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A Day in the Life of Tamara White

Tamara White lives in Dallas with her husband Rob and their and five children: Averi Elizabeth, 18; Addie Elise, 17; Andrew Eston, 15; Audrey Emma, 12; and Alex Emerson, who is 8 years old and has Down syndrome. Rob works in sales and Tamara works full-time as the human resource generalist for the central Dallas Enterprise Holdings locations. She has served on the Down Syndrome Guild board for six years. 

5:45AM Rob kisses me goodbye as he leaves to go to work and drop off Eston, our oldest son, at cross-country practice.

6AM Is that my alarm going off? Oh, surely not! I roll over and pretend it’s Saturday for 15 more minutes.

6:15AM Thoughts running through my head: Do I have any clean suits? Or black hose? What is on my schedule at work? Does Emma have soccer practice tonight? Is Cub Scouts tonight? Determine today is Tuesday, and the only kid commitment we have is Alex’s speech therapy. I stumble out of bed, greet Champ, Winnie, Ginny and Scout (our pets that all like to sleep in the same room as their parents) and manage to walk to the bathroom with my eyes closed.

6:30AM I hear a little boy hollering at me while I’m in the shower, “Is that you, Mom? What time is it?” (He asks me this every morning.) I remind Alex it’s now 6:30, the time he always wakes up (even on weekends), and he needs to start getting ready for school.

6:40AM While in my robe and with hair in a towel, I make my first attempt to wake up Emma, our youngest daughter. Take load of laundry to the utility room. Pull clothes from the dryer, put in basket and set next to the couch to be folded later that day. Pick out clothes for Alex and head to the kitchen, where he gets dressed.

7AM Still in robe and hair in a towel, I determine what Alex wants for breakfast –normally Cheerios with cut strawberries on top. While Alex eats, I make his lunch.

7:15AM With Alex still eating, I make a second attempt to wake up Emma – flip lights on now if necessary. Good-morning hug to Addie, who is the best at getting out of bed on her own. Start doing my make-up in the bathroom, blow dry and roll my hair.

7:35AM I get dressed and holler to Alex to come brush his hair and his teeth. Meet Emma in the bathroom to fix her hair. Brush my teeth, grab my jewelry and find Alex’s glasses. Grab my purse, glasses, laptop and remind Alex to get his lunch and backpack.

7:50AM Tell Addie goodbye and load up the kids to head to school and try to make it by 8.

8:05AM Head from the Dallas North Tollway to LBJ and pray traffic is not too backed up.  Listen to 94.9 KLTY, say my morning prayers and make any family phone calls with my bluetooth on (both hands stay on the wheel) on my drive to work.

8:30AM Arrive at work. Get coffee in my Baylor mug. Add two hazelnut creamers, four pink packets and stir. Turn on my computer and begin my human resource journey for the day, which may include hiring, firing or promoting employees.

10AM Get phone call from my oldest daughter Averi, who is a freshman at SMU, asking for gas money. Of course I meet her demand – oh, I mean request – who could turn down their daughter going to a great university on a four-year scholarship that pays for everything?  Make plans to meet for lunch tomorrow at our favorite place, Bubba’s.

11AM Pick up Alex at school to take him to private speech therapy. Alex eats his lunch on the way to speech. He doesn’t miss any school, because while he’s gone, his class is having lunch and going to recess.

11:15PM Check email messages in lobby of speech therapist’s office while Alex is having a great time with Lynn Campbell (he has gone to her since he was 3 and loves her).

12:15PM Drop Alex off at school and head back to work. Go through somewhere to get something to eat on the way back (usually In-N-Out Burger).

12:45PM Continue to provide the “skills, knowledge, resources and motivation” our employees need to be successful in their careers. Field calls from kids that start to come in when they begin to arrive home from school.

3:30PM Alex goes to Pace Afterschool program or tutoring (based on the day of the week) until 6pm or earlier.

4PM Addie brings home Eston from high school and picks up Emma from elementary school.

5PM Rob arrives home. Decision is made: Will we cook or will it be “free night?” Definition of free night: All kids/adults on their own for dinner with the exception of Alex. Most common choice: cereal.

6PM I arrive home hoping I smell something good when I walk through the door. If not, I can fend for myself with the best of them.

7:30PM Go over any homework with Alex while the other kids complete homework on their own.

8PM Get Alex in the shower. Remind him to brush his teeth when out of the shower. Go change out of my work clothes.

8:15PM I hug/kiss Alex goodnight and Rob takes him to bed to read one of his many favorite books.

8:30PM Fold clothes (my chore). Addie has cat-box duty, Eston the dishwasher, Emma the trash and Rob sweeping the house.

9PM I get to take a break. Sit on the couch with Rob and watch mindless TV or check Facebook or read People magazine.

10PM Rob heads to bed. I watch news, TMZ and then head to bed too. Lights out, everyone! Prayers again and thanks for many blessings.