Stage Fright. On the importance of lightening up

I had to give a short announcement at my church the other morning. And I was terrified. I have been going on stages since I was 3. My mom was the choir director at the church I grew up in, and she had the genius idea to start a Cherub Choir. There were tens of little ones in our small Methodist church at the time, and, it being the 80s, I’m sure families with young ones had nothing to do but...

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The sweetness of the past: On nostalgia, and the 90s, and hanging on and letting go.

I am feeling nostalgic lately. I’m not sure what it is, but I suspect it has something to do with Halloween. I remember that my dad would go all in with some costumes. One of us would want to be something, and he’d get a spark in his eye, and the next thing you knew he’d be cutting boxes and paper mache-ing and duct taping and, voilá, two days and 10 hours later we’d be a headless...

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When “It Has Lasted.” On kids getting big.

I am at the beach sitting with my book that I’ve been tearing through for hours. My 5-year-old daughter is in the sandbox with five other kids—cousins and second cousins and all the kinds of cousins, so many varieties that they are all just cousins to us here, on this vacation we take every year. Wally, my 7-year-old, is playing baseball with his cousin buddies nearby. And I am sitting with my...

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Do You Sense Me?: On going to Italy, and coming home.

I am sitting on the hardwood floor in my daughter’s room and we are doing one of the things I am least likely to say “yes” to most of the time: playing pretend. We are holding 3-inch high figures of animals in wild colors that wear hats. I am the cat, running the restaurant and she is bringing various customers in. It takes me a while to realize that she is recreating the same story we...

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First Grade Musical.

We are sitting in plastic folding chairs in your typical elementary school gym. We are 6 rows back from the front, where silver concert bleachers are lined up below a projection screen. Before the classes of first graders even appear, I can tell that we are in for a round of suffering—like a headache, or maybe even a migraine you can feel in your teeth. I’m not sure what has given this...

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Enjoy it while it lasts: Some thoughts on motherhood.

We have 12 women in our book club, and eight of them have had babies since we started two years ago. It seems like every time we meet, someone new is announcing they are pregnant and someone else is absent because they are home with their new little ball of joy. The four of us who have not had a baby are now looking at each other with shifty eyes wondering which sorry one of us will be the next...

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The Day in which the Bird from a 6 Year Old Was Acceptable

I am working at my computer at my new desk downstairs and the kids are playing behind me. Up until a few weeks prior, I had been working on the couch in the TV room, computer on my lap, back aching. When I worked there, the kids were constantly within an arm’s reach. They were always quiet—at the threat of death-by-no-dessert—but I wanted a space that could be my own, where little kid...

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Why I Don’t Say Yes If My Daughter Asks If She Is Pretty

I am excited and honored again to be published on Mamalode. It’s about my one of my favorite topics—talking about beauty with our girls. Hope you enjoy! Why I Don’t Say Yes If My Daughter Asks If She Is Pretty, Mamalode, April 18, 2017

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The Case of the Candy Explosion: A Story of Kindness

“When is the movie going to start?” Vivvi turned to me and asked. “It’s not a movie,” I remind her. We were sitting in orange plastic chairs as we waited in the brightly colored music room of the local middle school for their production of Aladdin Jr. to start. Vivvi had never been to see live theater before, so she had no idea what she was getting into. “It’s real people,” I said....

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Lunch Notes: A Christmas Card Recycling Program

In August, my son Wally started first grade. For us, this meant the first time he’d be doing full day school. This also meant the first time we’d be packing him a lunch. I had heard all the stories about all the mom mistakes. An Eeyore-mopey kid saying to the mom at pick up after the first day, “You forgot to put a note in my lunch.” I did not want to be that mom. I also could not imagine...

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