All over the world at any given moment there are billions of people missing someone they’ve lost. Tonight, that was us.
Float-building with dad. Parade driving with dad. Tie-straightening with dad. That was our week, only the dad wasn’t with us. It’s hard, if you don’t know. Most don’t.
His Bio for the Homecoming Court read that he liked surfing, snowboarding, and being Captain of the Swim Team. It also read – in its original form – that he was the son of two people instead of just one, but that part was edited out in the final draft, and not by me. Maybe it was too much for me to ask to include it. Maybe it didn’t seem an important detail, to someone else. Maybe it made those folks uncomfortable. Read more
The first thing that caught my attention was The Mom. That Mom. We all know her. She would never admit that her mean-girl daughter ever did anything wrong, but sometimes she pretended she did only to feign (for the rest of us) that some sort of discipline was taking place in their home, which we were all absolutely certain it wasn’t. She had that same child tested for gifted programs after she used one fancy word properly one time at dinner. She signed the girl up for piano lessons and ballet and French and soccer, then whined about the child’s teachers giving her too much homework. Yet she intentionally put her in the best classes at the best school with all the best teachers, teachers who were (dare we say) kinda tough and didn’t scale grades. And That Mom drove all the rest of us insane when she pretended to be annoyed while she whined and rolled her eyes at how demanding her child’s friends’ six-birthday-parties-this-month! were going to be on their already-busy lives.
Am I talking about this book or I am I talking about my own life?
I noticed two things right away: first, the bad mood, then the bruises.
I can spot the kid who smokes weed on the internet for attention, the one who revels in his shameless exhibition of wasted potential. I can point out to you the misfit who eats lunch facing the wall everyday. His days are long and lonely, I bet. I know all about the promiscuous ones, the boys and the girls, who are both oversexed and way under-supervised. Their parents would never believe the number of nudes their child has sent and received over Snapchat. I watch the rich kids with the expensive cars unintentionally look down their noses at the others around them. They don’t mean to be snobs but they have big goals, lots of resources, and they know they’re going places. And I know who the Fighters are. The Fighters are my favorite. They’re the ones who always look like they had a really long night. They’re kind of special but no one thinks about them much. They keep a low profile. Read more
I have two vivid memories of my dad saying to me, “You’re gonna have to learn to do this by yourself.”
The first was riding a bike and his exasperation came from having to give me a hundred pushes, but then also having to catch up and run behind me as I peddled. He held onto the back of my bicycle seat with one hand, trying to keep up, exhausted after just a few hundred feet of that nonsense. I think we’ve all attempted that awkward move ourselves as parents, until our kids could finally do it on their own.
A lonely, steaming plate of fresh waffles topped with warmed maple syrup, a dollop of melted butter and three delicately sliced fresh strawberries sat on a bar all alone this morning near it’s companion, an ice cold glass of milk. I waited. I paced slowly, sipping my coffee and trying not to lose my temper on an otherwise beautiful Sunday morning. Then I lovingly beckoned, “Breakfast is ready my darling boy!” Still, the waffle sogged and the butter congealed as one minute and then ten passed. Quickly cooling under the ceiling fan, the spritz of whip cream also dissolved.
I made my way into the dark room where I knew he was awake. I mean, it was at his request that I made the damn waffles in the first place. He was texting, covered up under a mountain of blankets, snuggled in for the long haul…which reaffirmed to me that he was at least three steps (pee, put on pants, make a cup of coffee) behind the stage in his morning where he would actually sit down and eat. I decided instantly that I would never cook for him again!
He saw me sending him the laser eyes and exclaimed, “What? It’s been like two seconds!” I turned and left, saying nothing, but speaking volumes. Several minutes later, I heard him call from the other room, “Thank you for breakfast, Mom. It was good.” Only I know that it wasn’t, by that point.
Don’t let the drab black bibs and the bonnets fool you, the Amish have good taste. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. What they lack in fashion choices and modern conveniences they more than make up for in their flair for custom homes with trendy designs. I visited Lancaster County recently and yes, I was one of those people, the touristy outsider rubbernecking from a charter bus as these quiet, private families made their way home (via horse and buggy) from church. They fascinated me. Their pallid homeliness baffled me. Their penchant for volleyball made me laugh. And their gorgeous homes with the wrap-around porches and the detached 3-buggy garages left me a little envious, to be honest. One thought came to mind, “Ya know, at the end of the day, we all kind of want and need the same things.” Read more
“You need to leave there and go home. Now.”
“It’s ok. We will tell your parents, together.”
“Tell me where you are. Do you need me to come and get you?”
“No. I don’t think this will keep you from getting into college.”
“That’s not true. I care.”
“You’re welcome. I love you, too.”
When you become a teacher, at least if you become a good teacher, your role goes far beyond teaching state standards. Read more
There was this one time many years ago, I was unloading groceries from the car, plastic bags dangling from both arms as I tried to backwards-kick the passenger side door shut. My toddler sprawled out in front of me right there in the grass, draped across my feet, and began to wail because he couldn’t have a popsicle out of the grocery bag at that precise moment. I took my dominant leg and scooped him up with it like an excavator at a demolition site, moved him expertly to the side and dumped him right back in the grass where he kept on wailing. I glided past him and into the house, catching the eye of my judgmental neighborlady in the process, who I’m sure thought she was sure she just saw me kick my kid. Read more
Friends! Women! Mothers, and Sons with Strong Mothers! My long, wonderful, painful, magical journey culminates here and I am so, so excited to be sharing this dream-come-true with you. Today, I’m revealing the cover for my forthcoming memoir, April and Decembers.
I am a writer who loves to talk about my journey, the journey we’ve all taken in fact, through lives that are often extremely complicated but that are also wholly universal and entirely magnificent. My experiences will become part of your journey too and my first book Aprils and Decembers promises to share something everyone can relate to as we each stumble and soar through private lives that are inherently intertwined by our unique experiences. Read more
I have a new driver in the house! My kid, fifteen years old for just over a week, is actually a great driver. He’s been pulling our family car into and out of the driveway for years, getting prepared for that Big Day we thought would never come. His first car accident (oh yes, he’s already had one) was at a barn when he was seven years old. He hit a fence post at breakneck speed (about a mile per hour) because he could barely see over the steering wheel.