Mothers Over 40

Our Twelve Year Old On Tour and What Life Lessons He Learned From the Bass Player and Drummer (Part II of Touring With Thorazine)

Jo-Ann's son on tour IIII knew my son Ryan had formed a bond with our bass player and drummer before we left for the road. We see the band more than we see our biological families. Our band, Thorazine, always lived as a family and it is natural that the second time around we would fall into family roles again.

It started the first day we picked the band up from the airport in Los Angeles. Ryan does not always use his best table manners, although we have worked with him on this for years. Drummer Dallas and I both mentioned to Ryan about how he is going to choke since he eats so fast. He needs to slow down.

Of course, he is twelve, and has been oppositional since birth. Despite all this, we didn’t give up. Then bassist Hoover and my husband joined in. I think Hoover said it best, “One day, Ryan, you are going to want to impress a girl and you are not going to be able to eat like a caveman in front of her and keep her attention.” [Read More…]

A Life After 40….5…..?

Carmel Harrington Fall 2015I’ve been writing full time for almost five years, starting just after I turned forty. It’s a funny age isn’t it? On one hand we are told, over and over that life is just beginning, on the other, that it’s all downhill from here.

I, being a glass half full kind of gal, chose to believe the former.

Making the decision to change careers was a terrifying one. I was a Sales and Marketing Manager, with a company car, expense account and decent salary. To become a writer meant giving all that up, because there is no fixed salary for this profession. Many authors never earn a minimum wage, never mind a decent living. And taking aside that not insurmountable obstacle, every time I thought about sharing something I’d written, I’d become paralysed with fear.

It was one thing to kick stories around in my head, another to show the world those very words that up until then I’d kept hidden. who I wanted to be, who I really was. [Read More…]

Every School Day is “Pajama Day”

Stansell JammiesDon’t you love it when your kids get excited about something? I know I do! One thing my eight-year-old daughter is most tickled about is “Pajama Day” at school. At the end of the trimester, their 2nd grade teacher lets them wear PJs and bring a pillow, blanket and favorite toy to be comfy for the class reading marathon. This novelty of wearing sleepwear to school is oh-SO cool to her and her classmates.

Well, then there’s me. I have my own opinion about going to school in jammies.

I SWORE I’d never be “that” mom who would show up to drop off her kid looking like she just rolled out of bed. (Excuse me, I’m way more professional than that.) I have a reputation to uphold. I spent 14 years in television news and am now a well-known speaker and coach. I’ve been a personal assistant to high-ranking leadership in the Idaho Senate, plus I served two terms as “Mrs. Canyon County America.” I could never be seen looking frumpy, with no makeup on and hair all amess. Have some dignity, please! [Read More…]

What’s a Touring Punk-Rocker Midlife-Mother To Do? (Part I of II – Touring with Thorazine)

Jo-Ann in CATouring with your twelve-year-old and with your punk band sure turns heads.

Everywhere we went, people stared and then thought, who gave them a kid? Driving across the country with my on-the-spectrum, ADHD-boy (Ryan) was a joy. The road was a novel place and every time he looked up things were different. He was joyful all the way across the USA. He didn’t sleep a wink and more times than not, he was staring out the window just taking it all in.

Ryan was so excited as we arrived in Los Angeles. The band would join us there and was thrilled to be somewhere for more than one night. He and I swam in the pool that afternoon and by evening were joking that we were poolside in LA. It was grand. The next day, a friend picked Ryan up. She is someone he knows well and her daughter is a few years younger.

Although (in California) they start school in August, Ryan was able to play Mindcraft with her and swim in the pool at their apartment. When we got to the show, the promoter said it would be fine if he showed up and it was the only show  he was allowed to watch. (Of course, Ryan did not change after swimming and showed up to our punk show in his bathing suit.) [Read More…]

The Delicate (And Sometimes Painful But Growth-Producing) Art of Co-Parenting

co-parentingOn the eve of what would have been my 15th wedding anniversary, I’m thinking about how I felt on the night before my wedding.

I remember vividly how excited I was to marry my long-time friend. It felt completely right to be laughing with him, eating dinner surrounded by our family and friends, ready to cheer us on as we began our new life. Not only was I in love, but I was full of hope for the promise of what was before us. There was no hint of the idea that this type of love would not last forever.

Fast forward to this afternoon – leaving work in a hurry to meet the bus at my house to pick up my son at drop off and race to my daughter’s soccer game. I was looking forward to it as it was the first I’d been able to attend in two weeks. On the ride there my son asked, “Will Daddy be there?”

“I don’t know Buddy,” I replied not giving it much thought. We hadn’t discussed it during our hurried text conversation of who was picking up who within the last couple days and at that particular moment, he was on my nerves. We’d had a disagreement only days before, so his presence at the game was not on my mind. [Read More…]

By |October 12th, 2015|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living, Motherhood, Mothers Over 40, Reinventing Ourselves|Tags: , |0 Comments

Autumn Musings

leafIn Love With Death

Fifteen years ago, I was talking to a woman at a party who told me she absolutely hated the Fall season.  No bones about it – she loathed it and would never feel any different, no matter how many picture perfect postcards you could wave of New England’s vibrant color change.

To this day, this mystifies me. My favorite month of the year is October.  I am invigorated from October 1st till well after the Christmas holidays.  The month of October rejuvenates my spirit and I believe that the air I breathe in during that month sustains me for the rest of the year.

This same woman told me that the only thing she felt during the fall was the impending notion of winter.  It was as if on exactly September 21st, her bones began to brace themselves for all things cold.  At the time she had two small children and I asked her if the kids liked jumping in piles of leaves, apple picking, or of course, the thrill of Halloween.  She told me that she didn’t do leaf piles(there might be ticks) and yes she did Halloween but it was generally in a safe place like the mall.  [Read More…]

Teens and Hate – A Scientific Life Lesson

Stansell Daughter - Scientific Life LessonYou know what I HATE the most?  I hate hate. And, I REALLY hate it when my children say they hate something.  In fact, I hate it so much that I hate to even write this.

I hate it when people say, “Don’t you hate it when….”  I hate that there is hate in the world that causes me to have to write about hate to help people see why it doesn’t even make sense to hate anything.  OK. Enough.  Blech!  I think you get the point.

Here’s what has me riled up:

The other day, my 8th grade daughter was getting herself ready for school.  I’m proud of her because, until now, I’d have to get up early to make sure she’s out of bed in time.

[Read More…]

Where Did the Time Go?? (Letting Go of My Teenager – One Step At a Time)

IMG_3153 (1)My sweet toddler, who only a minute ago was going off to pre-school, is starting high school this week.  I am terrified!

All these spinning emotions are rising to the surface and I woke today with butterflies in my gut.

I was in high school 42 year ago and I don’t have a clue where to begin with all the changes that have taken place.

It’s times like these that I wish my daughter had an older sibling, cousin, someone who could bridge the gap and be there to navigate this new terrain for the next four years. [Read More…]

My Gentle Little Warrior

Carmel's daughterIt’s hard to believe that it was a year ago that we were all chucking buckets of water over each other in the worldwide charity bid to raise money through the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Once our news feeds dried off the last few droplets of icy water, in its stead were dozens of first day of school pictures.

I remember every detail of that time so clearly. Why? Because last year, my daughter Amelia Rose, embarked on one of the biggest adventures of a child’s young life – she started junior infants. [Read More…]

The Long Wave Goodbye

Dear Reader: Each year, I repost this essay, written when my children were young. However, it remains true to me; the original wave is etched in my heart and mind forever.  school bus

Today, I waved to my daughter riding away on the bus. The silly kind of wave – two arms, as if jumping for dear-life and flagging down a passing ship.  We both continued waving until the bus was out of sight.  Walking back to my house, I had a lump in my throat. I am both happy and sad.

I’m sad for the time which is passing so quickly; sad, too, that I see that my parenting must be working well – my own daughter still longs for me.  (I did not have that with my own mother.) I waited a long time to become a mother (again). I will continue to try my hardest to fulfill her need until her hands stop reaching for mine, the arm waves stop, and I see her waving to her friends – not me. That time is coming. In fact, it’s just around the corner.

Writer Kelly Salasin blogged, “There are so many deaths in mothering, beginning at the beginning, and arriving every day after. But equally matched with these deaths are the blessings of a new life – new growth – new possibility.” These words resonate with me and touch my heart. [Read More…]

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