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We don't have a night or part-time program, so there aren't as many older students as one might find elsewhere. I know of only four other students who have any children, and when I tell people I have two, it blows their minds.
I'm only 28 and not used to feeling old, but I've spent the last several weeks surrounded by younger, attractive, single people, so you could definitely say my self-image has changed recently. There are a lot of happy hours, drinking socials, etc. They even have formals. I'm definitely not criticizing; 6 years ago, I would have gone out any night of the week, too. But obviously, I can't really be part of that social scene now, and I'm finding I don't really want to be.
In many ways, it's a relief to stay out of the social drama that ensues when you throw together a couple of hundred young, attractive, single people who feel like they have to prove to each other how smart they are.
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That sounds a little snarky, but I don't mean it that way. They are all smart, and they're just trying to find their social footing in a new place. But I'm finding different ways to connect with people, and in the meantime I can really focus on making good use of the time I pay other people to watch my kids.
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So things are going ok. Multiple drafts and rewrites ensued at various coffee shops, between nursery school drop-offs, pick-ups, and freelance projects.
Once I got the book to a place where I felt others could read it, I called my best friend. Jody King Camarra has been by my side since kindergarten, and she happens to be an incredible artist. She agreed to illustrate it right away.
Mom of 5 overcomes tragedy, graduates from law school at 33
I was very active in the illustration of my book. I could not trust it with some random illustrator. I could not be completely hands-off with this book. I knew my limitations! I asked Jody and her mom, Caryn King—an established artist with quite the following, to include the baby in the belly.
I wanted to demystify pregnancy for young kids, to show them what happens in utero, to combat the stork myth. Other than insisting we show the baby, and weighing in at different stages of design, the work is completely theirs, and, I agree, they created a beautifully illustrated book. She would be thrilled that we worked on it together. It seriously warms my heart when I see them sharing my book, opening up dialogue that reinforces their innate bond. It includes commentary by the self-proclaimed tough critic and her daughter, and they both loved it.
I am on a book tour, with dates coming up in Virginia on October 5 and 6; Walpole, Massachusetts, on October 12, and Warwick, Rhode Island, on October 19, with many more to be announced. It is so rewarding reading the book aloud to kids and getting their feedback. I have been tested…and tested again and again and again. I have grappled with an unusual amount of death and loss in my life.
My mom died a cruel death shortly after my 40th birthday. My son and bonus daughter lost their dad my ex-husband last year. He was only 8 and she was 21 and had already lost her biological mom when she was just 4-years-old. I suffered a devastating miscarriage. Grief has been overwhelming at times, and it is a part of me. It walks alongside me, forever, but I have learned to embrace it because I cannot shake it.
I have written extensively about grief in numerous publications.