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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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....


My Quest for My New Best Friend

A testimonial as read at the First Presbyterian Church of Glen Ellyn’s Women’s Day Apart, on Friendship. Last Sunday afternoon I found myself staring out the window of a very slow moving car full of 4 other women, racing slowly, so slowly toward the Denver International Airport for flights home that at least one of us was certainly going to miss. We had left with plenty of time to get...


Family Olympics: Let the games begin!

“We are gathered here again,” I begin. “To mark the beginning of another year.” Three sober faces stare back at me, hanging on my every word. “As usual, we will mark this special day with a series of challenges. We will all experience the glory of dominating a challenge or two, and we will fail with extreme gusto in others. We will encourage one another, lift one another up. We will...


One Way or Another: A Christmas Story

I went to pick Wally V up from his Sunday morning class after our church service last Sunday. “Do you want to go home and get ready?” I asked. He looked at me and burst into tears, “My head hurts!” he balled. I escorted him through the crowds and to the car, feeling like a bad mom for not having noticed he might be sick. You see, it was all working out perfectly, according to my plan....


Adventures of an Underage Mom

I am in line at the grocery store after successfully navigating all of the aisles for the 6 things I needed to gather for that evening’s dinner. I say 6, and by 6 I mean 10, which is 9 away from the 19 that my seven-year-old son Wally guessed I would end up with when I told him my very small list included only 6 items and could he and his sister please just stay with me without tears or...