Jo-Ann Rogan

Non-Traditional Holiday Traditions

IMG_0186I was raised Catholic. My husband, some sort of Protestant. But, he refused to go to church after someone gave him a hard time about having nothing for the collection plate.

Together, our little family is very atheist. We celebrate the secular Santa and Rudolf Christmas. Presents, gatherings, and needed time together as a family. Celebrations with no religious overtones, but which include a ton of togetherness.

This has left us with some non-traditional traditions. “Hookey Day” is our favorite. We have been doing this since our sons were young. We pick a day in the middle of the week, right after Thanksgiving. We pick a weekday because my oldest son has sensory issues and navigating crowds is hard for him. I let the boys stay out of school. [Read More…]

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…]

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…]

Our Summer Vacation

Jo-Ann Rogan's familyWe are a typical family, Mom, Dad, two boys. I work part-time so that I am around for my kids, I was vice president of the PTA in school last year, and I am on the board of directors of my kids swim team.

We live in a lovely little urban neighborhood where it is possible for my kids to play outside by themselves and they know many of the names of the dogs and owners who pass our house on their way to the park and we are not beyond a “deck night” with the neighbors. All just ordinary stuff, the only thing that makes us different is my husband and I are in a hardcore punk band together.

The band was active in the 90’s and we spend the better part of a decade on the road until I discovered I was pregnant at the ripe age of 38. After the band had fiery break up, I moved on with the guitarist to marriage, parenthood, and middle age. [Read More…]

A Letter To My Husband On Father’s Day

Jo-Ann Rogan's husband and kids IDear Elliott:

You declared for months,  after our oldest Ryan was born, that you are a Dad, someone’s Dad! You came to parenting reluctantly, as you do so much in life.  For my whole pregnancy, you would say over and over, I don’t get why people have kids and I am not sure I can do this. Now, over a decade in, I am here to say, you are an incredible father.  [Read More…]

Thanking Namea During Mother’s Day

Jo-Ann and NameaMy first child did not arrive until I was close to my 38th birthday, so I spent years thinking Mother’s Day was someone else’s holiday.  I never imagined I would have children – it was a day where I just showed love to the Moms in my life, but it was never about me.

Then I had kids.

When they were little, my husband would help, but it still wasn’t about me because babies are needy little creatures, especially when they are nursing. Eventually, I could get my kids to do projects with me on Mother’s Day. (My husband cooks and I get the kids to help me plant a garden or do other household chores which will give us time together.) My Mother’s Day is usually nice.

For some women, Mother’s Day is agony. I personally watched friends suffer through the holiday after losing a parent, struggling with infertility, or having had a complicated relationship with their own mother. [Read More…]

Hormones, My Son, and Me

Jo-Ann Rogan and oldest sonThere are a ton of hormones swirling around in my house.  Suddenly what was once my tiny sweet smelling baby is now a 11-year-old young man with very decidedly offensive odors.  The changes are coming slowly.

He is still devoid of a manly voice and beard and although the changes are subtle, they are happening. I notice he is quicker to anger than he was a year ago.

He craves more independence and I find myself constantly pulling on the reigns of the boundaries I have created at home.

One of the biggest fights we struggle with is about him wanting to be out with friends after dark.  Although we live in a lovely neighborhood, we live in the city, and being a former wild child I know that nothing positive happens hanging out after dark as a preteen. [Read More…]

Valentines Schmalentines

Valentine’s Day is a waste of time and I tend not to celebrate it in any meaningful way. I don’t require my husband to bring me gifts or take me out for dinner.  Valentine’s Day is about a month and a half from Christmas and exactly a month before our wedding anniversary. We can celebrate love any other time of the year and we won’t have to fight a crowd.  We might say “Happy Valentine’s Day” and hug, but the celebration ends there.  Usually, for my kids, I plan an experience in the time around Valentine’s Day, like a trip to the indoor water park or another fun event.

I don’t need a holiday for my husband to show me he loves me.  He does that when he makes me a cocktail with fresh squeezed juice on Saturday nights after I have served drinks to half of the city for two nights in a row. I feel the love when we stand in the kitchen supposedly cooking but instead we are watching a TV show on the kitchen computer, and he starts to rub my back.   [Read More…]

Sweatpantgiving

SweatpantsWe are quickly approaching the stimulus overload, food holidays. These holidays clash completely with my kids and their special needs.

In the short time my kids have been alive we have spent three holidays in an emergency room. Three.  The first one came as my youngest was just being diagnosed with his five anaphylactic food allergies. We were at the playground over a long holiday weekend.

My son, then a toddler, decided to sample a peanut butter sandwich that was on the tray of a stroller. He wound up having an anaphylaxis and I used his Epi-pen on him to save his life. Every single professional I encountered at the hospital told me over and over that I had saved my son’s life that day. It is something I can never forget. [Read More…]

My Letter To Ryan

Jo-Ann Rogan's son IIDearest Ryan,

I have been writing you letters on your birthday since you were four years old. Wish I thought to do this when you were younger.  This year was about you blossoming.

You have grown so much this year. In early June you were on the tall side but had a little kid look to you with a roundness.  Suddenly in July you were what seems like four inches taller, broad shouldered, and had a decidedly young-man-look.  Your face is changing and you are wearing men’s sized clothing and shoes.  You have become a strong young man. You often volunteer to carry heavy things for me.

You started this summer as a little boy.  In July, your rapid growth had your brain chemistry thrown off and your behavior was hard to manage and you were just hard to reach.  August brought a new found calm.  When your Dad was away working on his big project you stepped in to be my right hand man.  Often when Aaron was melting down you were the one to take the higher road in your arguments. I was so thankful for your calm head. I enjoyed the time we had together in August and I adored our “summer bucket list,” which was a list of things we wanted to do this summer.  Last week, we crossed everything off the list with the time we spent at the beach. [Read More…]

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