I Have So Much More To Say, But…

I have decided to stop writing about being M’s mom in a public format.

Each day I continue to sit in front of my computer and write, and I watch as the words still seem to spill from my fingertips. It’s as if for years what my mind couldn’t figure out, somehow – my fingertips did.

And I am grateful to have a permanent record of this journey to allow M’s adult eyes to some day read about my thoughts, prayers, concerns, and love for him when he was a teenager.  One day I think he’ll realize how deep my love for him runs.

I am proud of what we all created with majormomma.com. The surprises that came from sharing my story about being a mom to were life-changing. I am a stronger person and a better mom. Part of me thinks I needed to find out that I had the strength in me all along, but I’d by lying if I said I figured it out on my own.

Every person who read my blog helped me get stronger for M. (Yes, even the teenagers who sent me death threats – I learned from you, that my fight needs to continue.)

So many family members, friends, and strangers have been right along with me from the beginning. I have marveled at comments between others who care and who share in my fight. I am grateful and hopeful. Thank you, everyone.


And since it is now impossible for me to stop writing, stop caring, and stop sharing what I am learning on this journey –  I will continue in a different format.

My old adversary (Facebook) has become a new ally. I created a page called “Major Momma.” My little Major Momma Facebook page is where I will continue to share my efforts on this crusade to help parents get strong for the battle.

Feel free to find me there – I won’t be writing specifically about M – but you all know that deep down, I actually am.

Love, j


146: A Note To My Mystery Friend

This post will sound strange and cryptic to all but one person. So, please excuse me here; I feel this note is quite necessary.

Dear Friend, I read your note over and over again this morning, and I am so grateful for your words. Unfortunately, I cannot reply to “comments” unless I approve them. Upon their approval, they would then become visible for all to see, but I want to respect your anonymity.

I feel a need to thank you and to respond. If you are willing to continue this dialogue, my email is majormomma@gmail.com

Sincerely, J

145: Frogs On The Other Side

A sweet 6th grader approached my desk yesterday. She had been busy composing a letter filled with thoughtful words of hope and encouragement meant for the eyes of Henryville Elementary students. Her letter, along with those written by her classmates, would soon be mailed to one of the many towns devastated by the weekend’s path of tornadoes.

She asked, “Would that be okay if I draw a picture of a frog on my letter?”

“Sounds good to me, but why a frog?”

She explained, “Frogs are only able to leap forward; they can’t jump backwards. When you are going through a tough time it’s important to just keep moving ahead. You don’t want to get stuck thinking about things you can’t change. And it’s more important how you come out on the other side.”


The other side...

I reference “the other side” a lot when I talk about M. My version of “the other side” is the wonderful place and time that I get to see his smile, hear his laugh, and know in my heart that he is going to be okay. My words usually go something like this,

“I saw my son slipping away from us. We sent him to a military academy in September. Has that fixed everything? No, no, no – But, it has kept him safe. My little blog is a way for me to scream as loud as I can to keep this important dialogue going. And through writing, I have found hope again – and I’m not going to stop until my healthy, good son is definitely  on the other side.”

144: Dear Anonymous…I Disagree

Friday night, I wrote an entry about differences between the forces teens face today compared to years ago. Before I went to bed that night, I received a comment from an anonymous author. Said author was critical of what he/she translated as a “negative stream” and “dark picture” he/she believes I am creating. (I have copied it to the bottom of this post exactly as it was sent to me.)

I feel the need to respond to “Anonymous” as loudly as possible, so here it goes…

Dear Anonymous, Thank you for the comment you sent in regards to my post “So Very Different.” Your words were helpful, as they reminded me of several things that are probably important for me to share. As I have gradually come to terms with the fact that my words are very public and M is mad at me, I have made some valuable discoveries.

Some risks are worth taking. If I had ridden this teenage wave in the way in which my once passive, timid, and fear-driven personality had carried me, I wouldn’t have the hope I now feel in my heart.

And here’s what may really surprise you…My hope comes from all of the exceptional parents, inspiring teachers, kind friends, and extraordinary kids out there.

The truth is, M’s good friends, middle school and high school students I work with all day, and, of course, my own kids – inspire me each day. I am lucky to know many great, inspiring people of all ages

My words are just honest. And my words have just become a way for me to feel like I can make a difference. And the biggest difference, the difference that keeps me moving forward, is the hope that M will come out of this on the other side. I am a mother, and I will do what is necessary to give my children the healthy wings they will need to navigate through life. As we all know, it’s not always easy.

I genuinely thank you for keeping this important dialogue moving forward.

Sincerely, J

And now I have included the comment that inspired my words today…

From Anonymous, Friday night at 8:30: “I know times are different but as I read all your blogs I have to say there are a lot of good kids out there, there are a lot of parents who watch their children and have open communication. You paint a very dark picture of teens. I fear for K that you will enter his teen years with a negative view of teens. Yes there are kids that push it and do the things you say M has done. But there are fantasitc kids and fantasic parents who all know the dangers but have managed to rise above it. Your constant stream of negative views are not new to us they only show that you are just becoming aware of them. Don’t put everyone into that catagory.”    Written by: “Anonymous”

143: So Very Different

The secret is out. And If you are new to the world of teenage-hood, then hang on to your hats…

Forget everything you remember about high school parties.

Even if you never attended the parties…you knew about them. And I bet you still remember who the really wild kids were too.

If you did attend these parties, perhaps you can still see their inebriated, sloppy faces jumping up and down to the beat of the loud music; or maybe you just picture them with their eyes partly-open while their bodies fall into a slumped position on a couch in a friend’s basement.

Here’s the bad news…It’s worse now. Parties are different. Drinking is different. Promiscuity is different. And the marijuana is different too. Each is even more insidious, frightening, risky, and destructive.


A few fear my honesty may hold M back from finding a job and finding a girlfriend in our community some day.

My fear is so, very different.

142: Rules to “Life: Mom Edition”

He arrived with ease 4 weeks early. He slept through the night at 6 weeks. He nursed until one year. He played nicely on the playground with his little friends. He shared. He napped after morning kindergarten. And he could write his name well on the same piece of paper on which he could draw a developmentally advanced sketch of himself.

My mind always swirled with visions of M’s future, and since his Lego structures were solid and amazing, I thought perhaps he’d be an architect. His love for animals prompted the possibility of veterinary medicine. But then again, his verbal skills were high…perhaps an attorney? the President of the United States?

(As you can see, I had the role of “his mother” completely figured out. I was also quite young and naïve.)


The first time we visited M at the military academy, I watched him bring the most brilliant shine to a brass belt buckle. And there’s a chance that at that moment, I was on the verge of better understanding the complicated directions to the game of “Life: Mom Edition.”

And here’s why…

After watching him buff the dullness from the face of that buckle, an old familiar thought popped into my head, “He’s so proud of the medals and brass he’s earned; perhaps he’ll enter the military when he’s older.”

Within days, I caught myself and began analyzing my silly curiosity…So, if you like to shine buckles, you will have a military career. And if you like to play with Legos, then you will someday design buildings. If you have the ability to pronounce difficult words when you are a toddler and you are persistent in your arguing, then you are headed to law school.

Since over-analyzing is a forte of mine, I continued to have this conversation with myself. I discovered that whenever I catch him filled with happiness, I want time to stand still. And If I could control the world, my children would live my perfect dream for them.

But then I realized that although my heart beats with his, and my happiness is directly related to his health and happiness…my life is not his life.


I’m starting to understand the directions. In no particular order, my job – until he is ready to safely steer on his own – is to: 1. teach, 2. support, 3. love, and 4. pray. (And even when he’s safely steering, I still get to do #3 and #4.)

I’m not letting go of the wheel completely until I am certain that he can navigate through the game of life safely. In the meantime, I know he is frustrated that I’m still teaching, guiding, and supporting, but the directions also say that he is still my responsibility. And he knows I’m a rule follower.

141: Beacons #2, #3, and #4

Never underestimate the power of a few kind words. For when you throw an oar in at just the right moment, you could be the perfect push to help a worried mom ride a happy, peaceful, and holy wave.

And that’s exactly what happened Saturday with the arrival of the first beacon – a few, kind, simple words from a friend. With a strange, new confidence inspired by B’s Facebook message, I proclaimed my Mother’s Love Decree to M in the car. And it just got better from there.

We allowed him to visit a friend for a couple hours while we headed to Saturday evening mass. Driving into our church parking lot, I noticed a comment notification on my phone. KB had written me a note – and it was another beacon. Her words were honest and kind. (Those wonderful words also introduced me to my new friend.)

Sitting in church, I spotted another beacon. R and her family sat several pews away. We hadn’t seen each other since we moved out of the old neighborhood a year ago. As I scanned the pew for the taller, bigger versions of her triplets, I realized something nice. We were somehow closer today than we were when she lived just one yard away.

And then, another beacon. L had been sitting a few pews in front of us. At the end of mass she approached me kindly and leaned in to deliver these 3 words…

Row and pray.

Hmmm? So I leaned in this time, and questioned what she whispered. To that she instructed me to keep my oars in the water, keep rowing forward, and pray, pray, pray.

Got it.


We picked up M, and the four of us headed to his favorite burger place…and it was nice. Then we headed to the theater to watch my sweet step-daughter and her wonderful husband in their latest performance…and it was nice. We drove home…and it was nice, too.

In the morning, M and hung out together for a bit while M packed to return to the academy. They chatted about video games, I think.

I kissed him Goodbye, I told him I love you,” and then I got in the car and prayed. It was nice.

140: Beacon #1

It’s no fun thinking about how much your child hates you. And yes, I am so very, well aware of the evolution of such hatred…but, my goodness – It hurts. I stayed numb, tired, lazy, and useless for most of the day Saturday. My headache, neck ache, and stomach ache kept me on the couch in the den. And No, these symptoms were not related to being sick. They were absolutely related to being tired.

If you haven’t read between the lines here yet and figured out that I had a major pity-party somewhere between Friday night and Saturday afternoon, then let me be more clear…I had a large, volcanic moment.

The beginning of the eruption unfortunately spewed all over my sweet husband, B. And I hate to admit this, but I’m certain that sweet, little K was splattered a bit too.

But then, my former adversary delivered the first beacon.

Slumping into my car and pulling out of the garage to pick up M from the church, I noticed a message on my phone. It was a Facebook message from a friend. B’s message was simple and kind. It read,

“Love reading your blog, Major Momma! Hang in there. You are amazing…”

Oskee Wow Wow, B. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your 12 encouraging words put the lid on the volcano, and then opened up the essential rain clouds. (That’s code for “I cried all the way to the church”…and, “Boy, did I need that.”)


I arrived at the church, and now it was M’s turn to slump into the car. He answered my hopeful and routine questions with a “Fine,” “No,” and “No.” To which I responded with a straightforward, 5 minute string of words. And it went something like this…

M, I know you hate me right now and probably want to poke my eyes out. (I don’t know where that eye-thing came from; what a stupid thing to say. I got back on track.) Believe it or not, I am quite certain that you won’t hate me forever. In fact, in 10 years you may even like me again. And it is important for you to know that I will love you through it all; I’ll be waiting on the other side of these tough years to keep on loving you. I really miss the way we used to talk to each other; you are a funny, intelligent, and wonderful person. I look forward to the day that we are close again. But in the meantime, I have to lay down one simple rule. When you are in our home, when I am within ear-shot, and when the people who love you are near, you must be respectful.

No magic there, but there was a rainbow that began to appear in my still-intact, happy eyes.

There were more beacons to come on this day; B’s was just the beginning. (But more on those other great beacons another day. It’s time to go outside and soak in some sunshine.)

139: Yesterday’s Mail

Yesterday, spur of the moment plans were made to bring him home for the weekend. A wave of excitement, followed by another wave of concern flowed through me.

A local church was holding a day-long retreat, and he was given an opportunity to earn service hours by setting up chairs, registering participants, and serving meals. We thought that this would be a great opportunity, especially since the retreat was geared towards being the best man you can be.

Within the first 20 minutes of his arrival, he had begun the exhaustive dialogue of “Why do I have to do this?” and “Why can’t I go out with my friends tonight?”

To those questions, my strength came from many sources…Consistent support from friends, family, and strangers, growing older and wiser, my faith, and yesterday’s mail.

Just hours before he came home, the letter from the Assistant District Attorney arrived. Now, some may ask, “Why would a child’s own mother let the world know of such letter?”

Well, I’ll tell you why. It’s because we are not alone. Hundreds of parents in my little community receive a version of this letter each and every month. And thousands of parents in the Midwest receive this letter each month, too. This is not a secret. It’s just reality. Teenagers today are participating in dangerous activities. The laws our police officers enforce are legal eye-openers for those who are ready to see.

At 16, his decisions are driven by the teenage brain. Someday, his decisions will be driven by his mature, adult brain. It is our job to keep him safe until that glorious day arrives. (Legally, I’d prefer that to be by the time he reaches the age of 18.)

As an adult-brained person, something is driving me to face this challenge with honesty and humility. And even as M was badgering us and whining last night about the fact that no one will ever want to come to our house because of how “nuts” he thinks we are, a calm was washing over me…

This is a child, my child. He needs love, support, and strong parenting just like he did when he was little. And when he was little, the moms on park benches from whom I learned the most, were honest, humble, and helpful. And they were not worried about what others might think.

I don’t have any answers, and I don’t claim that “my way is the best way.” All I know is that The District Court of _______ County is trying to help my son open his eyes a little. I don’t see how sharing that could be a bad thing.