Talking Seriously About Drugs, Drinking, Driving, and Solutions

Talking Seriously About Drugs, Drinking, Driving, and Solutions

Dear Kid,




The world is going through some ridiculous times, and it needs to end.

Our hearts go out to those impacted by the events in Times Square. And to those everywhere whose lives have been irrevocably effected by someone under the influence. DearKidLoveMom.comOrdinarily, I am not one for outrageous punishments, but people have GOT to stop doing things that harm other people. Like taking drugs and driving on the sidewalk in Times Square.

I don’t know what the solution is to the drug problem (and by “drug problem” I mean people ending up dead, badly injured, or committing crimes—which is a pretty generous definition if you ask me). Right now I’m so upset about the NYC incident that I’m ready to lock people up, throw away the key, and make them eat nothing but soggy lettuce for the rest of their lives. Right now I’m not open to the idea of second chances.

I saw a post from a mom on Facebook soon after the episode. She was pointing out (publicly) that children who live near (meaning within 125 miles) catastrophes should immediately report to their mothers that they are fine. And if for some reason they don’t report in, they should not be surprised/upset/mortified/indignant/confused when their mother calls them to be sure they are OK. It’s what we do. Because you never know what might have possessed a child to travel 125 miles for a particular bagel that day.

The point is, somewhere there is a mother who is not reassured that her kid is ok. There is a mother who can’t be consoled. There are parents and friends and children and spouses rushing to emergency rooms to be with the injured. Meanwhile, the driver has a history of drunk driving. And he was arrested just last week for threatening someone with knife.

We need fewer of these stories (not because they shouldn’t be reported but because they shouldn’t happen) and more stories like this one of a survivor baby otter.

I hope, I wish, I pray someone from your generation figures out how to fix things. Our generation hasn’t. Hopefully, yours is smarter.

Love, Mom

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Fire Island, the Lighthouse, and the Deer

Fire Island, the Lighthouse, and the Deer

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time, there was no such place as Fire Island. There were barrier islands, but no one had named them because only deer lived there and deer aren’t big on names or boundaries.

Fire Island Lighthouse at the Beach. DearKidLoveMom.comIn 1653, Isaac Stratford built a whaling station at one end of the island. He named it Whalehouse Point. The deer were not impressed with the name or the location’s activities.

Somewhere in the 17th century, William “Tangier” Smith was given title to the whole area under a Royal Patent. The deer continued to be unimpressed. One redwing blackbird looked up for a moment, but didn’t find much to comment about so went back to redwing blackbird-ing.

Jeremiah Smith built the first house on the as-yet-to-be-named Fire Island in 1795. For fun, Jeremiah lured boats to the shore and killed their crews. Deer opinion of humans dropped dramatically.

In 1826, the first lighthouse was built on F. I. it could only be seen from about 10 miles out to sea. A few of the deer began collecting miniature lighthouses.

Fun Fact: For many immigrants, the Fire Island lighthouse (not Miss Liberty) was their first sight in the New World.

By 1858, people had figured out that the lighthouse needed to be more visible, so they build the current one (which can be seen a respectable 22 miles out to sea). The deer were suitably impressed and added to their miniature figurine collections.

Somewhere along the way, people figured out that it was fun to go to the beach and Fire Island started to be built up. But only a little. 80% of Fire Island remains public park land and therefore undeveloped. The deer appreciate this and allow the crazy humans to enjoy the other 20%. At least most of the time.

You can drive to the tip of Fire Island and then walk about a mile to the lighthouse. If you want to go elsewhere on the 32 miles of island, grab a bike, walking shoes, or a cooperative deer, because only emergency vehicles are allowed (and even then it better be a dang good emergency).

If you go to Fire Island, leave the deer alone. If one comes up to you, don’t feed it. But be sure to inquire about its lighthouse collection.

Love, Mom

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10 Things Every College Graduate Needs to Know

10 Things Every College Graduate Needs to Know

Dear Kid,

I’ve been thinking about college graduates. And I’ve been thinking about Gifts for Graduates. This led to some very interesting internet surfing (with a side trip to videos on The Dodo) and reading several blogs about gifts (and a side trip to Mashable).

I was looking for The Definitive Gift for a College Graduate. I didn’t find it.

I found lots of cutsie gifts that no one actually wants. I found fantastic gifts every grad would love, but would cause my bank account to break out in giggles. I even found wildly expensive gifts that no one (emphasis on no one) would want.

Therefore, I leapt to the only possibly conclusion: I will give advice. It fits my wallet, it’s important, and every college kid needs it. Even if they aren’t sure they want it.

Here are 10 Things Every College Graduate Needs to Know.

Just because you finished college doesn’t mean your work is over. Please empty the dishwasher.

Just because you finished college doesn’t mean learning is over. Learning should never be over. And hopefully your real life tests won’t be too hard.

My house, my rules. Your house, your rules. And by “your house” I mean the place you pay for all on your own.

You’re allowed to change your mind. Just because you studied pre-law does not mean you are required to go to law school. Just because you go to law school does not mean you are required to be a practicing attorney. Just because you’re a practicing attorney does not mean you have to remain an attorney for the rest of your life. Unless you want to.

Don’t freak out if you don’t have a job. Take your time to find something that fits you. You’re going to be OK.

Have a two-year plan. It’s good to know where you’re going. But the world changes too quickly to plan too far beyond that.

Except when it comes to money. Start saving for retirement immediately if not sooner.

Speaking of money, pay attention to it. Live within your means and learn to save. I hope you will have very few rainy days, but you need to be prepared if a few dark clouds threaten.

When was the last time you picked up a book for fun? It’s probably been a while. (College is not known for loads of leisure time in which you can pick up something to read just because you want to.) Grab a book, and read.

Mom still knows best. Don’t forget to call every now and then.

Love, Mom

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Sometimes It’s Better To Be Unavailable

Sometimes It’s Better To Be Unavailable

Dear Kid,

There are times when we’re happy to be available. Want to go see the new Star Wars movie? I will clear the decks and we will go. There are times when we’re less happy about but we know it’s important and so we make ourselves available. And then there are times when it is better for all concerned if we find that we are conveniently unavailable.

It's perfect. I'll take it. DearKidLoveMom.comCar shopping is high on my list of things to be unavailable for. I don’t know enough to be useful. I don’t enjoy it enough to be entertained (or entertaining). The things that matter to me in a car are not the things that matter to your father in a car…and “discussions” about that will lead to…unpleasantness. And I’ll get bored quickly which will lead to…more unpleasantness.

Better for all that I confine car shopping to short excursions for my own vehicle and not pretend to be involved in any way, shape, or form with any other vehicles. Also, by abdicating any involvement whatsoever, I retain my right to raise an eyebrow and look superior should anything go wrong.

Have fun.

Love, Mom

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Guess Who’s Coming Home!

Dear Kid,

So this is cool.

calendar keep yourself healthyMy calendar popped up a reminder: The Kid comes home no later than today.

And by today, I mean TODAY!

That is pretty wonderful.

Of course, by the time you actually get her, it will be practically tomorrow, but that’s OK. You’ll still be here.

For a while at least.

OhMyGoodness! I need to figure out menus! Because I’m pretty sure you’re going to want something more than bananas and yogurt while you’re here.


Love, Mom

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The Impossible Has Happened | A New Approach to Weeds

Dear Kid,

NOTE: This is not an allegory, parallel, story, parable, metaphor, or any other version of thinly disguised political commentary. This is literal. When I say “weeds”, I truly mean the stuff that grows on the lawn where it doesn’t belong.

We are—as you well know—locked in battle against the weeds. While it would not be an exaggeration or untruth to say we’re not winning, it would sort of be defeatist, so I won’t bother saying it. Not saying it, however, makes it no less true.

Daddy and I have very different attitudes toward weeds. Mine is sort of a DIE SUCKER! mentality. I’m ok with losing a few blades of grass if it means the weeds are gone. I’m ok with flame throwers or other radical treatments. DearKidLoveMom.comDaddy and I have very different attitudes toward weeds. Mine is sort of a DIE SUCKER! mentality. I’m ok with losing a few blades of grass if it means the weeds are gone. I’m ok with flame throwers or other radical treatments. Daddy has more of gentle philosophy. He believes that weeds should be tenderly dug up and disposed of. Unfortunately he leaves bits of the root so they’ll grow back, but he’s convinced that if he continues digging them (mostly) up eventually they’ll take the hint. He also believes that weeds at least serve the purpose of holding the soil and preventing erosion so they aren’t all bad, and anyway the grass will outcompete the weeds.

A house divided and all that. But I respect your father and I’ve tried to go along with the “dig things out” philosophy. And I will say that in certain areas where we’ve lavished a lot of time, attention, and mulch, the weeds aren’t too bad.

The lawn is not one of those places.

And I’ve had it.

Truly Had It.

So I announced told casually mentioned to Dad that this year we were going to spray broad leaf weed killer. Dad lectured. I mentally reviewed the menu for the week. When he was done, I explained that this was not one of those things I was asking about, it was more of a sharing of information. Dad launched into a second lecture. I revised the menu to include green beans on Thursday while I waited for him to run down. At the end I said, “Hmm.”

Then I went out and bought broad leaf weed killer (and sat through lecture #3 which was equally impressive and equally ineffective in changing my mind).

The weekend before last weekend, Daddy asked if there was anything he could do to help me outside or around the house. “Yes,” I said, “I would like you to help me spray the lawn.”

“Have you figured out where you’re going to spray? Have you read the labels? Have you thought through the timing of when you’re going to do this?”

“I just want you to hold something to protect the plants we don’t want to get weed killer on.”

“WHAT? It’s bad enough that you’re spraying! I’m not going to stand around and hold something when you’re not going to be near the plants! That’s ridiculous.”

I pointed out that he’d offered. He pointed out that he was un-offering. This led to a huge fight that mostly consisted of me not speaking to him for 10 minutes. I’m not sure he noticed.

Events and weather conspired and the spraying did not get done.

Fast forward to this weekend.

On Friday, a very contrite HusbandPerson said to me, “If you still want help spraying, I’ll help you.” Not wanting to spook him, I said very quietly, “That would be nice. What changed?”

“Things have gone whack-a-doodle.” I swear he said that. “And We Have Purple Loosestrife.” Daddy rarely uses capital letters like that, so I knew he was serious.

“I see.”

“It’s an invasive species.

“So we need to get rid of it.” As if being a weed wasn’t a good enough reason.

“I will show you the Purple Loosestrife.” The Puppy and I dutifully followed him outside and over to a patch of not-grass. “Purple Loosestrife.” I looked. The Puppy sniffed. Weeds. “I’ll show you over here what it looks like.”

“Not necessary, I’ve got it. It’s terrible. Awful. Couldn’t be worse. Tomorrow we spray!” Grin.

Fast forward. We sprayed (and by “we” I mean Dad watched the Puppy and I sprayed). Seventeen hours later, I’d finished about 1/20th of the lawn. Baby steps. We’ll see what happens. Stay tuned.

Love, Mom


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