Doing What I Love...A Tribute To My Mom

My mom is retiring from the school district this year after working there for 23 years. She started out as a Written Language Instructor in a program called Back to Back. In a nut shell, she taught a creative writing class to elementary school students. Can you imagine a class like that existing today in a public school? It's a shame that after 9 very successful years they lost funding and cut the program and all of those wonderful stories and ideas and a place to get those creative juices flowing out of those little kids was just gone. Several years later she had her full circle moment at Pavilions where a young man came up to her and said, "Excuse me? Are you Mrs. D-----?" and she said, "yes?.....Oh hi Scott!" and he was talking about her creative writing class and he told her how much he loved it and that it was so inspiring to him and it meant so much to him after all these years that he decided to become a journalism major in college. It was a very proud moment.

Last weekend was my mom's retirement party with all of her co-workers and she asked me to write a little something to say at the breakfast. I immediately knew I wanted to touch upon what she did all those years ago because she was now working in special ed and all of the teachers who remembered the Back to Back program were long since retired or had moved on to other schools. She has absolutely bloomed where she was planted in the special ed program, but I know she missed teaching that class for a long time. I wanted to high light that very creative time in my mom's life and hopefully spark her interest in writing again as she gets ready to retire. Retired people need a hobby, ya know! But in doing so I realized that I had reignited my own love for writing that has taken somewhat of a back seat since starting a family 3+ years ago.

I have always loved to write and thanks to my mom I have called myself a "writer" since I was in first grade. My mom was extremely encouraging to me and always enjoyed my writing. In my "late teens".....(ahem).... ok, ok mid twenties, I moved up to Hollywood to pursue a career in acting only to find my true calling was still writing. I ended up working with a group of actors who became friends whom I fondly referred to as "The 24's" and we'd write, direct and put on a show in 24 hours, called The 24-Hour Plays. It's an extremely intense and completely creative process that was terrifying at the same time since I was one of the writers. After that first one where I swore I'd never do another one I got hooked and made sure to participate in the monthly show about 4 times after that. I even got my mom to come out and co-write one with me while she was on summer break and in addition o writing she was our lead actress in her stage debut! We had a blast and stayed up for a total of 33 hours by the time the curtain closed.

I got married and moved as far away as possible from that seedy little stage in Hollywood where we'd put on our evening of one act plays, but I never stopped writing. My husband and I moved to the Island of Kauai (in Hawaii for those who've asked me, "where is that?") just two months after we got married in June 06 and I quickly joined a group of women writers and wrote another one-act play that won one out of only two spots to be put up as a Dinner Theatre at a local resort. It was a successful sold out show and it had "rave reviews" in our tiny island paper with not much else going on (haha), so that was really fun thing to be a part of. Unfortunately, I became very sick with morning sickness and a weird "jungle flu" I caught on Kauai that landed me in the hospital in my early pregnancy with my first born, so I wasn't able to actually direct my show. Which for a total control freak over my own work like myself was really hard to totally give the reigns to someone else, who was a complete stranger no less, so I was seeing it for the first time as the audience was seeing it. It ended up great and the audience seemed to enjoy it and although I had a very different vision for it, it was really fun to see a mans perspective (who was in his 70's btw!) on a show that had a strong female lead and was a very "girl power" piece. I was pretty impressed that he stayed true to the script and didn't change too much.

So now fast forward to 2011 and I am a stay-at-home mom to a 3 year old daughter and an 8 month old son and the fire inside to write and create still burns and has become stronger since I started working on my mom's presentation a few weeks ago. My whole life I have loved to make people laugh especially when I write and what's funnier than pregnancy, child birth, newborns, toddlers, husbands....?...Well OK so maybe those things alone aren't very funny but add in a sleep deprived, over worked, under paid, totally overwhelmed new mom's point of view and we're talking hilarious people! Pure magic! another sleep deprived,
over worked, under paid, totally overwhelmed new mom maybe....OK, my own mom thinks it's hilarious, so there you go. I just hope to put a smile on your face between wiping baby barf off your laptop and planning playdates with the one kid your toddler will actually share with. Please join me and my moms blog as I journey into the writing world here at blogger by subscribing to my page or if you "Like" you can be the first to join my facebook page by the same name:

I'd love to know:
What do you love to do? What is the one true passion in your life that is the first thing that pops into your brain the instant someone asks you that question? It's the one thing that (usually) doesn't take any thought at all, (unless you are totally trying to deny yourself this life long passion) it's just there...BAM! In your head before the question is even finished. All of the other things that you hem & haw about are just hobbies. They can still be great and bring you much joy but your passion, the fire inside that can't be ignored no matter where you live, how much money you have, how old you are, how long you've been married or single or divorced or widowed...that never goes away! Or if it does it just needs a little spark to get it back like mine did. Thanks mom! ;-)


  1. First thing that popped into my head: TRAVEL.

  2. I'm not surprised! ;-) I used to want to be a travel writer oh-so-long-ago...maybe someday when I'm retired, haha.

  3. Anonymous13 June

    Colleen, that is awesome! I'd have to say mine is writing as well. I went to CSULB for Journalism and enjoyed every English course I ever took. I found English teachers to be more than a teacher in written word. I learned a lot about life in my classes. Your mom is awesome.


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