Sunday is Mother’s Day.

I won’t be with my kids. They’re in Chicago. I’m in Charlotte.

I will see them in 25 days. Yes, I am counting. My own mother lost her battle to cancer when I was 18.

Mother’s Day is a mix of emotions for me. Maybe it is for you, too. It’s the day I miss having a mom and it’s the day I decided to start my business.

On my very first Mother’s Day, I found myself alone in a hotel room in St. Louis at a sales convention. What did I get for Mother’s Day that day? A bronze paper weight in the shape of Missouri. I still have it. It stays in its black velvet pouch.

Little did I know our daughter would have two brothers and I’d be something that was very unusual at the time, a work-at-home small business owner.

Although I never did want to become a Mommy Blogger, I did write a few posts for the Silicon Valley Chicago Moms Blog. I reread one today. And, the memories came rushing back.

Whether you’re a mom or a dad or a son or a daughter, I hope you’ll take some time to write about the memories your family is making. I wish I would’ve have written more posts like this, but I was caught up in the conflict of family vs. business. Would people really want to know about life? How much should I tell them? I’m so glad I took the time to capture these moments from 10 years ago.

Graduation Round Two

It hit me early, last fall.

At the end of season soccer banquet, I took pictures of our son and a friend he’s known since he was four, both handsome and grown-up young men I didn’t really recognize, yet know all too well.

I realized: this is it. My second time around as a high school mom was quickly coming to an end.

Soon, I will transition out of a community we first entered over a dozen years ago, the families of the class of 2010.  Our relationships will be bonded only by shared memories. The day to day in the moment experiences that punctuated our collective lives, like game scores and science projects, English papers, school dances and choir concerts, will fade away.

I know the feeling well. My first time around as high school mom wrapped up in 2007; the buildup to our daughter’s graduation was incredible.

Fashion matters gave us excuses to shop – a lot. I got called in as a consultant when she fretted over which prom frock looked best – the green one won out. A pink strapless dress became her senior fashion show runway hallmark. We shopped for the just right graduation outfit and the shoes to go with it.

All junior and senior year I compared notes with other moms about college searches. Following the advice to see it all, my daughter and I made six enthusiastic campus visits and purchased six lovely college t-shirts. We sat in orientation sessions, rode shuttle buses, sampled cafeteria food, toured entire campuses, and had a great time seeing the future together. With so much information to sort through, stressing out over making perfect decisions about majors, housing and roommates seemed all part of the plan.

When she opened the acceptance letter from the most competitive school on her list, we both teared up. Going away to college was the biggest step in our collective lives. Emotionally, I kept quiet about how much I would miss her when we moved her into her dorm room.

But . . .the perfect college turned out to be a mismatch. She changed schools and majors after the first semester.

Three years later I’m a different kind of high school mom. A mom who understands that kids change, dreams morph and the college path can take twists and turns, ups and downs as it weaves around the bend on its way to success. I’m more relaxed, confident and prepared.

This time, senior year was almost too breezy. Boys really are, in some ways, easier than girls. Need new jeans? Go online. Need news shoes? Go online. It’s that easy! Who needs to hang around a mall for hours and hours when you can click and buy with iTunes playing in the background?

This time, there is no indecision, only certain direction. Our son already has college credits in his chosen major: film. Two college visits to schools in Chicago took up less than six hours total. We bought one t-shirt and shared two lunches, one with a friend’s son. Each visit was more about celebrating creative spirit than evaluating curriculum.

Our son’s single request for graduation attire arrived on Wednesday: red suede skateboard shoes. He’ll stand out, but that’s okay. Because . . . everyone expects him to. After all, he was the only boy who wore a plaid fedora to eighth grade graduation. Yes, he had to check it at the door. [For proof – see the image accompanying this post.]

At graduation, I’ll watch the seniors with anticipation and congratulations. There’s no looking back this time, only forward. I can’t wait to see how they bring their passions alive in the world. And me? I’m a progressive class of 2013 high school mom who’s looking forward to making my triple, and last, play. The third time’s a charm, right?


When Barbara isn’t humming Pomp and Circumstance, she writes about branding and media over at Wired PR Works. This is an original post via Chicago Moms Blog.