Category Archives: Family. And stuff.

That’s my boy

FullSizeRender (1)Tonight, my son will attend his very-last law school class. He plans to take the bar exam in July.

Those two sentences don’t begin to encompass the work that has gone on to reach tonight. For the past few years (I don’t even remember when he started…1990?) my son attended night classes at Western New England University School of Law. Before that, he graduated from University of Colorado at Boulder, then he earned a certificate for study at Hartford Seminary, and got a master’s of legal administration from University of Denver.

For all his degrees and accomplishments, I always thought he should be a lawyer, because as soon as he could speak, he was charting out his arguments for why things should go his way. I am not kidding. It was impressive, if sometimes maddening to have to wade through the logic of a 4-year old intent on having a new action figure, and here is why. I remember standing in a store once while he ticked off on his chubby little fingers the reason the latest Teenage Ninja Turtle needed to come home with us. (I was a single mother. I was broke. I bet I bought it for him, anyway.)

Today, my son got up before dawn, briefly hung out with one of the kids (usually, his youngest son gets up to see his father before school). He packed a lunch, drove 45 minutes to work in Connecticut’s judicial system. He left to attend tonight’s class, and then he’ll drive home long after most of the family has gone to bed — except tonight he won’t have to stay up to read or write papers.

On the home front, he’s had furnace trouble (a continual issue is New England). Two of the kids came down with bad colds. One of his wife’s aunts was  hospitalized. And that’s just this week.

And still he’s stuck to it.

This is where I get corny: One of the biggest secrets of his success has been his wife, my beautiful daughter-in-law, Xiomara. She has essentially been a single mother four nights of every week during this long stint in school — and she’s sometimes been a single mother on the weekends, as well, when papers needed to be written, and case law needed to be read. This is a family with seven children — five from my daughter-in-law’s first marriage, and two from this one. Let that sink in a minute. My daughter-in-law had five children (including a set of identical triplets, who are now beautiful 15-year olds), and then lost her first husband to a drunk driver. My son came along, they married, and after much discussion decided to have a child together, only she had twins. Five. Then two. Seven — all on her those many nights when her husband was off getting his law degree. She has served as an ear, and as a heart as he pushed through.

When my son graduates, I’ve suggested he hand the degree to his wife. As much as he’s done the classwork, she’s done the homework. I am so very proud.

Two dads who can’t stop being dads

aI wrote this for Mother Courant. Charles Frey and Kevin Lembo (Lembo is Connecticut’s state comptroller) have been foster parents, and then adoptive parents, and now they’re foster parents again.

Let’s look at childcare

download (1)If we’re serious about preparing for the future, a new Economic Policy Institute’s report includes some ways to make the future better for today’s children (and tomorrow’s adults). Some smart moves include (but are not limited to):

  • Expanding public funding for home visits by trained nurses to help expectant parents make healthy choices both before and after childbirth.

  • Providing resources necessary to ensure all families can access high-quality child care with well-trained, professional staff qualified to provide early childhood education. High-quality programs will aim to nurture children’s cognitive and socioemotional development and allow all children to enter their formal schooling years at comparable levels of preparedness.

  • Providing resources to ensure the professionalization of early childhood caregivers and teachers. This means providing enough resources to attract and retain well-credentialed staff and to close earnings gaps between early childhood workers and other workers with similar skills and credentials (including K–12 teachers).

Imagine if this wasn’t an Onion piece:

Success in business-group of excited people

Success in business-group of excited people

“Scientists Slowly Reintroducing Small Group Of Normal, Well-Adjusted Humans Into Society”

Where we put them?

If you’ve nothing better to do…

breisha_hilyard_housing_homelessness__1_of_4_…listen to WNPR’s “Where We Live” around 9:20 on Friday morning, and hear Breisha Hilyard (featured here) talk about her life. Brei has an incredible story, and it’s well worth listening to. I’ll be there, too.

Buh-bye, family values. Helloooo, religious freedom.

dionne-family-values-hypocrisy300This Religion Dispatches interview with Seth Dowland, author of “Family Values and the Rise of the Christian Right,” and Eric C. Miller says the battle cry of my people has changed, to:

Conservative evangelicals have grown more circumspect about their position as political leaders in the last decade. In his book Age of Evangelicalism, Steven Miller shows how evangelical norms, language, and votes exerted a disproportionate influence on national politics until very recently. Miller makes a compelling case that Obama’s election, after running as an “unabashed social liberal,” marked the end of the age of evangelicalism.

More than anything, the legalization of gay marriage signaled conservative evangelicals’ political exile. In the last few years, they have published a spate of books about the need for Christians to live as counter-cultural witnesses, and the battleground has shifted to religious freedom so that [in their view] churches and other Christian organizations can practice what they preach in peace. This is a far cry from the bombast of Jerry Falwell and James Dobson talking about taking back the nation for Christ.

Though, says Dowland:

“I’m not sure religious freedom as a rallying cry will have much staying power as long as Christian Right leaders continue to apply it with such transparent selectivity.”


I love this more than is healthy

Just in case you  haven’t seen this yet…