Mom Cries Foul At 8th Grade Awards Night Or How Our Awards Happy Society Has Jane’s Panties In A Twist

There is a story, complete with proud-parent-and-child picture, riding the internet waves. Specifically, on Facebook. (Where I seem to get all of my news, sadly.)

This mom is pleading for us to like/share/comment on her son’s pathetic tale. Apparently, at 8th grade awards night, her son received his award for great grades in 8th grade but his name was inadvertently left off the list when awarding students for great grades for their entire middle school academic career. Her son was so shaken, and so was Mom, that she is pleading for us to like/share/comment so she can give her son the recognition he deserves.



I read the plea to my recent college grad daughter and she rolled her eyes and said, “I’ll bet he’s as embarrassed as hell. I’d KILL you if you ever did that to me.”

And then, wisely, she said, “There are so many disappointments in life. So many good things that he’ll do that may not go unnoticed but WILL go unrecognized. Isn’t that the bigger lesson there?” (Ahhh, now I’M the proud mom.)


If he is so bright. So determined. So driven. He is going to go on to achieve many great things in life. Some will go unnoticed. Some will go unrecognized. But in his heart, he will know he achieved “greatness.” Those close to him will know. And isn’t that what’s important?

We have become a society that applauds and awards the smallest of achievements. We give recognition when, sometimes, it shouldn’t be “due.” And we are doing this with such regularity that we want our children to be recognized for every little thing. And when they aren’t recognized? For the big and the small? We are livid.

A few times, during my son’s baseball career, I’ve cringed at the end of the game awards ceremonies. Every kid is guaranteed a medal, at least once in the short 6 game season, for “greatness.” Well, I hate to put this out there, but my kid ain’t great. He’s mediocre. He loves the game. He has a blast. He makes great strides for him. But most kids would have hit that ball. Caught that pop fly. Or made it all the way to 2nd base on an overthrow to first. So when the coach would sometimes have to search for something to praise my kid about I wanted to say, “It’s okay to give it to the boy who hit the home run with 2 RBI’s or the outfielder who made the over-the-fence out.”

But I don’t. And my kid is bursting while he wears his medal after the game. And my cruel heart softens, as I see him bursting with pride. And that’s okay, too.

Because sometimes, he’s going to get awards for things that are disgustingly easy for someone else. And he’s going to watch, someday, as someone gets the award that maybe he should have received. There’s a lesson there, too.

There are so many lessons of unfairness for each of us to learn. And sometimes, we have to learn them in 8th grade so that when it happens in 12th grade and in college and umpteen times in our adult careers we don’t want to curl up and die because no one noticed our greatness.

We aren’t always going to have mommies, cheering on the sidelines, making sure every single one of our achievements is noticed. And we shouldn’t.

The true value of an achievement is what we learn from it.

What we take from it.

And how we apply it to further greatness.




Filed under Lessons Learned, Soapbox

My Summer Vacation Just Got Even More Exciting

Summer Vacation Bucket List


Day 1: Bring out the Monopoly board after “I’m bored” chants reach epic proportions. Check. (Fears of enduring a long summer surface.)


But then…..


Day 2: Download malicious computer virus (complete with flashing screen and wayward mouse pointer thingy) that takes control of the brand new (12 days “old”) laptop purchased for the boys. Check.



(This summer is proving to be more exciting than I bargained for.)


Filed under All In A Day's Work

So Sue ME. I Bought Baby Einstein Videos For My Kids.

How is it that I am late to this party?

Not a polite 5 minutes late.

Not a day late (and a few dollars short.)

But six years late.

Apparently, in 2009, Disney offered refunds to parents for the Baby Einstein videos because they didn’t turn your darling little angels into …..well, Einsteins.


The consumer group, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, took the children’s video giant to court crying “foul” to their claims that Baby Einstein videos are “educational.” In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that video watching by the under 2 set is actually damaging to their tiny little brains. So Disney removed the verbiage from the packaging. But that wasn’t enough. Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood demanded that parents be fairly compensated for the trauma they had been put through, as their expectations fell, realizing that little Johnny and little Jane were (gasp!) still just average.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a Disney nut who tends to defend Disney at all cost. Claiming that these videos were “educational” based on anecdotal evidence and the fact that they played classical music in the background is wrong. And, I’ll admit it (only to you) that I, too, fell prey to purchasing not one, not two but about 5 of these little beauties.

But ultimately, who is at fault here?


In 2004, I bought the videos. Even though my pediatrician gave me the developmental handout telling me not to sit my baby in front of the television. Even though I knew that real life stimuli trumps passive TV watching every time. Even though, in my heart, I knew I should be the one entertaining my baby.

But I bought the videos anyway. And I plopped my then one-year-old in front of the TV so that I could nurse his little brother, age 2 months, in relative peace. Or both of them, so I could start dinner. Or fold laundry. Or pee.

I played the role of educated consumer and I traded the opinion of the experts for a few moments of sanity.

So sue ME.

If you completed at least a middle school education, you should know by now that there is “truth” in advertising but most times, it’s a twisted truth. My husband always cracks up when “health food” claims what they are selling is “all-natural.”

“Arsenic is all-natural,” he’ll scoff.

We, the parents, bought the $15 dollar DVDs. We, the parents, decided that they were acceptable entertainment. And we, the parents, are ultimately responsible for nurturing our child’s intellect in a way that will help it to reach its full potential.

Not television.

And certainly not Disney.





Filed under parenting, Soapbox

My Son’s Adoption Story And Who Should Know It

The cast of characters:

Jane = me

Sam = well-meaning friend

John = my husband

Joe= our son


We were watching our sons play in our neighborhood park. Polite, easy conversation about school, spring and the upcoming Boy Scout camping trip.

Sam turns to me and says, “So what is Joe’s adoption story?”

My mind goes blank. It’s been years since anyone has asked me that question. It’s been so long I’m not quite sure what is being asked. I have no idea what to say.

To fill the now awkward silence Sam says, “Well, John told me I should ask Joe.”

Ask Joe? What would he say? He was only 6 months old. He couldn’t possibly remember the day he entered our family.

And then it hits me.

Ohhhhh. THAT adoption story.


Sam, still trying to fill my awkward silence, begins talking about his service in Korea and what little he knows about adoption there.

Finally understanding what he is asking, I offer a laundry list of reasons why biological parents choose adoption for their children. Poverty. Teen pregnancy. Single parenthood. And some reasons we’ll never know or understand.

And then, I’m proud of my husband. My husband has an issue with boundaries. More specifically, my boundaries. He shares things about me with other people, as a way to connect, that I’d rather decide to share. Or not. It’s not malicious. He doesn’t mean to annoy me. But it does. He calls me “a private person.” And I am. So, knowing that he has a tendency to cross the line but that he honored our son’s privacy has touched me. Deeply.

Because our son’s adoption story isn’t pretty. It isn’t tidy. His biological parents wrestled, like all other biological parents out there, with their decision to choose adoption.

And it is our son’s story to tell.

Or not.

Because the circumstances that brought him to us do not define him.

Some people travel by car. Some by train. Some by boat. Some by plane. But they all get to the destination. Eventually.

And our son made it into our family, at 6 months old, by plane. This cute, chubby cheeked, giggling little bundle. The last baby off the plane. Me, afraid they had missed the flight but had forgotten to tell us. The escort, in her broken English, placing him in my arms and telling me of the dream she had, of the wonderful family he was coming home to and how he would be so happy there. His sweet, chubby face. His grin. Captivating us. Clutching each of our index fingers as he slept between us on that first night in our family.

Oh, that first night.

Our baby on Korea time. Us, exhausted, excited and weary. Searching through his bag, desperately wanting to know whether to give him soy or dairy based formula. That’s all we wanted to know. How do we feed our child? We took the formula from his bag. The instructions were in Korean. The interpreter at the airline desk said it was soy based. Great, we thought. We brought both. Soy it is!

Our baby boy gobbled down that first bottle and part of the next and promptly fell fast asleep. We patted ourselves on the back. Such great parents already. We know how to feed him. We know how to get him to sleep. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

An hour later, at the hotel, he wakes up crying. Screaming. We change him. We offer him another bottle. We play with him. Nothing is working. He is exhausted, we tell ourselves. He’s in a strange country with strange sounds, strange smells. As much as we love him already, we are still strange to him. My husband holds him, gently bouncing him as I run back to the car and get another arsenal of toys to distract him.

As I walk back into the hotel room my husband is holding our son. With out-stretched arms. Our son is laughing. He is grinning ear to ear. My husband is stunned. His face frozen. Mortified.

“I don’t know what to do,” he stammers.

He is covered, from chest to thighs.

In poop.

Our son exploded. And poop is everywhere. All over my husband. All over our son.

And our sweet, grinning boy is happy again.

I get a garbage bag from the front desk. I gently peel the clothes off my husband and my son. They bathe, together, son laughing and husband still speechless. And now, I’m giggling. The mess. The expressions of glee and horror in one moment. The laughter. Delicious, delightful laughter.

That sweet peal of tinkling joy from our precious, amazing son.

That is our son’s adoption story. The late flight. The other babies, coming off the plane one by one. Us, searching for our son and finally seeing him for the first time. The escort placing him in my arms. The smile. Those cheeks. The formula that we were told was soy but was really dairy. Feeding him the wrong formula and the poop we waded in after. And then, after the poop and the bath. After he wouldn’t sleep in the pack ‘n play. When he snuggled between us and clutched my husband’s finger and then mine and promptly fell asleep. Cuddled between us both.

That is our son’s adoption story.


Filed under Adoption

Jane Cries A River For The Impoverished Music Industry

I watched an awards show. Finally. In it’s entirety.

The 2015 Grammy Awards.


Don’t get me wrong. I used to be an awards show junkie. I never missed. Even the shows announcing the nominees. I loved the entertainment industry. As a music major in college, I thought I would be a part of it one day.

But then, life happened. And kids. I discovered a whole new vocation I never thought in a million years I would enjoy so much. Motherhood. It’s been a blast. And the reason entertainment is my weakest category in Trivia Crack.

All in all, I felt it was a bit lack luster. Madonna tried to be shocking. Yawn. A legend crooned with a much, much, much younger up and comer. Creepy. Rock bands that should have retired long ago tried to show they still had it. Uh-uh.

Then, the Grammy’s put domestic violence and human trafficking into the forefront. Brooke Axtell, a survivor, spoke out against abuse against women. She gave a moving speech and Katy Perry followed up with a beautiful rendition of “By The Grace Of God.”

I thought, good for them. They should pick a cause every year to support.

And then, (you knew there was going to be an “and then” didn’t you?) ……..

And then………

Recording Academy president, Neil Portnow, used his time on stage to promote Creators Alliance, a new lobby group to represent those poor, under-appreciated and under-compensated music artists in Washington.


Oh, you mean like Steven Tyler, Alicia Keys, Adam Levine and Jennifer Hudson?

Yep. Those artists.

And I couldn’t help but remember when Metallica made (pardon my language but there really is no other word) asses of themselves in 2000, crying about Napster.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a poster child for plagiarism. I’m a rule follower from way back. I had a neighbor tease me once because I still use iTunes to buy my music. So sue me. I think stealing is wrong. Whether it’s milk, money or music. But when it comes to musicians, raking in millions from their craft, and they want to cry about the other thousands they may have lost? I have one thing to say. Take care of it privately. Quietly. Get your lawyers on it. Use your considerable wealth and position and power without telling me all about it.

Neil Portnow wanted to use his platform to gain support and inform the fans. Inform the fans? Seriously? He wanted to wag his bejeweled finger and remind Johnny that downloading songs for free is wrong and robs artists of fair compensation? Johnny doesn’t already know that? And fair compensation? Nobody is downloading some no-name artists music for free. And if they are, I can tell you the “no-name artist” is thrilled that someone is even listening to them.

I sat there. Trying to judge the reaction of the audience. The cameras panned the crowd and showed a few bobbing heads of agreement but there wasn’t some wild outpouring of support (Thank God.) I honestly don’t know how the audience felt. But if they agreed, it seems they had the common sense to keep their (greedy) feelings private.

I agree that people should be rewarded for their work. I agree that sharing music online without compensating the artist (and producers and writers and etc.) is stealing. I wouldn’t have stolen an album from a record store back in the day. I shouldn’t steal a song of the internet waves now. But talking to me, sweet little Jane, sitting in her living room on the weathered coach she can’t afford to replace, telling me that if this rampant internet stealing continues we’re going to have a world without music because artists won’t be able to make a living in the music industry anymore? Bullshit. (Oops. Excuse me again. But this topic pisses me off.)

Cry me a river. You want to talk about professions that aren’t fairly compensated for their craft? The ones who truly struggle to make a living? How about teachers? Police officers and firemen? Or social workers? Create a lobby group for them.

The Verge headline this morning said it best: Grammy Millionaires Unite To Lobby Washington For Better Pay.

Earlier in the evening, I mused how wonderful art would be if artists pursued their craft for the pure joy of creating it. Not for money. Not for glory. Not for fame. Real, true artists sharing their gifts.

Find me a gifted, talented, true artist that is also poverty-stricken and suffering and I’ll be happy to get behind your cause. But until then, Mr. Portnow, keep your wagging finger and your millions to yourselves.




Filed under Soapbox

Lovely Spam, Wonderful Spam!

I am not perfect. By any stretch of the imagination. I love run-on sentences. I love incomplete sentences. I rely on spell-check. Heavily. Not because I can’t spell but because I’m horribly lazy.

And speaking of lazy, I don’t edit my posts very well. Or sometimes at all. I know. I’m a terrible blogger. But I own it. And I have my excuses. (And they truly are excuses.)

I’m not like many of you out there. I’m not waiting to be discovered. I’m not jonesing for a book deal. I’m just a gal, full of ideas bouncing around in her head that need to be unleashed once in a while. So, I write a post. I scan it for any glaring errors and then I hit “Publish” and walk away. Well, click away.

Imagine my amusement when I received this comment regarding my blog:

(Identifying factors have been deleted to protect the well-meaning spammer.)

“certainly like your web site however you need to test the spelling on quite a
few of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling
issues and I in findingg it vedry troublesome to tell the truth however I’ll definitely come again again”

"Spam, spam, spam, spam. Lovely spam, wonderful spam." - Monty Python

“Spam, spam, spam, spam. Lovely spam, wonderful spam.” – Monty Python

Ahhh, the irony of spam comments.

I love spam.

Spamm all ways amuzes me.




Filed under Because It Amuses

“Hello. I’m Calling From Microsoft. And I’m Calling To Help You With Your Computer.”

I just received another one of “those” calls.

Yes. I know it’s not really Microsoft calling about some virus in my computer. I know this because I’m just a teeny bit tech savvy and a tiny bit jaded after my half century on this planet.

But I play along anyway. It’s entertaining. I have a little time on my hands. And it keeps him on the phone for a bit longer, preventing him from scamming someone else.

“I’m calling from Microsoft because we have been alerted that your computer is infected with a malicious virus.”

“Oh, God. No! This is the second time this year!”

“Well, I’m calling to help you fix the problem.”

“Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! You don’t know how grateful I am.”

“It’s all right ma’am. We’re going to fix this. Ma’am? Are you near you computer?”

“Yes! Please help me. Just tell me what to do!”

We have a bit of back and forth as I pretend to open my computer. Turn on my computer. Oops. The battery is low. I have to plug it in. Now, where’s that cord?

‘So explain to me how this happened…”

He gives some explanation of which I understand about every 3 words. Not because I’m hard of hearing but because his accent is so thick. Meanwhile, I’m looking up his phone number through a reverse-phone-look-up site. He’s calling from China. His accent sounds like he’s from somewhere else. And his name is Zach Martin. From Miami, Floor-eee-DUH. (Emphasis on the DUH.)



We talk a little more as I ask him questions, making sure he’s legit. He plays along and gives me some phony company name, the Floor-eee-DUH address and phone number. I pretend to believe him.

“Okay. It’s up and running. What do I do?”

But as he tries to get me to press keys, I interrupt him from time to time.

“How could this happen?” and “I’m so careful!” and “What is this world coming to?!?!?”

I then pretend to cry. Sniffles, at first. But then I begin to boo-hoo. His voice softens.

“I can’t believe this is happening to me,” I sob, “I-I-I-I’m so careful. Oh, the humanity!”

“Let me get my manager.”

A man with a slightly more decipherable accent gets on the line.

“Ma’am? Are you okay?”

I sniffle and snuffle, trying to suppress any laughter. I’m running out of material. I blow my nose, stalling, trying to figure out what to do next.

“No!” I shout into phone. “I’m not okay. My computer has been hacked by evil bastards who have nothing better to do than to prey on innocent people. I’m a good person. I volunteer. I look out for my neighbors. I eat right and exercise. I take my vitamins. I open doors for old ladies. Why would someone DO THIS TO ME?!?”

“I understand ma’am. It can be scary. But we’re here to help you.”

“I know you are. And I’m so very grateful. You are so kind. But I just can’t help but think of the horrible, hateful jerks who prey on the innocent. If they would just apply their considerable skills to doing good in the world just imagine what could be accomplished. Teach children programming skills. Help companies keep online information safe. Keep spam out of my inbox. Heck. Even cure cancer or solve world hunger. Do you think that could happen? Get the evil hackers to cure cancer?”



They know I’m onto them.



Ah, well. Hopefully, I kept them on the phone long enough to save another less-in-the-know soul from falling for their shenanigans.




Filed under Uncategorized