Monday, October 31, 2011

Tricks, Treats, and All the Saints at Home

Hey!  I'm back, all cheerful and a little oogy because Halloween candy has those effects on my disposition and my tummy.

We had no school today, presumably because the district calendar makers hate parents' everlovin' guts.  I don't know where our little school district's offices are, but after I write this post I'm Googling them, driving over, asking where the calendar maker sits, and leaving an unwrapped Baby Ruth on his chair.

I will include a note that says, "Any sociopath who decides the best place for kids to spend Halloween Day is at home -- where they can insist on wearing a Spiderman costume that has to be zipped and unzipped forty three gazillion times because their little bladders just can't handle all the excitement and anticipation of the day -- deserves a bit of poo on their chair.  Love, hugs, and kisses, DeNae's neighbor whose name I can't remember right now."

My 16-year old is spending the day as a werewolf, which is fortunate for two reasons:  One, it's just a mask and rubber gloves, and two, he can manage his own bladder issues.  When you've been around the parenting block as often as I have, you learn to look for these features in both Halloween costumes and 16-year olds.


On to November.  And a story.

When I was a 16-year old -- and therefore in full control of all bodily functions except spontaneous hormonal bawling -- I went to work at my dad's bank.  I had a super difficult job which required highly specialized skills. 

I stuffed statements into envelopes.

This meant that I took the statement, ran the cancelled checks through a magic machine that counted them all, collected the checks at the bottom of the magic machine, folded them into the statement, and placed the whole kit n' caboodle into an envelope, making sure the customer's name showed through the little plastic window.

Now, here's the sad part:  I absolutely, unequivocally, stunk at this job.  Hands that could fly through anything Rachmaninoff the Sadist had to throw at them could no more keep a statement full of cancelled checks together long enough to stick into an envelope than rocket straight to Neptune and give Pluto a big thumbs up on that "not a planet any more" disappointment.

The best news my supervisor could receive on a given weekday afternoon was that I couldn't make it to work because I had play practice or a piano lesson or -- and this is the more likely scenario -- all those pins she was sticking in her DeNae doll were finally paying off.

On the day I left my bank job to begin studying music in college, the rest of the bookkeeping department heaved such a collective sigh of relief it actually lifted the roof off the building and rotated it 15 degrees.

No one complained.

I was incredibly fortunate to have found my talents and my niche, and while studying to improve those skills, I was even more fortunate that, after dating a number of young music majors who went on to happier times dating each other, I married a handsome accounting major, whose training and abilities would actually pay the bills.

Never mind that he pulled something of a bait n' switch five years later by becoming an FBI agent.  I was up for the adventure, and besides, I thought his gun was kinda cool.

We've been together for 26 years, and have raised or nearly-raised four kids without a single one of them becoming an ax murderer or talk show host.  We are ridiculously proud of those statistics.

Lucky spouses.  Lucky parents.  Lucky kids.

Not everyone is so lucky, however.

A few sobering stats:
  • 40% of children under 18 experience a parental breakup.
  • 28% of children now live with just one parent.
  • 90% of single parent families are headed by women.
  • Single mothers' median incomes are approximately 25% of those of married couples.
During the month of November, I am happily working with a group of bloggers to raise money for a scholarship which is specifically intended for single mothers.  It is through LDS Business College, and is named for Stella Harris Oaks, a single mother who raised three children alone after the death of her husband.  One son became a world renowned eye surgeon, and another was short-listed for the United States Supreme Court.

When the hosts of the luncheon introduced the fundraising plan to the 25 or so bloggers in the room, and then said they hoped to raise $7,200 total, we all kinda giggled.

Clearly, these kind-hearted gentlemen have no idea what we mom bloggers are capable of doing together.

The Vice President of the college confided that they are several scholarships short of meeting the needs of all the women who come to the school looking for a little bit of training and maybe a dash of hope.

I'm confident my readers could, by themselves, raise that $7,200.  As a group, just putting that widget ("Megan's Story" on my sidebar) on our blogs for a month and talking about this wonderful program -- of which 100% of all donations go to the scholarship recipients -- I believe we could raise ten times that amount.

Just click on the widget.  It will introduce you to Megan, a remarkable woman I met last Friday, and who is one of many success stories to come from the Oaks scholarship and LDS Business College.  If you would like to add the widget to your own sidebar, click 'share.'  You can also add this to Facebook.

Look.  I could go to LDSBC from now 'til doomsday, and no one would ever be able to train me for work in a bank.  But women far more talented than I, who are just looking for the opportunity to show what they're made of, experience miraculous changes in their lives and the lives of their children because of this school and this scholarship.

Give if you've got it.  Share the opportunity if that's all you can do.  And let's take care of a few moms this month.

A little bit of hope goes a long, long way.


Jocelyn Christensen said...

You are funny! Glad it was a Baby your scenario, and not a Snickers. I would hate to see a Snickers wasted like that! ;)

Thursday said...

Sounds like a worthy cause; I hope we really can raise 10 times the $7200 that you are hoping for!

Karen Peterson said...

As someone who was raised by a single mom who worked her way through college while I was in high school, this cause really strikes a chord with me. Thank you so much!

Melanie Jacobson said...

I was a single mom for seven years. I'm in! Will do widgety type stuff later after I've beaten all my sugar-hyped children to sleep.

Kristina P. said...

Maybe we can do some type of Lifetime Movie/MTV "Single Moms and Pregnant" type of thing to also draw attention to this issue.

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

Love the post Danae!

Becca said...

Awesome stuff. I love the LDSBC people. Hope is where it's at.

AS Amber said...

Considering I've been a single mom (and still feel like one from time to time), you know I'm in.

I love how you tell a story. From Jake being house broken to working at the bank (when I was 4) to Pluto to this great cause. You're so funny!!


Heidi G. said...

Okay, I just have to say that you're one of the funniest (and kind-hearted) people that I've met in a long time. I could use a dose of you ever-so-often! And...thanks for a great post regarding the single-parents. You're right that we can all do a little to help a lot (or visa-versa). :) Your new best friend, Heidi G. ;)

poster said...

As a single mom who is going to college, I think this is awesome. I should be done soon so it probably won't be for me. I just want to put a tick in your heads. I had between 2 and 3 years left when I started in June and now I have finished all but 3 classes here in just 5 months through WGU. They are online, their tuition is cheap and they are fully accredited. I know when we donate we want our money to go far.

Baltzers said...

I need to do some catch up reading. It looks like things are going well in Utah! Came to visit because I was reading an LDS hair-do blog and saw your picture on the blog at a blogging event! So I just had to come tell you I had a "hey, that's DeNae!" moment. Like running into someone IRL unexpectedly. Except I you didn't get to see me in my PJ's.

Melanie said...

It's Nevada day right? And I blew it on the costume/potty/5 year old thing this year, next year something with removable pants! My sister is about to be a single parent, thanks for giving.