Hope Is The Light of A Smoke-Streaked Sun

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The world is burning yet the sun still shines. Smoke singes my nostrils, entangles itself in my unwashed hair. I drive the kids to school, an ominous glare in the sky. The traffic is as thick as the smoke. We are late. Then Sweet Child O’Mine comes on the radio and what else can we do but crank it up and belt it out?

This is life right now: we are all living and dying. We are singing and crying. We are hunkering down with buttered toast and cups of coffee and dancing wildly in the kitchen together to Rihanna. Continue reading “Hope Is The Light of A Smoke-Streaked Sun”

There Is Never Enough Time But There Is Now

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“Tuck me in momma,” she insists sweetly, her blue eyes big behind her glasses, her long, caramel-colored hair tied back for bed. I’m standing against her doorway more out than in. Her bedside table is littered with gum wrappers and tangled hot pink headphones, Catcher in the Rye, its pages curling. The bed is unmade and her finished homework spills out of her unzipped backpack.

“Pleeeese?” she says dramatically as she reaches for her phone, the glowing screen a constant calling. I watch her check her texts or maybe it’s Snapchat. For me, it’s her girlish plea that beckons and tugs at my heart. It’s past her bedtime and inching closer to mine. With the younger two asleep, My Time is just within reach: the book I’ve been meaning to start, that cherry enzyme facial mask I want to try out. If I go upstairs now, I might even eke out a solid 30 minutes cruising Amazon Prime for the ever-elusive perfect beach cover up I absolutely must have. Then there’s the undeniable relief of simply cozying up in my warm, soft bed next to the guy I married and never seem to have enough time to just be with. Continue reading “There Is Never Enough Time But There Is Now”

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

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My oldest in 2004. She’ll be driving for real in a year.

“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 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”

A Love Letter to My 13-Year-Old Girl

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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”

Trump Won, Now What? Have Courage and Be Kind

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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”

From Where I Sit

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“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”