Libby Gruner

Libby Gruner is an English professor at mid-career who started her family in graduate school. She lives in Richmond with her husband and two children, whose 7-year age gap means that she will be the parent of a teenager for quite a while yet.

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Most Recent Articles

October 31, 2011
With only one child at home — and him a teenager — Halloween crept up on me unawares this year. Over the weekend, Mark was away visiting our daughter over the weekend for Parents’ Weekend, and I was home with Nick waiting out his bronchitis and the rain — so we didn’t buy any candy, didn’t carve a pumpkin, didn’t decorate the house. Nick is too old (his decision) for a costume, so the whole thing almost passed us by.  
October 24, 2011
I was in a late afternoon meeting last Friday with a group of the kind of folks who are likely to be in a late afternoon meeting on a Friday. I think we had a dean and three department chairs there as well as at least two program coordinators—folks, in other words, who do a good bit of service, or who have put in so much time doing service in the past that they are now doing it full-time as administrators. Everyone was breathing that kind of sigh...
October 18, 2011
This was supposed to be a post about service. I was struck that last week’s post didn’t receive many comments — and my post about soccer parents and cross-country parents did — and I was going to write about that. But when I was supposed to be writing the post I was actually in a meeting. And then in the meeting, I was interrupted by a text from my son — but maybe let’s start at the beginning.
October 10, 2011
I am on break right now. That is, my students are (mostly) at home or off on service trips or otherwise not on campus, and no classes are being taught today or tomorrow. But I don’t teach on Monday or Tuesday anyway this semester. So am I on break? As class ended on Friday, my students all left with a cheery, “Have a good break!” But what is a teaching break to a faculty member who has administrative duties?
October 3, 2011
First we were soccer parents. I used to feel that we were the worst soccer parents in the world — we didn’t own a minivan, for one thing, and we had no real connection to the sport, for another. Our daughter started soccer in kindergarten, in part (if I’m totally honest) because it offered an additional hour or two of care after school once or twice a week. The shift from 9-5 daycare to 9-3 schooling had left us a little unprepared — and soccer helped fill the gap.
September 19, 2011
Rosemarie Emanuel’s piece last week on bifurcating really got me thinking. My first thought was that I was glad that I have long ago shed any guilt about not volunteering in my kids’ schools, and my second was a brief nagging sense that maybe now that my son’s in a new school I should try making an effort again.
September 12, 2011
The semester has begun with a bang: an earthquake, a hurricane, and a presidential visit. Add to that the normal stresses of the beginnings of two different school years (at least my college daughter is navigating the opening of her school year on her own), a new school, and a new athletic team, and I know why I’m so tired this Monday. So, let’s try bullet points instead of finely-wrought paragraphs (not that I always achieve those, anyway!) and see if I can sum up some of what’s going on right now.
September 5, 2011
At the beginning of the school year I let a lot of things slide. I let the listserv email pile up in a virtual folder, I skim or ignore the blog posts in my feed reader, and don’t even talk to me about the housework.
August 29, 2011
Ten days ago as we opened the academic year at colloquy the provost said, “This is going to be a great year!” Moments later he added, “we know things will happen…” I’m not sure that when he said that he was thinking about an earthquake and a hurricane, but as it happens, that’s how our school year opened.
August 15, 2011
Every fall it’s this way. Mid-August comes and I hit the panic button, realizing how much work I have left to do before the semester begins — next week. Isn’t that awfully early, I find myself thinking? I imagine this is even true for those who start after Labor Day (though I envy them now). Whether it’s early or late, there’s always a crunch right at the beginning.

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