My family consists of my mom Monica, my dad Jeffrey, and my little brother Jonathan. We live in Winter Haven, Florida with our dog, 3 cats, and rescue animals as they come and go.
MOM – Monica Caputo
My mom was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but moved to Florida after graduating high school. Her parents moved to Florida before she graduated, but my mom wanted to stay and finish her last year of school. She “was going to college and majoring in pre-med because [she] fully intended on becoming a veterinarian.” She was married for 13 years to her ex-husband, and says “I thought I was so comfortably married and to have somebody out of the blue decide they didn’t want to be married anymore was such a breach of my security. I just didn’t want to have that happen again. But…Dad just seemed right.”
DAD – Jeffrey Caputo
My dad was born in Westfield, Massachusetts, and moved to Florida after 11.5 years in the army and a few years in Kentucky. He met my mom and “well, one thing led to another.” He was married once prior to marrying my mom, but he says, “Something inside me was sparked by the way she acted. I just loved her and knew I could spend the rest of my life with her. She is my best friend.” Although he didn’t end up attending college, my dad got to travel to many different places both in the United States and internationally because of the army.
My parents met while they were working construction together. After my mom’s divorce she had a house payment and all of the bills to pay, so to make enough money, she had to leave the vet’s office she was working at and leave college to “run heavy equipment so [she] could make all the payments.” She ended up working on the same construction site as my dad and after about 3 months of dating, he called her off her bulldozer, got down on one knee in the sand, and asked her to marry him. They got married and about a year later they had me.
In Hamilton’s “Parenting to a Degree,“ she introduces helicopter and bystander parents. My parents form a mixture of professional helicopters, pink helicopters, and supportive bystanders. They are professional helicopters because they cared about my education and my mom always encouraged me to attend college after high school. She’d ask, “What do you do after school?” and I would respond, “Go to college!” They are pink helicopters because they used concerted cultivation to help me become well-rounded while doing the things I liked. Finally, they are supportive bystanders because everything was always about what I wanted to do. Nothing was ever forced, but things were always encouraged.
I also want to address the feeling of security and love that I have felt because of the fact that my parents have been married for my entire life. My parents were never divorced (at least not to each other), never cohabited, and never left the family in any sense. This stability fostered a stable environment filled with love and care. I needed it as I transitioned from public school to dreams of attending an Ivy League college. My family supported me the whole way, and I really do believe that I wouldn’t be at Dartmouth today without the love and guidance that my parents gave me, together.
Below are some quotes from my parents about parenting:
- My parents were born in the early 30s so they were Depression Era children and both of them had to work. My mom had to cook for the family by the time she was 10.
- Children weren’t priority one like they are now.
- Anything that scared me that was irrational I found later on, or anything that I just wished I’d have known is what I tried to show you and teach you. Then I let you go from there.
- It was awesome to see that that tiny baby who was like a little sponge stay like a little sponge. You just took the whole world in. And then, you ran with it.
- I put as much effort into you guys as, as I would at a job. But it was quite a surprise to end up as a stay-at-home mom. I think it was good for both of you though, and I’m glad it happened.
- Parenting is kind of a fly by the seat of your pants thing in my opinion.
- Parents sculpt their children to be productive citizens.
- I wanted you kids, regardless of what you wanted to do – well you wanted to drive a garbage truck when you were little – to be happy. (Yes, I did want to be a garbage truck driver).
- Make sure it’s right because they’re like a sponge.
*Don’t worry, I didn’t forget my brother. He gets a whole tab on this website to himself!