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postmodernfamilyblog

Multigenerational Mom Muses on Twin Toddlers & Twenty-Something Daughters

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postmodernfamilyblog.wordpress.com

I'm a mother of twin toddlers and two adult daughters. My dad says I ran the engine and the caboose on grandchildren, but I'm having a really hard time driving the potty train. (They always told me boys were harder!) I am passionate about family, football, politics, and good books, and I'm liable to blog about any one of them on any given week.

Leading Through Grace

Last night, I watched the young man that we in Cartersville know and love take on the biggest disappointment of his young career. We witnessed the potential for victory build, saw the fight and grit and momentum swell, as play after play came through, carried them closer.

Until, the tide turned, the energy drained, fizzled to foam, and the game was lost.

But what I saw after… what I saw when our hometown guy pulled himself together to pull his teammates close… that was the true test of strength and grit and fight.

ESPN’s footage of Trevor Lawrence standing in the tunnel, grass-stained and weary, still helmeted and stinging from the loss, shaking the hands of his fellow players, hugging them and sharing love in the loss – that goes beyond any measure of strength, grit or fight. That’s pure grace.

Trevor Lawrence knows grace. He was saved by it. And he will lead others to it. That will be his legacy. That and a long line of future NFL victories.

We love you, Trevor. Thank you for sharing the beauty of grace.

one teacher’s thoughts and prayers about school safety

I woke up yesterday and prayed for a good day as I got in my van to head to school. At our moment of silence I prayed for us all to have a safe day. I have the same requests every day.
In the end, I guess it was a good day. We were all safe.
Still.
When will we stop getting these calls — real and otherwise — that send schools into lockdown?
I don’t know that my body can take it anymore. My heart either. This might’ve been my fourth or fifth. (We average one a year lately). This was the scariest by far.
At the end of it all, I thought I was fine.
I handled the code red calmly. My kids did too. We sheltered in our two available safe corners in the classroom and prayed and texted our families. As a teacher, the responsibility was intense. To keep them quiet. To keep them safe. To get them all home to their families. All 24. Crammed and vulnerable. The picture above shows the two corners we have to work with and the door right there where the threat could lie…

I terrified my daughters. They were crying on the other end of my texts (one in a Panda Express checkout line and one in a hospital clinic with her fellow attendings) because I was texting them and then I wasn’t. Because the signals jammed. I’m sure there were 1500+ kids and 80+ teachers all reaching out to loved ones because these might be our last words to them. 

But my texts weren’t going. I could see the line at the top of my phone showing them trying to fly off into the Ethernet. I wondered if there were people’s souls out there trying to do the same — students, teachers, admin… Because there were so many sirens. Police cars and ambulances. So many.

Were there students bleeding and worse in the other classrooms?
And teachers too?
I worried about my administrators up front — seemingly the first line of defense.

And then we were good.

Or okay, at least… or at least of sound body. But my mind… It was traumatized. I just didn’t know how badly. Until last night… but still couldn’t crash from my mom and coach’s wife responsibilities.
I had football players to feed and dress rehearsals to drive a son to and home chores to handle.  

But after all was done, I hit a wall. My body gave out and my mind toppled. Rage and frustration and tears and feeling like I was overreacting and then feeling like nobody else was reacting enough.

And I don’t mean law enforcement or administration or my students— they did exactly what was demanded of them. They were amazing. 

No, I mean society. I mean America. We keep seeing the same stories — the horror-filled variations — but nothing changes.
I told you yesterday what one of my students said about not living in a perfect world. But what I didn’t say was that he said, “In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need guns, but we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in America.”

Everything is different here. We have freedoms here. And that’s all well and good. But we also have bad people with guns who threaten innocent children and something’s gotta give. And it doesn’t need to be more student and teachers lives.

There are no easy answers. Everything is so hard.

But if we teachers and students can do hard things like getting up today and going to school after a hard day like yesterday (and like so many far, far harder yesterdays) this country can do hard things too.

Like come up with some solutions to fix this.

Thanksgiving is My Favorite

This week I celebrate my favorite holiday — the one that gets lost between the one that fills buckets with candy and the one that fills stockings with gifts.

Thanksgiving is my favorite because it’s not flashy or fever-pitched. It’s quiet and warm – like a favorite sweater, a cozy fire, the whisper of socked feet on hardwood.

It’s having all my kids under one roof again. It’s hugs and hot toddies, pies in the oven, turkey in the deep fryer, and a heart overflowing with gratitude. It’s being present with all my greatest gifts.

I don’t put my Christmas decorations up until afterwards. (I don’t fault you if you do – if you have a hankering for the twinkly lights and shiny ornaments and stockings all hung by the fireplace with care – I love those too.)

But as this world cranks into hustlier and bustlier gear, I try to slow it down and idle in gratitude for just a bit longer. To celebrate the leaves gathered “round the welcome mat, the feet propped ‘round the coffee table, the throws wrapped ‘round shoulders on the sectional as we sip sherbet punch and coffee and wine.

My girls will be here, and my grandsons too. And their presence is greater than any presents that will soon gather beneath the tree not-yet-up. So I’ll cuddle up with the boys, play sordid board games with the girls, and laugh myself silly while I soak in the sweetness. So much sweetness.

And then… when our hearts and bellies are full to bursting with blessings… then the Christmas Kickoff boxes come out. The ones full to bursting with holiday pajamas and handpicked ornaments and picture books and special treats.

Because then, when the leftovers are lounging in their Tupperware and the lights are low and the candles are lit, then and only then will Christmas be officially underway at the Candela household

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Featured post

Post-Season Football and Family: So Hard, So Worth It

Post season: it’s the toughest season of all. If done right, it’s the equivalent of an extra half-a-season: 5 games, culminating in a trophy and rings.
Again, if done right.
And let’s face it, we want it done right.
And doing it right is far from easy, but always worth it. I have to remind myself of that.

Especially because post season is wrapped up in the most wonderful season of all – the holiday season —and that complicates matters. A lot. It adds about a gazillion stressors to players’ and coaches’ lives alike.


If all goes according to plan, family gatherings will be cut short or missed… family pictures, too. Along with basketball games, wrestling matches, Nutcracker performances, school plays, chorus concerts, bedtimes, holiday movie nights.

So many missed family times… but also, so much family time gained, too.
Because for us, football is family.
And oh, how we love this game.
It’s not the touchdowns and tackles that make our hearts sing with joy and our lungs ache with love (although it certainly doesn’t hurt)…

It’s the players and men out on that field. It’s the knowing them, the loving them, the watching them accomplish tasks they never dreamed they could accomplish.

It’s seeing them forge bonds of brotherhood. Watching them face challenges with passion and confidence. Witnessing them relying on others as much as themselves. Embracing family. Understanding that family is strength and family is love and family is a powerful, moving force.It’s never easy. But it’s also always worth it.

Nobody moves mountain alone. Nobody wins at football or at life, alone. That takes commitment and common ground, and hard work, and family.

Over the next few weeks and for the rest of their lives, these players and coaches can accomplish great things because they know and understand the importance of family. Because they are members of the best family of all: the Canes Football Family.

Come on, Fam!! Let’s do this hard thing!!

OUR TOWN 💜💛

I’ve written before about our town. About the love I have for her. About her people and her spirit, her buildings and her backbone. About how I love her church bells chiming happily on Sunday mornings from my back porch and the home crowd cheering heartily on Friday nights from my perch in Weinman Stadium.

Cartersville is not just a great hometown, she’s the best hometown.

And even though she doesn’t have to prove herself as such, week in and week out, she does it anyway. She rises to the top, like cream… like Cane Sugar. Is that even a thing? Well, I say it is because the heart and soul of C’ville rose to the occasion this past week for those of our community in need.

It all began on Sunday night, when announcements were posted in emails and voicemails and on social media: a food drive was underway. And yes, while this happens every year once the leaves and temps start turning in our town, this time, we truly showed out.

This time, Sam Jones Methodist Church’s “It’s Scary to be Hungry” annual campaign, in conjunction with Pritchard Injury Firm and the city schools, collected over 6000 cans in just five days. The fifth day culminated in “Blackout Hunger Day” and the Blackout Game on Friday Night under the lights in Weinman Stadium.

Our schools and our community and our CANES delivered — proving once again that Cartersville is not just a great town it’s the BEST town.

It’s our town — and good gracious, does our town know how to be the BEST!
(Photo cred: Sports Furnace Athletics DrRuss21)

If Reading Dies our Truths will Die Too

People don’t read much anymore. I’ve known it for a long while, but this year, it’s hit me especially hard because even my AP Lit kids don’t want to read. Even them. They brag to me about never having read a book in high school. To me. Their teacher. And they’re proud of it.

And me, I’m sad about it; damn near sick about it.

I’ve tried and tried to reach them, but they only want to socialize and see what’s on TikTok and Snapchat. They can’t have access to their phones, so they’ve decided I can’t have access to their minds. I’ve used a gazillion approaches, so many projects, so many competitions. They refuse to yield. I refuse to give up. But I am growing desperate. I know what’s at stake.

So, for the month of October, I’m trying a unit filled entirely with short stories we’ll read together in class. A captive audience is a more accessible audience. At least, I hope so.

I plan to hook them with dark and twisty tried-and-trues at first: Edgar Alan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?” Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Alice Walker’s “The Flowers.” Then a couple of newcomers to add insult to injury: Stephen King’s “Strawberry Spring.” Dantiel Moniz’s “Exotics.”

Then, after they’re hooked and horrified, I’ll gut them with Ken Leiu’s “The Paper Menagerie.” (If you haven’t read it yet, read it now. It’s available online. But beware: it’ll leave you sobbing in snot-soaked shirt sleeves.)

Which is my goal: to demonstrate the power of literature so that maybe after I’m through, they’ll get it.

They’ll understand why reading matters. How fiction exists to show us how to live — and how not to live. How fiction shows us our truths — the good, the bad, and the ugly — inside our hearts.

But if reading dies, then good fiction, truth-telling fiction, will cease to exist and we’ll be left with the fictions of Instagram, snapchat and tiktok — the fiction that teaches nothing but falsehoods through filtered, fragments, all the real sliced away from the reels. Illusion masquerading as life.

If reading is lost… we will be lost.

I believe this much to be true.

Here in the Apple-Picking Fall

I’m a big believer in The Great Pumpkin. In nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see.

In golden light and golden hours. In seizing sunsets as the days grow shorter, when the coolness creeps in…

It’s the best time to live.

Get rid of the bullshit, the hypocrisy, the shifting, shiftless, gossiping gangs with curled lips and flapping tongues,

and motives materializing in the mist behind every “Hello.” (If they even say hello before the “Can you…?”)

Nope. 

Give me real women, with liberal amounts of authenticity. With spice, and spitfire, and gumption and ample amounts of wine (but no whine).

And definitely no fall in line.

Obedience is overrated.

If we’re gonna fall, fall free.

With wills of our own.

Feisty Witches. 

Apple-picking Eves. 

We know what we want and get it for our selves.

And the men we choose, if we choose them, snag apples too. Freely with fervor.

So drop the fig leaves and pretenses.

Celebrate your charms, cast your spells

Seize your solstice and make your mark.

Invite starry nights and moonshine into your life. Mushrooms and a touch of madness— even a hint of melancholy, too — to fully appreciate life

Here in the Apple Picking Fall.

Blessings and Prayer Requests

What a blessing to spend two months with my adult daughter. Two months! 

It’s been years since I’ve had that much time with her — since her college days at UGA. But then, this hiatus between her fellowship graduation and her attending job at Miami’s Sylvester Cancer Center happened. And it’s been wonderful.

She’s had two months of just lying low and recovering from the years of studying and training and operating and researching and testing and interviewing and traveling.

Two months to veg out on the sofa with some guilty-pleasure-TV and our sweet cat, Twyla. Two months to spoil her little brothers with coconuts and car-rider pick-ups.

Two months to sip coffee and wine with her mother and watch Friday night football to cheer on her stepdad and the Purple Hurricanes.

Two months to find a week here, a weekend, there to visit extended family or putter around in a boat on the bay.

Two months to catch up with friends for drinks and strolls, to take in a couple of concerts, to watch a parade. Two months to just settle her soul and find her center.

Which is a good thing because now she’s leaving her hometown Hurricanes and driving headlong into two more: the University of Miami Hurricanes and Hurricane Ian.

The first, she’s well equipped to handle. She’s got the skill and experience and know-how under her white coat to handle anything the U’s Hurricanes throw at her.

The second… well, this one’s a bit more daunting. It’s projected to be a category 4 by the time it hits landfall on Tuesday or Wednesday. And there are soooo many questions and concerns involving this one.

Where will the eye hit? Will there be gas available in Florida as she travels? Will phone lines stay up? Power stay on? Will her pod be delivered? Her movers show up? Her other deliveries remain on schedule?

My girl is a strong, independent woman. Absolutely she is. But this is a daunting endeavor, even with an entire support system in place. And she has just herself… so it’s nerve wracking for her.

But if she could also have your prayers — if you would kindly send some up for her — I would be ever-so-thankful. Prayers for her safety and smooth sailing.

And believe it or not, I am calm about this situation. I feel peace about this journey. It’s a peace that passes understanding — because I believe in the power of prayer, and I believe she can do this hard thing – as long as she’s got some assistance from her guardian angel, the Almighty… and you.

So I would appreciate your prayers on her behalf, please and thank you.

Tired and Worn Down

I’m tired. I’m so worn down.

Waking up at 5:30 AM and working nine hours a day at school, then throwing together sandwiches or quesadillas or crackers and pepperoni because it’s all we have time for before burning the rubber off my tires for the boys’ activities…

Monday: football and theater.

Tuesday: piano and football. 

Wednesday: dance. 

Thursday: dance and theater and football. 

Friday: Friday Night football. 

Saturday: any and all random responsibilities of the not regularly scheduled variety. But thankfully, my husband is here. The father of my sons. My go-to guy. He’s here to help on Saturdays.

And then Sundays. Salvation Day. Napping days. Because, y’all. I’m slap worn out.

And I see nothing but years and years and then more years of this insane schedule, multiplied.

Lordy, it makes me want to go curl up in a ball and stay there – which is how I used to cope with overwhelming stress, back before my boys and after my girls. After my girls were grown and my responsibilities were less, I would go to bed at 7 pm and not get up again for at least 12 hours. It gave me a recharge so I could maintain the course.

But I don’t have that luxury anymore. More than 6 hours of sleep is hard to come by.

And I know I’m throwing myself a pity party. I know I’ll be fine after a nice long Sunday afternoon nap and a glass or two of wine.

But I need to know: Am I the only one like me? (Well, probably the only one who’s 56 with twin 8 year-old boys and a football-coaching husband, but still…)

I know I’m not the only one burning candles at both ends and feeling frayed and frazzled with an FU filter threatening to fail.  

So what do y’all do? How do you find inner peace when your energy has melted into a roiling thermonuclear core threatening to collapse and there’s really no end in sight? When doing less is absolutely not an option?

No, like, really.

How do you handle it?

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