Penelope Anne Cole
Penelope Anne Cole enjoys writing children’s stories to be read aloud. “Reading to children is the best way to help them love literature.” Ms. Cole has taught and tutored at every grade level, K to 12, and community college. She also reviews children's books. When not writing or reviewing children’s books, Ms. Cole enjoys dog walking, reading, gardening, church, and choir activities. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, a member of the California Writers Club: Fremont Area Writers, SF Peninsula Writers, and South Bay Writers, and is a Reading Therapist with Read America. Ms. Cole reviews books at
See reviews of Ms. Cole's books at
Her website is www.penelopeannecole.com
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Monday, February 10, 2014
Monday Madness - More Parenting Angst
After several years of suggesting she go out for sports from me (former Tin Man Triathlon Finisher, 10K race winner, and third place in the Base Women's Tennis League in Hawaii), and my brother (former soccer coach, marathon finisher, and high school discus record holder), my girl finally decided to go out for Sports in her senior year. She honored both of us and chose Girls' Tennis plus Track and Field -- this because several friends were on the teams.
This was a good thing, but added to the mounting senior year expenses: a new tennis racket and case, balls, several tennis skirts for practice, really good tennis shoes, head bands, and sock, plus the team uniform -- not to mention the team sweatshirt. Not a problem, since she can play tennis forever and even with me (easier if I'd lose a few pounds.) I enjoyed going to the tennis matches (that she'd let me attend!). And she got to go to the the Winter Sports Award Assembly.
Then on to Track and Field, where she chose Discus, like her uncle, and shot put (which she was too slight for). Then we had to get the team uniform, sweat pants and sweatshirt, jogging bras, running shorts and tank tops, for workouts, and running shoes -- for conditioning. Plus another gym bag for Track and Field. Again, it was fun for me to go to her Track meets, though I couldn't always see the discus throws, I could always see my girl. And she got to go to the Spring Sports Award Assembly. Oh, yes, I forgot to mention the team photographs for both teams (including magnets!) I really didn't mind the extra expense -- I was glad she went out for both sports. I just wish she'd done it all four years. This, plus her volunteer activities, gave her more to add to her "Resume."
Another thing she did her Senior Year that she didn't do any other high school year was go to the Winter Ball and the Senior Prom. For Winter Ball, we already had a nice dress -- she and her friends decided on short dresses, all the better for dancing. So all we had to do was get the tickets, makeup, pictures, and dress shoes (which she wore for about 5 minutes!) We didn't have to pay for someone to do her hair and make up since they met at a friend's house and did each others' hair and make up. (I think my sweet girl did most of the makeup and ended up not having too much herself!) I'm sure they had a great time.
But the bad time happened about the end of the winter holiday, maybe New Year's Eve, when her longtime boyfriend (of over three years), kissed another girl (and perhaps more, but I was spared details). This was serious cheating and betrayal, and my teen didn't recover easily from this. Did she tell me? Did she share this notorious happening? No, she didn't. I found out later. But it colored the rest of the the winter and into the spring. They were the "Cutest Couple" for the yearbook -- so she didn't want to give that up. And they both tried to get past it.
They were going to the Senior Prom together. We found a gorgeous Navy blue dress, exactly what she wanted (but I should have gotten it hemmed). Then the tickets, photos, shoes, getting made-up and then dressed, after eating the catered dinner at another friend's house -- it was a huge group. The parents gathered there to take photos. They even rented a party bus to take them downtown to the Ball Venue. It was a good evening, because the whole group was together. Sadly, her beautiful dress was too long, got stepped on, it ripped and pulled away at the waist, so it ended up pinned for the evening and awaits alterations before she can wear it again.
Then there was her May birthday and the boyfriend was still in the picture. Because I was anxiously getting all her requirements for graduation checked off one by painful one, I didn't notice how moody and emotional my girl was. Finally, came graduation day, with the whole family there for our two -- before and after -- parties. After the pictures and final bit of food, she headed off to Grad Night with her friends. When I picked her up at 5 AM, that's when she told me, that it was over. And little by little, bit by bit, the story came out, about how he'd cheated on her and she was done with him. She was totally crushed, emotionally bruised, and hurting a lot.
Then summer came, lots of driving practice and spending as much time with her friends as possible -- especially with the ones going away for college. She went to Disneyland with a friend and went camping with another. She met a new guy with her extended group of friends, and he quickly became The New Boyfriend.
I spent a lot of time in shock and bewilderment. How could all this have happened and she not share it with me -- not confide in me? Didn't she trust me? But in looking back, I was busy getting her graduated and celebrated, then busy getting my first book launch party together. I suppose in my busy-ness, I didn't notice what was happening in her life. She didn't come to me and I didn't ask, until it was all over. The hard part was I really liked them as a couple. They were very cute together, and his mother was the sweetest, nicest person. I would have loved her for a mother-in-law for my daughter, if it had worked out for the future. So I nursed my shock and hurt that summer, too.
We spent a lot of time driving and that's when we got to talking more and more. Toward the end of summer with college starting in the fall, we found out her old boyfriend was depressed. He wanted her back and she'd moved on. He threatened suicide and his friends -- including my daughter -- stepped up to tell his parents to get him help. The first help wasn't enough and he actually did take some pills -- though not that many. He was reached in time, thank goodness, and the shock of going to the hospital helped him. That was enough for everyone to take him seriously and for him to finally get the help he needed. That was a wake up call for him, and he's working on getting himself together, setting new goals, and finally moving on.
That's all I can write about for now. There were a couple of other incidents with friends involving drinking that lead to alcohol poisoning and blackouts. There were a couple of car accidents, but no serious injuries, thank goodness. But it showed us all how fragile we are as humans, how big and small things can take over our lives, and we lose sight of ourselves, of what's important in life. Hopefully, when that happens, you'll have good friends to track you down, pick you up, and "save you." I'm so very grateful for and to those dear friends.
Tags: friends, senior year, girls sports, dance, Senior Prom, Graduation, couples, break up, sadness