Photo taken by Red

I registered for Parent & Family Weekend even before my daughter left for her freshman year at college. Yes, I'm that parent, although I'll claim it's because I'm so organized. Yes, I started missing her even before she left (if that's possible). And yet it seemed like only yesterday, not a month ago, that we said good-bye and I became an empty nester.

Of course, being the straight-A student (some things you never outgrow), I studied the weekend's schedule of events and not just knew when, but where, each was taking place. And I couldn't help but notice there were several blocks of "downtime". Obviously, the school already knew what I was about to find out. Sometimes it's what's not on the schedule that really matters.

It was walking together to Kroger to get her "essentials" (Campbell's soup, Banquet chicken pot pies, and Cotton Candy grapes, although, much to my surprise, no ramen) and telling me about her idea to apply for an internship because classes are great, but she also wants real-life experience. It was not being able to decide where she wanted to go for dinner and instead ending up in her dorm room, her on her bed and me on the throw pillows on the floor, eating not Domino's pizza (although it was considered) but delivery from Noodles & Company and watching Survivor.

A few hours later, it was her walking me across the incredibly beautiful campus of Belmont University filled with majestic buildings, to the "circle" where everyone picks up their Uber, telling me that she's going to meet up with friends. Which made sense as I've heard so much about the people she's met and the many friends she's made, even meeting some of them. And it was the weekend after all.

But then she said something that totally caught me by surprise. Later she was going to study for several hours as that's her nightly routine (often starting after midnight). And, unlike me, who primarily focused on getting good grades, she explained that she loves her classes and truly wants to learn the material. Not for the test. Not for the grade. But to have the knowledge for when she graduates.

And on the Uber ride back to the hotel, I realized,

Parents Weekend is all about reassurance. Reassurance that she's happy and confident, and becoming the person that every parent hopes and dreams their child will become. It was my daughter, through her unprompted words and actions, during the "downtime" of Parent & Family Weekend, that brought me smiles and laughter. And without even knowing it, she reassured me that she was in the right place – literally and figuratively.
Photo by enviromantic for iStock

red head

I know I shouldn’t say this, but I can’t stand N95 masks! They make me feel like a duck.


That quacks me up. Regardless, they are much more effective than cloth masks. And, FYI, they do come in different shapes.

I just wish they were more comfortable.
Keep Reading ... Show less
Photo by bhofack2 for iStock

Popcorn. Just the thought of popcorn makes me smile, makes me want to indulge, makes me happy. And I’m guessing my popcorn obsession makes Black roll her eyes (although she might admit it can be a healthy snack). However, plenty of people must love popcorn as much as I do. Why else would there be a National Popcorn Day?!

Over the past few years, the pandemic posed challenges that none of us could’ve foreseen (and I’ll never forget the dedication of the front-line workers or make light of the sacrifices so many had to make). But part of me has to laugh at the irony because it ended my seemingly easy “escape” from the stresses of life – going to the movies and enjoying the largest bucket of popcorn – when I needed it the most.

Keep Reading ... Show less
Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

red head

Well, it’s our first column of the year. A new beginning. Any “new” ideas for topics? Something other than New Year’s resolutions.


Is there a reason you do not want to talk about resolutions?

Obviously, yours was not to ask fewer questions.

Black (use0

That will never happen, but you are avoiding the question. Why?


Because every year, I have a long list of things I want to do, and I start strong, but within a few months, I fall back into old habits. Sometimes it only takes weeks. It’s frustrating and disappointing.

Black (use)

Next question. What is the opposite of “old?"
Keep Reading ... Show less