Not Penn State Proud

Tonight I hold my daughter tight.

I grew up in State College, Pennsylvania. I went to Penn State. I have always been “Penn State Proud.” But today, amidst the growing allegations and scandals, the disgusting details that I wish I hadn’t read, and the culmination of the firing of the University President Graham Spanier and famed coach Joe Paterno, all I care about is keeping my daughter close–protected from the evils of this world.

My father was a tenured professor at Penn State. My mom owned the only plant store in town: Plants By Suzanne. She did the plants at the University President’s house and Joe Paterno’s office.  She was a successful businesswoman—and also an alcoholic—an embarrassment at times. Because of this, Happy Valley wasn’t always the happiest place for me, but still, it was my childhood home; Penn State my Alma Mater.  It is where many of my memories—good and bad– are stored. It is part of me.

Today I miss my mom. I want to ask her what she thinks of all this. I know she’d feel the same as most: that there is no lower form of humanity than a child predator. But still, I wish I could talk to her about it.

In a time like this, when something so horrid hits so close to home, you want to connect to those who knew you then…who knew you most.

As I watched the breaking news tonight, I heard Fia cry out from her crib. I picked her up and held her tight. I told her mommy was here. It was okay.  That she was safe. Then I wept with her in my arms. She fell gently back to sleep.

I weep for the children and for the parents. I am once again reminded of the burden we carry in raising our babies; of keeping them safe; of protecting them from monsters. I hold her tight. It’s the only thing I can do in this moment. I hope the victims have a loved one holding them tight too.

Click here to see Jill’s interview on Fox LA about the PSU crisis.

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