Debbie Riley and Mark Riley

Recorded April 1, 2017 Archived April 1, 2017 52:40 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: sfb003926


Debbie Riley (61) and her son Mark Riley (25) talk about their relationship over the years, about unconditional love and how she would be her son's harshest critic and biggest fan.

Subject Log / Time Code

M feels the need to show respect for his elders, his parents.
D quit work to be a full time mother to M.
D and her husband wanted a daughter after having two sons when she became pregnant with M.
M was a beautiful child and the "best baby", easy and wonderful.
D had always wanted to be a mother from childhood and through her teenage years.
D and M sing together some of the songs from M's childhood.
M got along with other children when he was growing up and was charming to everyone.
As he got older, M became difficult and disagreeable and became critical of D.
M became very opinionated and wanted to be grown up. He was hard on himself and hard on D.
D believes that M would be a good father and both agree that it is easier to be a parent than a spouse.
D hopes that her grandchildren can have a positive experience of Judaism.
D says that she told her sons that she would always love them even if she didn't like what they did.
D says that she would be M's harshest critic but also his biggest fa.
D believes that M could make the world a better place but is not achieving his full potential.
M thinks that being a father might be his contribution to the world.
D's biggest lesson is that it is not what happens that matters, it is how one responds.


  • Debbie Riley
  • Mark Riley

Recording Location



StoryCorps uses Google Cloud Speech-to-Text and Natural Language API to provide machine-generated transcripts. Transcripts have not been checked for accuracy and may contain errors. Learn more about our FAQs through our Help Center or do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions.

00:04 My name is Mark Reilly. I am 25 years old the date today is April Fools Day 2017. It's April one 2017 or here at the Public Library 6th floor in San Francisco, California, and I'm here with my mom and she's going to introduce yourself.

00:25 And I'm Debbie Riley Debbie schweid Riley. I'm 61 years old. Today is April 1st 2017. We are in the San Francisco Public Library in downtown, San Francisco, California, and I am Mark's mother.

00:41 You ready to get started as my son? Yes. How are you feeling? Are you please reply? Okay, that's good. What did you think when I first told you that we're going to do this. I didn't know what it was. So I watch that little introduction, which I thought was really well done and creative and I immediately liked the guy Dave cuz it was him talking. I think his grandfather's and I immediately felt like oh, I like this guy and then of course being a researcher than I am. I went online and started reading more about it. And then I watched the Ted Talk which was an excellent made me cry for all my love the conversation between the mother and the son who had Asperger's Syndrome.

01:41 I work with Asperger's kiss and I think it's their fascinating. And anyway, I just I think Mark would I felt the most was going to start crying already, but what I felt the most honored and flattered that you thought of me to do this and that but at the same time, I also felt a little intimidated and nervous at the idea of being recorded and of course, but I felt more honored and excited and flattered that you asked me. I think when I first signed us up,

02:16 I'd go on the website and see my availability is was thinking to myself and I think one of the things that's come up for me a lot as I've started. It feels like I'm kind of starting my life here in San Francisco over the last year-and-a-half and one of the things that I've really been feeling a lot lately is commandant actually the respect my elders, but I think that as I get older

02:54 And I may be turn into you and add a little bit more. I that one really Rings true.

03:02 And just everything that you've done for us and I'm excited to be here today. So thanks for doing it with me. So what are the things that I think the interesting thing is that?

03:17 When I was born you stopped working and your mother for basically the extent of me me living at home until I went to college and then you started working again. So I seen you in the drawer day of my life.

03:33 Your profession and your lot of your purpose has been my mother. So I'd like to have a job. That was your job. I'd like to ask you some questions about that cuz that's like my favorite subjects are going to ask other questions here. The first on the sheet is really good and I'm curious to hear what you're going to say. And it's do you remember what was going through your head when you first saw me?

04:06 Oh wow.

04:10 Well, it's before I first saw you I found out well, I have two sons already as you know, and I desperately wanted a daughter desperate. I desperately want a daughter the second time and the third time and the third time I got pregnant. I won't go into that whole story but completely accident. It was like an accident and we were and I know you probably know this or maybe you don't well that you we were going to do some very scientific things to try to get a girl the twentieth-century science now, but at that time and I did a lot of research and I found various people that would do this sort of thing and we were saving up money cuz I was pretty expensive but we were going to do it cuz I I really had to have a daughter it wasn't even.

05:05 And I had to have a daughter. So we ended up getting pregnant before our appointment which was ironic cuz we had a prepay that first appointment with already paid for it. You never got my money back now and I got pregnant and I really

05:23 Enrich. I don't know when I've got this realization, but I had this realization now that my getting pregnant was no accident. It was divine intervention. Whatever you want to call the Divine and we have a disagreement about exactly who that divide is or what it is. But there is a Divine force in the world. There's something bigger than us. And I think something bigger than me was in control there and do not want me to do this scientific spinning of deaths permanent, then it's emanating hits and they wanted me to do it the old-fashioned way. And and I just think it's it's kind of unbelievable sort of miraculous in a way because I I got pregnant on a day when you really not supposed to be able to get pregnant. It was like a very strange days and I I know from the stories that you weren't.

06:14 Necessarily thrilled when you found out I was a boy and I think Dad felt the same way on the couch when I eat, you know that story. I don't know if you know, that's right. We had just we were finishing building or house involved. I thought dad was having affair because he had gotten the phone call and he didn't want to tell me and he sat me down and said I have to tell you something and I've never seen that look on his face. He was so scared to tell me and he said it was a it's a healthy boy and we both stopped and he said I wanted to dance with my father daughter how far into your pregnancy if they find something really wrong. You have the option to not have the baby so they have to do it pretty early. So I was in the first couple months after that. Did you come to terms with the fact that I was a boy?

07:14 We joke has Lori Levin are my best friend had an adoption agency. And we joke that we were going to give her the baby cuz we

07:26 Will know for sure going to give me away and I remember we woke up the next morning and dad turn to me in bed. And he said this is not a tragedy. This is a healthy baby. We have to know and my mother, you know, she was like it's sinful for you to cry about before you were born. I really came to terms with it. And I actually think I went a few therapy session about it where I learned about how it's not about it's it's about okay, you don't have complete control over the cards you're dealt but you do have control over how you play them and it actually Harkins to one of my favorite quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson that says about how it's not what happens to you. It's how you deal with it. It may he said it more eloquently than me, but it was you know, it's about it's not about what happens to you in life. It's what I deal with it is the same thing with this.

08:26 Meant to have three sons and how am I going to deal with it? Anyway, this is a question. I could like talk about forever but more specifically when you were first born. This is very significant. I was like I said, I had very I had pretty much come to terms with it. But I really was sad. I really wanted a daughter badly and you were born and you were this beautiful baby and you were such you were just the most you are my best baby as far as just full of life and happy and beautiful and well-adjusted and and I I used to say this quote that said God knew that I wanted a girl so bad so he gave me the most extra special boy so that I wouldn't throw them out the window or give him up for adoption.

09:14 Any word you were just such a easy wonderful baby and little boy. I mean you were just sort of perfect. I guess my question actually is are those days Vivid for you?

09:32 No, not really because when after you have a baby here it says crazy time and I had two other children one of whom was it very difficult for your health and is kind of a blur. I do know that your birth was my easiest first were born 5:20 when we got to the hospital at 5 p.m. At you were born 20 minutes after maybe was member we were having that discussion of was four or five quick, but it doesn't matter it was 20 minutes. We were going to film that you know, that whole story were going to video it but we didn't have time and I was going to get an epidural and I'll be nice cuz I've never had drugs with any of my babies. Anyway, I thought you were so fast. And so easy you are a really easy birth, but I was those first couple days are not good for me. I mean, but the advantage that you had and that I had when you were born with I was very comfortable having a newborn. Where is when Adam was born in know what the heck I was doing you I just knew it.

10:32 Where is there any thought after I was born to have another baby?

10:38 Or was it was a cow dad always kind of jokingly, but kind of seriously said we should have another one but I was 36 when you were born with a 36 or 37 years Mars has almost 37 and I just thought I was too old to have another one. So yeah, I did never even consider it.

11:02 English because he's not coming from six children, but see I came from 3 and I was a third and I was sort of the unexpected one and I love being the baby. So I just thought that's what you should be the baby.

11:16 Fascinating. How could we how do you you know, because when I'm going through life I think about years and how years feel feel long still being young ears feel on. Yes, and I think about my first memory was probably four or five years old, I think about four or five years ago. Now I was 20 21 and how long ago that feels and having a baby or child.

11:48 For so long without them really be able to be autonomous or independent the past. Why why do you think it's the best? I think everyone's scared of that though mother's you may potential mothers. That's why they don't have

12:10 Because you feel like for me when I grew up say this is really going to I'm not very politically correct here. But when I grew up I didn't have aspirations to be someday career person. I just wanted to be a mom. I want to be a mom more than anything. I mean, I would pretend my dolls were my babies. I would I remember as a teenager getting ready to go out on a date. I'm putting my makeup on and doing my hair and pretending that my daughter was in the bathroom with me just chatting with me and like I would chat with her while I was getting ready. Like I just wanted to be a mom so bad and I was really good at it. As good as what you were a little hard to find how to be a that's another subject how to be a mother to a 25 year old versus a two year old butt.

13:10 My age living in 2017 and in this city, do you think you would have cognitive dissonance about about that having maybe this inclination that you

13:22 Want to be a mother and it's your calling and you know, you want you want to have a son or a daughter. And now as you know, you know, it's it's women tennis in the workplace more and you know that's comes with a toll goods and bads. But do you think it's it was easier to be?

13:42 A mother then then it may be 2 today that biological time clock tick tick ticking. Is it any I mean, that's just true for women in your as you approach the end of your money as you start thinking about it, but you have to remember Mark I didn't have my first baby till one month before I turn Thirty. So I was older and you were making more than and I made more money than the reason that I didn't have my first baby until then was widened get married till I was 28 when I was twenty-five. I felt like I had a long time I didn't feel any take to kick in yet but wanting to have a a child not know. I don't want to have one yet. So, you know you did. I know I want it eventually, but I was very I love my career and I was making really good money and we didn't and we didn't have enough money to like that. I mean we weren't even there I didn't I didn't even know if I want to marry dad at that ain't hard when I was born to give up your

14:43 Actually, I gave up my career when Matt was born. So not at all, I went back to work with Adam because I had to but then after me I was born dad said I think we can make it as long as we are very frugal and those were music to my ears because I love being Frugal and I was like, okay, so what my job became after Matt was born was I'm not making money. So I have to save money and you guys all made fun of me with my coupons and my discount and don't buy it unless you have a coupon, but the truth is that that was my job but I wasn't making it so I was saving it and my job as being a mom and your mom so I took that job really seriously, but I did it when I was 25, I didn't feel pressure. I only started feeling pressure as I kind of look closer to 30 and then when Dad and I got married I want to get pregnant right away and he didn't want me to he's like, oh, let's just be married for what he was scared about the money, but I went back to work cuz I knew I had to

15:45 All right. I saw this question online and I thought this was going to be an interesting one.

15:50 Do you remember any of the songs that used to sing me a sing wheels on the bus to remember that you'd be laying down around around and you do all the leg movements? Well, I would do them for you while you were laying on the ground and you're like I'm holding on to your legs. So the wheels on the bus go round and round I make your legs go around the doors on the bus go open and closed open and close with your legs. I take your legs if that's how I remember that one cuz it was active Itsy Bitsy Spider and you do it with me sometime so that hang down came the rain and washed the spider and then You Are My Sunshine always saying that I'm at I remember, how do you remember the one?

16:42 Where the the thing is running to the field and there's going to be a good one little bunny foo foo riding through the forest scooping up the field mice and bottom of that. She said, I don't know he's scared me really? Well. What did she say the field mice and bopping over that? I'll give you three more chances and if you don't behave story was hair today goon tomorrow here today gone tomorrow here today until right now after three times, he did it again and she says okay it again. I'm going to turn you into a goon.

17:42 The abyss are you killing the the rabbit but what's weird is kids should be able to say Mommy. That scares me. I don't want you to do that song anymore. That's the one I remember so much and I don't even like that wasn't one of the ones I thought I thought of the happy ones like you are my sunshine. I also used to sing to you kids and you wouldn't remember when you were a baby a song in Yiddish that my grandpa used to sing to me. I was like Schloss mine. Can I lose? It was like sleep my my baby my beautiful baby. Anyway, my grandpa used to sing that to me and I used to sing it tell you kids. I'll send it to you sometime or

18:30 Having a bad time. So what were the hardest moments with me? Because you know, I had her moments with other children in my family with you the hardest moments ashmark. You were just a gift. I always said you were a gift cuz I had such a difficult second child that I got you and also because you were a boy. I really meant that about the fact that I wanted a girl so you had that you were like so good to make up for it but hard Mama's for you when you were little

19:10 I can't even I mean, you know, it's funny. You forget like sometimes you forget bad things.

19:20 Like disciplining you and you do something wrong and I would like get mad at you and you would start crying you were like it was like were so they always sorry. I mean you weren't defiance.

19:36 You are just say you are so easy. Maybe not even growing up with the whole course of being my mother. Now, it's harder and harder when you got harder because you turned into you know, when you were little member when you congratulated Mr. Campbell. I'm getting teacher of the year at the Renaissance Plaza Clark story, but you are such a little politician you were so cute and charming and adorable and eloquent with everybody and I just was always so proud of you just proud of you and I always any other thing about you and then I'll talk about our think there's nothing about you that made you easy cuz you had a natural ability to get along with kids your age and my other two children did not have that Adam was wonderful with adults and Matthew. I don't know. He was good what he had to be but you you just knew how to get along with kids.

20:35 You are popular. You're like my first kid was popular. That was like wow, I never thought of everybody's birthday party and got caught in that boat on the winding trails. And you and Paul came back and said mom said to a jam again that Mom, Mark was so good when we were out there. He just kept saying we can do it you guys come on. Let's go we can do it like you were sort of like the leader out there when they were all freaking out cuz I can get back to shore. You guys have gone out to fargen under there and wait out there and you only my idea to go that far and then when you started getting difficult,

21:35 Mark was in high school when you started getting very opinionated and you got kind of judgmental of people who didn't agree with you and you one of those yes, and you also got you also got I'm being really honest now really hard on me. You kind of known give me a break like I've ever even in stores like if I was a little bit like short with a sales rep, you're not being very nice to that.

22:04 Nice person. I just was like she was taking to longer what it like you always kind of work hard on me and that was hard for me as a mom to take criticism, I guess from you cuz like I think I'm so great that was hard. And then I think it was kind of hard and you didn't and that was the first time you didn't do kind of everything I wanted you to do like how you just said, I mean, even when you went to homecoming with like a group of people rather than a date and I was like you should have a day or just stupid things like that or you just didn't follow the path. I always wanted although you were in mock trial needed to tell me all the good stuff out of that. Definitely. Definitely you push the limits more. I I felt like with Adam at I didn't feel like I had a really monitor them very much but you because you drank beer and you I mean they never did that night.

23:04 You kind of were.

23:07 You kind of that you can push the limits more. I mean they were such a goody two-shoes better, but you are too I mean look at you you were a great student car certainly never drive a car. But yeah, I think your most challenging times Mark work when you started getting your own opinion about things you were very tough and college. I really came to visit you those were some of my darkest days with you when you are not very nice to us during periods a week, I think.

23:56 I think two things. I think that first of all I kind of had this life and that was probably more in college then I built up and it was this little bubble and when you came in at felt like you were infusing it with something that I think about time in my life. I I didn't need or I didn't want you were trying to be a grown-up and independent you have was your mom supporting me and all that but

24:24 The other thing about high school that I thought was interesting is when I when you were talking about getting hard on you and I think I'm still hard on you. I think I'm probably harder at well, I think that's kind of hard on you but I think I'm probably the hardest on you that if any of your son's I would say yes because before you it said that I'm very hard on myself.

24:46 And maybe and here's Mark the lawyer coming out, but maybe the reason that I am hard on you is because I love you so much and I'm so hard on myself. So pension of my love me being hard on myself for yourself. And then for me as well as for me, almost done dad.

25:16 You don't expect as much from Dad as you do from me throw his room. So and you know Mark when you just said that it made me realize something about my own mother was such a huge force in my life and such a huge horse in the way. I'm mother I was incredibly hard on her and critical of her and I was so mean to her sometimes but then we'd make up and I loved her and she knew I but I was kind of a it was a sort of a similar pattern to how you are with you and I are similar to you and your mother because where they made the youngest longest. Yeah, I got away with the most.

25:57 They were the most permissive with me. That's really really true. And I also think all I thought of one thing I want to say The other reason like, you know, how you didn't like we took pictures of you when you and Hannah still don't like that. Don't take a picture of you. Don't talk to me and then chokes when we went to San Jose for mock trial when you were like act like you don't know me Mom, but I think part of my

26:22 You know Jewish mothering but in a good way is that you were my baby though. I knew this was I was trying to cling to all my last High School. The last one I can take pictures of the last one. I can watch his tennis matches the last one. So I think you had that burden of being the baby and that's a bit of a burden. Yeah. I was thinking when you were talking about that's like the greatest irony from Mason times is that I love when the spotlights on me and yet I hate the idea that I love that the spotlight is on my conflicted person looking for a good person, which is a lot like me you have your not easy. You're not everything that I kind of want I have pushed back on.

27:09 And I think I blame you and Dad for that sometimes because you guys are so different. You got such a combination of genes with us around background politics. See I got a very pure and he did to his parents were very and my parents were any of that all my kids got such a conflict that informs who I've chosen to date in the past as well as that I kind of date women from different countries and different kinds of backgrounds and I have right because you don't want to your dismay. I haven't found my beautiful Jewish

27:54 What is the share it means I'm the one that your beloved that did the Gentile be good in terms of where I've been where I've come from, right?

28:25 What are things that we don't talk about as much as going forward?

28:28 That's scarier. Yeah, it is scary a scary.

28:35 I think we should start off by what kind of what we've been telling me what the kids wear if if and when when I have kids you'll be the best dad. I would love to me that you are such a good love to his dad at the same time. It scares me. I think it scares me more than being a wife.

29:10 When I have kids, what are you what do you think I should teach him?

29:14 How far can be such a good dad? Well number one will not number one. So in no particular order your intelligence and your love of books and your love of learning and your love of exploring like intellectual Pursuits, like as one of my favorite things about you. I love that about you and I want you to pass that on to your kids to read. I'm like a read a lot of books to him and just and teach him how to think for themselves and not just say even though that's an infuriating quality of your sometimes to me. That's a great question my question and I'll get it all back. You know, how parents always say. I wish I knew you know what you put me through innocent you my mother always said that so I

30:14 Love of learning. I mean I selfishly would love you to pass on Judaism because I am as a Jewish person. I feel this sort of obligation to pass on the religion that might want to raise my kids Jewish even though they were going to be named Riley and I wanted them to have bar mitzvahs and I wanted them to have positive to experiences. So that's important to me. So I would hope you would at least expose them to Judaism. Even if it's not, you know, depending what you decide and dash. I mean, I didn't marry somebody Jewish so I can't exactly tell my kids they have to all those I've always said it's easier when the one you know, so woman with the kids. But anyway so that I would like you to pass that on all cash and your sense of like your love of the outdoors, which I did not get passed on to me from my parents and I don't really have a love of the outdoors, but you got that from Dad and I would hope you would pass it on to your kids. They would love being outdoors and love doing

31:14 Physical activities like you do. I love when I call you and you say you just you sent me a text when you're with all your CC friends that you guys have gone and played Frisbee and then gone swimming and you are going dancing now and like I love that you did physical exercise with your friends. So like I said, I didn't get that from my parents and I wish I had so I don't have this innate love of it and I guess I hoped that would be something you would pass on to your kids mean that's kind of that's all the good stuff and just well and well, I guess the most important thing I can't leave this out is being demonstrative and expressive about your love for your kids. I think it's easier for moms and dads. Although I don't think you're going to have any problem. I don't think Dad ever had any problem but a lot of men are kind of you know of tired constipated about

32:14 Tasteless word. But yeah, like tell your kids you love them all the time and just listen to him and then I'm going to give you way too much being accepting parent. I think one thing I really tried to do as a mom even though you probably might say I fail sometimes as be non-judgmental like be like. Like oh my God, what do you mean you're doing let you all really likes him. And when Adam was like

32:52 Lucky Wow, when he was doing things that I was I couldn't believe he did. I was like, okay. Well, that's okay. That's no part of life and that cuz I was my first so it's kind of shocking nothing but really nothing I can think of anything. Maybe I didn't tell me the shocking stuff, but I try to believe any one of them, you know, one of my favorite memories is maybe we don't want this on tape, but when you did something in college that you should have done and ended up at the Student Health Center and do you know that I remember the phone call? I had just pulled into the dry cleaners and I stopped and I got out of the car and I sat on the bench outside the dry cleaner and talk to you and I felt more love for you during that phone call that you had called and shared it with me and I felt so honored that you trusted me and Sheridan and just for contacts. This was my freshman year of college and I had I had a

33:51 Freshman year experience drinking too much more than I should have an ended up in a student health center.

33:57 And I remember that day and how bad it felt my memories from that day were not much from the night before but the day after I remember feeling very

34:12 What's the word ashamed disappointed and ashamed and it was funny when I called you? It felt like I was also sitting in a band. That's all. I remember. The banjo is right in front of my freshman dorm. And I remember telling you felt like I was absolving myself if I never had that kind of.

34:36 Thing growing up or I would go to a priest and can fasten, be absolved but

34:43 That was the most of those the closest I ever got to feeling like you were absolving me and when you told me you love me, I remember in and it goes back even when I was growing up and I would do something bad and I would always will you still love me if I will you still love me, if he said what did you say why I don't like what you did course. I love you. I love you. No matter what. I don't like what you did and what if I killed somebody a ride if I stole something and I hate that you would ask me. What if I say, I wouldn't like what you did and I would be really disappointed in you and what you did but I would always love you. There's nothing there's nothing I can say. This is nothing you could do. That would make me not love you and nothing.

35:35 Nothing. I think those words I used to say the same way. You've always said it to me since I was four five years old, but

35:46 There's a lot of freedom in that. Somebody's going to love you. No matter what, but there's responsibility with gray freedom.

35:57 Because I trust you see my parents raised me like that. They like we trust you to do the right thing. So I do trust you, but I also know you're human and I know what song I used to sing to you that I love everyone makes mistakes. So why can't you big people small people matter of fact all people I say it to my kids at school now cuz I see for speech therapy. I love that you ever make mistakes every day and when kids hear that's something to tell your kids I make mistakes too. It's okay to make mistakes, but learn from them and I remember when when that happened with that incident, I can College I thought again divine intervention. I thought that was meant to be and that happened because that made you

36:52 Have a healthy respect for the fact that alcohol could have some really negative effects and it could have possibly saved your life because he is scared you you said these words to me Mark. You said Mom you could die from drinking too much alcohol you could die. And I was like, you can Mark you can die. And that's a really good lesson to learn when you're a freshman in college and like the the little mistakes that make you so you don't make the big ones. I'm like I could go on and on about that when Adam got a ticket when he first got his driver's license and I won't go all the details. I thought that was meant to be that made him a better driver so that nothing worse was going to happen and I think that experience made you a more responsible college student not that you didn't keep drinking, but you were more aware of the danger of it and kind of humbled by the danger of it.

37:49 Life humbles you it's very it was a very humbling. It was good to be humble sometimes cuz you sometimes can get a little too cocky. He needs a little bit. What do you say my harshest critic and my biggest fan. I'm your harshest critic and your biggest fan of I will root for you. But I will also let you know, you know, you know, I like no no, no tough on me. The other thing I say about you are your worst is better than most people's best cuz you're you're boring gif.

38:27 I'm I'm not just saying this cuz I'm your mom but you you have amazing gifts that a lot of people don't have those people don't have and that's why I want you to utilize those gifts going back to our future questions. But anyway, that that love you unconditional love of a parent is also something. I want you to pass on to your children, which I know you will.

38:54 What's the learning from you I will it's in you Sonia my voices in your head to feel like your mom's voices in your head all the time every day right now.

39:06 I always say my mom is never gone my parents both are never gone. They're both living right here in my heart and they're talking inside my head all the time. I hear them at strange times and my sister was much more nene nene nene than me. And I she believes in past lives and she always says mom is in this room right now. Like I she's here. She just talked to her. She goes to a psychic and they like talk to Mom. Do you feel like you moved up to Grandma's expectations of you? I do that. We should be really proud of me and I want to keep living a life that would make her proud of me.

39:45 I was in one of the prayers that after she died that I read the rabbi gave me a really great Book of Prayers And one of the purse was about how you want to live the kind of life that would make her proud and tired and that's hard on her right now. And I I think she'll be really proud of me.

40:04 Do you think I'm living up to your expectations of me? Yes with a cat doing at your age. And I think you know how I joke with you then I say, oh to be Mark. We also owe to be my return. It doesn't suck to be you. You know, I think you're the life you're living right now and I love where you live. I love your neighborhood. And I think it's so cool that you talk you speak in Spanish to your neighbors and we use your Spanish. I think it's really cool. What you did after college. I love that you did that for a year and went to South America and saw so much and I love that you traveled in Southeast Asia and when I never did any of those things, so I love your

40:52 Your awareness of the world and you're

40:57 Wow, I love your tolerance and your love other people and and your non-judgemental like your whole lack of bigotry. I mean, everybody's a little bit racist Avenue Q but you're about as non-racist as you can be in my opinion and I'm really proud of that. The only caveat and the reason I had that because I'm a little bit disappointed for you. I guess that you're in a job that you're not using your full capacity for a trait certainly in Northern California has tried as it is that you want to make the world a better place. You know, how they joke about that use technology to make the world a better place. I think you could make the world a better place and I and I think you could have a million ideas for what you could do with your life. And I just think that would be a real.

41:57 I really lost you can tell that you know what Mark I have mixed feelings about law school because it's mixed feelings. But yeah, you know, I'm stuck with my hair all those conflicts and then it's not only your dad and I have to yats your diversity and you're you're you're such a difference. I'm just my hope is that you know, you find something and I don't care if it's the L word. Is that what it is? We never use our whole brain, but using more of your brain cuz you have an amazing brain Hannah and I have to get this in this interview. You have The Head and the Heart and I had a

42:57 Powerful combination Mark and then we said that when you were in mock trial, you've got the logic and then teligence but you have the heart and the emotion and the ability to connect with people at a deep emotional level. What a gift you got to use that and you're not using it right now Vine you're living in a Dream City of you have a great friends make it here not sitting in the basement playing video games. You mean you go to work every day. You have a job and you make good money and you do well at it you excel at it, but I'm making the world a better place, but you're only doing 5 more than my job will

43:44 Well

43:46 Have an interesting relationship with that anyway, but you talk about that all that's a whole nother career plans, but it's okay. I see you've left one of my students asked me how old I think you said 39. I was three we're living in Boulder like a good time as actually 1955's. Do you think the most important lesson is that life has taught you know for sure, but I know I already quoted it. I probably can think of more things but my gut says I already said it it's not what happens to you. It's how you act. It's not the cards. You're dealt to tell you played.

44:46 It's it's not the events that happened. It's how you react to them and deal with them and it's kind of that Serenity Prayer all that's so cliche. But you know God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference mean there's certain things. You're not going to be able to change and so you just have to accept it, but then there's a lot you can and I can't not to get you know in great detail about challenges in my own life, which there have been many although all first world problems, but but things have I never thought like I never expected things the things that have happened to happen. I never expected him to go back to work not by choice, but by necessity

45:38 And that's a whole nother topic that we can talk about. I'd love to talk to you about that sometime about my mixed emotions about going back to work full-time, but when everybody else is retiring, but I really believe that I've had these things happen to me and you can either sit around and say poor me where you can react in a in a negative way like drinking too much or taking drugs or you know, breaking the law are stealing money or whatever or you can just say I got to deal with these things and not focus and just just do it and I guess that's my philosophy of life is like you don't send him the moment you do something about it and it's not about the stuff that happens and I worked with enough handicap people who had disabilities and what they accomplished. It was amazing. My father's a huge inspiration to me and that were card disabled adult life. He had such a can do attitude. I look at Lisa Harris is a great inspiration to me.

46:38 And something adopting having nine children, who does that most of them with special needs? So I guess my philosophy of life would be that it's not about what happens to you. It's about what you do with that kind of brings it back to me being a boy.

47:00 Full circle. I think that's really true. And I I mean I can think of other philosophies of life like because nice matters, we have that side of our house of people. I think it's very important to be nice to people and my parents taught me. That's something I want you to teach your kids you treat the janitor who cleans the building the same as the CEO. They're the same you do and a lot of people do and that was my dad's test he washed how how how you treat people that are in a bus in your table as well as the manager the restaurant or the owner of the restaurant in the same way, so

47:49 I meant important to

47:52 Going back to work for you. Is that then?

47:57 Hardest thing in my life

48:01 For sure.

48:03 Pressure

48:05 When I went back to work, I went to the Asha meeting the American Speech & Hearing Association meeting and they had a speaker. What is it like to go back to work after taking some time off and I went to the speech. She took ten years off. She went back to work in the same city that she worked in before in the same setting that she worked in before. I took 22 years off. I went back to work in a different state. You don't recertify to get recertified re everything I'd and I went back to a totally different setting. I never worked in the school ever so intellectually and experience. Why is it was hard emotionally it was hard. It was just hard but you were saying a couple months ago that it's very rewarding for you as well it is and I'm really I'm really proud of myself and I I love that. My kids are proud of me and I show you those notes that my kids right to move my three sons.

49:05 My three sons are proud of me. I'm happy about that. And I'm also a guy show you the little notes my students. Give me kind of bragging like look at my student, but I want you to see like I want you to be proud of me and in a way, it's sort of a blessing bless your stress and my sister write a book about it's a blessing that I went back to work because I

49:30 Because now you guys don't remember me as just this, you know devoted mother which was a wonderful thing. But now you see that I can go out and earn pretty good money that pays our rent every month. I pay it every month as well as all our household bills with my little paycheck and I feel really good about that. And so maybe if things had turned out differently under making a difference and I'm helping kids and you're making a meaningful contribution is the other thing is people speed matters to them in that we speak we use words and you know, I love where it's good. We're helping kids be able to use their words better or something and parents helping parents.

50:22 Deal with her kids issues. Well, I remember.

50:27 When you pass that test the first time and I still remember sitting on that on the couch out right outside my screen my dorm room when you called me and you would pass the test hard test to get recertified and I think I remember crying because I was so proud of you and I'm very proud of you that you're working and paying those bills and I can't difference and getting up and doing that and I know it's hard being a blessing.

51:04 Honor thy father and thy mother and I love being your son. I don't think I can have 11 command honor. Thy Sons. Well, I honor you Mark and I I am in awe of you. I am very impressed with you in so many ways. I am, you know, I am I've written this to you any kind of easy in life. So I kind of skate away and float away from your parents a little bit when you move to a new city or get a job or something like that, but I think you help me to you help keep me grounded.

51:43 I appreciate the compliment you ever gave me and what we can make that are coming to the end here we can say this is when you said mom, you're the perfect combination of hands on hands off. I think that was one of my proudest moments as a mother because my most challenging time as a mother has been a mother and children in their twenties at the hands on hands on hands down at the hands off a it's a it's been hard for me to learn and for you to give me that compliment. It means so much to me because it's hard for me to be hands-off around me.

52:22 Unconditional love it's that roots and wings. I love you no matter what.

52:27 Love you, no matter what no matter what.

52:33 It's very good. It's a gift the blessing.