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Sharon’s Blog : Another Teenager in the House

Posted by Sharon O'Donnell on 2013/08/10 14:24:04



Last week, my ‘baby’ turned 13. For so long, he has played the role of my ‘little boy’, younger brother to Billy and David who are 9 and 6 years older than he is, respectively. As the older ones grew up, started shaving, driving, dating, and going to college — I could always think to myself, “But I’ve still got my little guy at home.” Alas, he is not little any longer. Not in attitude and not in stature. He is almost as tall as I am, and I’m 5 feet 10 inches tall. And that teen mentality of eye rolling and ‘okay Mom’ comments just to appease me have set in to stay for a while. He used to keep his room pretty clean and organized, but lately, his room has become a mess. As an older mom who has been through this twice before quite a few years ago, I sometimes question my stamina to go through it again. It is tiring, emotionally and physically. I hate that he — and I — have to get up at 6:15 to make it to middle school in time. And 7th grade math is indeed quite challenging for a math-deficient mom like myself to try to help with homework. I think this is about the time my middle son got a math tutor. Something to think about to save my sanity.

Sharon’s Blog : And I Mean That Literally — Plus an Update

Posted by Sharon O'Donnell on 2013/05/01 00:40:05

hought it was time for an updated photo here, so here it is. At my nephew’s wedding. Looking at the photo from left to right on front, David, age 18; Jason with red tie, age 12; me; husband Kevin is at the back left of photo and Billy, age 21, is behind me. Mom of men, huh?  Glad I have my 12-year-old! 

Sharon’s Blog : Great advice on the message board

Posted by Sharon O'Donnell on 2013/02/18 11:55:08

Hi ladies, I keep most of the messages on the message board because i think that some of the older posts on the board can still speak to a mom or moms looking for something on a particular topic. There is a lot of good advice, plus some humorous, healthy venting from moms on the message board. Recently, I saw some words of wisdom on the message board — that now as my two oldest sons are in college — I can really relate to.

Sharon’s Blog : Boys & Men Expressing Themselves

Posted by Sharon O'Donnell on 2012/12/07 21:10:42

The recent murder-suicide tragedy with the Kansas City Chiefs player was incredibly sad. I’m sure there are several underlying reasons as to what led the player to do what he did. But I read an article that focused on the possibility that  part of the player’s problem could be because he was kept his emotions to himself until he couldn’t handle them any longer. Society does indeed seem to perpetuate that image of men who don’t express themselves because it’s not manly.

Sharon’s Blog : Keeping Our Children Safe

Posted by Sharon O'Donnell on 2012/07/23 18:00:32

Published originally at 

We are all heartbroken and shocked over what happened at the movie theater in Colorado. We look at the reports on TV and empathize with the family members and friends of victims interviewed. The fact that it was in a movie theater of all places intensifies the disbelief because our children have probably all been in a movie theater before. As a matter of fact, my two oldest sons were at the Dark Knight Batman movie premier on Thursday night at midnight also — of course that was Eastern Standard Time, while Colorado goes by mountain time. By the time I knew of the events in Colorado, it was morning, and my sons were already home safe and sound. Still, the fact that they were at the same event — just not at the same place — is enough to send extra chills down my spine. My oldest son is a huge movie fan; when he was a sophomore in high school and too young to drive, I accompanied him to a midnight James Bond premier, knowing that movies were one of his biggest passions. He’d bought tickets for the Batman premiere with college buddies weeks ago, while my middle son, age 18, bought tickets just a day before the show when he and some of his friends decided to attend.

Ironically, earlier on the day of the shooting, my 18-year-old, David, said some of his friends were going to go to a river about 30 miles away where there was a rope swing. He wanted to know if he could go too. David and his friends have done lots of things together from soccer games to Frisbee to swimming to trampolines, to golf. Some of them played on the same high school baseball team as David, so they are used to playing together. I kind of get the sense that they are all so busy doing these things this summer because it is the last summer before college, the last summer that perhaps they will all be around in this area to do these things together. I was glad they’ve been having fun together. But going to jump in a river with currents and no lifeguard nearby? This gave me pause, especially since there had been 3 drownings at other rivers in the past several weeks. I knew my son was 18, but I was still his parent. I told him I didn’t want him to go, to which he replied, “Please, Mom.” I just didn’t feel right about it. “David,” I told him, “I don’t feel comfortable with it, and I need you to respect that.” And he did. He hung around the house until he went to meet his friends around 10:30 to go to the movie premiere.

And that’s the thing. I was so uptight about the river, and then the shootings happened in Colorado at a movie theater — a place I never worried about being safe. As a parent, that makes me feel very out of control because I can no longer tell where it’s safe and where it’s not safe. So how do I fulfill my responsibilities as a parent? I can’t stop my sons from experiencing life and having fun, but at the same time, I want them to use good judgment and make wise decisions. However, making wise decisions is sometimes not enough to keep safe. Instead, safety seems to be random, seems to be for those who are ‘lucky’. It is a hard thing for anyone to accept, but for parents, it goes against everything our instincts tell us to do in protecting our children.

That hurts. So as we watch the terrible shooting events unfold on TV, we empathize with the parents who have lost children, knowing how incredibly empty they must feel. But to show my own children the you still have to live life, I took my youngest son to see the Batman movie the night after the shootings. But that night I have to admit, when the regular announcement was played about locating the exits nearest you, I looked around and did so and even planned in my mind what I would do if I needed to get my son out of there quickly. And then I settled back in my seat to watch Batman’s tales in Gotham, where even there it’s sometimes hard to tell who the good guys and bad guys are.