Maybe SUNY Geneseo will throw a bunch of financial aid her way if she promises NOT to go there

Remember the post I wrote about touring the SUNY Geneseo campus last year because it was on Zoe’s list of potential colleges? The post in which I alluded to drunken sex with architecture and bears allergic to virgins and introduced you to Josh, our tour guide, otherwise known as Zoe’s future fiance?


When Zoe was all Oh my God, Mom! Could you BE anymore embarrassing?

And I was all PUH-LEASE. Like he’s ever going to find this blog. Unclench, would you?

And Josh wound up leaving a comment and was all Ummmm, hello? Cool blog. I have a girlfriend.

And I was all Hey there, Josh! Thanks for making a liar out of me!


Zoe wound up applying to Geneseo. And Geneseo wound up requesting a parent essay.


And Zoe wound up hollering something like SOMEBODY GET ME A PASSPORT while petitioning the court for emancipation.

Here’s my essay.

I’d ask Zoe to tell you want she thought of it, but she can’t hear me from down under.



(submitted SUNY Geneseo, January 2012)


AMBITIOUS. Especially when it comes to school, work, career goals and, most recently, affording an iPhone 4S on her own and then deciding to work extra hours to afford insurance for it. But only because it’s the sensible thing to do and not because she dropped it the first day she had it and then spent the remainder of the day ignoring me as I duct-taped my mouth shut to keep the ginormous I TOLD YOU SO from flying out of it.

BOSSY. I tell Zoe’s little sister that this is a good trait to have, that it’s a sign of a natural born leader. Judging by the screams of YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME coming from downstairs as I type this, I don’t think she’s buying it.

COMPASSIONATE. She dropped everything and immediately drove to her girlfriend’s house to lend her an ear and shoulder because that’s what you do when your girlfriend gets dumped by her boyfriend. She took her little sister to the store so that they could buy me flowers and cards together because she knew I had had a terrifically bad day. When she sleeps over at a friend’s house or at her dad’s, she always texts me at night to make sure that I’m OK and to tell me she loves me. She reminds us all that good things are going to happen because we deserve them. And she’s given me more hugs during the last few months because of the nightmare we are living than she gave me her entire childhood. She’s good people, as my mother would say.

DATING. She’s a fan. I’m on the fence. It’s a big, long, fat fence.

EMPLOYMENT. She likes it and arrives on time, stays late and generally goes above and beyond to ensure she keeps it. Even if it means pretending not to know the crazy lady who runs in and snaps her picture behind the counter. Twice. Possibly three times. In my defense, why do they put the camera button so close to the power button on the iPhone?

FISHING. The only thing that can get Zoe up at 5:00 a.m., to sit in small boat, be silent and breathe in the stench of live bait for four hours, is the love she has for her dad. And her dad has no clue that she detests fishing. THAT is classic Zoe.

GAS. For her car, that is. Apparently, it’s outrageously expensive now that she has to pay for it.

HOME. We’re currently looking for new one and she’s excited about it. But all I can think about is that whatever home we wind up in, I’m going to miss the hell out of her when she leaves it.

I DON’T KNOW. The name of Zoe’s friend who moved in last year and repeatedly leaves wet towels on the bathroom floor. As far as I can tell, this friend is deaf, invisible and a slob.

JOGGING. Zoe went with me a couple of times. She hates jogging with the heat of a thousand suns. But, she loves me and apparently, that trumps boob sweat and shin splints.

KITCHEN. She loves cooking in it and makes THE best chicken cutlets I have ever eaten.

LASHES. As in, eye. Hers are so long that they touch her sun glasses which, to hear her tell it, is irritating. I wouldn’t know. My lashes are like my legs. Short. But not as hairy.

MASS-OF-TWO-SHITS. The way Zoe used to pronounce Massachusetts when she was little.

NERVES. She gets on mine occasionally. I’d hazard a guess that I get on hers a little more often than that. But that’s my job.

OLIVER. Our dog. Zoe adores him but gives him way too much credit. For instance, she thinks he’s got bowels of steel and can hold off going potty until she’s done watching eleventy-three episodes of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Oliver has proven her wrong on more occasions that I can count. And I can count pretty damn high.

PHYSICS. A subject in which Zoe excels. This is what Zoe texted me the other day: Take a rubber band. Measure the length of it at equilibrium.  Stretch the rubber band, measure the length. Find the difference, and that is X. Put various weights on the rubber band, measuring the differences in lengths. Then use Fs=kx to find the spring constant. Fs is the mass on the rubber band. Do multiple times, find an average for K. After you find K you can solve for the PEs using PEs=1/2kx2. Launch the rubber band vertically to a certain height, holding meter sticks up in the air. Use PE=mgh to find potential energy. The height is the height the thing goes to, G is gravity, 9.81m/s2, and m is the mass of the rubber band. Time the rubber band from the time it reaches its maximum height to the time it reaches the floor. Use vf=vi+at  to find the velocity. Use the equation KE=1/2mv2. Substitute in all the values, and you can find BLAH BLAH, OH MY GOD MAKE IT STOP, BLAH. She asked me what I thought about it. I told her to hang on, I was still looking for a rubber band.

QUADRATIC EQUATIONS. Zoe thinks they’re fun. Honestly, I have no idea where this girl came from.

RESTAURANTS. Specifically, those that offer take-out. She was the child of divorced, full-time working parents and she was probably about seven before she realized that not all plates were square and made out of white Styrofoam.

SCIENCE. Another subject in which Zoe excels. She dissected a cat once and texted me a photo of its brain. By the way, unlimited texting? Totally overrated.

TEXTING. Zoe had over 6,000 of them last month. Her thumbs have developed six-packs.

UNFLUSTERED. Zoe just doesn’t wig out. When her sister’s ear was nearly amputated and we had to rush her to the hospital, Zoe simply held a towel to Helena’s head to stem the bleeding while periodically reminding me to breathe. When we discovered one night last June that her stepfather wasn’t the person we all believed him to be, she kept herself together, mopped up the puddle of mess I had become and concentrated on moving us all forward. She’s the one you want around when anything hits the fan. But throw a spider into the mix and all bets are off.

VEINS. Zoe uses hers to donate blood. And even though she almost fainted last time and I had to pick her up from school early, she was the first to line up for the next drive and not just because there were free cookies. In my defense, they were good cookies.

WINTER. She loves it. The snow, the ice, the frigid temperatures, the snowmobiling. If she hadn’t left a mile long butt trail down a ski slope one year, I’d be hard pressed to say that she’s mine.

XANAX. The diet of choice when your seventeen year old daughter walks in the door after a date at 11:59:59 p.m., so as not to be late for curfew.

YELLING. We do a lot of it around here. We’re Greek – it’s like a law. That, and owning a restaurant. Yelling is easier and far less sweaty, to be honest.

ZOE. Any college would be lucky to get her.

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36 thoughts on “Maybe SUNY Geneseo will throw a bunch of financial aid her way if she promises NOT to go there”

  1. Avatar

    Two things:

    1) This is full of awesomesauce. With awesomesprinkles liberally spread on top.

    2) I didn’t know parents were required to write essays these days. I never would’ve gotten in to college if mine had been required to send in something in their own words. OMG.

    2b) My kid is SUNK in another 9 years. Of course, to hear her tell it, she’s leaving school after 5th grade because middle school doesn’t offer recess. So, she could be sunk for an entirely different reason than “dear heavens, Mom wrote an essay for my college applications” …….. maybe I’ll homeschool her for college……….

  2. Avatar

    I think that is one damn fine essay! On the flip side, when did colleges start requesting parental essays? I was estranged from my parents at a young age, cause theyre a bit psycho, and I don’t imagine that I’m the only one. How do you get into college like that? weirdness. How are ya btw?

  3. Avatar

    Could I hire you to write an essay for my kid in 9 years? I’d probably need to send him to you for a few years so you’d get to know him. 🙂

  4. Avatar

    Mass-of-two-shits–that is freakin hilarious! You should get an A+ for this one. And yeah, if I had had to write a parental essay for Becca, she would have never gone to college.

  5. Avatar
    Janmary, N Ireland

    Can you adopt me please? Pretty please?

    You are lucky to have Zoe as a daughter but she is even luckier to have you as a mum.

  6. Avatar

    Wonderful essay! When did parents have to start writing them? It’s not enough I shlep them around from activity to activity for years to build up an impressive list for college applications? Now I have to write about them as well?

    What happened to just filling out the financial aid forms? That’s all my folks did.

  7. Avatar

    Wow, did you really send that to the college? *giggles* What a wonderful essay–full of love & pride & intelligence, and lots of revelatory details that really make sense if you’ve been following this blog for a long time. I love it!!!

  8. Avatar

    Oh gosh! So funny! I think that is the best college essay they have ever gotten and ever WILL get. Maybe they’ll ask YOU to come to school there instead…

    My daughter took classes in college that I couldn’t spell the names of. Like Zoe, she made me crazy with brain teasers. On vacations and just for fun, I had to write out dozens of math problems for her to solve. Who makes these kinds of kids?

    Sounds like she has the world by the tail!

  9. Avatar

    It is great to see your sense of humor returning although Zoe may not find the essay as hilarious and heart warming as I do.

  10. Avatar

    YAYYYYY First of all, props to you for writing a parent essay it totally goes a long way,
    and SECOND of all I ADORE GENESEO! I went there and graduated 02, but my younger sister, younger brother and older brother all went there too.

    We all loved the friends we made and the networks we made there and I couldnt recommend it more. Truly. If she get in,, (cause its getting tougher), then she should go.

    Geneseo is a school that focuses on the whole-student, not just on how well they did in AP math or the SATs,, they want students that are involved and active and participate so needless to say she’d be with other people who are alive and not brain-drains!

    GOOD LUCK! I hope she gets in!

  11. Avatar

    You are a freakin genius, have you written a book? I would be the first in line to buy it and probably the hardcover version. Your daughters are so lucky to have such and great mom and you are so lucky to have these wonderful daughters as your own to love.

  12. Avatar

    I have very smart grandkids because they have smart parents! Was great to hear some good news! Call me!!!!!!!!

  13. Avatar

    I am so glad your humor is back! I am also very sorry for your heartbreak. Believe me, you’ll be the one “WINNING” when it’s all said and done. In the meantime, rock on girl! Your fans love you!

  14. Avatar

    Andrea, I’m back. Don’t know if you remember, but we were talking about my advertising on your blog. I lost contact with you because I inadvertently deleted all of my emails from Dec. and January, and couldn’t remember the name of your blog. But my geek found it for me (and a whole lotta other things…xxx I love him!). Since I lost all of our previous correspondence, please lmk the parameters of what I need for my logo. Then I’ll email talk to my web host to see if he can size the logo for me. I read your latest post (above). I laughed so hard at the funny parts. The unfunny parts….well, you know. Hope to talk to you soon.

  15. Avatar

    So glad to see you writing. Partly for selfish reasons– you always, always make me laugh; and sometimes cry too. But mostly because after all the crap it means there are moments when you feel a little better too! I’m glad for you.

    That essay is awesome! Keeping my fingers crossed for you over there. They’d be lucky to have your daughter. And good luck in the house hunt too.

  16. Avatar

    I love this essay and I’m so glad that you are back. I’m sorry about you all have been through, but you have done such a wonderful job of raising your girls. ((HUGS))

  17. Avatar

    My, that part about physics almost gave me a headache. Who recalls all of those formula anyway?

    How’s the rock hard abs of Zoe’s fingers?

  18. Avatar

    I haven’t read anything that has made me laugh out loud like this in a while. You are an awesome writer and your kids are awesome to have you as their Mom and I don’t even know you. Humor, it makes everything seem tolerable. I found your blog off Lindi Kirschenbauer’s blog. So glad I did.

  19. Avatar


    I am not trying to freak you out and I may be way off base here but a couple of weeks ago I left a comment on your Facebook page. It was something along the lines of your girls are sweet and soon to be ex husbands are idiots but since we aren’t allowed to shoot them, what can we do? Suddenly yesterday Facebook locked me out of my account and they sent me a message saying that I had been reported for violating FB rules. This was the post they referenced. I can’ t imagine anyone but your soon to be ex being offended and turning me in to FB for violating their terms. That is why I think he still has access to your page.

    I don’t know if FB will tell you who turned me in but quite honestly I didn’t suggest you shoot him, I just said they wouldn’t let us shoot our exes. So there it is but I didn’t want to put it on your page and stir everything up there but I didn’t know how to contact you to tell you to watch your back. I hope I am worrying needlessly and I am sorry if I worried you.

    Cindy (in case you need it.) LOL

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