Words & Banter

Insight From A Volleyball Mom

Photo by Matt Brown on iStock

DISCLAIMER AND WARNING: I'm a proud volleyball mom. Black knows this. And, I suspect, she tolerates it most of the time, although that's not to say she isn't proud of her youngest niece. But for those proud moms and dads out there, and those around you, you know we can sometimes over exaggerate our kid's accomplishments. (Wait, really? We do that?) Guess what. There may be something we're overlooking. Something many parents are overlooking …

So, Black and I are in the midst of updating this site with our 2020 monthly newspaper columns from earlier in the year and she sends me our March column, RED & BLACK … Leaders All Around Us, to proof. I hadn't read the column since it was initially published, and it's all about leadership and the skills that leaders possess which makes me think about my daughter, Sawyer. Yes, I think she has great technical skills as a setter. (Remember, I warned you about being a proud volleyball mom.) But re-reading the column made me realize that her skills as a leader is what distinguishes her and greatly contributes to her success, not just on the court but in life.

I'd be happy to bore you with examples, but Black would no doubt take out her electronic red pencil and delete it from this post. And right about now, I know she's thinking, "Is there a point to this post?" Well, it's this … leadership skills are all around us, including in our children. We love our kids so much that it's easy to get wrapped up in their tangible accomplishments. Or, sometimes we neglect to see that not all accomplishments are obvious. As one parent to another, I'm hoping that if you don't already see your kids as the leaders they may already be, that you think of them as the leaders they may have the ability to become.

Life can change in an instant, and the repercussions not only begin instantly but will forever change your life. And often, the lives of others.

However, there was no way to know on that rainy Friday, Red’s crisis would be the start of her journey to take control of her life instead of letting her life control her. It wasn’t surprising that Black’s version of that day was very different, but that may have contributed to the creation of Red & Black … and our journey filled with many detours …

So, curious how Red & Black started? Well, on the surface, it would seem our journey started with the launch of the book I co-authored with my sister, What I Learned About Life When My Husband Got Fired! But we all know that what leads up to the "start" of a journey can be just as important, and sometimes even more important. It's like a vacation, the actual vacation falls somewhere in the middle – after the planning and packing and before the post-vacation "recovery" phases that always seen to include lots of laundry.

But I digress (warning, I do that a lot). The real beginning of the journey started on a rainy Friday in January 2004.

Keep Reading ...Show less
Photo by Walter Bibikow on Alamy
Red may be the theater major and movie fanatic, but when we talk about women’s equality and role models, ironically, I am the one who brings up movie and television characters. (Although she keeps trying to convince me that I am a role model.) Maybe because my favorite movie character is Scarlett in “Gone With The Wind,” and growing up, I was inspired by Marlo Thomas and “That Girl.” But once I learned the backstory of “I Love Lucy,” I realized Lucille Ball was the ultimate badass …

I Love Lucy. For many of us, myself included, those three words bring back memories of favorite episodes of the “I Love Lucy” show. And, although I would be hard-pressed to pick my favorites, some may reminisce that the show, which ran from 1951 – 1957, was from a simpler time and is dated. I would argue that the comic timing, the gags, and the chemistry of the characters have stood the test of time.

Maybe it is because they took frustrating situations in everyday life and then pushed them to the extreme – and made them hilarious along the way. For example, your young child wants a superhero at their birthday party. Reasonable. But for Lucy, after unsuccessfully trying to book Superman (Chris Reeves), she dons the costume in “Lucy and Superman.” A classic.

Keep Reading ...Show less
Photo by alzay on iStock

It may seem odd to talk about footprints in the snow when most of us are experiencing record heat. But, as we all go through our busy days, it is easy to overlook how the steps we take in life, whether intentional or unplanned, good or bad, lead us to where we are today. And, while it is easy to focus on the past, the future is an untrodden path, waiting for our next step …

Back in 2004, I met an older couple participating in a Ferrari rally, and after a deep conversation over a long lunch, they became dear friends. It was an event that would change my life in many ways, and several months later, shortly after my husband “surprised” me with a divorce, the husband sent me an email that so moved me that I put it in my “Blue Book”. (A Circa planner with a blue leather cover, hence the name, that includes not only my calendars but also a section with a few things I re-read on a regular basis.)

Last month, he passed away. I always made a point of letting them know that “Footprints” had become an important part of my life. They are words to live by. And, in honor of my dear friend, who is loved and missed, I want to share that email. With no edits … as we do not get to edit our lives …

Keep Reading ...Show less