Mothering Mother – A Must Read for Caregivers and Families

By CK Wilde for 3GenFamily Blog

Mothering Mother by Carol O'DellMothering Mother: A Daughter’s Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir

* * * * *

“Are you coming to bed, hon?” whispered my sleepy husband.

“In a minute . . . this is such a good book!” I said as  I glanced up.

From the first paragraph, Carol O’Dell’s book, Mothering Mother, had me spellbound. I just could not put this book down.

More of this article . . .


Eyeglass Rescue Returns Your Lost Glasses

By CK Wilde for 3GenFamily Blog.

I came across an old photo of my Mom the other day.

She is standing on the lush lawn in front of my sister’s home, her right arm folded primly across her body.  Hanging from her arm is her trusty handbag. If you have every seen pictures of Queen Elizabeth II of the UK on an outing, you have seen the formal handbag pose.

Mom’s handbag was a treasure trove of necessities for the modern woman — and for my Dad. You see, whenever they went out of errands together, Mom carried the money, bankbooks, receipts, you name it, and Dad’s reading glasses.  He never lost a pair when she was guarding them.

More of this article . . .

High School Grads – Buying the Right Computer for College

By CK Wilde for 3GenFamily Blog

A Case of Mistaken Identity

Now that he has completed his first year of college, our son realized that he bought the wrong laptop to take with him. He is still trying to figure out what he going to do for his second year.

You can be better informed.

The questions you need to answer to find the right computer are in this article:

What’s the Best Computer for a New College Student in 2008?

New! – Our New Website Is Now Live

By CK Wilde for 3GenFamily Blog

3GenFamily Blog has moved to a new location on the web.

Please come visit us at

Long Distance Caregiving for a Parent While Raising Teens and Balancing Work and Home

The past 16 months has been an amazing and eventful time for me as a long distance caregiver for my 83 year old father, parent of two teen boys, spouse and juggler of work and home life. When I started this blog, I had no idea I would meet so many dedicated and fascinating people also working to get the best information into the hands of readers like you.

Because there is still a huge need for real answers to many of life’s toughest situations, I am expanding this blog to meet those needs. While I am grateful to for having a perfect place to start a blog, it is time to move to our own website.

I’ll be offering you even more honest content and real life ideas that work for caregivers, parents and anyone struggling to balance the conflicting priorities of work and home life.

Please come visit us at

One housekeeping note: If you signed up to receive this blog via email or RSS from Feedburner, you will need to sign up again at I am sorry for the inconvenience. There isn’t a way for me to just move your settings over to the new website.

Don’t miss a single post. The latest post discusses 110 Tips for Getting Into the College of Your Choice.

Please come visit us at

Articles on Reducing Conflict with Adult Siblings, Getting Into the College Your Child Dreams About, Surviving Long Distance Caregiving

I will be writing more of the types of article you have come to expect from 3GenFamily Blog. And, there will be new features based on requests and comments I have received from our readers. The topics will still relate to being sandwiched in between two generations — our aging parents who increasingly need our help and our children who are not yet ready to fly into the world.

Somewhere in there, each of us also needs to make a space for ourselves for meaningful work and for celebrating life’s small and large personal successes. Buried between the lines is the emotional turmoil of conflict with our adult siblings and the the lack of understanding of bosses and coworkers who haven’t reached these stages of life.

How do you explain an issue to someone who has no frame of reference?

Please come visit us at

Best Regards,

CK Wilde

© 2008 CK Wilde. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free to link to this post but you must have prior written permission to reproduce this post either whole or in part. Please use the comments to request permission.

Was Your Son Or Daughter Rejected By A Top College?

Related posts: April 20, 2008

New Post: Review of 110 Tips for Getting Into The College of Your Choice

Come visit our new website:

By CK Wilde for 3GenFamily Blog.
April is a gut-wrenching month for any high achieving high school senior applying to colleges.
After pouring heart, soul and thesaurus into college essay after college essay, the student waits anxiously for the results.

Big 9 x 12 envelope with acceptance letter and paperwork or flat #10 envelope with a rejection letter?

These days, notice is more likely to come by email or on your password protected section of the college’s website. Your student logs in and cheers exultantly . . . or groans in pain.

Watching From the Sidelines

Parenting your teen through this process is like watching him or her nervously step up to bat in a softball game for the first time. Is it a home run, or a single or an out? Receiving the acceptance letter feels like a home run to win the State Championship .

But, oh, the rejection letter (strike out in the bottom of the 9th inning) hurts deeply inside no matter how gently it is worded. It feels so final.

Making matters worse is the fact that 4,158,000 babies were born in 1990 (US Census Data). This is the largest number of children born since 1960. More students are applying to college; and more of those are applying to top colleges. Harvard received over 27,000 applications for Fall 2008!

So, how does a parent help a daughter or son through this?

Telling your student not to feel rejected will probably fall flat, especially if your teen has begun to visualize himself there. What do you do?

Try Diverting Attention Instead

Help your teenager focus on the good news. Spend time looking at the packages from colleges that accepted your student. Stress what a tremendous effort your son or daughter made to get these results.

Banish all blame from the conversation. If you hear your high schooler mutter, “If only I . . .” stop them from saying anything more. No amount of anguished blame will change the results. It may be trite saying, but it is true nonetheless — “when one door closes, another one opens.”

Help your student look for the door that’s opening. Talk about the positive features of the colleges that accepted your student. What is unique? Which has the most classes and activities that fit your teen’s goals and interests?

Creative Admissions

Some colleges have gotten creative and are offer acceptances for the Spring in addition to the Fall semester. University of California at Berkeley offered that to a friend of ours last year. It is a creative alternative that turned out great for our friend. He got into one of his top choice schools, just not in the Fall. Berkeley also had a special program for Spring admits in the Fall semester so that our friend could work on required courses. It worked out just right.

Then, there are waiting lists.

More students will be offered waiting list status this year than before. Usually college admissions directors can predict how many students will enroll in a given year. But, 2008-2009 is rather unusual so the waiting lists will be larger than before.

The decision to stay on the waiting list is more difficult. It depends on the other acceptances and financial offers your son or daughter has received. Just how interested is your child in that college that put him/her on the wait list?

If the answer is VERY interested, the student should immediately let the school know by returning the postcard or completing the electronic form. It is a good idea to follow this up with a letter to the Director of Admissions. The letter should should be as specific as possible with reasons why the student is still very interested in that particular school. For example, explain which particular courses or programs the student is interested in at the waiting list college.

Your high school guidance counselor can help here, too, by forwarding the latest set of grades to demonstrate the effort the student is making in school and sending additional glowing recommendations from a particular teacher. Your guidance counselor is also a resource for evaluating the the offers from the colleges which accepted your teen.

Deadline May 1

It is critical that your teen reserve a place at one of these acceptance schools by or before May 1. On the plus side, this assures that your son or daughter is going to college in the Fall. The downside is, If your teen then gets admitted from a waiting list, he/she may have to forfeit an entrance deposit (sent to the acceptance school) to go to their top choice school. The entrance fees are sizable at some colleges, but modest or non-existent at others. It is important to pay attention to them.

If, after all of these efforts, your student doesn’t get into a top choice school, there is the possibility to transfer to another school after Freshman or Sophomore year. Transferring is almost as much work as applying as a Freshman.

One of the best discussions I have seen about transferring colleges is at

There are good reasons to transfer and bad ones. You, as the parent, can help your son or daughter look at the current college experience for the signs that transferring is the right thing to do. But, it is important to distinguish between adjustment to a new environment and issues that really do need changing.

The first year of college is a major leap for your teen into a new and unfamiliar environment. Adapting to that environment is stressful, there is no question about it. Re-creating those cozy friendships and daily routines left behind in high school takes time. Until they happen, even the most mature student can feel awkward and out of place. Don’t be surprised if once those are established, your student realizes that he/she is in the right place after all.

Congratulations! You are the parent of a college student now.

© 2008 CK Wilde. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free to link to this post but you must have prior written permission to reproduce this post either whole or in part. Please use the comments to request permission.

Can Gardening and Salads Prevent Lung Cancer?

Fresh salad with tomato

3GenFamily Blog has moved to a new location on the web.

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By CK Wilde for 3GenFamily Blog.
Ripe, juicy tomatoes were my father’s obsession.
Every year, Dad would plant enough tomato plants to keep our family of four and my grandparents, my aunt and her husband and my uncle and his family with huge beefsteak and oval plum tomatoes all summer long. At summer’s end, he and my mother would spend weekends canning tomatoes.

After many August weekends of canning whole tomatoes, my mother revolutionized her life by canning tomato sauce which could be used right from the jar to prepare meals. Much later on my parents discovered the wonders of freezing the sauce to keep more of the fresh made taste.

Getting bumper crops of tomatoes took a lot of work preparing the soil, starting plants from seeds, planting and then watering and tending the plants. Most spring and summer evenings, you would find my father out in his garden helping plants grow.

Two Packs A Day

And, during that time, my father was a two pack-a-day smoker. He quit “cold turkey” one day after 35 years of smoking because a coughing fit left him wheezing and unable to catch his breath. In that instant, he finally realized that his only choice was to stop smoking.

He continued to vigorously garden until his late 70’s when his second wife pronounced the garden “too much work for him” and urged him to give it up. Believe it or not, the garden seemed to be the source of his energy and strength.

Over the next few years, Dad’s health slid into decline. Hospitalizations became more frequent.

Gardening and Salads?

So even though it seems a bit far fetched, it doesn’t surprise me that the researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center found recently (December 2007) that smokers and non-smokers may be able to reduce the risk of lung cancer by eating salads 4 or more times per week and working in the garden 1 or 2 times per week.

Cynical reviewers could say that this research is nothing more than getting exercise and eating the right kinds of foods. Yet, I wonder if there is something additional going on?

Thwarting Pesky Gophers!

When my children were in preschool and first grade, we tended a little garden in tubs placed in a sunny spot near our front door. We grew all plants in containers to thwart the gophers who managed to devour everything in their path.

After a few minutes of pulling weeds and watering, I would lapse into a reverie — an almost primal connection to the earth. The warmth of the sun would melt the tension from the week. Stretching and bending felt so good after a week of desk sitting. I would be refreshed and ready for the hectic week ahead.

In a number of weeks after all of my solicitous garden tending, we would be rewarded with the most delicious tasting vegetable and herbs. An added benefit of all of the work in the garden is that , even today, my sons willingly eat salads and vegetables!

And now, the researchers at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center have been able to empirically show that eating vegetables (antioxidants, vitamins and minerals) and getting outdoors to get some sun (Vitamin D) and exercise (reduce stress and condition the heart and lungs) can save smokers lives.

It is a sad irony that just a few years after my father gave up gardening, he died of lung cancer.

If you have a parent or spouse who smokes, don’t give up on getting him or her to quit. 80 percent of lung cancers are related to smoking tobacco.

In the meantime, you might want to suggest heading out to the garden to plant some veggies.

© 2008 CK Wilde. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free to link to this post but you must have prior written permission to reproduce this post in any manner. Please use the comments to request permission.