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College is a Family Affair for this Mother-Daughter Duo

Mackenzie Freeman

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Imagine walking into the first day of classes as a freshman in college. You sit down in the front row and watch other students start to file in. Next thing you know, your mom enters the room, sporting a new backpack and a freshly sharpened pencil. No, you didn’t leave your lunch at home or forget your gloves. Mom is also taking this class.

This is exactly what happened to 16-year-old Emma and her stay-at-home mom, 37-year-old Kathy.

When Emma tested out of high school after only 3 days of attendance by taking the Texas Success Initiative test, she decided to enroll in the University of North Texas. Kathy, a mother of three, was so inspired by the achievements and success of her oldest daughter, that she decided that she was going to enroll as well.

When Kathy started having kids she decided to be a stay-at-home mom. That meant that any idea of going to college went out the window. But her daughter’s academic success, testing out of high school and getting both her high school diploma and associates degree at the age of 15, inspired Kathy. She decided to take a chance and give college a try. Something she thought she’d never get again.

“The first day of class, the professor, of course, says, ‘You guys have the same last name. Are you sisters?’… I’m like, ‘I’m her mother,’ and Emma at first was so embarrassed,” Kathy said. 

While some may think that Kathy was there to help Emma, the opposite is actually true.

“A lot of times she was helping me!” Kathy exclaimed.

Emma, who thinks of her mom as her best friend, now thinks it’s great that she gets to share her college experience with her mom. They go to football games and hang out with their other classmates and friends together. At first, she was embarrassed to have her mom around all the time, but then realized what an opportunity it was for them both.

“Going to college together just makes our friendship so much stronger,” Emma noted. “No matter what, she’s going to be there to support me and she’ll love me no matter what.” 

While Emma may not have realized that “being there” meant literally in the next seat while sitting in English 101, she is grateful to share the college experiences with her mom.

After 20 years out of school, Kathy is working hard and is grateful she has her daughter as a classmate and for helping her so much. “I think initially professors think somehow I’m going to help her, when the truth is, a lot of times she was helping me.”

While many folks may have been horrified at the idea of sharing their college experience with their moms, Emma and Kathy are a positive example of how it can work. The mother-daughter duo plans on attending medical school together after finishing up their coursework for their bachelor’s degrees. 

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Life

Could There Be Answers to the Famed Peanut Allergy on the Horizon?

Mackenzie Freeman

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Peanuts are incredibly delicious as they permeate candy, condiments, snacks, and numerous other parts of the food industry. At the same time, peanuts also contribute to one of the most common food allergies on the face of the Earth. Those who are allergic to peanuts often have deadly allergies, known as anaphylaxis. This reaction can cause someone to stop breathing if they even simply inhale some of the dust associated with peanuts. As a result, many kids have to carry around an EpiPen that might be needed to save their life. Therefore, peanuts, peanut oil, peanut butter, peanut chocolate, and more can pose a serious health risk. Indeed, some kids will never know the delicious taste of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Some people might even be shocked to hear that peanuts can be found in potato chips, icing, and more! It is hard for people who have severe food allergies to have a normal life. Furthermore, peanut allergies have actually been becoming more common. Many schools have even banned peanuts to protect their students from harm. This is a drastic, but necessary, measure in the eyes of many people.

Now, there might be an answer for those who have been waiting for what seems like forever. Scientists from Australia have recently announced that they might have found an answer to this common problem. A team of researchers have been using a novel treatment method called immunotherapy to help children get over their allergies to peanuts. In this treatment option, patients are intentionally exposed to something that they have a serious reaction to. In this case, that item would be peanuts. Of course, this exposure takes place in a controlled setting to minimize the potential health risks that might come with an intentional allergic reaction.

When children in this experiment are exposed to peanuts, the immune system reacts. After all, this is the basis of an allergic reaction. Over time, the body is exposed to doses in higher and higher amounts. With the right treatment, the body learns to handle the reaction and the allergic reaction gradually subsides. This is called tolerance. Essentially, the body “gets used” to the peanuts. In this clinical trial, which lasted for 18 months, about four out of every five children who were involved in the trial had developed a tolerance to peanuts. Now, five years later, most of the kids who devleoped a tolerance are still eating peanuts to this day. This represents a breakthrough in the field of medicine that has the potential to help children all over the world who suffer from severe peanut allergies.

It can be exhausting for parents and children to go around constantly wondering if they are going to be exposed to peanuts that might lead to an allergic reaction. It can be hard to carry around an EpiPen every day. Now, there might be a way to get around this problem. At the same time, this is only one study. There is still a long way to go and parents should not go around giving their peanut-allergic children allergens to force a reaction. The next step is to try to replicate the results of this study on a larger scale. Then, this therapy needs to reach the open market to be distributed. At the same time, this study still represents a tremendous hope for those who suffer from allergies. If the results of this study can be replicated on a larger scale, it might provide a way to help people who suffer from food allergies.

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Life

Happiness Is: When the Kids Grow Up and Move Out of the House

Leslie Tander

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Research tells us that people with children are happier overall than single adults. Why? For a number of reasons, including:

  • Parents don’t have to worry about being alone.
  • Children are evidence of a legacy in this world, and they give parents a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
  • Parents are happier knowing that they have someone to take care of and provide for them in their old age.

However, according to Fartherly.com, the parent’s happiness that exceeds the happiness of single people won’t be realized until these parents become empty nesters, and the kids actually move out of the house. Parents have to daily practice delayed gratification and wait decades before their ultimate happiness blossoms.

But still, is it all worth it? Is sacrificing your youth for decades worth any measure of happiness you might experience later in life?

Yes, according to a study from The Daily Positive, where questions were asked of patients in a terminal palliative care unit. One of the top ten regrets that dying patients had was that of not having children. The research stated:

“With today’s modern thinking, kids may be viewed as inconveniences or hindrances to pursuing your goals. But keep in mind that your children will be the ones to show you love when you are old. They will also be the ones to whom you will entrust everything you’ve worked hard for after you’re gone.” (Top 10 Regrets When You’re Dying, Dale Partridge)

Geraldine had a difficult time raising six children as a single mom in Texas. She often worked multiple jobs while sewing on the side to make extra money. Life was difficult, but with a mind made up, every one of Geraldine’s children grew up, finished school, and made a life for themselves.

When all the children were out of the house, Geraldine began enjoying her life by traveling, modeling, and sewing for fun. On her 65th birthday, her three daughters took her to Hawaii. At the airport, Geraldine ran into Mrs. Phelps, an upstanding career woman in the community who had all the trapping of success, but no family.

Geraldine worked for Mrs. Phelps for over 15 years as her cleaning lady. Mrs. Phelps was in her late 60s, but the onset of Parkinson’s disease made her look 15 years older. When she saw Geraldine, Mrs. Phelps gave a convenient hello, but Geraldine’s energy and bubbly personality took over the conversation as she introduced her daughters and enthusiastically told Mrs. Phelps about going to Hawaii for her birthday.

“Wow, sounds like you’re going to have a great time,” Mrs. Phelps said longingly. “I don’t have any family. I never had kids.”

“While you were busy working, I was busy having babies,” Geraldine said. “Now my children are taking me on vacation for the time of my life. I thank God that I made the better choice.”

Geraldine’s story illustrates what researchers have told us: having children makes parents happier than singles later on in life when the kids move out of the house. The time invested in parenting makes the post empty nester season in life all worth it.

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Life

Dad Films Zoo Tiger Attacking & Getting Stopped

Leslie Tander

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When a boy goes to the zoo with his dad, especially under the age of 10, he typically expects to see big animals in cages, hear a lion roar, see walruses and seals, and watch elephants pick up things with their trunks. There might even be session watching chimps and gorillas move around from branch to branch. What he and his father do not expect or have on their mutual agenda is for junior to become the next snack target of a full-grown tiger.

Tigers are not dumb animals. They are exceptionally geared to hunt and take advantage of opportunity to keep themselves fed in the wild. Even in a zoo, where there wellbeing and food sources are taken care of, the instinct innate within a tiger’s mind is constantly operating and working. So, when 7-year-old Sean decided to stand in front of the containment window to the tiger’s den and his father was filming him, neither expected what happened next.

The father and son went to the Dublin zoo for the holidays as a good time off and bonding session opportunity. The personal camera filming starts off with Sean smiling to his dad while turning back quickly to look at the tiger in the far part of the den. The cat sees the boy and is already in motion moving forward but it freezes when the boy looks at the tiger. As soon as Sean turn around again to look at the camera, the tiger rockets forward with claws extended fully expecting to catch the boy and apply a killing bite on his back. It’s only at the very last second that the tiger senses that something is between it and the child, skidding to crash into the barrier wall that keeps the tiger contained. However, the thud into the clear wall and the clawed paws and teeth were enough to make Sean jump away for safety while his father filmed the entire event.

As far as Sean’s father is concerned, the social media verse is probably taking sides whether he kept his cool continuing the filming or whether he should have grabbed his son. Sean probably had a few nightmares the next night or two afterwards as well. Either way, the tiger attack was likely not going to be something either of them forgot anytime soon. And it’s probably likely Sean’s mother gave his father a good whacking on the back of the head for letting the boy anywhere that close to the tiger’s den in the first place, even with the obviously effective barrier for safety. Moms are like that.

For the rest of us, Sean’s furry friend at the zoo gives us all a good reminder that animals a fundamentally wild and remain that way. They don’t switch to Disney characters simply because they now live at a zoo. It’s something everyone should accept and understand clearly, but every year there’s a story of some knucklehead going into a cage or den to pet the animal because it seems so sedate and calm. It’s enough to make anyone wonder what would happen if “survival of the fittest” did apply to humans.

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