Class of 2017


I remember sitting in class in college while the teacher taught about the different areas of interpreting. I remember outright dismissing educational interpreting. I don’t do mornings. REALLY DON’T do mornings. Especially ones as early as school starts. I did not take the educational interpreting classes. I was NOT going to work in a school.

School found me. 5 years ago I landed in middle school with 3 of the sweetest little boys you’ve ever seen. “Mine” was going through a rough time and was a handful, to say the least, but I’d been there too and I understood and adored him. He’d move on to another high school after freshman year, but I’d get to stay with the other 2.

In the 5 years that I have been with these boys I have watched them go through so much. I have watched awkward, clumsy 14 year olds become strong, athletic, confident young men. I have watched them struggle, and fight, and fail, and be picked on, and have their hearts broken, and try again, and win, and grow and succeed.

I was there as a goofy kid, with a questionable grasp on humor and an endless list of reasons why he wasn’t prepared became a hard working, responsible, witty leader to his teammates and cohorts.

I was there while a sweet, smart boy who just wanted to be a part of the team got knocked down but kept fighting and kept smiling and found a place where he could fit in and flourish.

I have been there for most every test, project, meet, competition, field trip, assembly….. I have at times spent more time with them than with my own children.

I have been with their classmates every day and watched them grow alongside them. (They were all shorter than me once, and now I look up to most of them!) I have seen THEM grow and change and become the people that will head off to change our world.

As their senior year closes I have been there as they announced their college acceptances, marched their last competition, threw their last shot put, made their last presentation, and finished their last labs. We sit at their award ceremonies and marvel at how grown up they’ve become, how far they’ve come, how little they were. We’ve wanted to hug them, cheer for them, cry for them, and shake the hell out of them at times. (At least we didn’t have to feed them! 😬)

It’s because of them that I fell in love with educational interpreting. It’s because of them that I took all the extra night classes after I graduated to stay with them. They were my very first students and they have been the greatest “first kids” anyone could ever ask for. Kids will come and go, and I’m sure I will be fond of all of them, but these boys will always hold a special place in my heart as “my first”. I am quickly becoming a bigger mess with each ceremony and banquet as I realize that these crazy kids are about to leave and become adults and go off to do all the wonderful things they should with their lives. They have been a gift to me. They have changed my life for the better and I will never forget them.

So don’t mind me, I’ll just be over here with a box of tissues crying about how proud I am of a bunch of kids that aren’t mine. I just wanted to share why they’re so special to me. 😢😂😍



The Vacation That is Maternity Leave




Maternity Leave 


When I had my son I was able to take 6 weeks of FMLA as my “maternity leave”. I had been pulled a week early which had used up most of my sick days (I was new) and because of the time of year I had to make it back into work by week 6 so that I was working for a week out of the month and didn’t have to Cobra my health insurance (again, new job) which would have cost almost the whole 2/3 pay I was getting from FMLA (and we needed whatever thirds we could get). I had an emergency c-section, he was 10 pounds 22.5 inches. All this is just to give you the backstory leading up to the story of my glamorous maternity leave.

I arrived home in style, wrapped in a hospital grade elastic corset that was supposed to help keep me from feeling like my organs were going to fall out onto the floor and 2 sports bras. I travelled elegantly around clutching a pillow under one arm so that if you made me laugh, cry, or cough I could try to hold my stomach in with it and hopefully take the level of pain I would experience down from a 10 to a 7.8.

Having been cut in half I had “a few restrictions”:
1. No lifting anything other than the baby
2. No getting in/out of the tub without assistance
3. No going up or down stairs
4. No driving
5. Do not use your abs to get up/down off the couch or in/out of bed. Here is an illustrated guide of how to not use your abs.
6. No drinking while on pain killers. (I opted to just not take the pain killers)

This is very similar to the kind of list you get when you check into your all-inclusive hotel in Mexico right? Or so I’ve heard, I’ve never been to Mexico.

My mother sent my younger brother to help me, his wife was due with twins 6 months after me so she felt this would be a great learning experience for him. He kept asking really valid questions and I kept saying “I don’t know” and then we’d Google it. Other activities included, standing around staring at one another playing “Guess Why He’s Crying Now” and an analysis of if it’s better for the swing to swing side to side or front to back. At some point we made sandwiches.

I never looked, felt or smelled better. Sporadic showering mixed with a treatment of defrosting cabbage leaves and spearmint oil is a smell that awakens the senses and makes you feel like a fresh garden in that’s been left to rot. My luxurious hair, professionally styled by my pillow, was the envy of the runway and the way my high-waisted Hanes peeked out over my sweatpants positively drove my husband mad with desire. As I lounged at brunch listening to the sounds of my son screaming I couldn’t help but think “Ahhhhhh vacation”.

My son was “not colicky”. It’s not colicky to scream in 2 hours intervals throughout the day as long as there are 30-60 minute breaks between them. There is nothing that makes you feel more powerful, triumphant and loved as a screaming child who hates every idea you have. He was a natural born masseuse and he expertly worked out the knots in my face and clavicles. He was occasionally appeased by my walking around singing him the songs of Train and Fun, which was great because I needed to get my cardio in on a daily basis.

My step-father came to help. My son slept peacefully and happily on him for half the day. My mother came over, he slept on her too. My husband came home from work and they napped together on the couch. Come to think of it, he slept peacefully on everyone that wasn’t me. This was very re-assuring for me and my post-partum hormones. I felt at peace and secure in all the decisions I had made in my life up to this point.

At approximately 1am and 4am every night/morning we were joyously awakened by the cries of the locals. As this is mine and my husband’s ideal sleeping pattern, we jumped at the opportunity to get up join the party. It was refreshing to discover just how horrible a person I am when you wake me in the middle of the night. My husband never felt luckier about being married to me. It was with a delirious level of joy that we made bottles, changed diapers and celebrated in our son’s ritual expression of worship for the moon and stars. My husband handled the night crying with particular grace as our son hated everyone at night. I was used to this attitude and I think it’s the only reason he decided in the end not to divorce me.

By the end of my 6 week sabbatical I felt I had achieved a higher level of understanding for my position in the world. I had a renewed faith in myself and a drive to pursue great things. Upon discovering that I still could not handle a zipper or true waist-band across my incision, I returned to my job feeling powerful in my yoga pants, breathtaking in my baggy Hanes, and overall refreshed by my hair that had been painfully styled that morning to resemble something reminiscent of its former self.

It was the most challenging, most exhausting, and at times most upsetting 6 weeks of my life. My “vacation” was full of pain, and struggle and sleep deprivation. I would do it again in a heart beat, because I LOVE my son and he is truly a gift to us. But do not mistake the sweet photos you see online, they’re hiding the mayhem and tears that are those first few weeks. This is no trip to Sandals. There is no swim up bar (unless you count the wine glass you’re crying into in the shower). This is WORK. Hard, painful, thankless work. Work that you love, but work. NOT “me time”. Not “vacation”. Not “relaxing bonding time”.



I’m having a problem with the plethora of calls this holiday season to “understand”.

“Please understand that not all families ‘do’ Santa”

“Please understand that not all families can afford the same things.”

“Please understand that not all families ‘do’ Elf on the Shelf”

Let’s start with the doing and not doing of Santa. Let’s assume that those closest to us know what our family traditions are and leave whatever battles we’ve had or not had with said family members aside. If a stranger asks your children what Santa is bringing them for Christmas, it’s awkward. I understand that. You have a few options. My favorite would be to teach your child to answer “Oh, our parents get us all the toys we need so we let Santa take care of the children who don’t have as much as us.” It both shuts down any further busybody arguing, and makes you look like the kind of mom who teaches her children to be grateful for all the wonderful things their family can provide. You can always take over this response yourself with whatever confidently phrased reason is behind your forgo-ing Santa, which is a handy way of teaching your children to be proud of their choices. You must know that unless your reason is a religious one, you ARE going against the norm, and THAT’S OK. Just don’t be offended when you get the “that’s unusual” face. It is. You know it is. OWN IT. Don’t feel bad and get angry that some stranger who was just trying to make merry didn’t realize that you were an outside-of-the-box-er.

Now, on to “Not all families can afford the same things”. This seems to me to be an argument brought on by Facebook. Everyone posts their trees and the tear down starts. “Can you believe Jenny got her kid FIVE American Girl Dolls?!” and “OMG will you LOOK at all those presents?! How GREEDY”. Ummmm didn’t your parents teach you to mind your own business? STOP LOOKING AT OTHER PEOPLE’S CRAP UNDER THEIR TREE. Stop counting their gifts and assuming you have any idea the number of family members involved in the pile. If Josie Bowtie wants to put 17 gifts under the tree from Santa let her get on with her bad self! Growing up we were allowed to ask Santa for ONE thing. The thing we wanted most. I’d like to tell you my parents were strictly teaching us to not be selfish and to appreciate that Santa has many children to make toys for so we shouldn’t be greedy. It’s what I’m sure they told us if we ever asked. The real reason? They didn’t want Santa getting the credit for all their hard work. Double win for them I say. They “taught us” to prioritize and be respectful AND got their due love and appreciation for the clandestine lengths they sometimes had to go to to procure all the things our little hearts desired. If Rosie comes home and says “Gina got 7 things from Santa and I only got one, why?” that’s a perfect time to teach them to not compare what they get with others. Teach them not to keep up with the Jones’. Or, if you feel really “hoilier than thou” tell them “Not everyone’s parents have what we have. They need a little more help from Santa than we do”. And if it’s YOU that can’t afford to help Santa bring an Xbox, I understand that’s upsetting for you, but asking Jan to tell her son Joey that Santa can’t bring him an Xbox because your son can’t have one just leaves 2 kids without Xboxes and again, isn’t fair to the child.

And finally, since I can’t talk the talk without being ready to walk it, the ELF on the Shelf. He creeps me out. I LOVE THAT YOU ALL LOVE HIM, have at it. The game is too 1984 for me. I have spent years thinking up reasons that he won’t be coming to our house. My best so far? “Santa knows your a good boy, he doesn’t need to send an elf to keep an eye on you. Santa sends elves to kids who can’t behave”. Yes. I am prepared to throw you all under the bus. I’m not sorry. Please, DON’T hide your elf or get all upset because my kid might ask me why he doesn’t have one. I know I am the ONLY one of my friends who doesn’t “do” the elf. I don’t mind. We’ll live. It infuriates me when I see parents like me say “Oh, can you please understand that I don’t do that?”, because I KNOW I’m the weird one! And if you don’t know you’re weird, here’s your newsflash. Stop stomping around acting like the world is attacking you because you don’t want to elf and they dare to ask why. That’s not fair.

Understanding is a good thing. Respecting other’s and being decent human beings is a wonderful thing for us to strive to be. However, the problem is not that people don’t “understand”. We’re all adults. We get that everyone has different budgets, and different traditions. The problem is that I’m doing something different than you and it’s putting you in the position of having to explain to your children why you’re not doing it. That’s a sometimes difficult place to be in. But isn’t explaining ANY difference in life sometimes tricky? Isn’t it part of our job as parents to teach children that everyone is different and that that’s okay? How about we UNDERSTAND that everyone is different and that doesn’t mean that they’re wrong? And can’t we give strangers who are just being polite a break instead of yelling because they asked our kid what Santa brought them without psychically knowing that you “don’t DO Santa”?

It would be a happier holiday for everyone if we weren’t spending so much time running around yelling at each other for what we do and don’t do.

I’m trying to be as awesome to you now as I was before



So I read this article and initially I thought “Yes! SO MUCH OF THIS!” and then I thought… well yes, but no… So I wanted to share my thoughts about our relationships because I love you all and I want you to know where my crazy is coming from sometimes….

My son is awesome and really laid back and I am SO grateful for that because it allows me the ability to mess with his schedule in the name of socialization. I may not be so lucky with future children so I’m trying to make the most of it while I can but here are things I feel really bad about and always want to apologize for.

1. Planning needs. I have an awesome family, and extended family. I can get to most things with enough notice. Not ALL things, because if I went to ALL the things then I’d never see my son, and I’m kind of a big fan of him… but MOST things I can make given enough notice. When I nag you for dates, details, times, locations… it’s not because I WANT to annoy the crap out of you it’s because I want to be at the thing you want me to be a part of. When I’m not there, know that I want to be and that I’m sorry. When you think I’m less committed because I leave early and can’t “stay until we’re done”… know that I feel awful but I’ve probably told some wonderful person who was willing to watch my son that I would be home at a certain time and if I want to ensure that said person is willing to continue watching my child so that I can continue to engage in fun activities then I must be reliably back by the pre-arranged time. If I burn my babysitting bridges I will attend nothing… and that will suck even more.

2. Eye contact. I am BIG on eye contact, I seldom get to make it anymore. I have to constantly be aware of what the tiny human is doing as he has no concept of danger and infinite curiosity. He is always about to impale himself with a fork, poke the clawed cat in the eye, or find the staircase. I’m always watching in case I need to intervene. I’m listening. I AM. But I also have to watch him. This is something understandably hard to explain to people without children for whom eye contact is a no brainer. Know that I miss looking at your face. I look forward to the days that I can actually LOOK at you… and feel that extra connection that you feel when you’re talking TO a person not AT them.

3. They DO go to bed awfully early. Which makes my house a GREAT place to come hang out at… He sleeps well through noise. Please come over. I’m usually awake. I’m just also a hostage since it’s not good parenting to leave your child alone asleep. I have plenty of wine and I can LOOK AT YOU. Except Monday-Wednesday, I get up at 5:30 and I’m dead by 9. Thursday I’m willing to rally though 🙂

4. I DO want to see my child. I work. A lot. And I love my job. But I DO feel guilty if I go too many days in a row without making it home for a bit of play time. It’s not you.. it’s that I made a choice to have a child and that child needs his turn too.

5. Going out with the baby is a challenge. I’m up for it.. I really am… but it DOES cause me anxiety at times. I may have to leave because he may flip out. He’s a toddler. They’re unpredictable. When he cries, and you panic, I feel awful. I want you to have fun and enjoy hanging out with me and my son, and I don’t want him to melt down. When he does well I tend to brag about it for days. It’s easier to hang out with other mom’s sometimes because the screaming doesn’t phase them. That doesn’t mean I don’t love you and that I don’t want you to come over. Just don’t worry if he screams. It’s not new, he’s fine. And be half ready to jump and run if we’re in a restaurant. I have a fun flask for a reason 😉

6. I have very little else to talk about. I have work, which I love, and my son, who I love. I don’t have any conventially exciting stories right now. I’m trying to sell my house, but that’s more of a horror story than a casual catch up chat. I’m sorry that I only have my kid to talk about. Well, I’m not sorry… he’s awesome, but I’m sorry if it’s not very entertaining. Please don’t glaze over… I’m trying to only tell you the funny stories… I know I’m boring to you. But I love you and I’m trying. I’m interested in YOUR day…

Christmas Crowds


This is a 2 parter:

First, I am a twisted human being. I actually ENJOY going out shopping close to Christmas. I used to be one of those people shopping on Christmas Eve. Even when I was finished I enjoyed just wandering the mall and watching the mayhem. I still do. Shopping this weekend? Fabulous! Seriously, you all crack me up. You are all SO worked up. You’re shocked and dare I say, PISSED, that the lines are long. That there are 500 people out here with you. Every minute you’re waiting is THE END OF THE WORLD. I know why you’re shopping on Christmas Eve, or if you’re lucky the weekend before. You’re not lazy, you’re busy and you tried to get out earlier but you couldn’t. It’s okay. No one is mad at you. We’re all in the same boat here. We could just laugh about it together. But NO. There is no laughing with you. There is “pff-ing”, and tapping, and shoving. That 30 seconds you saved pushing past me makes all the difference. You’re SO mad, and crazed, you have NO IDEA how ridiculous you look. Yeah, I’m laughing at you. I’m the cheerful one behind you with the coffee debating on whether my friend would like the black bracelets or the pink ones. And I’m the one in your way because I’m trying something on to figure out if I need a large or a medium for my cousin’s girlfriend. See, I can’t grab “whatever” and run because it’s certainly not Ally’s fault I’m behind on Christmas shopping, so here I am spending the extra 5 minutes to make sure the color is right for her. We could be having fun together. Did you know it’s “buy one get TWO free on these necklaces?! Shiny things for everyone!!”. But you’re not having fun. You REFUSE to have fun. And THAT, makes me laugh. And feel sorry for you. See, Christmas is supposed to be FUN. It doesn’t have to be all commercialized if you don’t want it to be, but being more “down to earth” will take time, patience, and an understanding that, yes, there are 500 other people here trying to make merry with you, or not. Imagine how much fun we’d have if we could all be merry together. I mean, by all means keep acting like an idiot, you’re a hell of an entertaining way for me to pass time in these long ass lines, but really, if you just relax and embrace the mayhem it’ll be more fun. Also…. Might I suggest a fun flask?

BUT here’s part 2:

The grocery store. You were all in rare form today! Look, there IS NO WAY AROUND IT. If you are hosting any type of holiday meal you will need to buy food and you will want to buy it fresh. We are all here the couple days before Christmas because we HAVE to be. They haven’t invented a way to buy food a month in advance and keep it fresh. Don’t say “the freezer”. Calm the hell down. Stop shoving your cart into mine because I stopped for a hot second to pick up the toy my son dropped. He’s behaving wonderfully, stop glaring at him because he’s keeping you from ever getting to the yogurt. They have plenty and won’t run out in the next 45 seconds. I said I was sorry when I had to cut around you, you don’t own the gravy aisle. I’m sorry that this is the first time I’ve ever decided to make hot roast beef and I’m having trouble figuring out what kind of gravy I need. You’re not funny right now, you’re just mean. We all need fresh food, calm down. I must have apologized to 2 dozen people today who didn’t even acknowledge me. Excepting 3 people who made the trip worthwhile (other than my husband and baby). Running into Jess! It’s been over a year since I’ve seen her, much to the other shoppers chagrin because we stood in front of the cheese no one wanted for a whole 5 minutes. The nice man who stopped dead to try to cheer up my son when he got upset because I took the sopressata away after he dropped it on the floor 6 times. And the sweet guy I fell into when I stepped out of the way of a woman who knew what the hell kind of gravy she needed. He caught me and laughed. I’d lay odds he didn’t really know what kind of gravy he needed either… Which is why he was heading for the soup.

So look. The mall? I get it that you’re mad at yourself for waiting to the last minute, again, to shop. I think you’re being silly, but I get it and while I’m laughing, I am sorry for your distress. But the food shopping. You people NEED to calm down. Crowds at the Wegmans 3 days before Christmas are not a personal attack on you. They’re a given. Really… They should have started the wine tasting at 10 today….

Why I’m on the phone….


I’m on the phone.

I’m on the phone in your presence.

The students are working independently, or in groups, or are taking a test, or doing a warm up. There is nothing that I need to interpret. Or I’m in a work situation where you are working one on one with someone other than my student. Or I’m sitting in the faculty room, or the hallway.

I’m sending a message to my husband to tell him all the things I forgot to tell him this morning before I forget again. Like the things I need him to pick up when he goes to the store. Like conditioner. I’ve been out of conditioner for a week.

I’m coordinating who will pick up the baby from daycare and at what time.

I’m confirming a showing on my house that’s for sale.

I’m doing business, like sending invoices and responding to jobs. Because I also work for an agency that communicates primarily through email so that they can contact a bunch of people at once. First to respond gets the job. Sometimes I really want that job.

I’m checking to make sure the missed call wasn’t day care.

I’m reading the news. I’m one of those people who actually watches the news, but now I’m never home in time to see it and I can’t stay awake late enough for the 11:00 so I’m actually reading the news.

I can log onto my online class from here and do homework. Which I’m doing.

I’m blogging.

You’re busy and I’m not. And I can not help you in any way. Nor do I want to interrupt you. So I’m over here keeping myself occupied. Do you have a coloring book and crayons for me? I’ll be happy to color…..

I’m planning out the last details of our son’s first birthday party. And no, I don’t want to talk to you about it because you’re the type of mom who tells me “you’re making such a fuss because it’s your first baby, you wait the next baby will be lucky if you remember to pick up a cake from shop-rite” and that makes me sad for your kids. I’d like to think that I’m the type of person who will make sure ALL my children know that their special days are important to me. I also don’t want to be mean and tell you this, so I’m just going to sit here quietly and look at these pictures of multicolor sugar cookies.

All my exciting news centers around “what my kid did today”, so unless you want to see the picture of him at the pumpkin patch, or watch the videos of him walking, I have nothing to add to a conversation. And I don’t want to bore you and be “that mom”.

You’re a male teacher and the kind of man who isn’t interested in the colored sugar cookies I made last night. And by made I mean mixed and then did my nails while Kevin took the batches in and out of the oven. You also probably don’t want to talk about nails.

I don’t know your full name so I don’t want to tell you about the temper tantrum I threw last night when I opened my closet and half my clothes fell out.

I could tell you about my weekend, but it involved a lot of wine which I probably shouldn’t talk about in front of a bunch of kids sooooo….

I finished my book. And I’m all out of books. And right now there is no money to buy more books. So I’ll have to read every article on Huffington Post. Thank you Jane for dropping off those 2 books for me. I’m not sure how many more articles about near death kid experiences I should be reading…

Saying there is no money to buy more books is, to me, perhaps the saddest thing I’ve ever written. So I’m going to need a minute to pull myself together. Don’t look at me while I stare at my phone and try not to think about books.

I’m killing time waiting for something to start and a book didn’t fit in this purse. We’re not friends so why do you care that I’m staring at my phone?

I don’t talk to strangers.

Despite my appearance I’m actually a shy person, and I’ve heard the way you talk about people behind their back who are just trying hard to make friends because they’re new… And I’m afraid to talk to you because I’m afraid you’ll make fun of me later.

I can’t think of anything to say.

I’m kind of a creeper, so I know “how” to start a conversation and make you be friendly, but I’m tired and I don’t really feel like putting in the effort to play “20 questions about you”.

I actually tried to start a conversation with you and you shut me down. This is me minding my own business.

I actually care more about communicating with my friends than making small talk about the weather, so I’m over here talking one of them off a ledge, planning a date, sending pictures, or just comparing discount codes so we can buy whatever overpriced piece of baby gear we have decided we need that you will probably think is dumb anyway for less.

Taking a nap is socially and professionally unacceptable.



It’s only October and I already feel the need to apologize for all the times I will go to work sick. I’m not SO dedicated to my career that I would rather work sick than stay home, and I’m not personally trying to wipe out the office. I have 10 sick days and a baby.

Every time the baby gets sick he must be kept home until his fever has been gone for 24 hours… Every virus he gets takes an average of 10-14 days to get out of his system. Since I don’t know ANYONE who can take 10-14 days off of their job in a row, PAID, every time their kid sneezes, he and his classmates spend their days snotting on one another while all the parents wait, praying that the cold will remain “just a cold” and will not develop into bronchitis, pneumonia, pertussis, Enterovirus D68, or whatever else is going to cause death to our infants this week….

The statistics predict that a child in daycare will be sick about 10 times a school year…. That’s 10 fevers… If they ONLY last a day then it’s 10 sick days… More than that and I’m over my allotted time. Lucky for me I have a husband to split the “days off due to sick kid” so we theoretically should be covered. If only viruses weren’t contagious. Which they are. So my son’s illness quickly becomes OUR illness and the quarantine signs go up.

I’m not actually complaining. I will catch every bug my son wants to give me if that’s what it takes, but after staying home with him there aren’t any days left to stay home for me. I’m sorry. I feel awful. Doubly awful really. Actually it’s a long list of awful. First there’s the awful I feel because the NyQuil hasn’t worn off yet followed by the awful feeling that I’m going to puke on my shoes and henceforth be known as “vomit shoes”. I haven’t slept, despite the NyQuil because I’ve had the baby monitor on my head all night in case the baby showed “signs of distress” at 3:00am. I also probably fought with my husband at 4:12am because it was time to give the baby another dose of tylenol and I couldn’t find it, or couldn’t get a clear read with the thermometer (probably because I left the stupid cap on again). I’ve gotten dressed and dragged myself in NOT because I love my job (although I do) but because I love shelter and food. I really love food. And on the way to work, sick, I’ve heard some stupid radio commercial bemoaning the “office sick person” and thought “Oh God, I know…. I’m sorry…. If only my superiors wouldn’t fire me for staying home too much I would gladly stay home”… And then I get to work and get the disgusted “How dare you breathe in my vicinity, back up before I spray you with Lysol”….. I know. I know. I’m trying.

Next time you see a sick mom hand her a tissue, or an orange juice and tell her you hope she feels better soon and that she’s doing a great job. Have some compassion. Wait until she leaves to sanitize. She’s already feeling about as bad as she can…. Chances are you won’t get sick anyway and if you do consider how lucky you are to have sick days you can actually use for yourself 🙂