How I Became an Accidental Helicopter Parent

By Angela Noel Lawson

February 19, 2019

Jackson and I rushed through the school hallways careful not to slip on the rivers of melted snow and mud on the linoleum floors. We were late for our scheduled conference with his fourth grade teacher.

Though I’d left work right at 3:00, planning to pick Jackson up on the way (they had the day off school), I was behind schedule. By the time we arrived at school we were ten minutes late for what I thought was our 3:30 appointment. When we finally arrived at the classroom I peeked in to find a couple already sitting at the table, talking to the teacher. Then I looked at the posted schedule. Instead of 3:30, we were scheduled for 3:00 My heart sank. We weren’t just a little late; we were a lot late.

Unfortunately, I had something I wanted to discuss with the teacher. Something I thought was important. Continue reading “How I Became an Accidental Helicopter Parent”

Awesome Nuggets: Winter 2019 Edition

By Angela Noel Lawson

February 13, 2019

I grew up in California. Winter meant off-the-shoulder sweaters, jean shorts, and UGGs. But all that changed when I moved to Minnesota. So much so that I measure my years in the Midwest by the winters I’ve spent here. This will be my fifteenth.

The first freeze left me struggling to understand how to scrape the ice from my windshield. My boss at the time, a Canadian, told me to use the edge of my credit card to scrape my window. This was not great advice. But I’d never heard of a “scraper.” So that’s my bad.

It took me 12 winters to actually live in a home with a garage. I never fully appreciated the humble glory of parking beneath a roof until I moved here. Now I do.

I also learned that extreme cold causes cancelled school. My son was in kindergarten for the first “polar vortex” when temperatures dropped to -18F. Jackson struggled to understand that Mommy was on a conference call and couldn’t play just then. But even in those days I rejoiced in the fact that I worked at a company that allowed for remote work. This alone was and is something to be grateful for.

In the past few weeks the Midwest has experienced crazy cold temperatures. Here in Minneapolis we hit -28F, and that wasn’t counting the windchill. But Awesome Nugget posts aren’t about the hardships. They’re about the fun moments of surprise and delight that offer me a moment of pause. Being grateful for all the wonder and joy brought on by circumstance is one of the best parts of being a living, breathing human being.

So without further ado, here’s a few  of the little moments I’ve noticed so far this winter. Continue reading “Awesome Nuggets: Winter 2019 Edition”

Parents Judging Parents: I’m Afraid I Don’t Know What I’m Doing

By Angela Noel Lawson

February 4, 2019

Recently, my son hosted a friend for a sleepover. Around six in the evening, I began to think of dinner for the kids. I opened the closet where we keep cans of soda and the odd extra can of soup. Then I pulled from its depths two cans of diet root beer. As I handed a can to my son’s friend I said something surprising. Something that, on the surface, was a non-event. But when I looked deeper I found the seeds of an insidious parenting problem.

“Well,” I said, remembering my struggle in the soda aisle between the regular and diet option while at the grocery store the day before, “I guess you have to decide between the sugar and the chemicals, am I right? But, of course there’s no caffeine either way, so there’s that. Anyway, I went with the diet.”

Meanwhile, the fourth-grader waited patiently, hand outstretched for his drink. Feeling vaguely foolish, I dropped the can into his open palm.

The rest of the evening proceeded as sleepovers do. They  watched movies, built forts, and dumped Legos pretty much everywhere. But it was my non-event comment that bothered me. I couldn’t banish a simple thought: Why had I burdened this young man with my reasoning on diet versus regular?

Only one answer seemed right: I’m afraid of being judged for my parenting choices. Continue reading “Parents Judging Parents: I’m Afraid I Don’t Know What I’m Doing”

An Unbroken Oath: The Truth About Belief (And Santa)–NOW on OTV Magazine

By Angela Noel Lawson

January 28, 2019

When did you first discover the “truth” about Santa? This past holiday season brought this revelation to my fourth-grader. And while the Christmas season is behind us (at least until next year) I wanted to take a moment and reflect on the value and purpose of belief.

The truth is, Jackson wasn’t the only one who experienced a rite of passage this past season. Explaining the nature of belief and magic to my child evoked all kinds of emotions in me as well. I wrote about the whole experience and am honored to have it featured on OTV Magazine. Please take a moment to read it: An Unbroken Oath: The Truth about Belief (and Santa. Share your thoughts and experiences about magic, belief, and the idea of wonder.

Bad Behavior’s Brighter Side: A Lesson I Learned about Love

By Angela Noel Lawson

January 21, 2019

I like to believe I’m an optimistic, self-aware, wholehearted person. And I am. But, not all the time. Sometimes I’m petty, even a little mean. I find I am occasionally nicer to strangers than I am to the people I love most. Such was the case recently. However, because I am those other things as well as an occasional ass, I learned something important from my bad behavior.

Continue reading “Bad Behavior’s Brighter Side: A Lesson I Learned about Love”

Leadership: Power Problems and Finding Flow

By Angela Noel Lawson

January 14, 2019

Leading people is hard. Anyone that says differently may never done it, or might be terrible at it. Why is leading hard? Because people aren’t spreadsheets. They don’t respond particularly well to commands, and you can’t just save your work and pick up where you left off. People are messy and complicated, weird and wonderful. Add to that the power dynamic of leaders and employees and the soup of difficulty thickens. But, finding out what brings out the best and the worst in ourselves and in the people we lead changes everything. Continue reading “Leadership: Power Problems and Finding Flow”

The Most Important Promise I Ever Kept–Now on Heart and Humanity

By Angela Noel Lawson

January 7, 2019

Sometimes, the most important promises we make are to ourselves. Several years ago, when I locked the door on my husband, I kept my promise. Read more and share your thoughts and experiences at Heart and Humanity: The Most Important Promise I Ever Kept.

Photo by joyce huis on Unsplash

All I Want for Christmas–2018 Wish List

by Angela Noel Lawson

December 17, 2018

Last year, I confessed I share my birthday with some pretty heavy hitters, being that I was born on Christmas Day and all. And though I may be entitled to double the gifts, I don’t want “things” for Christmas or my birthday. I want world peace and goodwill towards all (and a vacuum, but that’s a different story).

Since that kind of non-specific request tends to result in loved ones smacking their foreheads in frustration (“Yeah, but what do you want?), I decided to do what I did last year, only different. This time, I created a list of small actions that might not usher in peace for all man and womenkind, but might bring a smile to someone’s face. Smiles, as many as I can get, that’s what I want for Christmas (and my birthday).  Continue reading “All I Want for Christmas–2018 Wish List”

Five Signs You’re Living the Tragicomedy of Middle Age

By Angela Noel Lawson

November 28, 2018

I first noticed a few dark hairs on my face as I glanced in the rearview mirror on my way to work one sunny morning a few years ago. I’m naturally blondish so the beginnings of an adolescent boy’s mustache seemed quite out of place on my face. But then I remembered: I’m middle-aged. Continue reading “Five Signs You’re Living the Tragicomedy of Middle Age”

Should I Lighten Up?–Now on The Good Men Project

By Angela Noel Lawson

November 12, 2018

My actions, I believe, result from the sum total of my past experiences and my current understanding.

Because of this, I know exactly why I frowned when the keynote speaker told a story about a naked female butt on stage at a conference. And a month later, when a different man told a dirty joke while on a panel discussing legal issues, I frowned again. Neither speaker’s topic had anything remotely to do with sex, but they still shared anecdotes laden with innuendo. Continue reading “Should I Lighten Up?–Now on The Good Men Project”