Day 13: Cover your eyes!

Dear friends,

If you have a child or a grandchild in college, chances are your loved one’s college has a “confessions” social media outlet.

I know a little something about both university life and social media and more than I ever wanted to know about the kinds of things college students “confess.”

The trend started on Facebook several years ago, but it appears to have moved on to Twitter. The confessions are anonymous and range from crushes; to one-night-stand regrets; to run-of-the-mill complaints about roommates, parking, cafeteria food and stupid professors; to attention-seeking posturing; to age-old and pedestrian Greek rivalries; to obvious cries for help from young adults in distress; to deviant (or alleged deviant) behavior. It’s simultaneously boring, laughable, painfully familiar, and horrifying.

If you wish to preserve your faith and hope in the next generation, cover your eyes should you ever encounter a college confessions channel. If you’re a parent paying tuition, just don’t go there lest you stop payment on your check.

I accidentally stumbled across the confessional Twitter feed from Kate’s college when one of Kate’s friends retweeted a superficial compliment mentioning my daughter by name. I subscribed to the feed and have regretted it ever since because I find it utterly depressing most days and prefer not to think about the darker and/or shallow side of a rite of passage I long ago survived.

But today, a confession appeared in my feed that both surprised me and bolstered my diminishing hope in millennials. It simply said:

(My daughter) is a beautiful girl, inside and out.

I’m her mother, so of course I agree with the observation, especially on the inside part. But after days of posts about drunken parties and boorish behavior, it was a tiny ray of hope in a bleakly indulgent, privileged, overwrought morass of post-adolescent anxiety.

I’m not one to press my luck, so I immediately unsubscribed. Always go out on a high note, I say.

With gratitude {for the seemingly sweet and thoughtful soul who took the road less traveled},

Joan, who — not surprisingly — avoided the Animal House bacchanalia at her alma mater and, therefore, has no interesting collegiate stories around which most confessions are built

A month of gratitude.

Dear friends,

gratitude_Snapseed

Many of my family and friends participate in the “Thanksgiving” meme popular on social networking sites by sharing an expression of gratitude each day in November.

I’ve never joined in. In recent years, my thinking goes: “I have an entire blog devoted to gratitude. A daily Tweet or Facebook post or Instagram photo would be a bit superfluous, no?”

Today, after seeing the first wave of posts and Tweets and pictures — and being moved by so many of them — I’ve decided to dive in. Right here. Right now.

On this first day of November, I am grateful for mobility. I started my day with a 3.5 mile run, followed by yoga stretches and brief meditation. There may be no greater luxury in life than the ability to move one’s limbs at will, to push, to strain, to thrust, to retreat, to tip-toe, to balance, to bend, to grab, to pull, to feel the exquisite power and beauty of our own physicality.

I was reminded this time last week — while lying on the floor staring at the ceiling through back spasms — that mobility is never overrated. I have friends with children whose greatest dream would be to move with the ease and grace afforded me.

Every day that I draw breath, I thank the universe for a body that has served me well. Thank yours, too, won’t you?

With gratitude {for the elegant physics of human movement, even when the 50-year-old’s limbs aren’t all that elegant},

Joan, who’s running in her first 5K race tomorrow, lord willin’

#greatshot

Dear friends,

I’m one of the those parents who brags about my kids on Facebook. If this annoys you, I’m sorry. I can’t help myself. Consider it a symptom of an almost empty-nester. Maybe I’ll lay off for a few years after Parker moves out, but I’m sure I’ll be a prolific grandparent bragger as soon as the opportunity presents itself. (But please, opportunity, don’t present yourself too soon.)

The good news is I am friendly to other braggy parents and grandparents. I never get annoyed and I almost always leave “Great job!” and “Congratulations!” comments on other parents’ posts. (And I’m not just trolling for compliments. I truly enjoy reading about the accomplishments of my friends’ children and I consider it my civic duty to spread the love on Facebook.)

Anyway, my point today is to level the score between my children. I’ve done an awful lot of bragging about Kate, what with her being a senior and going off to college to play tennis. But I have another tennis player in the house and fair play dictates I give Parker a bloggy shout-out.

I just got his tennis photos back from the photographer. Parker’s wearing his game face rather than the smile I would have preferred, but I suppose that’s what boys do.

Yesterday, Parker’s team won the first round of competition in their district tournament. Parker lost his singles match, but he and his partner won their dubs match handily. I took the day off so I could spectate and be a mother, which included making sandwiches for the team and tweeting about Parker’s four aces.

Did I mention I also brag on Twitter? If you can’t use social media for self-and/or-family-promotion, what’s the point? I mean really?

Besides, there was hardly anybody there to witness the match so I had to tweet about it. (As did Kate.)

The sole spectator is me. Despite the loneliness of being a high school tennis fan in this part of the country, new media has helped create a virtual crowd. (At least three likes on my “fourth ace” Facebook post seemed like a crowd.)

School will be out soon and I promise to move on to other topics besides my kids. #ormaybenot

With gratitude {for a Monday better than most},

Joan, an equal opportunity gasbag, braggart, blatherskite, boaster, windbag, bigmouth (and Thesaurus-lover)

For two interesting views on Facebook bragging, read this post by Yoonanimous and this post by Glennon Melton. Yoona made me laugh (and think Oh God, I do that!) and Glennon made me pause (and think Oh God, I do that!).