“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 seat belts yanking tight.
“Rule number one,” says my dad. “Always wear a seat belt. Okay, let’s try again.”
Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, in the mid-’80s meant I was eligible for a full driver’s 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 were all I needed to hit the road. Turns out I had a lot to learn. Here’s what my dad taught me about driving—and life: Continue reading “5 Important Life Lessons I Learned While My Dad Taught Me to Drive”→
I wrote this some time ago for my daughter Ella who is now almost 15. This is a photo of us back then.
Before you were born, I didn’t really know the true weight of love. I didn’t understand that it is like the universe with definite mass, constantly expanding into spaces unknown. My heart has stayed the same, contained and beating in the same body, but the love inside my heart is like the universe, constantly expanding and gaining density. When I became a mother, my heart learned how to hold the enormous, gorgeous weight of love.
Love is holding you in the first few seconds of your life, crying tears that had too many reasons. Love is wrestling with exhaustion and the visceral need to soothe you in the middle of the night. It is stroking your hair as we whisper together in your bed before you go to sleep. I know these quiet moments will not last. In the morning, you’ll stomp and roll your eyes because you can’t find your favorite Free People T-shirt. Continue reading “A Love Letter to My 13-Year-Old Girl”→
A few days before the election, my girls watched Cinderella – again. Not the old school animated version, but the newer Kenneth Branagh film. I’m not a fairytale princess hater, but I don’t much like the messaging of these stories: distraught girl endures hardship, gives up everything or patiently awaits – sometimes while in a deep sleep – for a prince of some sort to rescue her. I’ve lectured my girls on the lack of strong female role models in these tales and I’m pretty sure they get it. All three of them are outspoken and confident, hard workers, considerate thinkers and leaders in their own way. Still, they like a good fairytale every once in a while, especially one featuring a dashing prince (Richard Madden anyone?). Continue reading “Trump Won, Now What? Have Courage and Be Kind”→
“It’s a serious thing // just to be alive // on this fresh morning // in this broken world.”
– Mary Oliver, Red Bird
From where I sit, the day is just beginning. Perched on the edge of my bed, I slip my bare feet into my sheepskin slippers, sinking my toes into the comforting fuzz. Mornings in Northern California start chilly, even in summer. I blink away the veil of sleep over my eyes and reach for my glasses. The dim room comes into focus. I stretch my arms over my head, roll my neck, catalog the snaps and crackles.
From where I sit, the space created when I unplugged from the usual beat of motherhood is about to fill. Today my two oldest girls come home from camp. The month they were away, the house was quiet and clean. There was less laundry, fewer dirty dishes, no sibling spats. Left with one child to mother, I scaled the symphony of our lives down to a neat little duet. In the afternoons, we played Go Fish and Zingo or watched Paw Patrol. Meal times were simple with just the two and sometimes three of us when my husband was home. My youngest daughter had us all to herself. We were rapt. It’s easy to dote on just one child. Continue reading “From Where I Sit”→
Leaning forward in the backseat of the taxi, nose pressed against the window, my breath fogging it up with each exhale. No car seats, no seatbelts, the bare-bones car rattling along FDR Drive, the East River black and glassy on the left, the enormous red and white Coca-Cola sign forever winking just across the water. The mid-morning sky is wintry gray, solid and low – nothing like the sun-kissed blue of my now home thousands of miles away in the southern hemisphere. Apartment buildings rise high one after the other. Green and white streets signs whip by: E. Houston, Delancey, Grand.
It’s 1975 and we are back in the States on Home Leave, the official company term for the six weeks we take at the end of each year to travel the world and visit family back in the U.S. Home. Leave. We are both coming and going, leaving and arriving, traveling between our temporary and forever homes, each anchored at one end of the world. Continue reading “Comfort Food: Remembering My Grandmother”→
I woke up dazed and confused: this was not my pillow or my comforter. A Playmobil queen and her entourage stared at me from the other side of the room while a ginger-haired mermaid gazed sweetly down at me from the wall. Even more unsettling was the glowing yellow-faced clock that announced it was 9:04 a.m., two hours past my typical wake up time. Where the heck was I?
Then I remembered: I’d stumbled into my youngest daughter’s room sometime in the early morning when she’d come bouncing into our bed, awake for the day. Without saying a word, I’d padded down the hall, slipped into her slim twin bed and fell soundly back to sleep. Isn’t sleeping in what moms do on Mother’s Day?