Every Stage is a Miraculous Unfolding

16 Sep

stages of plant development

“There is in every child

at every stage a new miracle of vigorous unfolding,

which constitutes a new hope

and a new responsibility for all.”

~Erik Erikson



Sometimes Families Just Need to Focus on Happiness

13 Sep


A Mother’s Heart

12 Sep

Sandy Beach Heart

The “Tween” Year Between High School and College

11 Sep

high school and collegeI sat in the rigid, worn-out desk in my older son’s senior English class.  How many years had it been since I was a senior, ‘tween high school and college? I hesitate to say that it has been decades!

Feeling a bit melancholy, I looked around the room noticing many parents I have known since their kids were wee ones. I find myself incredulous that our kids are on the verge of leaving home and high school.

Last night was the last “back-to-school night” I will ever attend for my son, John.

My eyes fill with tears as I type these words.

It has been said to enjoy every moment with one’s children because they grow up so fast.  Honestly, I believe that the years between 0-5 years pass very slowly, as is critical for the development of the young child.  But, once they enter kindergarten, the time passes at virtually breakneck speed.

It seems like yesterday, that I cradled the egg-headed, newborn baby in my arms.  Spending far too long ‘tween labor and birth, John’s head was quite elongated.  The nurse assured us that it would be sweet and round in no time.


Thankfully, it was. If not, he’d experience great difficulty balancing his mortar board on his head when he graduates in June!

So many memories pass through my minds-eye of all the years in the interim. Similar to childbirth, I seem to recall only the positive experiences.

While I reminisce, John is most likely feeling the typical angst of a high school senior.  Surveys show that they are “scared sick about going off to college.” They worry about the unknown. Who will be my roommate?  Will I make friends?  Am I smart enough for the college I choose?

John doesn’t show it.  But moms just seem to sense these things. My son is living both in his present and his future.

He is immersed in college applications, a senior year robotics project and asking to participate in activities that just a short time ago would be easily rejected.

“My friends and I want to backpack through Europe this summer, Mom.”

My immediate response was “no!”  But, then I remembered enjoying the same awesome experience after my freshman year of college.  I was still 18 years-old.  John will be 18 in January.

I’m not Jewish but all I could think was “Oy Vey! How am I going to deal with this one?”  I told him to talk to his dad and then we’d discuss it together.

I find myself thinking, he’ll be gone next year at this time.  We’ve laid the foundation.  Many decisions are now his to make.

BUT, not the trip to Europe.  The almighty dollar provides parents with power. Funding the trip would require our financial assistance.

John needs to work this summer to increase his spending money for college. There will be time for a trek through Europe.  The opportunity is yet to come.

In a nutshell, this parent is caught ‘tween the excitement I feel for my son’s future and the sadness of knowing that next year at this time, he’ll most likely be sitting in a far more comfortable desk in a college classroom ‘tween 2 possibly new friends.

For the meantime, I plan to enjoy each moment.  As the nurse who assured us about John’s contorted head-shape on the day of his birth wisely said to us:

“Every stage is the best stage.”

Even when we find ourselves ‘tween elation and heartache.

Wishing each of you a lovely day with your children, no matter what the age and stage,

Catie (Cate Pane)



Celebrate the Positive

9 Sep

Sunset The Clear Parent

If Mother Teresa Came to Dinner

8 Sep


Imagine this:  Mother Theresa lifts up her hands to give you a blessing and you respond by which of the following?

  1. bowing your head
  2. giving her a “high-five”
  3. gesturing to her to “hang loose”

The obvious answer would be number 1, but a journalist actually gave her a high-five!  I love this.


Because it sounds like something I would do!

The 17th anniversary of Mother Teresa’s passing was on Thursday, September 5th.

Many of us are quite familiar with her remarkable life.  She founded the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, a congregation of women whose lives are dedicated to assisting the needy. Her order built an aids hospice (during a time when others feared caring for these patients), a leper colony and primarily worked in Calcutta, India to help the outcast, hopeless, and dying children and adults of the city. She was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1979 for her humanitarian work.

Years ago, a friend of mine happened to travel on a flight where Mother Teresa was a passenger.  He recounted a story of her walking the aisles of the plane collecting leftover dinner rolls from passengers to feed the hungry. Needless to say, the flight attendants were none too happy, but the passengers felt that it was a privilege to assist her in her mission to help the needy.

Lately, I’ve been wondering if she were still alive and came to our home to dinner, what would she say and do?

One cannot find photographs of her eating. Rather, she is often pictured feeding the poor.

  • After finishing my best Italian dinner, her plate would most likely remain nearly untouched.  She’d probably ask for a “take-out” box so that she could give my lasagna to the hungry (including the rolls, of course)!

Mother Teresa Feeding Child theclearparent.com

  • When when our sons, John and Michael discussed wars and current events (as they often do), she might say:

Mother Teresa Quote

  • If Frank and I asked her to advise us about how our family could help the world, she’d probably say:

Mother Teresa Quote

  • If I spoke to her about how at times I feel inadequate in my parenting, she might say:
Mother Teresa Quote About Love

“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do…but how much love we put in that action.”

  • If Frank and I talked about parenting mistakes we’d made in the past and our fears about the future, she’d most likely say:


  • When our evening was complete and we walked her to the door, she’d probably remind us to teach our children:

Mother Teresa Judgement Quote

Perhaps, the most humble have the most to teach us about parenting.

Wishing you family dinners this week filled with peace, love and a few high-fives for good measure!

Catie (Cate Pane)




Opening Our Minds

6 Sep


Beauty from Lost Dreams

5 Sep

As parents, there will be times when our dreams for our children will not match the reality of their lives.  This is actually a good thing!  They are born with a personality and gifts that may lead them in a direction different from our choosing.  The challenge for parents is to change course, embrace change and shift one’s mindset.

Beauty from ashes

“I can bring beauty out the ashes of lost dreams.”

(From Jesus Calling)

Wishing each and every one of you a Friday filled with the beauty of knowing our children are becoming the adults they are intended to be!

Catie (Cate Pane)

Minute to Minute Parenting

4 Sep

One minute I thought I was having a great day and the next…

Effervescent Comfort

2 Sep

I admit it.  I am addicted.  At least 5 times a week I drink…

John Diet Coke

a Diet Coke.

Honestly, it is my only addiction, but I know it isn’t good for me.  I am postmenopausal and the research around both sugary and diet soda consumption is not positive:

So, with all of that research against diet soda, why does this mom have such a hard time quitting?  Last spring, I was almost completely rehabilitated.  I was only “falling off the wagon” 1-2 times per week.  Water and iced tea became my beverages of choice.

But then this mother became a sucker for a schmaltzy ad campaign:

Summer 2014 was THE “Summer of Sharing:  Share a Coke.”

You see, we were going through one of those “seasons” families encounter and I (sadly) found solace in choosing a bottle of Diet Coke with the name of one of my sons, “Dad,” “family,” “friends,” “BFF,” or “Mom,” to name a few.

Note the picture above. Today as I ran to the grocery store for some additions to our Labor Day barbecue, I noticed a bottle with the name of my older son, “John.”

Yep, I proceeded to place it in the cart.

You see, this is John’s senior year and I’ve been thinking quite a bit about where he’ll land a year from now.  I am not worried.  I am not even involved in his applications.  I believe God already knows where he’ll attend and it will be just fine.

So, how does a diet soda (unshared, by the way) comfort me during this season of looking ahead to a whole new life for my son? I think only an advertising executive could answer that question!

What is the biggest problem with my addiction?  Poor modeling for my kids. Studies have proven that kids tend to be more influenced by a parent’s behavior than their words.

Thus, I can tell my kids until I’m blue in the face that soda is unhealthy, but if they watch me drinking it, I am sending a more powerful message that it’s really ok.  Or, worse yet, it’s ok to engage in behavior even when a person knows it isn’t good for them.

Well, “The Summer of Sharing” has officially ended.  I poured the rest of the soda in the above photo down the sink and now I’m craving a nice, tall glass of ice water.


Catie (Cate Pane)


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