Hospitality Lost and Found

I can’t remember if I trembled when they asked. I’m pretty sure I did. The question came in an e-mail but would’ve been cooler if it had arrived via telegraph. Coming to your town for five days –(STOP)-Can we stay with you –(STOP)-Or at least share one good Italian meal             I cupped my hand under my mouth to catch the excuses as they flowed, mostly buts....more

On Losing a Daughter . . . to College

It should be easier, to send child number two to college. Reverse separation anxiety, child leaving parents, not vice versa. This should have worked itself out of my system, shouldn’t it?            I should rejoice that she is departing for her life’s grand adventure, especially since she wasn’t the easiest child to parent. There was sass, a season of dishonesty. A lack of enthusiasm for chores, a regular pile of clothing to press....more

It's a Boy!

The radiologist’s face hovered an inch from the screen. "So," he said. "Do you want to know the sex of the baby?"            My mouth fell open. "Really?"            My husband's eyebrows rose. "Right now?"            The doctor rolled his stool around to face us. He rubbed his thighs briskly....more

To Infinity and Beyond

Dear gracious and compassionate One, He who is close to the brokenhearted, You seem to be calling her home. If so, I pray that instead of sorrow, she would know only anticipation. Of the ever after, infinity, glory. A dry place. No tears.            I hope You stand between her and her earthly love, one great and gentle arm across her shoulder, another around his, drawing them to Yourself. I ask that the air they breathe be You (That near. Be that near to them, please.)....more

The Rest of the Story

The second-floor room was not only packed, it was also stuffy despite the droning efforts of a small I-think-I-can-I-think-I-can window air conditioner. Knowing anything could happen at a public open mic event—dreadful poems about cats or pizza, 5,000 words delivered in a monotone—I considered the exit.            My friend beside me rested her hand on my thigh. “I brought something to read....more


I was sixteen or seventeen when I fell for Grizzly Adams. Not the one on TV, the one who worked construction a hundred yards from my house one summer.  Grizzly had a massive mane of chestnut gone bronze in the sun hair and a great bush of a beard that spanned shoulder to broad shoulder. I was pretty sure his eyes were blue, imagined I could see the depth of them from across the distance of my back yard plus the Catholic church’s parking lot.            What time did I wake each morning that summer? Eight maybe?...more

What Have I Done?

At sixteen, I’m a pro at resisting the flow. Every other girl in my school boasts almost butt-length, straightened hair. As they slink through the halls, I inhale the scent of their tresses—crispy, burned, sort of like a campfire but not really. Campfires smell good.            For the longest time, I embraced my curls. My mom made sure I never ran out of Herbal Essence Tousle Me Softly shampoo and conditioner. Bad hair day? No prob....more

Dear Jane

Dear Jane McGonigal: Thank you so much! Because of you, the coolest thing happened. See, I was going through a horrible, harried season in my life where chores, activities, and expectations, as they whirled around me like I was their bazillion-degree sun, pressed burlap bags of poky asteroid shards against every part of me. ...more

The Biggest Loser

My son raised his hand at the kitchen table.            “This isn’t school, sweetie,” I said. “What?”            “Why’d you give me a tiny glass with my smoothie?”            I waited till he took a swig. “Um I seem to have lost something.”            His eyes bulged. His cheeks puffed....more

Daughter Dearest

The phone in the kitchen demands attention.            I sprint to answer it, holler through the house as I run. “I got it.” I grab the mustard receiver from its wall mount and press it to my ear. “Hello?”            “Hey. What’re you doing?” It’s Karen, my best friend. She only lives a block away but it’s too cold and too late on a school night to meet on the corner to yack....more