1. to anticipate and prevent or eliminate (difficulties, disadvantages, etc.) by effective measures; render unnecessary: to obviate the risk of serious injury.


The sound of stilettos against concrete made a rhythmic sound, a cadence that comforted Saundra as she made her way toward the high school.

Clad in stilettos that elevated her petite frame and a sorbet-hued, tailored suit, she girded herself for battle.

Upon first glance, everyone mistook her for a sweet, brownie-baking mom. The shoes, the wardrobe, the cute bob–it was all misleading. She did bake brownies, but she wasn’t sweet.

Raised in the Bronx, Saundra’s disposition was “sharper than tack,” as the old people used to say, her humor as dry as sand paper, and she had a will tougher than a decorated Army general.

She enjoyed being underestimated. It made for quite the laugh when she left people’s jaws slack with shock.

She didn’t care what anyone called her. Codependent! Helicopter mom! Tiger mom! Saundra just scoffed at them and smiled. She was a woman who got stuff done and she was not ashamed of that. Other parents kept their distance, many ignoring her altogether, but when the school’s funding was in jeopardy last year, they turned to Saundra to obviate the matter, needing her razor-sharp tongue to reverse the cuts. And after one conversation with the superintendent–”a very understanding and gracious woman,” Saundra had reported to the parents–all of the funding would be restored.

Today it was her youngest daughter’s future that needed to be secured. With all the testing, prereqs, and challenging courses, she needed to be in the IB program. A few AP classes weren’t going to pave the path to an Ivy League school and her daughter, like her siblings before her, was absolutely going to an Ivy League school. It was

Saundra rounded the corner and saw the new principal standing in the doorway. He smiled warmly and welcomed her into his office, looking as inexperienced as she had expected. Saundra stifled a laugh, mentally taking aim.

The poor man, Saundra thought. He didn’t know what he was in for this afternoon.





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