|Flanked by Bill and Diane Wetherbee at the 2013 graduation of Kaitlin.|
For the first time in about eight years Diane Wetherbee missed Fall Family Weekend. More accurately, her presence was probably missed most at the ParentTalk coffee at my residence. Every FFW Saturday morning we pull together ParentTalkers so those on the listserv can meet one another in person. The listserv is a great outlet for parents who want to stay connected, ask questions, share frustrations, and raise issues - (usually) without embarrassing their kids.An outdoor enthusiast, Mrs. Wetherbee ironically found her niche in cyber space.
As the parent of Kelsey ('10) and Kaitlin )'13), Mrs. Wetherbee was a ParentTalk regular, and at the annual FFW coffees I usually tried to take a moment to introduce her, as the "Grand Dame" of ParentTalk. She left the list late this summer, and with her departure, a void in ParentTalk memory banks. Luckily her advice and guidance to other parents will live on through the archives search function. Diane offered parents excellent suggestions, reassurance, and hope, for whatever problems they may have been dealing with. She also was contacted off-line by a lot of folks. As with parents from the first iteration of the list up unhtil today, she is one of many ParentTalk legends: Bruce, Cory, Diane B, Jean, Jill, Leslie, and many others. (Maybe it is time for a ParentTalk Hall of Fame!) Offering advice in a non-patronizing manner is an art, and she excelled at it.
Students sometimes roll their eyes when their parents talk about this unique outlet for parental angst. It is a list for parents and by parents and gives them a chance to be in community with others in similar situations. This generation of parents is used to involvement and sending students away to college is a big deal. So they have each other, and that angst they might otherwise be heaping on their kids can be processed and deflected by experienced parents. And for those who want to just read from the sidelines - they are called "lurkers" - they can get a lot of behind-the-scenes information.
Our parents are like or students - even more-so. I like them and rarely feel they are of the helicopter ilk. They care about the safety, success, and well-being of their kids. So do we. And they have a terrific outlet to do so, with one another, through ParentTalk. So the list goes on, and new voices replace the former ones. Diane continues her active life on as well. She is as a part-time educator and naturalist at Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area, a 2,000-acre wildlife management area located about 30 miles north of Dallas. She is finishing her doctorate in forestry at Stephen F. Austin State University. (Think her daughters can keep up?)
We miss you Mrs. Wetherbee! Thank you or helping other parents in their own parenting journeys and for making the Trinity experience one that is so inclusive of family members.
Editors Note: It was really hard for me not to end with a "thanks for helping parents see the forest for the trees" joke.