Tag Archives: Sons

New Beginnings Also Mean Endings

William the Graduate

William the Graduate

This essay originally appeared in Palo Alto Patch. I am reposting it in honor of all of the parents who are sending their beloveds off to college this month. Yes, one year later, and it is easier, much easier, but still bittersweet.

It’s graduation week around town. We’re hearing lots of speeches about new beginnings, following your dreams, and choosing roads less traveled. Students are told repeatedly “it’s all ahead of you.” But for those of us with children in cap and gown, it’s not all about the future. For us, it’s also about the past. Continue reading

The New Face of Addiction

I spent months researching for this article in Diablo Magazine on the rise of prescription drug abuse amongst suburban teens. I interviewed mothers whose honor roll/athlete sons and daughters became slaves to their addictions. I interviewed teens who gave up their dreams of college and professional careers to live “one day at a time.” I was awed by their courage and willingness to speak out. They do not want any one else to go through what they have. And if you think it is “there,” think again. It is here, wherever your here is. Please read it, share it, and talk with others about it. Thank you.

It's A Pharmacy!

It’s A Pharmacy

You might recognize Ann Le Veille of Danville because so many of us are like her. She is a devoted mom who has focused almost all of her time on her family. She volunteered in her children’s schools, chauffeured her kids to their many activities, and was active in her church. Still in love with the man she’d married decades before, she thought she had the perfect life. And then her teenage daughter got hooked on prescription pain medications, and Le Veille realized nothing would ever be the same.

“Chelsea was a happy, social girl in elementary and middle school. Then she hit high school, and soon things began to change. The pressure to get top grades, to be popular, to be on the fast track for admission to a top college was overwhelming,” Le Veille says. So, she took her daughter to a doctor who prescribed Klonopin for Chelsea’s anxiety. Little did Le Veille know that would be the gateway drug to addiction.

The antianxiety medicine worked. Chelsea felt better, and things seemed to calm down. What Le Veille didn’t realize was that Chelsea liked the feeling of relief so much, she moved on to other pills, including Vicodin, Xanax, and finally, OxyContin. Soon, Chelsea’s grades were slipping, and she started hanging out with a new group of kids. “I knew something was wrong; I just didn’t understand what,” Le Veille says.

Within about six months, Le Veille’s daughter became so addicted, she would do anything for the next high. Chelsea stole pills from friends’ parents’ medicine cabinets and from anyone who had a prescription, and when those sources dried up, she turned to dealers to keep her buzzing. She got caught stealing jewelry from a store to pay for her habit. After many unsuccessful attempts to get Chelsea off pills, Le Veille and her husband felt forced to throw her out of the house. Their beloved daughter ended up on the streets.

“The drugs won,” says Le Veille. “The only way we could survive was if we went on without her. One of the worst days of my life was when I saw my ragged, barefoot daughter at a local gas station. She was living in the car of a friend, eating candy and potato chips to stay alive. I felt like I was in this movie of someone else’s life. I never dreamed it could happen to me.” Read more…
 

The Other One Percent: Why Reinstating The Draft Would Benefit Us All

This essay originally appeared in Palo Alto Patch.

Reinstating The Draft Would Benefit Us All

It seemed so innocuous, just a little box at the bottom of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). But the box was so much more than it appeared, because when my recently turned 18-year-old son checked said box, it meant he was now officially registered for the draft.

I wouldn’t have given it much thought until I realized the draft is in the news again. At the Aspen Ideas Festival hosted earlier this month, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the former top commander of international forces in Afghanistan, argued for reinstatement of the draft.

He said, “I think if a nation goes to war, every town, every city needs to be at risk. You make that decision and everybody has skin in the game.” Continue reading

Prom: It’s More Than Just A Dance

This essay originally appeared on BlogHer.

Daddy's Little Girl - All Grown Up

It’s prom season around our house. My seventeen-year-old son is a prom pro. He’s been to so many in the past few years, I don’t even need to give him the Prom Speech.  He knows the drill and I trust him. This year, however, his fifteen-year-old sister was invited to the prom. Funny how different my reaction was; I said, “No!” Continue reading

Preventing Suicide: It’s What A Good Friend Does

The essay first appeared on Patch.com
A little over two weeks ago, we had yet another teen suicide in our fair city, the SIXTH in just two years. School officials, town leadership, parents, students, neighbors are all asking themselves, “How could we have prevented this?” “What can be done to ensure it doesn’t happen again?” My heart goes out to the families and friends involved, but with all this breast-beating and general flailing about, these tragedies still somehow seem so far away. Unreal really. Almost inconceivable. Until now. Continue reading

The Importance of Boredom

This blog first appeared on Invincible Summer.

Let’s s call it what it is: being a teenager is just damn hard these days. Back in the Stone-age when I was sixteen, I didn’t spend six months planning my summer in order to ensure I was filling the requisite boxes for my college apps. No, I was  busy perfecting my tan (grease up with baby oil, wait 15 minutes, turn), chasing down my latest crush (is he at the beach, the swim club, or the movies today?), and reading every Jacqueline Suzanne or Judith Krantz novel I could get my hands on. Sure I had a summer job. I babysat my neighbor’s kids in the mornings so she could go to her yoga class (Yoga? What weirdo does that?). It was a great summer. I was bored all of the time. Bored enough to realize that when three of my friends got pregnant, it was time to do something. I decided to volunteer at Planned Parenthood which lead to a lifetime commitment to ensuring women and girls, men and boys, have access to good sex education. I have taught classes, marched in Washington, volunteered, and given money. I even spent six years on the board of the Planned Parenthood Golden Gate Affiliate. None of this would have happened if my sixteenth summer hadn’t been boring. Sadly, my son won’t be bored this summer. He is too busy planning for his future. Continue reading

My Son, the Cross Dresser

The blogosphere is a boiling over with discourse on transgendered children. As the mother of a son who, at the age of five, danced over the rainbow of exploration, I can only say I am saddened by the current politics of parenting children who refuse to wear the gender straight jacket. For a breather, I was asked by Blogher to post my article called “My Son, the Cross Dresser.” You can see the post and the comments at this link...