5 Important Life Lessons I Learned While My Dad Taught Me to Drive

WfVxFu5R0SFsskpioJWgIt’s a brilliant Sunday morning in September. We’re sitting side by side in my mom’s bronze, four-door Mazda 626 in the empty parking lot. The engine’s idling, the car is firmly in park with my foot is pressing hard on the brake pedal.

“Ready?” he asks

“Um, yeah. I think so,” I say. I shift the car into Drive and gingerly lift my foot from the brake.

“Give it a little gas,” he says. I do and the car lurches forward like an overly ambitious toddler taking his first steps. I quickly slam on the brakes and we both whip back in our seats, our seatbelts yanking tight.

“Rule number one,” says my dad. “Always wear a seatbelt. Okay, let’s try again.”

Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri in the mid-80s meant I was eligible for a full driver license at 16. A few months before my birthday, my dad and I embarked on a series of weekend driving lessons, commandeering empty lots and deserted side streets. As an overly eager teen, I figured a few quick tutorials was all I needed to hit the road. Turns out I had a lot to learn.

Continuing reading on The Mid.

To the Moms In My Daughter’s Preschool Class

KB Self PortraitsToday is the last day of our kids’ second year of preschool and it’s a little hard to believe it’s here. Even though I’ve been through the preschool years twice before and many years ago, it’s still a bit startling to come to the end of a school year and realize that time is, indeed, passing. The kids are all taller, their little faces have changed in subtle ways and their unique personalities are shining through even more.

This year wasn’t the easiest for me. Maybe you know this and maybe you don’t. Continue reading

To My Daughter on Her Bat Mitzvah

EllaWindowToday, my oldest child Ella turns 13. Just a few days ago on June 6 she became a bat mitzvah. In the Jewish tradition, this means she is now responsible for her actions, following Jewish law, ethics and values and is able to lead religious services. She is now an adult in the eyes of the community. 

This past year has been one of tremendous growth for her in all the ways. She is becoming her own person and I am incredibly proud of her as she takes on challenges, expands her knowledge, learns from her mistakes, sifts through her emotions and greets the world with tolerance and humor. She is certainly merging into adulthood, but she will always be my little girl. This is the speech I gave in her honor at her bat mitzvah.  Continue reading

I Hate the Grocery Store and Why I Gave Up Wine

Yes, that is a retainer case and a plastic container of left over pasta next to my wine. Oh, and a bowl of pretty fruit.

I’m unloading my little red hand basket in the check out line at the grocery store – well, it’s not really a grocery store because I hate the grocery store. Filling up a big cart with lots of food is just a precursor to the looming reality that I must cook a meal and cooking sends me to my dark place.

So no, I’m not at the grocery store. Continue reading

When an Earthquake Isn’t the Only Thing Shaking Up Life

IMG_5977I can’t really say there was a beginning or an end, it happened so fast. The side table lamp rattled a too-late warning, then the bed shook quick and hard like a wet dog. I stay frozen on top of the cozy comforter, gripping the laptop balancing against my thighs to keep it from sliding to the floor. My mind races: run to a doorway? Grab the kids? Where are my shoes? Seconds later it’s over. Earthquake.

“Hey!” I yell in the direction of my open bedroom door. “Did you guys feel that?” Continue reading

How I Lost My Voice, Found It Again and Became a True Life Rock Star


Image Source: Fanpop.com

I watch my daughter trudge to the car under the weight of her ridiculously heavy backpack. Like most afternoons, she looks exhausted and a little soggy, like she’s been caught in a rainstorm and is still drying off: middle school. Her sister’s going to a friend’s house and the twins in our carpool have been picked up early for orthodontist appointments.

“It’s just you and me kiddo,” I say. She climbs into the front seat and smiles wanly.

“Hi mom. Can we go to Starbucks?

I smile back and say yes. The grocery store can wait. She’ll be 13 in a few weeks and lately I have a sharp sense of urgency around the time we spend together. Frappuccinos it is.

She’s flipping through SiriusXM heading for Hits 1, the all-pop-all-the-time station when she lands on 80s on 8. I barely catch the opening drum machine notes of the song when she clicks to the next station.

“Wait! Go back!” I say. Continue reading

Bee Stings, Midlife and Telling Stories

Xylocopa9I stepped gingerly across the slick wet rocks, boots in hand, the small stream gleaming. There was something important about getting to the other side without falling in. I placed my foot on the next rock and felt the firm, sudden sting in the ball of my foot. Sharp intake of breath, a sudden jerk, a small yelp. I plunged my foot into the cold water and waded to shore where I sat on the edge of the stream examining my foot in wonder. Stung at last. Continue reading