What Does Happily Ever After Really Mean?

This week my parents celebrated 42 years of marriage. In a Facebook, my mother pondered if anyone truly understands the promises they are making when they get married. Her conclusion was that they don’t. Anyone who’s been married a decent length of time would probably agree—I know I do....more

What We Learn When Someone Young Dies

Yesterday I nearly had a panic attack while watching a movie about pandas. You might ask how cute, cuddly, endangered pandas could cause anyone anxiety. Well, they are endangered, but this angst was the self-centered kind not the I-must-save-the-world kind. The answer is simple and stupid: It was the middle of the afternoon, and I was at the public museum goofing off....more

The Power of Friendship: What a Difference a Year Makes

A year ago today, I woke up for the first time in my Milwaukee home. I was excited about our new chapter in life but also exhausted from the three-day drive across country and overwhelmed by the unpacking.Mostly, I was terrified at having left behind a circle of friends that had taken more than a decade to create. My emotional stability was in question—so I guess things were actually pretty much the same as always but I worried about life without having dear friends close by....more

A Childhood Friend Can Make You Feel 15 Again

Having spent the past four days visiting my best friend from high school, I woke up this morning in a curious funk. I should have felt refreshed and happy, on a post-vacation high. Instead, I was melancholy and moody....more

What I Learned My First Week Off Anti-Anxiety Meds

Just over a week ago I swallowed what I hope was the last pill for anxiety control that I will ever take. After six months of medically induced mellowness, I felt ready to boost my serotonin levels on my own. Plus, I really missed my libido.The medication had taken the edge off my anxious personality, but it also made me slightly numb (in more ways than one) and unmotivated. I’d lost my internal fire and I wanted some of it back....more

Never Say Never

Back in college, we used to play a little game called “I Never.” Perhaps you’ve heard of it? One person says something they’ve never done and those who have done said thing must drink.It’s an excellent way to learn people’s deepest darkest secrets, thereby creating lifelong friendships based on fear that the horrible things you’ve done could be shared. The game creates way stronger bonds than pinky swearing....more

What I Learned from Returning to Kindergarten

Tomorrow my daughter “graduates” from kindergarten. Milestones like this always make me sentimental, but this year the bittersweet emotion is amplified by 27. You see, this was my year to revisit kindergarten. I gave up the security of full-time work for the flexibility of freelancing so I could spend more time with my daughter and volunteer at her school. That meant spending time with 28 little people on a regular basis....more

Do We Ever Rid Ourselves of Childhood Insecurities?

Old fears are hard habits to break. This morning I had to interview a researcher by phone for an article I’m writing. I’ve actually interviewed her before in person and she’s lovely, smart and down to earth—not intimidating at all.So why did I wake up feeling like I’d eaten rocks? The only logical answer is that my anxiousness is a throwback to my days as a shy child and teenager—the days when asking anyone anything felt like torture. How I got through journalism school, I’ll never know....more

Is Reading Children's Literature the Fountain of Youth?

Today the morning radio DJs gave an on-air quiz to determine whether you’ve hit middle age. Based on this highly scientific survey, I learned that I am not quite there yet, which is exactly what I keep telling my husband. One of the questions stood out, however. It was “are you increasingly nostalgic?” Well, I’ve been nostalgic since I was born—seriously my 5-year-old self probably pined for the days when I was a younger and more carefree toddler. ...more
Laurend1985 I couldn't agree more. I feel like a kid again reading my daughter books that I loved!more

Love and Vomit: An Ode to My Mother

After a busy week made even more challenging by the itchy, watery eyes of spring, I washed down deep dish pizza and a Benadryl with two glasses of white wine and fell into bed. (A doctor may not approve of this combo, which is why I didn’t consult mine.)My dreams of sleeping in were shattered at 6 a.m. by my daughter screaming, “Mommy, come here quick.”...more