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Drivers’ Ed Again by Sharon O’Donnell


My youngest son, Jason, just completed the classroom portion of Driver’s Education, that iconic rite of passage for teens and a major step on their road to independence.  As the mom of two older sons who have long ago traversed the week-long daily classes from 8:00 to 2:30, this is my third time around — not to mention my own DE class that was held in the very same high school class that my three sons took it. But with each one comes that sense of dread — of wanting my sons to be safe and to impart my years of driving wisdom to them.  In looking for Driver’s Ed material among my documents, I came across the following bit I wrote in a blog seven years ago when my middle son, now 22, was about to get his license.  I think it still applies today:

 

  Driving is very much in the news in my own home since my 15-year-old son, David, recently received his learner’s permit. My oldest son, who is 18, didn’t have quite the same Driver’s Ed course as David did.  The questions on David’s on-line quizzes covered much more information than the basics I remember Continue reading..

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One More Game by Sharon O’Donnell


My middle son played high school basketball and baseball throughout his entire four years. He could have played college baseball, but the anxiety that he struggled with in high school made him lose his drive and passion for baseball — not his skill — he still made all-tourney teams and played well.  In college, he no longer played a competitive sport, and all that practice time went into studying. He is now a senior and will graduate in December with a degree in accounting from North Carolina State University with a 3.5 GPA or higher.

But I’ve missed watching him play baseball and basketball. He had been a terrific player on the JV high school basketball team, sometimes scoring 20 plus points a game, and I loved to see the intensity with which he played the game. As a junior, he was basically a player who was inserted into the lineup when the team needed a three pointer, and he usually delivered – – but playing time was mostly for the seniors, which we understood. When he was a senior, he started out the first game (as pro player John Wall watched) with five of his teams first ten points … Continue reading..

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Size Evidently Does Matter by Sharon O’Donnell


I’ve had a Facebook page for years and have had a Twitter account for several years too, although I don’t know how to use all the Twitter or my I Phone’s features. One of my nephews recently showed me how to take a photo of a screen shot of a text. Earlier this week while waiting in my car in a parking lot, I decided to take a screen shot of a text and then sent it via Twitter to the  Twitter account of a local sports talk show on the radio.  My middle son had texted me something the previous night regarding a basketball game between NC State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He texted that the key match-up in the game would be that of Justin Jackson for UNC and Maverick Rowan for NC State because Rowan could not possibly guard Jackson, who is much quicker. My son sent this before the game even began.  NC State came out and took a 13 point lead and was really hot, until yes — Justin Jackson went on a 12 point scoring tear midway through the first half, helping the UNC Tar Heels catch up … Continue reading..

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It’s Not About the Decorating by Sharon O’Donnell


This was a very hectic time this year right before the holidays with some family sicknesses, the death of a family friend, the birth of a great niece, and some traveling. My youngest son was also wrapping up his first semester of high school, a very demanding feat. Before I knew it, it was the week before Christmas, and I still didn’t have any decorations up or candy or cookies made. I’d done a lot of shopping, but none were wrapped — and some I’d have to go into closets and try to find.

My oldest son who has always been sentimental about Christmas has his own apartment now, so he wasn’t around to prompt me to decorate early or to help with the effort. And our two-story house does require some effort. The electric candles in the windows have always been a staple of our decorations, but they are always such a pain to put up; first, you have to move furniture to get to the blinds, and then you have to get the candle behind the blinds and find somewhere within reach of the cord to plug them into. At least, for the past two years, I got … Continue reading..

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Mom of Men by Sharon O’Donnell


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When my oldest son moved into his first ‘real’ apartment two months ago, I wondered how long it would take before he started calling there ‘home’ instead of the house he grew up in and lived in for most of his 24 years.  I have to admit that I cringed when I heard it slip out over Thanksgiving for the first time. Up until then, he was still calling our house ‘home’, but my husband and I overheard him telling a relative that he was going to watch the Panthers football game that afternoon. “Where are you going to watch it?” the relative asked. Our son paused and he nodded his head toward my husband and me, as he replied, “Over at their house.”   THEIR house???  My husband was quick to respond, “You mean OUR house.”  But the damage was done.  The transition had been made — the time had arrived.

I’m pleased that our son is obviously enjoying living in his new single apartment complete with the independence that comes with it, but we do miss him. Same goes for our senior in college who also has another “home” away from our house — although it is an old … Continue reading..

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Aunt Mary Stewart by Sharon O’Donnell


My Aunt Mary Stewart died last week at the grand age of 100 years old. She was the epitome of the Southern lady, full of goodness, hospitality, faith, and words of wisdom.  Back in March, our whole family got together to celebrate her 100th birthday, and this photo was taken then of her and her great-grandchildren.

AuntMaryStewart

 

She loved her family dearly — her three sons and daughter, her grandchildren, and these great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and her two younger brothers — the only two siblings left of the 12 children her parents brought into the world. My father, 91, is one of those brothers, along with the baby of the family, my Uncle Ben, who is in his 80s.  My sister and I had the honor of driving these two men to the funeral services for their beloved older sister, and I have to say it broke my heart to see the two of them sitting there in the church — once part of such a huge family that has now dwindled down to two of the original 12.  I like to envision my Aunt Mary Stewart arriving in heaven into the arms of her late husband, Mack, her 9 … Continue reading..

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Furniture Shopping with My Oldest Son by Sharon O’Donnell


So my oldest son is done with grad school, passed most of his CPA exams, and is preparing to start his first ‘real’ full-time job with a major accounting firm in a few weeks. He just officially moved into his first apartment — a one bedroom apartment with a 2nd floor pool view and right in the middle of lots of restaurants and shops.  And his closet is bigger than the walk-in closet my husband and I share.  Actually, ours is  more of a -step into — not a walk into.

My son, Billy,  still doesn’t have all the furniture he needs since he was starting from scratch.  The main thing on his priority list was a TV stand. Still no sofa or chair in his living area, but hey, that’s okay. I have to admit, I have really enjoyed the time I’ve spent looking at apartments and furniture with him. I relish it. Of course, shopping for anything is not his thing at all — so it’s not like we exchange ideas about style or decor; basically, he is simply looking for something inexpensive and a reclining sofa with cup holders. I knew we would be looking for just … Continue reading..

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New website about promoting uplifting high school literature by Sharon O’Donnell


For the past three weeks, my project has been developing a website called Uplit.org, a site dedicated to promoting more uplifting literature in high school English classes. The bleak, depressing literature reading assignments –  that have traditionally been accepted as the norm — have bothered me ever since my middle son had severe anxiety issues during his junior year of high school, and I discovered that during this time, he had been reading a novel in which two people try to commit suicide.  That was not the only one he read that year that involved suicide.  This, of course, didn’t cause my son’s anxiety by itself, but it might have been a contributing factor. I couldn’t help but think what would his mood have been like if he had been reading something more uplifting — would it have had an effect?

As my husband and I worked with our son to get him through his struggles, he was our priority; yet, I still thought about the literature issue and vowed to look into it at some point.  Since 2010, I’ve gathered info about it. With my youngest son now going into his freshman year of high school, the issue is … Continue reading..

Go to New website about promoting uplifting high school literature by Sharon O’Donnell

Getting Carded at 53 by Sharon O’Donnell


This past week, I went to Target with my soon-to-be 15-year-old son to buy the new Batman video game. The game is rated ‘mature’, so my son gave me his money so I could purchase it since he is under 18. When I handed the cashier — a guy who was probably in his early twenties — the money, he said, “Could I see some ID please?”  I was confused because I thought he was asking my son for his ID.

I told the cashier, “I’m the one buying it.”

“Yes, I know,” he replied. “But I need to see your ID.”

I glanced at him and asked, “Seriously?”

“You have to be over 18 to buy it.”

I narrowed my eyes at him, as if to tell him to stop playing with me or patronizing me or whatever he was doing. “Come on,” I said.

“We have to make sure you are over 18.”

Ok, I would have been flattered had it not been so outrageously obvious that I was definitely over 18. If I had to have been over 40 and he was carding me, then THAT would have been flattering because 40 was a hell of a … Continue reading..

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Thank You, John Denver by Sharon O’Donnell


As high school and college graduations have come to end, I paused to think about my own, as well as the graduations of my two oldest sons (the most recent was

my oldest son’s graduation from the Master of Accounting program at the University of Virginia.  The words to a John Denver song — the song that got me through high

school with its inspiration — always come back to me at this time of year. The song is called “Looking for Space”, and it is a masterpiece. I listened to it this week for the first time in a long

while, and it still is magical to me. So here is a link to it, followed by my oldest son’s graduation photo. Please listen. Should be the class song of every graduation class, expresses so much that the soul cannot articulate.

Thank you, John Denver.

 

billygraduation

 … Continue reading..

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