APPLICANT #17: Jennifer Truelove

Jennifer Truelove is a mother of a four from Lynnwood, Washington.

Here is Jennifer's video application:

Here is Jennifer's current situation:

"I have been working on rediscovering and reconnecting with who I am. Women are often defined by their roles, as mother, wife, daughter, sister. Other times we describe ourselves by the jobs we do, cook, chauffer, or chief bottle washer. As a woman entering my 40th year, I am interested in what makes me the person I am, how that has changed over time and what direction I am moving in at this point in my life.

Beyond that, I’m getting my four kids settled back into the school routine. Two kids are returning students, getting comfortable at their schools in their new grades. I have another who is just entering high school and my youngest switched schools to enter a new program. I am also a student; I’ve been at UW for two years and am gearing up to finish my last year. My husband and I are also enjoying more time together now that our oldest is able to babysit. We had forgotten how much fun it is to go on dates!"

Here is Jennifer's blog post:

"As summer draws to a close and students around the country return to the classroom, parents everywhere are drawing a collective sigh of relief. Prepping my kids for their first day back, I too, was relieved to be returning to the rhythm and structure of the school year. After the flurry of last minute details, I took a deep breath and sat down to assess the summer.

I always sit down the first week of school resuming and think about what went well and what things were not such good ideas. The free Thursday movies at our local theater? Good idea. Driving all four kids to Wyoming in a crowded car for a family reunion? Not such a great time. However, as I reviewed the past three months in my mind, I really started to think about how different my kids’ summers are from the summers I remember as I was growing up.

I remember summer being a seemingly never ending stream of time, filled with popsicles from the ice cream truck, sprinklers to run through and plenty of time to simply lay in the yard and read.  Even as a teen, my friends and I would spend days at the beach or in someone’s back yard, sharing the latest magazines and squeezing lemons in our hair to hurry our highlights.

The constant refrain echoing thorough our house is “I’m bored”. The popular parents are the ones who are willing to chauffer a gang of kids around, skipping from mall to fast food to the movies. Even my ten year olds friends were scheduled to the max with rounds of day camp, sports camp, music lessons and homework to prepare for next year. I have to wonder what being micromanaged does to a child’s creativity. What it does to their ability to simply exist in this life and learn how to be comfortable with themselves.

Do we really want our kids to lose the wonder of their imagination? They are born knowing how to play, ask anyone who has spent time with an infant. The magic of a mobile can keep them charmed for hours. Even a one year old can build a tower of blocks, knock it down and build it again. I know that as kids grow they get the message that they are too old to play any longer, and it saddens me. Before long I will be living in a house devoid of blocks and Legos and Matchbox cars. I may not trip over stuff trying to cross the living room, but I will gladly do so for years to come if it means being able to hang onto that primal connection to childhood resourcefulness. To their ability to create a story in their minds about the made up world they dream about at night.

My favorite summer memory shines brightly in my mind. During the dark days of teen hormones and rages over homework, I will take it out, polish it off and replay it over and over. My fourteen year old son was downstairs and I could hear him talking. I assumed he was playing Xbox Live and I heaved a giant sigh as I had told him to turn it off for the day. I looked for him in his usual spot on the family room couch, and was surprised to find it empty. I followed the deepening baritone of his speech and realized he was in his room. The door was open a crack so I peeked in to see who he was talking to. To my shock, he was alone. Spread out, covering the entire carpet was an ocean of wood blocks. He had arranged them into various towers and castles of dizzying complexity. All along the ramparts were his painted soldiers and monsters. He was moving them though a war and his voice was calling out various orders to the men to guard the right flank and tighten up defenses.

He was so immersed; he never knew I was there. As I tiptoed away, I smiled to myself. Adulthood was kept at bay for a few more precious hours.

Jennifer"

The Verity Mom Team