T’was the Night before the Election

Night before the election
T’was the Night before the Election

T’was the night before the Election and all through the States, people were worried; some tongues spewing hate.

I, in my blue jeans and soft, fuzzy sweater, signed off of Facebook, all for the better.

Was hoping to see pictures of puppies or s’mores; instead I saw memes and fighting and more.

It saddened me deeply to see all this fright; all griping and moaning – who’s wrong and who’s right.

I fondly remember the elections of yore, when voting was really much less of a chore.

When one would draw a curtain and pull down a lever, be on their way, and hope for the better.

No social media to wear me down; Something really bad happened this time around.

Good friends lament that opinions do matter; Yet once shared, they are all feeling battered.

Families have split over political choices; Colleagues argue and raise up their voices.

Mean comments are left on Facebook and Twitter; Hateful and vicious, making us sicker.

It’s hard to believe that folks will part ways; But it seems that is happening a whole lot these days.

To me it’s not worth living under election duress; I like too many people to lose them over this stress.

If we choose who we like by a sign in their yard; Then these next few days may be really hard.

But if we choose who we like because of genuine care, we won’t have the burden of relationship repair. (Honestly these candidates aren’t worth it – I swear!)

But it’s not their fault we’re all so divided; It’s a decision we made when we first started fighting.

Election Day will bring wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth; Then it will be over – and hopefully we’ll sleep.

No matter who wins, our days won’t much change. We’ll eat, and work and manage someway.

If your neighbor votes red or if they vote blue, you still have to live next to them, isn’t that true?

And will you really write off your daughter or son, just because they didn’t “vote for the one?”

At the end of the day, one candidate will win; And in a few years, we will start this nonsense again.

So, let’s be civil and kind and respect each other. Don’t let these candidates come between one another.

Neither are worth it, that’s a fact. They will move forward, but can you go back?

Can you go back to Facebook and try to repair; The friendship you trashed over this insane affair?

Election Day may find winners drinking with glee; And it may find some drinking; drowning their sorrow.

Yet united we stand, because on this we agree: Thank God this election is OVER tomorrow!

© Lynne Cobb – 2016

Have you had enough of the nonsense during this election? Share your story in the comments. And if you like this post, feel free to share using the social share icons below. Thanks for reading! 🙂

 

Back to School Almost 30 Years Later

Back to School

Back to school!

The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.  ~Sydney J. Harris

It’s that time of year again, when summer winds down and fall takes over with the excitement of cooler temperatures, vibrant colors and the promise of delicious cider.

Previously I wrote about our youngest child beginning college and starting her new chapter. As she began hers, I knew that I, too, would begin mine. As an “almost-empty-nester,” I am writing new pages as I navigate this season referred to as midlife.

I have often thought that fall felt more like a fresh beginning than January’s start of a new year. Maybe the life-long conditioning of new beginnings due to the start of the school year has something to do with the feeling.

My own memories of fall have, for the most part, been good ones of fresh starts, new dreams and the old, decorated cigar box filled with bright crayons, sharp pencils, kid-sized scissors, pink erasers and mini bottles of glue. (My personal favorite were the pencils that were red on one end and blue on the other. Are those even a thing anymore?) I also remember my mom walking with us to school to see the class lists posted on the doors. The excitement and anticipation could either provide a moment of elation or anxiety, depending on your classroom assignment.

After twenty-five years of “first day” traditions, it is weird to be out of the loop. Click To Tweet

I hold tight to those childhood moments, and to the moments I experienced with my children. This is the second year that I am not sending children off for the traditional “first day of school.” I admit, I miss going out and purchasing new school supplies, finding out who the teacher will be, and snapping photos of the day. After twenty-five years of “first day” traditions, it is weird to be out of the loop.

But nonetheless, this fall is pretty darn exciting. I’m not sure if my adult children will get up early and come stand on the porch for a photo. Well, maybe if I bribe them with coffee and cinnamon rolls. I’m willing to give it a shot. If not, I will just have to take a selfie of myself on the porch. Hahaha – no! Because in addition to most of my brood returning to college this fall, yours truly here will be doing the same.

Back to school.

After a hiatus of about thirty years, I start my classes today. I am pretty darn excited.

No, I won’t have an old cigar box filled with supplies. I know I won’t be sporting a new backpack, but I will have my new laptop. No, there will be no locker for my books, so I am trying to organize the office to be functional for both work and school. No, I won’t have to go clothes shopping or look for cool and cute dorm room stuff.

But, what I do get is the satisfaction of completing something I started 36 years ago – my journalism degree. I have absolutely no regrets that I left school to get married, travel as a military spouse, be a mom times four (see, I can still do math) and have the opportunity for all the other experiences I have had thus far. I have lived in and traveled to places some people only dream about.

So why finish the degree? One, because I can. Two, because I want to. Three, because I need to.

  • I can, because I now have the time. All four children have graduated high school and have completed or are completing their secondary education. I know it is not going to be easy, but it will be easier than when I tried to return to school fifteen years ago.
  • I want to, because it was a promise I made to myself and my husband when we married that I would, one day, finish my degree. His encouragement keeps me going – especially when I had a panic attack after reviewing the syllabus!
  • I need to, for myself and my adult children. I want them to see me finish what I started. I need them to set goals and strive to achieve them, no matter how long it may take. I need them to see that it doesn’t matter what age you are; it is still difficult to figure out what you want to be when you grow up.

I need them to see that when life gets in the way – whether by your choice or by no fault of your own – you have to keep pushing and trying no matter what.

I need them to see that in their own lives, when a chapter ends, a new one begins – that each ending is a new beginning.

I need them to see there is a value in continued growth, no matter your season of life.

So, here’s to an exciting new school year to all – no matter how young or old you are!

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.  ~John Dewey

© Lynne Cobb – 2016

Have you thought about returning to school after your children graduated? Or, did you? Share your experience in the comment section!

 

 

 

 

Good Memories and a Smile

Good memories
Good memories and a smile

“Grandmas never run out of hugs or cookies.” Author Unknown

Looking out the kitchen window, I watched my two granddaughters playing basketball with their uncles – my sons.

It wasn’t too long ago that I’d watch my boys out that same window, and now they are grown men. They have fond memories of that basketball hoop, and memories of the one-and-one games with each other; of games with their dad, my dad, cousins and countless friends. And a few memories of the times when I’d impress them by landing several baskets of my own, thank you very much.

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In defense of a snow day

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Snow day!

Snow day! 

In my little corner of the world, the area schools have (wisely) declared a snow day. Thousands of students and most of their parents are thrilled – however, just as many people are not.

I often wonder why there is such a fuss over snow days. Most school years, students may get one or two weather-related cancellations. Over the past few years, we’ve had some of the harshest winters on record, and the students have racked-up many snow days. But I am sure if these days were averaged over the course of their years of education, the sum total of days off would be the tiniest percentage point.

School officials don’t make these decisions lightly. They know that education is important, and they understand that a snow day can create child-care issues for many of their district’s parents. I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes, especially since their decisions are scrutinized in the media.

If you want to see how passionate people are on this subject, just read the comment section of any article posted about school closings. The complaints and nasty responses would blow your mind, as they use foul language and remark that “the system” is making wimps out of the next generation. A good number of grumpy responders don’t even have school-age children, so why do they care? As I read some responses, a few thoughts came to mind:

  • Maybe these people are envious that they can’t stay home.
  • Perhaps they aren’t accurately remembering “back in the day.”
  • Possibly there is nothing more serious happening in the world than local schools cancelling.

When folks state over and over again that as children, they had to walk in the cold and snow to get to school, I can appreciate that. I did the same. A few blocks to elementary school felt like trekking across the frozen tundra. By junior high (see, dating myself here), it was a little over a mile of walking on un-shoveled walkways while cars zipped by, soaking us with a misty, salty, road-debris spray. Waiting in the elements for the bus to high school wasn’t much fun, either.

But life was different then. Many households had one car. Most elementary schools were within walking distance by a few blocks. Today, the dynamics of our neighborhoods have changed. School consolidations have made walking to school non-existent in many communities, plus many districts have eliminated bus service.

Logistically, closing schools for bad weather makes sense. Why take unnecessary risks? Plus, with less people commuting, road crews can do their jobs more efficiently and expediently.

So again, why the angst?

My guess – it is our society. We’ve been convinced that we can stop for nothing. Always on the go – no down-time. How many people do you know cash in their vacation time instead of taking the time off? How many families do you know of that pick up their kids up from school and shuttle around town all evening, from practices to music lessons or whatever? How many people go to work sick, spreading their germs, because they boast of never taking a day off? Achoo, sniffle, sniffle – thanks and congratulations?! Is there an unwritten rule they we must always be on the go and/or productive?

As a society, we just can’t “be.” We’re either looking at our phones, watching TV, listening to something via ear buds, and so on. We are distracted constantly.

So maybe it isn’t the snow day that it the problem, but it is the anxiety that is created when we just don’t know how to sit back, relax and wait for the storm to end.

As a child, I lived for snow days. Hot chocolate, making extra money shoveling neighbors’ walkways, sledding, playing in the snow, sleeping in – yeah, that’s the life! And the best part was everything was unplanned. Just go with the flow, embracing a little down-time.

As a parent of school-aged children, I prayed for snow days. I loved having a “free day” with my children; no rushing out the door, no schedule – just time to play, drink cocoa and just “be.” I have cherished memories of impromptu cookie-baking sessions. Making pancakes or fresh-baked muffins mid-week was wonderful – a nice break from the routine, like a mini-vacation.

As an almost empty-nester, I still love a snow day. Granted, 90% of my work is done at home. However, this morning was one of the days I normally need to be in the office. I am very grateful for the snow day that allowed me to stay put. My typical routine was tossed aside, and I am enjoying my “free day,” lending me a few spare moments to sit and write. I have truly embraced a few moments of down-time in an otherwise very hectic schedule. Had it not snowed, life would have been business as usual.So, for all the negativity surrounding them, I am writing in defense of snow days. I am seeking the positive and enjoying a little down-time. Sure, the clean-up is a pain, but I am relishing the opportunity to take things a little slower.

Even if it is only for one day.

© Lynne Cobb – 2016

Do you embrace or dread snow days? Share your opinion in the comment section!

 

Adjusting to fall

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“Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring.”
― Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

I caught a glimpse of her from across the way. She stopped to check her phone, not knowing where we were.

It was orientation day at the campus, and she had been sequestered from us for a few hours. At this point in the day, she had chosen her classes for the year, wandered around her new home-away-from-home with a group of fellow incoming freshman, had enjoyed lunch at one of the campus eateries and was probably ready for a nap.

Continue reading “Adjusting to fall”

The Next Chapter

wpid-20150519_164254.jpg“Every story has an end, but in life every end is a new beginning.” Dakota Fanning

“I don’t think I am handling this very well,” I admitted to my husband.

It all started last week. I went to the high school to pick our daughter up from an event. Since she and her friends began driving, I haven’t had to retrieve her from school very often. As I turned into the parking lot, tears welled up in my eyes.

This was one of the last times I would be at this school. With the exception of one more concert, that is it. She is our last to graduate. Twenty-five years of children in school and it is over.

Continue reading “The Next Chapter”

Slang used today and words I should not say

wpid-2014-11-14-13.02.19.jpg.jpeg“Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands and goes to work.” – Carl Sandburg

As a writer and an avid reader, I find words and language usage fascinating. Just call me a word nerd. Admittedly, as I have entered the digital age, I find myself being a little more lax in language and grammar rules. Some of my participles dangle, and sometimes I end sentences with a preposition and I often find myself starting sentences with “and” or “but.”

Continue reading “Slang used today and words I should not say”

Glitter-covered First of the Last

glitter

All that glitters…

Our dining table is a disaster. We bought it twenty years ago, when our family expanded from four to six. It has seen numerous dinners and holidays and homework projects. The finish is ruined. There are dots from markers and gouges from toddler flatware. If you look closely, you can see someone was upset about doing homework, and their vice-like grip on a pencil carved a few letters and numbers into the table.

There is a patch of varnish gone do to a spill of nail polish remover. And now, there is what looks like a pixie trail; the likes of fairy footsteps of silver and gold glitter, strolling across the table. Continue reading “Glitter-covered First of the Last”

Why I cried on Mother’s Day

cardI feel rather silly admitting this, but this morning when I woke up, I cried on Mother’s Day.

It really hit me how life has changed.

I cried because I am missing my dad, even more with each passing year. I missed the excitement of being a kid on a holiday, all excited to go see relatives that I thought would live forever. Then, I cried because I missed my grandmothers, great-grandmothers and my great-aunts.  Continue reading “Why I cried on Mother’s Day”