Tag Archives: parenthood

This Young Mom With Cancer Needs Our Help

Linda Shaver Gleason  has stage IV breast cancer. It’s spread to her spine. She is 31 years old and she has a little boy named Linus (and he has the cutest, chubby cheeks I’ve ever seen!). I don’t know Linda personally. She’s a friend of a friend, but I know she is a real person and that she needs our help.

Linda is a musicologist, a wife, and a mother. I find her story so compelling because, as a mom, one of my worst fears is not being here for my daughter. When I think about my daughter having to grow up without me guiding her, protecting her, and loving her I can’t sleep at night. When I watched the video of Linda with her son on the fund raising site youcaring.com I knew I had to do everything in my power to help her pay her medical bills. She needs to survive this cancer. As the video says, she has a lot to live for. We can help her do that by taking away some of the financial worries and burdens her family is experiencing. Her main focus needs to be on kicking cancer in the ass and reclaiming her health. I want to help her focus on being that kind of warrior.

This Young Mom With Cancer Needs Our Help


Tweet the fundraiser now:  


Linda’s music department started a fundraiser for her. You can visit it here: Help Linda Shaver-Gleason Survive Cancer. Read her story and watch the video. If you have a few extra dollars please consider donating to her fundraiser. If you don’t, please consider sharing her fundraiser with your friends, family, and community. It’s important that we help each other when we can. Generosity, compassion, and kindness are values we hold dear so let’s practice them by supporting this family through a time when they truly need a community filled with love to help them fight the good fight. There will be times in our own lives when we will need the help of others too. We may even need the help of strangers. All of the good we put out into the world comes back to us exponentially. It’s important to be good neighbors.

Will you help?

I’ve put the fundraising widget in my sidebar. As of today, they have 61 days left  to meet their goal. Please consider helping this family offset the costs of their medical bills.

Thank you!

What Did You Do At School Today?

Now that Tiny-Small has become an official preschool student I get to ask her the inevitable question: What did you do at school today? It’s a terrible question. I know. I just can’t resist asking. It’s a classic. I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that you aren’t supposed to ask kids that question anymore. All of the child psychologists agree that asking this question is a guaruantee that your child will use drugs and get pregnant by the age of 13. OK, that might be a slight exaggeration, but I do see a lot of lists, from bloggers much smarter than I ever hope to be, about the questions we should ask instead. It’s too bad I never clicked on one and actually read it.

Sometimes I do remember to ask her something else, but since I am usually experiencing my afternoon slump about the time she comes home, my questions are either lame or bizarre anyway. Sometimes I just get desperate for information. Take what happened today for instance…

Me: What did you do at school today?

T.S.: I don’t know.

Me: Did you learn a new letter?

T.S.: No.

Me: Did you play with kids?

T.S.: <shrugs>

Me: Did you see any dragons? I hear that school of yours is infested with them.

T.S.: No! There was a dead bug. It was so big.

Me: Really? Wow. What happened to it? Did someone step on it?

T.S.: I want a snack.

This kid could get a job with the FBI or CIA right now. She knows how to keep secrets better than I do. The other day when she came home wearing a different dress than she left home in my first though was: There’s a good story behind this wardrobe change I just know it. So I asked.

Me: What happened at school today?

T.S.: Nothing.

Me: Why did you change clothes?

T.S.: I didn’t.

Me: You were wearing a different dress this morning.

T.S.: I wanted to wear this one.

Me: Did you spill something on it?

T.S.: There was a big girl in my class today with a heart shirt on.

Me: Oh yeah? What was her name?

T.S.: She ate lunch.

Me: Was she nice?

T.S.: I want a snack.

Me: Did you see any dragons today? Maybe one flying by the window?

T.S.: No. Dragons would burn the school down.

It’s weird to send your kids out into the world with practical strangers and get so little information about their day in return. The only clue I usually get is what she ate for lunch when I find a half eaten apple in her lunchbox and a squished sandwich at the bottom of her backpack. Sometimes the teacher sends a picture she made at school home. Those are my jackpot days.

What did you do at school today?
Drawing by Tiny-Small, age 4.

Tiny-Small drew me twice in this picture. Once as some kind of fertility goddess and once as what can only be a dragon-like streak in the sky. I was overjoyed by my obvious importance in the picture, only surpassed by the amazing Milo who is obviously her favorite person at school.

Maybe I should start asking more questions about him and less about those pesky dragons?

Meanwhile, even though she is only 4 I guess I have to get used to her having her own life and space. It’s like she’s 4 going on twenty. My head is already spinning.


What Do I Teach My Daughter About Rape?

I’ve been reading stories written by rape victims lately. There are so many and the topic is all over the news and I keep asking myself what do I teach my daughter about rape? My first instinct is to tell her all of the ways to avoid it, but there aren’t any concrete ways to avoid it. I want so desperately to protect her, but I can’t. This is the world we live in. I feel so helpless and so angry.

I recently heard a story where a man broke the window in the door, reached in, unlocked the door and let himself in. My first thought was there should never be windows by doors. Then, there should never be windows on the first floor. Then, windows on the second floor can be reached by a ladder. I’m going to tell my daughter to live without windows? To never go outside? To never leave the house? Well, we all know never leaving the house doesn’t prevent rape either, and then, I am right back where I started. How do I prevent something like this from happening? I can’t come up with any solutions.

All of the tips I can come up with don’t really help anyone avoid getting raped. They only help people avoid getting blamed for their rape and, actually, that’s just a facade too. There really isn’t anything you can do to avoid getting blamed for your own rape either. If you go out at night people will say you shouldn’t have been out at night. If you wear the wrong clothes, say the wrong thing, drink the wrong drink, don’t shut your blinds one night, smile at the wrong person once, go to the wrong party, go to the library, go to work or stay home (but have a window in your door or in your house) you will probably hear some insinuations that the rape was likely your own fault. That maybe you could have prevented it by never leaving home, never having windows, never smiling at anyone, never working, never going to the library, or by wearing different clothes. This is ridiculous and it makes me angry.

Maybe we can’t stop rape from occurring, but we most certainly can do something about our cultures blame the victim mentality. How much more pain are we inflicting on women by blaming them for something they could not prevent from happening?  Something they had no control over? Something that was not their fault? That indignity can be spared. That evil can be stopped. That thought process can be extinguished.

I may never be able to give my daughter step by step instructions that will allow her to avoid being raped at some point in her life. I do hope, however, that I will be able to tell her that if she is raped, society will believe her and that our judicial system will at least respect her as a human being and take the crime committed against her seriously. I hope she won’t have to feel ashamed about seeking help and justice. I hope she won’t have to suffer further by enduring blame for her own victimization. I hope, when she grows up, that she lives in a different world than we do now.

This is what I will teach my daughter about rape. I will teach her that rape happens. I will teach her that rape victims are often blamed instead of the rapist. I will tell her all of the reasons this is wrong. I will tell her that women who speak out are brave. I will tell her that speaking out is the only way we can change the way people think. I will tell her that no matter what happens to her she must never lose her voice. She must never doubt herself. I will also enroll her in self defense courses, teach her to use pepper spray, and pray that nothing bad ever happens to her, because in the end that’s all I can really do.