All posts tagged mom

Momma Montessori


My parents put me into a Montessori school right off the bat.

I’m pretty sure they couldn’t afford it, honestly, but both of my parents came from backgrounds that emphasized education. College was a must. Intellect was a stated goal when raising children.

When we transplanted to Chicago and out of the “East Coast System” I think that paying for Montessori was partly a selfish parental attempt to prove they weren’t the ones with the dumb country kids amongst a litany of thirty-odd brilliant ivy-league-destined cousins.

The truth though?

It was mostly a belief in a non-traditional way of developing young minds. In 1986, no less.

It shaped me.

Learning to learn in the way that Montessori teaches you to learn had a profound influence on the way my mind works.


I remember learning French before I could read.

I remember my teacher pulling me aside one day and saying it was time to see if I was ready to read a chapter book.


I was the first in class to do this (or my 7 year old self I thought I was)…and I remember being proud. Even prouder when we were done and she bursted out with “you just read a chapter book!”

We took care of animals and learned math with our hands and had to clean up after lunch and snack time. Our days were spent solving puzzles and moving on to harder puzzles at the pace that made sense for each of us.


Montessori people can be spotted.

Their minds explore…and they have a refreshingly calm sense of the way their own mind works.


Mom began teaching. At the Montessori school they sent me to. The one I don’t think they could afford.

Momma dove into educating children The Montessori Way because she was a true believer.  She was setting little humans up to be great humans. She was also making it more affordable to give her son and two daughters the Montessori experience.

She’d have done road construction to make that kind of thing happen for us three.


Momma’s a child-whisperer. Momma turns kids into Rocket Ships of Goodness.

Today she runs the school that started me down my intellectual path. Down my emotional path.

Down the path that made me who I am today.

For two decades she’s given the gift I sit here and appreciate in a deeper way than I could ever articulate to thousands of children.

I know she doesn’t think her heart has room for anyone else when she thinks about me and my two sisters, but she’s wrong.

Her legend is in her capacity to deeply care about every single child that she has ever set eyes on, ever.

Her legend is how she makes her children the luckiest people in the world.

Our mother has the biggest heart.

We win.

My mother should raise the planet, from where I’m standing.


Tell me something about your mom?


My Mom Thinks I Write Well, So

I get so worried about writing well that I reason away nearly everything that pops into my head as it relates to writing about it here.

Every single day I see or hear or read or do or watch something that turns itself into words and sentences that would best serve torecount it all the way I’m experiencing it.  Sentences get reworked and reordered and I think about these things three different ways just mulling over the way I’d write it to convey what it is in a way that would make sense to you.

Whoever you are.

That’s the thing, right?  I don’t know who you are.

You could be my mom.  Hi mom.  I know you’re probably there, thanks to the wonderment that is Facebook and my feeding every piece of my digital life into its gushing lifestream.  Amazing shit, right mom?  I told you all along this stuff wasn’t just here to stay…I told you it’d reshape the way we could all communicate.  I think I even said that all this new scary and seemingly distracting technology was bringing us all closer to one another.  That were now at one another’s fingertips.

I bet you didn’t think you’d be reading my diary on Facebook, wishing I wasn’t so far away right now, huh?

I miss you too.

The rest of you could be people I know and love, or maybe you’re a blogger who’s been hanging out with me in this weird party for the last few years.  It’s okay that I’m not sure who you are.  It shouldn’t really matter.

I mean it matters.  Of course.  You definitely matter, no matter who you are.

I not only worry about writing well because I want to be able to write well.  I think it might actually be more of a need than a want, honestly.  I think I love how writing allows you to deliberately try to communicate clearly.  With precision.  With deeper emotion, a way to talk without your voice getting in the way.  Truly communicating is a holy grail for humanity; to feel known and understood.  I need to think I can use words to really be known.

No, I worry about you guys, too, and I want to write well in front of you.  I wonder about you and I wonder why you might spend a few minutes reading the sentences that do finally get to my keyboard from all of those splashes of inspiration that the world keeps throwing at me.  Back in the day I used to just throw words at the screen.  Early and often.

I used to say fuck the filter and fuck the rest stops and seriously fuck it all: writing is heroic.  The act of it moreso than the product when you think about blogging, because in the end blogging isn’t about the endgame.

There’s no book to sell and we stopped putting ads on our blogs before I ever started.  We’re not closing in on the sale here…we’re driving with the top down and life is passing us by and we’re gonna try and share it all with one another.

Or I’m gonna try and share that with you, anyway.

Writing well be damned.

Return To Chicago

I made it back to Chicago.  I was about three days late and I’m short a puppy, but I’m here.

A puppy?  How could I be short a puppy?

Well, I left him in New York, that’s how…my mother was nice enough to take him this week while she’s still up in the mountains and I’m running around in circles back here so he gets the better end of that deal anyway.  Bonding time with grandma, I suppose.

I should be careful using that term though, considering my inability to produce real grandchildren for my mother; something not lost on my Aunts last week, let me tell you.

The mountains and the lake and the cabin life was really great; I forget every year how relaxing a world can be without technology moving it along at it’s hefty clip.  We have a family golf tournament early in the week on one of the world’s most beat up golf courses on earth and the golf carts are probably the most advanced technology in the whole town.  I think the local library just operates on your word that you’ll return their books.

Everyone settles into that pace, as if it’s more natural than the one we’re all a part of out here.  Life’s slower.  Meals are bigger events.  Books get read.  Then they get discussed.

Last Sunday we had a bit of a brunch for my fallen uncle; it was followed by a big barbecue in his honor that afternoon.  It rained right in between but during neither event, and all day I found myself asking here and there if anyone had the time.  As in, had a watch, cell phone, or had seen a clock.

Not one person had any clue.  More than one said, “I haven’t know what time it was since I left home and came here”.

It says something.  But what does it say?

Photo by kennymatic


Burglar with flashlight cracking safe combination

The morning got off to quite a start, the rare energy to get the gasoline I needed for my incredibly demanding car unexpectedly manifesting itself like a leprechaun might to a drunk Irish sailor.  The fear of one of life’s most humiliating circumstances; sitting deflated along a busy rush hour highway praying someone might take mercy on your idiocy, for running out of gas is the folly of adolescents.

Really a gorgeous day by most measures; the crowds waiting at the Division Street bus stop have finally softened their features and found a calm about their five minute wait for the next bus.  A month ago the anger was poignant, the devil in us all had had quite enough of the piercing winds and the lingering weirdos and the fact that no matter what, no matter how early you could get yourself bundled and get yourself outside and get yourself miserably to the bus stop there was someone who seemed to live there who had the right to actually sit on one of the three bus stop seats and get on the bus before you.

This morning I watched her lean up against the bus sign pole, reading a chick lit novel with brown leather boots to her calf, a business casual skirt and a blouse, her body language suggesting she would assess the commotion when the bus arrived, happy to wait for a later one.  Happy to stand there all day, really.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the attitudinal universe, some stupid neanderthal spent this morning executing a plan to rob my parents.

His (or her) notion at the sign of this long-awaited sunshine was to preface his breakfast with a five finger discount, leaving my mother in tears and her children hungry for revenge.

Who are these people, who live in whitebread American suburbs and scout unsuspecting hard-working families’ homes for credit cards and cash?  What circumstance causes the darkness to bubble up from within, necessitating a violation intimate enough to change an aging couple’s behavior forever, but so infantile that even a police officer probably won’t have time to care.

Where is your self-worth?

Ours is a typical neighborhood, with one-acre lots, unimpressive architecture, and unexciting landscape.   There is no cover, and no incentive to wander between homes looking for loot.  Two or three bedrooms, an attached garage, and every once in while a pool or a trampoline; we have neither.  The biggest take with any effort would probably be a mini-van…there’s plenty of those.

This morning someone woke up and couldn’t remember what humanity meant, and in the world we Chicagoans live in that’s a hard thing to forget in early May.  That person entered our kitchen and took some cash and some gift cards; my mother collects Lettuce Entertain You gift cards in a way that might surprise you.  She’s too nice of a woman to call LYE and ask that they be replaced; “not in this economy“.

I honestly hope it was worth it.