Just a confession of sorts — I have 104 children

{Lizzy and Catherine at the dining hall, circa 2006}

I’m not the biological mother of 104 children, but one thing I’ve never really talked about on this blog, is that I’m a dorm parent. That’s my job. My husband, family and I live with and help college students at the University of Chicago. We counsel, we converse, we organize study breaks, we break up rowdy parties in the middle of the night, we take students to the ER if they need to go. We organize trips around the city and the neighborhood. And live in a dorm. In an apartment kind of a space, with its own bathroom and kitchen, but still in a dorm, with college students living all around. In exchange, we get free room and board and a small stipend.

So why bring it up now? One reason is that I’m about to start a “Week in the Life” project (via Ali Edwards) and I want my life and pictures to make some sense. (It’s pretty hard to hide college students, although I’ve done okay so far. wink.) The other reason is that with this Superman-style secret identity I feel like it’s hard for me to relax into the writing of this blog space and really stretch out and create a place where I can explore a creative life for myself and my family.

I’m not planning to talk about the students too much in this space, but I am feeling liberated getting this off my chest. Being a Resident Head (the UChicago way of saying dorm parent) is a wonderful job. I get to know so many intelligent, dynamic, interesting people, who just happen to be college age. We’ve been doing this a really long time and we do love it. Our girls love it, too. They feel a big sense of belonging and know “their students” — the ones who live in our part of the dorm — and really enjoy helping to take care of them, or cook for study breaks, or hang out with them.

So I guess this is a self-portrait of sorts. Just wanting to show you a little more of the real me.


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