How to Get your Kid into College


Dear Life,

Dear Life, Thank you for letting me have the time–and take the time–to play with my 5-year-old daughter this morning. We made bookmarks out of scrap paper and pastels–I’d forgotten what smudging and blending the sticks of silky chalk feels like. We unpeeled the shells of paper to get at more and more color. The sticks shrunk to stubs. The insides of my nails are caked with vibrant blue and butterfly orange. ...more

I Hear You, Ward Cleaver!

The Lenehans caught the tail-end of a Leave it to Beaver episode this past Sunday. There I said it. Poor Ward Cleaver was trying to take his family on an outdoor vacation, but he was complaining about Wally and Beav's preoccupation with comic books and drive-in movies. "Their days are organized for them," he said to June. "They don't know what to do with their free time." ...more

On Mother's Day, without my Mom

Mother’s Day. This isn’t my first as a mom, but it is the first when my oldest daughter can actually say, “Mommy.” She can also say “Oh My God Kingee, do you need a haircut!” and she can tell her dad that she’s not “digging” the song he’s singing. It is what I say and not necessarily what I do, these days, as Caroline makes our language her own. She grabs words and phrases like candy—with parental perseverance, she’ll accept table manners just as voraciously—and most of the time, I love it. I love hearing myself interpreted in a musical little lilting voice....more

How to Stop Tilting at Windmills

“About a month after she got sick, Lyla looked at Kacky, she said, ‘Mommy, how come you’re not running anymore?’  Kacky said, ‘Well, we’re busy, things change.’  Lyla said to her, ‘Mommy, I want you to run.’ She knows how important it is, it’s the one thing her mom loves and she saw her mom giving it up.  We’ve all made an effort to run with Kacky whenever she can run:  if it’s not during the day, we’ll run at night, we’ll run at 6 a.m....more

Thinking about Boston: Waiting for the Hummingbird

I’m waiting for the hummingbirds. They come around this time–not all 340 species–just the one, the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, the only one found in Maryland. The male arrives first from Southern Mexico or Central America. He is here, somewhere, scouting out territories, areas brimming with food. I’ve set out the sugar water; I’ve cleared a quiet place in the shade of a backyard tree. Caroline waits for the butterflies. So I will plant something bright and strong to color our deck and attract them....more

A Writer's Dilemma: Can We Find Stillness in a Digital World?

“The world is calling you to come play, to come risk, to let your heart burn with a passion that will make sense of your life.  The world will speak to you as intimately as your mother did when you were a child, if you can allow the body to teach you its different way of listening.” Philip Shepherd   My friend says she has trouble leaving the house knowing a load of laundry just finished drying.  When it’s still warm ...more

What's on YOUR List?

I like a list.  I like checking things off of a list, getting things done. I was at Trader Joe’s today, had a list of at least 100 items, organized in sections the way the store is organized.  I knew to get smoked turkey because my list said it.  I knew to get cucumbers because my list said it.  As I walked by Produce, I realized we needed bananas, which were not on my list, so I quickly scribbled the word “bananas” in the fruit section of my list, then crossed the word out as soon as the bananas hit the cart.  When I was unpacking from ...more
lol you should really come and hang out with us over here: ...more

In Praise of the Goofy Kid

“Do you want to be my friend?”  Caroline looked at the little girl kind of funny, a small, slanty glance, shrugging her off in a—Are You Talking to Me? –kind of way.  Caroline’s used to being the shy one in a crowd while some of  her peers bust right into each other’s personal spaces.  Even at school surrounded by familiar, friendly classmates, it takes Caroline a while to warm up at certain events.  So when the little girl with the round face who’d just arrived at the sledding hill went directly up to Caroline, stood an inch from her and asked, “Do...more

St. Patrick's Day is over, but Ireland, you are still on my mind

Pop-Pop Regan was a chemist before he practiced law; he said he knew what alcohol did to brain cells, so he didn’t drink.  He was a tee-totaling leprechaun of a man.  He had shelves upon shelves of books, all annotated so universally, it looked as if he’d underlined every line he read.  Squirreled-away butterscotches were his gold coins.  He had his own special charm: he named each dog he owned, “Ace,” and before every dinner, he said an Irish grace. Our family would be just about ready to dive into a holiday meal, when someone—an aunt, an uncle, my dad—would beg...more