It Will All Be OK: A Letter To Parents Of High School Seniors

This time last year I was stressing about my son’s senior prom, graduation, graduation party, college financial aid, things he would need for his dorm, who his roommates would be, what we would do for our last family vacation before college, and how I would cope with not having him at home every night.

And then, just like that, in the blink of an eye, his freshman year of college is coming to close.


First-time parents of high school seniors, I know all of this seems so overwhelming. But, I promise, it will all be OK. You will ALL get through it.

Whether they’re wearing a $1000 custom ball gown or a $25 thrift store find, prom will be memorable.

Whether they are the valedictorian or a solid C-student, your child will receive their diploma.

Whether you serve a taco bar, a mashed potato station, or chips and dip, their graduation party will be great.

Whether they are starting at Harvard, an in-state university, a community college, or a trade school, they are receiving an education.

Whether you buy 15 Ikea FRAKTA bags or carry everything up to their dorm in garbage bags, move-in day will be just fine.

Whether they have matching comforters and a professionally decorated dorm room, or mismatched sheets and one Pokémon poster on the wall, they will have a place to call home.

Whether they surprise you by immediately taking the reigns and handling everything on their own, or call you from the financial aid office because they forgot what they were supposed to ask, they are figuring out how to become independent.

I write this as much for you as I do for myself. As a mom, I have and will continue to worry about my kids for as long as I live. But I have to remember that in most cases, everything turned out OK.

When my son was 8, I didn’t know if he would pass the third grade. Last year he graduated high school Magna Cum Laude. When I was 5 weeks pregnant, the ultrasound detected what looked like an empty sac. 16 years later, that “empty sac” is now a high school sophomore and my ride or die sidekick.

You will worry, you will stress, you will lose your patience, and you will cry when you’re in your car, driving away from their college. But you will also wake up the following day with the rare and blessed opportunity to design the next, and possibly best, season of your life.


Kiss Me, I’m (10%) Irish!

For my 40th, hubby bought me something I have been wanting since the first time I watched an episode of Who Do You Think You Are: a DNA testing kit from Ancestry DNA.


I am of Cuban descent. Because it is very unlikely that the Cuban government has any of my family’s records, and my grandparents have long since passed, I have always been curious to learn more about my roots. I knew that my dad’s paternal side was from Spain, and there had been rumors that one of my mom’s grandparents was of Lebanese descent, but other than that, I had no clue who my ancestors are…

…that is, until this week! Yesterday morning I finally received my DNA results:

dna2 Here’s the complete breakdown:

76% European
–53% Iberian Peninsula
–10% Ireland
–4% European Jewish
–3% Italy/Greece
–2% Scandinavia/NW Russia
–1% Europe West
–<1% Great Britain

15% Middle East

6% Africa
–4% North Africa
–2% Benin/Togo
–<1% Ivory Coast/Ghana

 2% Native American

 <1% Asia South


I love knowing that I am a mix of so many ethnicities!

IrishMy biggest shock was finding out that I am 10% Irish. After so many years of singing along at the pub, and feeling such a connection to characters such as Ellis Lacey from the film Brooklyn, I finally understand why I love the Irish so much, we are kin!  Now I want to adopt a little redhead and name her Saoirse (pronounced Sersha, except my Cubanos would most likely call her Soraisa.)

I was also stoked to learn that I am 2% Native American! Now I need to learn if I am Ciboney, the Guanahatabey or Taíno.

My biggest DNA makeup comes from the Iberian Peninsula (my Spaniard roots), the Middle East and Africa. I even learned that I am 4% European Jewish. I love every single part of my DNA!

Have you had your DNA tested? If so, I would love to know who your ancestors are. If you haven’t yet taken the leap, Ancestry DNA sent me this link to share with my friends, and it will save you $10 off the regular price of a DNA testing kit. That’s even less than what hubby paid!

(Full disclosure: for every kit my friends order using this link, Ancestry DNA will send me a $10 gift card to Amazon which will promptly use to download Irish drinking songs!)