month now, with a bunch of unrelenting project deadlines) they were largely left on their own this week while I was at the writing conference.

There were a few “distress calls” in the form of text messages from the Big Kids, but the issues were minor ones.

I’m going to reproduce some text messages/exchanges exactly as they happened–grammar and spelling issues notwithstanding.

Big Brother:  “How do i use dishwasher” That was the simplest one to handle.

Middle Sister: IMG_0728

I’m pretty proud of myself for not losing my mind over that. To be fair, I will admit here and now that one time I poured the bleach in that “middle thing” that is supposed to be for fabric softener.

Which reminds me. I need to go run the washing machine with vinegar in that “middle thing” right now to rinse out the rest of the soap.

Big Brother cooked dinner for two nights. That’s not really newsworthy in itself, since he cooks at college all the time. But he outdid himself this time–he served edamame one night as a side, and apparently Little Brother “destroyed” it.

calphalon panOn Thursday we had quite the detailed textversation about whether (and at what temperature) he could put my Very Favorite Skillet into the oven. I told him exactly what kind of pan it was–it’s my one piece of *really good* cookware and I’m obsessively kind of protective of it–and sent him off on a Google search to find out. (Apparently, it’s good up to 500°.)

Later, I got a text during dinner to let me know that dinner had been a success:IMG_0729

That was quite entertaining for everyone in my table.

Middle Sister announced, upon my arrival, that she will make a good housewife.

There were no dirty dishes in the sink and the clean ones were put away.

I do need to teach my kids how to properly load a dishwasher, as I’m obsessive particular about that (and I have mad Tetris skillz that translate well to dishwasher-loading).

And all 3 of our cordless phones had gone AWOL. I’ve been home for over 4 hours but I’ve only found two so far.

But all in all, they did a great job. They ate well, kept the place just about as neat as it is when they’ve got adult nagging supervision, got Little Brother to and from our town’s recreation day camp and one soccer practice, and dealt with him when he wasn’t at camp or soccer. And Middle Sister’s doing a show at the same time.

I’m gratified to know that I’m not obsolete yet (as evidenced by the small difficulties they encountered) but that they’ve proven themselves to be quite independent when they need to be.


It’s all politics, all the time around here tonight. TheDad lives for this stuff and is even ignoring an upcoming nor’easter in favor of election returns. Little Brother’s school had a mock election today among grades 4 and up, so he’s interested in watching the elections as well (though I suspect he wants to stay up late so he can play Minecraft with the news in the background.

And Middle Sister asked what channel would have the elections (pretty much everything but ESPN, kid) because she’s taking US History 2 this year and her teacher expects the class to pay attention to this. Along with a real-life civics lesson, she’s also getting a geography challenge; her teacher gave the kids unmarked outline maps and wants them to label the states according to the results.

He’ll get no argument from me, but my older two kids missed the geography boat in their early educations. I insisted that Big Brother sign up for a geography class in high school and he later conceded that he’d learned a lot of important information.

When Middle Sister complained that she didn’t know which states were which, I informed her that she’d be selecting Geography as her first-choice elective next year, and if she didn’t, I wouldn’t sign her course-selection card. There was loud protesting, but I’m not giving in, even though Grandma stuck up for Middle Sister and said that it’s not important to know where the states are. (Thanks for that.)

Big Brother said he’d pass on watching election returns at college, because he figured that watching these in a public place could get tense. Besides, he’s got stage crew.

And I’ve got a couple of interesting books and a bowl of Halloween candy to occupy my attention. I voted, and there’s nothing I can do about this now.

Twenty Years Ago Today

…my older son was born.  As with all new parents, there was a learning curve.  We had to figure out that he wouldn’t break when we dressed him, that the 5-second rule applies, that you need to wait that extra second after a toddler falls to see if he’s really hurt or if he’ll just pick himself up and keep going, that not every sore throat is strep, and that if you intend to keep your sanity, you’re going to have to hide The Little Engine That Could.

image credit
We learned that we didn’t doom his academic career by waiting until he was 4 to send him to pre-K (3 afternoons a week), that the policy of “if you don’t like the sport you don’t have to sign up again after this season is over” is a good one, that Boy Scouting is well worth the time and effort, and that despite his nearly-nocturnal lifestyle, he can still manage to make the Dean’s List.
We’ve been letting him go a little at a time ever since his first day of kindergarten when he was the kid tossing “gotta go!” over his shoulder as he ran to line up at the door.  But he’ll always be a part of us.
Happy 20th birthday, Big Brother!

Spot On

As always, the Zits comic nails life with a teenage boy.

He returned home from college 3 weeks ago. Last night he asked me if I’d seen a certain item of clothing. I hadn’t. He said he knew he’d brought it home from school…I suggested it might be in his footlocker.

He replied, “Didn’t you empty that out?”


Still-unpacked bags and crates of class notes litter his room and beyond. I imagine it’ll stay that way until August 19 if I let it (he returns to school on the 20th.)

Time to crack down. He’s a good kid–a real good kid. But he’s definitely got a clutter problem.

The Countdown is Over

Tomorrow Big Brother is off to school.

The weather promises rain–and it’s been raining all day. Go figure, the first rain we’ve really gotten this summer. I won’t be able to strap a footlocker to the top of the van in the rain. So it looks like we’ll be taking 2 cars to move him in to the dorm, since his electric bass and lots of other things take up a lot of room.

The favorite dinner has been cooked and eaten, and right now about 15 teenagers are noisily hanging around my living room, so nobody’s going to get much sleep tonight.

People are telling me to have lots of tissues handy. That’s not how I roll. I’ll just keep busy. Busy, busy. Then I won’t have to think about anything or worry. Busy, busy.

It’s going to be very different around here. Last time I bought chicken for the freezer, I packed it in meals for 4 instead of meals for 5. That’s going to be our reality. Not sure I’m ready for that reality, but it’s here.

Mom Gets Sentimental

It’s Graduation Day, which ranks right up there behind flu season and the DVD release of a tearjerker chick flick in total tissue sales.

This is the first of two graduations in our family in a span of eight days, so the tissues will be in short supply indeed.

Tonight Big Brother will graduate high school and will be launched into the big, exciting, and even a little scary world of college and beyond. I couldn’t be more thrilled.

He’ll be attending LaSalle University in the fall, which I believe is a wonderful choice for him. When we went to the school’s open house, I was impressed by the level of personal attention the students and prospective students received. I don’t want my kid falling through the cracks, and I loved the environment the university created. The university’s neighborhood, not so much…I’ll worry about that part of it, but moms need something to worry about.

Big Brother has really grown a lot during his school career. During his primary-school years, he was a very cautious kid. He wasn’t one to take risks or go on “scary” amusement-park rides. And when presented with a choice of doing two fun things that happened to be mutually exclusive due to schedule constraints, he’d agonize over which thing to pick.

This same kid was voted “Most Likely to Become a Pirate” by the senior class. On the class trips, he rode every roller coaster at least once. There’s a full-page picture of him in the yearbook dangling from a rock-climbing wall, and he’s learned that he loves whitewater rafting and canoeing.  He took flying lessons for a while, earned his Eagle Scout rank, and in the span of one short year learned to play the guitar well enough to secure a music ministry scholarship for college.  Now he’s working on the mandolin, bass, and banjo, and is figuring out how to build his own didgeridoo.  (I don’t know if that one’s going to college with him, though!)

Over the years, Big Brother has grown in many ways.  His lawn-mowing skills have progressed from decapitating a forgotten Fisher-Price person to completely shredding the cap to our sewer-drain cleanout pipe, as well as at least one tennis ball.   His artistic achievements include stamping, in 6-foot letters in the snow, “PANTS ON THE GROUND” in front of his school (yes, that made the yearbook too).   He has built couch-cushion “bunkers,” snow forts, cardboard-box forts for Little Brother and for his own friends when they participated in the 30-Hour Famine, Homecoming floats, stage sets, and Habitat houses in Philadelphia and post-Katrina Mississippi.   He has made toast over the flame of an Advent candle and helped his Boy Scout troop win the Iron Camp Chef competition.

I’m very proud of Big Brother and looking forward to seeing what the next few years will hold for him.  I’m going to miss him when he is off at school, but I’m very excited for him at the same time.  (And think of all the money I’ll save when I don’t have to constantly stock up on pretzels and Dr. Pepper!)  Congratulations to him and to the whole class of 2010!


It’s Prom night for Big Brother.

Due to a multiple-schedule conflict, I am unable to attend “Promenade,” the two-hour-plus pre-prom event at his school. I was not invited to stop at the house where the bus that his group of friends rented would be picking them all up.

So I have no pictures. I wasn’t even here to see him leave.

I hope he remembered the flowers–the ones I had to order yesterday because he hadn’t remembered the flowers.

I was hoping to be able to show up at his school around the time that the prom bus did, so I could at least see him and his friends as they headed in the door.

For that, I have to depend on a text message from my son regarding the timing of said arrival. I haven’t gotten that text yet. And I have to go get Little Brother at his friend’s house in 15 minutes, get him and Middle Sister fed, and then take Little Brother to the cemetery where the Cub Scouts will be placing flags to honor veterans, in advance of Memorial Day.

Big Brother doesn’t seem to care that I’ll be missing this. He seems to prefer it. And I can understand that, because I’m like him, playing many things close to the vest–especially big rites of passage.

However, now that I’m on the other side of the fence, I know just how hurt my parents were when I excluded them, in whatever way, from my own rites of passage.

Growing up is tough. Even when you’re 44.

The Real Thing

Grabbing the milk when we were ready to sit down to dinner, I noticed some writing on the red cap. After I poured my glass of milk I flipped over the cap to read it.


“Drat, I bought organic milk,” I complained, turning the milk bottle around to see if the label matched the cap. (It did.)

“So what’s wrong with that?” Big Brother inquired.

“I paid twice as much for the same gallon of milk,” I explained.

He responded, “At least you know it came from real cows.”