Monthly Archives: September 2015

When children are denied an education

There are 62 Million girls around the world who are not in school.  Think of that for a moment. In this country we take education as a right, something a lot of us take for granted. We believe that all should have access to preschool through high school.  There are many of us who believe college should be included in that matrix.  Yet world-wide there are 62 million girls who have no access to education. They are illiterate, uneducated and financially dependent on others. Education is a known factor in advancement yet is denied to young woman around the world. Sometimes through circumstance, most often by men who fear the change women challenge the world to undertake.

A girl without access to reading, writing and arithmetic is more likely to end up in an abusive relationship, motherhood before she is emotionally ready and in poverty.  Want to stop terrorism? Educate the poor, the disenfranchised and the children of the world. Let them understand that the world is more what they see out their window. Malala proved that one girl’s education can give voice to a movement of change. Once their minds are awoken, young women’s voices cannot be silenced. They become mothers who will impart the importance of education to their offspring.

With access to education, young women across the globe will affect change. This is not just women in underdeveloped countries, but here at home.  According to PEW Research only 63% of US high school women go on to secondary education. Some of the 37% decide not to go further because they go into trade, the military or for whatever reason decide not to go to college.  I am willing to bet that out of the 37% of high school girls do not go to college due to circumstance. Looking at colleges is not a financial undertaking most of us can afford nor have the credit rating to achieve. If your parent did not go to college, you are less likely to see the value a college education can be to your life.  Children of lower-income single-mothers are less likely to have the opportunities for higher education. A recent study showed that 100% of former welfare recipients that receive a four-year degree and 82% of welfare recipients who received a 2-year degree stopped relying on welfare support.

In 2013 our country had 10.9 million school age children living in poverty.  Unsurprisingly, 40% of US children living in poverty are unprepared for school.  A staggering 31% of US children without a high school diploma will continue to live in poverty. Compared to just 20 years ago, the rate of children living in poverty has increased and the gap of income inequality continues to grow. Their children will repeat the cycle, unless change is made and education becomes a priority.

Education breeds personal power. If we want to see more women CEOs, leaders and Heads of State we need to educate them. Not in our own backyard, but in every back yard. I do not want women to overtake men; I want women to work alongside them. Equal partners effecting real change to leave this world a better place then we found it.  Advances in science, economies, living conditions and education benefit all of society. We need to stand with the United Nation’s stance that education is a human right and a “driving force of human development”.

When our youth are educated homicides are decreased, crime is lessened, reduces infant mortality and teenage pregnancy. Famine and world hunger can be alleviated. Terrorism loses its footing when those being suppressed are educated on how to make their voices resonate across the lands.

The US Peace Corps is collaborating with USAID and the First Lady to work together in educating girls, one girl at a time, through grassroots efforts. Volunteers committed to teaching all children. They understand that with education comes change, and maybe peace.  It’s time to get the facts and be clear: education should be a fundamental right of every child. To learn more about the initiative Let Girls Learn please visit their website at:

Feeling Powerful (it might be the puff paint)

Last weekend  we created t-shirts for our upcoming Mudderella event next week. Yes, I did arts and crafts. I wanted to order them online, I was convinced this would be “fun”.  At least no one was injured. Then came the puff paint. I shuddered.  As I was instructed on the power of puff paint the fumes got to us and we wrote: PUFF POWER.


Abby told us the puff would give us what we needed to get through the obstacle course. Which led to the question: if you could have a superpower what would it be? Continue reading

Want to change the world? Make it personal

Warning…I’m on a bit of a soapbox.

I just finished reading a book about WW2 (Escape from Davao). A quote from the book resonated in me as it applies to everything: Natural and man-made disasters, the horrors of the news, the treatment of our elderly, 9/11, Ferguson, police being killed, domestic violence, the drug war and (insert horrendous thing here). I honestly think words from 1944 are still true. Until it becomes personal,until we understand that WE must feel we cannot win.

“We’ve got to have the nature of this war drilled into us Day after day before we sense the whole horror of it, the demands of it, the danger if it….This War has not yet become personal with us…But if we hear the truth day by day … We’ll silence the babble, sober the feather-minded and fight like hell” (Palmer Hoyt page 332)

Continue reading

We are surviving kindergarten

I would like to thank everyone who sent me messages of support when I was terrified of Bridget’s first day of kindergarten. The good news: it didn’t suck. The bad news: it is still a little nerve-wracking.

Bridget was ready to go, me not so much

Bridget was ready to go, me not so much

While we have moved on from Bridget’s loving team at preschool, we have moved into her new environment which is filled with support, care and understanding of our fears. Her new teacher understands who frightening this experience is for our family. Not only does she understand, when she saw the playground her heart stopped in fear as well.  Validating that I was not overreacting but my concerns are real and important. That my concerns are not just for Bridget but applicable to every child in this new program.

They made immediate changes, not just to recess but other areas of Bridget’s day.

Bridget has come home every day mentally exhausted, barely able to form speech or feed herself. It has been an adjustment for her, to be in a new class with a new set of standards. She is loving every minute of it. The excitement she shows when seeing her friends and teachers makes my heart swell. Bridget is slowly being integrated into the general education room. I’m okay with that, this slow transition, confident that her team is taking baby steps so that she will succeed.


They were right, Bridget was ready for kindergarten.  I’m getting there.

Just admit it, you messed up

I admit to not watching the Miss America pageant. I did however watch the following clip that was all over my Facebook feed the next morning.

I applauded this woman, who showed that beauty is more than skin deep. That she gave a two minute oral presentation, without cue cards or fanfare about her talent amazed me. My first thought was, YES! This is what a 21st century Miss America pageant should be promoting. Brains and beauty.

Listening to Miss Colorado’s talent made me remember how lucky we have been in Bridget’s life. The nurses who have shown her love, affection and comfort. The nurses who alerted the doctor (who was at home asleep) that Bridget was in distress. The nurse who held me as I broke in the NICU (and many times after that). The nurse who explained in terms I understood what was going on after Bridget’s surgery (when the doctor had left with her stethoscope) and how to care for my child whose spinal chord had just been operated on. The nurse who told me (each and every time) that no question/concern was trivial.

Then The View happened. First they mocked Miss Colorado for “reading her e-mails” and wearing a doctor’s stethoscope. Anyone who works in healthcare knows that a physician never has a stethoscope. If you see one around a doctor’s neck the most likely explanation is he stole borrowed it from a nurse. Second, instead of giving an apology to Miss Colorado (and nurses as a whole) their “apology” was that their comments were misconstrued.

Here is where the View went wrong: instead of making a joke they should have used that moment to encourage women everywhere to be more than a pretty face. The hosts should have highlighted Miss Colorado’s performance to demonstrate that other talents are cool (I for one would love to be able to play the violin) but those talents may not change society.  Miss Colorado’s talent has immediate impact on the world around us.  Little beauty queens may decide to take up one of the noblest professions. Girls at home saw a gorgeous woman who was more the the pageant.  Miss Colorado showed young women how a true professional looks: not only can she rock a bathing suit she can save a life.

Both are important.  Self-confidence, just like beauty, comes from within. Miss Colorado showed young women everywhere not to judge a person’s worth by first look. As the mom of a tween I look for women, strong women, who I can point out as role models. Not the Disney pop-tarts, not the child stars that grow up and forget their true fan base. I look for women who are changing the world; with their voice, their determination and their willingness to be different. I want her to see women who are not conforming to the standard, but challenging it.

Maybe the View could learn something from her, if only they did more than look.

Each Fall, I

Each fall, I wonder how much older I will get before I learn the fine art of coordination. I have fallen up the stairs (more than once, sadly), down the stairs, off a curb, over my own two feet and most recently over the dog.

Seriously, the dog. It was not a trip but a full-fledged Alley-Oop. Thinking I had cat-like eyesight I went into the kitchen (for what I cannot recall) and did not turn on the lights. I never realized before how much Bailey blends in with the floorboards. His coat is just about a perfect match to the stain.


There I was walking into the kitchen and BAM. Up I went into the air, falling straight to onto my knees and thanking the universe that my head narrowly missed the corner of the counter. Each fall, I always wonder if I am going to end up in the ER. I have gone for stitches in my chin, sprained ankles and twisted arms.  Thankfully there were no witnesses, and unlike prior falls no trips to the ER.

Until I heard a small voice in the dark whisper:

Mom, did you fall again?

That is how I Finished the Sentence: Each Fall, I….

Brought to you by the FTSF stunt women:

Kristi at Finding Ninee  
Julie Martinka Severson from Carvings on a Desk
and Danielle Dion from

My LTYM Friend: Terri

When I first met Terri at LTYM Boston I seriously thought, holy crap! She walked in confident, stylish and (most importantly) kind. I am honored to share her first ever written piece.

Terri has a quiet demeanor about her, at first, yet when she shared her story I realized there is so much beneath the fashion. Including some steal balls she may have inherited from her mom.

If we were having a glass of wine…

If we were having a glass of wine I would tell you…

That tomorrow is the “big” day. Bridget starts kindergarten. I would tell you that I spoke with both her SPED teacher and her kindergarten teacher. Both women are kind, generous with their time and willing to collaborate with me to make Bridget as safe as possible. I’m still scared as hell. I’m also hopeful that my friend, Dana, is right and in 3 months I will be telling you I was worried for no valid reason. Continue reading

Kindergarten doesn’t start for another 5 days and I already hate it.

At the beginning of the summer I finally came to a sense of peace that Kindergarten was going to be okay. Yes, we would be leaving the cocoon of safety we had for four years. My reservations were being replaced by cautious enthusiasm that Bridget would be starting kindergarten in a few weeks. Then it happened. I was smacked in the head (again) that this would not be the easy transition I hoped. Continue reading

Dear Tourist

Dear Tourist,

Thank you for visiting our little piece of sand.

You get a lot of flack coming here. You don’t know how to drive in the Rotary. You do not realize you are driving the wrong way up Main Street until you are faced with a Duck Boat ready to crush your Prius. You order your Sundae with sprinkles. We have to teach you how to pronounce Quahog and how properly eat a lobstah. Cape drivers honk at you when you stop to take in the view of the marsh.

You are blamed when we cannot even think of leaving the Cape on a Sunday or try to get back on a Friday. You are the reason we cannot go to Market Basket on our day off. There are some of you think Route 6a and the Service Road are a practice track for the Monte Carlo, barely missing joggers or bikers practicing for the PanMass Challenge.

10399797_1164462949144_6679198_n Continue reading