What makes a house a home?

My husband and I shuffle our son and daughter into our favorite burger place, and a memory comes back that I haven’t ever counted as a memory. I didn’t know it was there, and suddenly, at this most appropriate moment it wades into my mind’s eye and is as fresh as the day it happened. I am thinking of the first time we visited this restaurant, when it was just a place we were trying on our...


Ode from My Five-Year-Old: A Celebration of Love

My 5-year-old daughter, Vivvi, loves love. Everyone in the house, including Viv, tries to deny it. Wally, her older brother, lists as one of his favorite things about her: that she pretends to be dark. A few months ago, some minor drama had caused me to give her a life lesson teaching, telling her we all stand for something and all of her decisions have to be based on what she stands for. So what...


The Life Changing Magic of Shut the H&## Up

I have said before that I’m a hanger on of things. I’ve been known to keep thrift store T-shirts I wore in high school simply because I cannot bring myself to part with the memories. What memories?, I wonder, as I write the previous. Why in the name of everything holy and good am I hanging on to this boys sized Medium Coca-Cola shirt that I wore 3,000 times in my high school years? The reason...


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...


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....