Editorial Author Nicole Herrera
“Shoulders back, Nicole Jo,” chided my mother time and time…and time…again. A habit of hunching my shoulders has plagued me all my life, equal parts
“I don’t know how to explain to you why you should care about other people.” This tweet, fired off by exasperated mother and YA author,
We lost our Lola in April. If anything encompasses the turmoil and contradiction of the past year, it was our 13 ½ year old Belgian
The city of Massillon feels smaller than it’s population of 32,000. I like to joke that Massillon connections are like the old game Six Degrees
While the composition of our families are unique, one constant remains: We ALL have the responsibility to talk to our children about racism. For too long, white parents have considered racism to not be their problem and have been placing the burden squarely on the shoulders of people of color. If we truly want an equitable world where all of our children thrive, white parents must take it upon themselves to first educate themselves and then add one more difficult series of conversations to their parenting Must Haves.
In order to help parents navigate the treacherous terrain of race and racism, we’ve put together a quick tutorial with important guidelines and helpful resources.
How do we create a home where everyone feels included and welcome? What happens when many of those living in a community don’t realize there is a problem or are resistant to change? It seems like an impossible task, to be sure, but after an hour and half chat with the founders of Sisterhood of Jewels Community Connections LLC, I’m more optimistic than ever that change is possible.
Education is a foundation of our democracy and a key to stability and progress in our communities. Educators play a fundamental role in helping citizens acquire the knowledge it takes to face fundamental challenges and make good decisions that benefit the common good of our communities.
That resilience and willingness to do what’s right for all of us is a lesson our children are learning and accepting right now. Kindness is important to teach and practice, but prioritizing the common good can help our children’s generation build stronger and more resilient communities in the future. Our children are learning this lesson, and we adults must also take note.
Sometimes mothers who only have boys will joke about being happy they never had a girl. I will chuckle and tell them, “That’s because you don’t have a Lucy.” She is a light and a wrecking ball- kind, fierce, loving, and tough. I am in constant awe of my daughter.
So if moms just need a Lucy to understand the joy of having a daughter, it seems I just needed a Hannah, Haley, Cori, Payton, Amaria, Myana, Kaitlyn, Kiley, Leila, and Addy to learn that I was meant to coach girls.
Fast forward to Christmas 2019 where I am now Santa. This year may be the last when both of my children believe. I want our first Christmas morning in our new home to be special and magical. I want the gifts under the tree to be something that only Santa could have brought. I have their Christmas lists and I want to check each and every item off of them. And therein lies my problem.
Both research and instinct to protect not just MY children, but ALL children, combine to fuel my passion for confronting climate change and all of the tangential environmental, economic, and security issues connected to the climate crisis we are experiencing. It’s also why I’m incredulous when I learn that so many parents view believing in this scientific Truth to be a choice.
This past summer could not have arrived soon enough. Submitting my final grades felt like reaching the finish line at a marathon: mentally and physically drained, I collapsed and was ready to recover and refuel.
Summer 2019 was powered by gratitude instead of apprehension, which transformed the experience. As summer ends, I’m grateful, not for the first day of school and break from my kids, but for the three months that allowed me to recharge and reconnect with them. This summer’s lessons came as I allowed myself to decompress and my children to lead the way.
I turned 40 on April 3rd, 2019, amidst the turmoil of moving into our new home, an unrelenting barrage of grading, the daily challenge of balancing sports schedules and coaching duties, and the never ending stress of family concerns. My head has been spinning since last summer and I am just now able to breathe deeply, and come to terms with my new middle-aged reality.
Parenting is political and the choices we make now will have repercussions that will resonate for a lifetime. My children are close to a decade away from voting, so I have the solemn responsibility to inform myself and vote for candidates and issues with their best interest in mind. Choosing not to vote or voting for candidates and policies that benefit me now, but do not invest in the future would be selling out my kids.
The generational divide may be wide, but our grandparents are our connection to the past and a humbling reminder of just exactly where we came from. Once they are gone from this earth, they leave a void and we need to decide how to fill it. Just as we sort through their belongings, we need to decide which memories to keep and pass on to our children and, if we are so lucky, grandchildren.
Children need a lot of stuff. Of course we must provide the basics: food, water, shelter, but then we add books, movies, toys, clothes, and other “necessities” in our efforts to nurture. The pressure to buy children all of these items comes from every direction and is not only felt by parents, but also friends and family who want to show children they love and care about them through these trinkets.
As I sat and listened to two people I have admired all my life talk about their newest and gravest challenge, I looked around, took a sip of my pinot and a jagged breath in, exhaling, “Marriage is hard.”
They briefly looked at each other and then at me and my uncle bestowed his wisest advice yet, “Nik, someone once told me that there are three magic words for a strong marriage: I love you. I learned that there are actually four: I love you anyway.”
“You’re the only girl on your team,” my Lucia hears frequently. “Does it bother you?” I ask just as frequently. “I’m used to it,” she
I will never forget when the ultrasound tech spoke the fateful words: It’s a girl. As the wand moved over my abdomen, my heart pumped