Debra Brandzen Marek

I had the great good fortune of being born to superb parents, Jacqueline and Henri Destremps, whose ideals were also their values. The foundation and upbringing that they gave their children has already impacted three generations, illustrating the enormous effect of healthy parenting on the world. As I grew, I was increasingly interested in becoming a wife and mother and having lots of babies. Although some view this as countercultural, I considered a large family a worthy, rewarding, and honorable calling.

I married at 20 and proceeded to have my own six babies, each dearly loved. Their father and I were together for 16 years before parting ways. At the grand age of 36 I became single again, with children aged 14, 12, 9, 8, 5 and 14 months old.

As a newly single mother of six, my priority was my children, the focus of my time and attention. As the children grew secure in our altered family, I enrolled at Bridgewater State University, studying art with an eye toward teaching to support my brood. By this time, I had two children in high school, two in middle school, one in elementary and one in preschool. With seven students under one roof, homework became a family affair.

I graduated from BSU Summa cum Laude with multiple honors, followed by a post baccalaureate from SMFA @ Tuft’s University, and a master’s degree from Lesley University. In between my post-bac and my MFA, I remarried. I am now celebrating two decades with my soulmate, Robert Marek. Exactly ten years after beginning my bachelor’s degree, I returned to the same classroom I had started in, but now as the Professor.

When my son, Robert K. Brandzen II, creator of Fathers Truly Matter, asked me to review Mothers Truly Matter from a mom’s viewpoint, I was honored. Back when I was a young mother with my first baby, I used to joke that I wanted an “owner’s manual.” My son, that baby, has committed to writing that manual. As a university professor, I admire the erudition and synthesis of compacting so much information, knowledge, and wisdom into digestible bites. As a mother of six and a grandmother of many, I am aware that nothing impacts this world more than moms and dads. As such, I am grateful to have a small part in this work.

American poet, W. R. Wallace held, “The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.” Though the sentiment may be timeworn, its veracity is unquestioned.