The wound is the place where the light enters you. — Rumi
My parents were just getting acquainted with their 20s when they divorced. I was two, and I didn’t see my father much after that. A few years later my mother remarried, and she explained that my new stepdad was going to adopt me, making him “my real dad.” This happened right before kindergarten, in part so that I could master writing my new last name from the start.
My best friend was Tiffany. She was as black as I was white, and we lived near each other in…
I once had a boyfriend I suspected was better looking than me. Out of my league. He was charming, funny, tall and athletic; some women noticed. I know because I heard their comments even when I was standing next to him. So it might not be too surprising that I became insecure, as obsessed as I’d ever been about how I looked, especially when we were together.
As months passed I would watch him when he spoke to other women, wondering if he was attracted to them, hating them for being attracted to him. For the first time in my…
One of my friends recently posted a photo on Instagram of the American Flag rippling in the wind on her lakeside dock: “If I fly the American Flag, do you make assumptions about who I am and what I believe politically?”
I do make assumptions about people who display our country’s flag. And I imagine I’m not alone in this.
But wait. When did our flag become partisan?
I raised my three sons in a picturesque ski and college town with “good schools.” We were middle class in a community of people mostly just like us or wealthier. Isn’t that what most parents aspire to: raising children in better neighborhoods, with more opportunities than we had?
Meanwhile, 25 minutes down the interstate, my sister- and brother-in-law were raising my three nephews in a blue-collar former railroad town that was a little rough and tired.
But one day when my middle son was in middle school, I began to see there were costs involved in raising kids in a…
I ran into a former coworker recently who told me she and her boyfriend were getting married. They’d been together for a year-and-a-half and “We’ve never gotten in a fight!” she said proudly.
“Oh. Well I hope you do before the wedding,” I replied, only half-joking.
“Why?” she asked.
“Because you’ll argue at some point. You’ll come home from work exhausted and disagree about something and that disagreement will turn into a fight.”
My co-worker blinked at me, unconvinced, and maybe a tiny bit annoyed.
“You should know how the two of you fight.”
Of course getting along most of…
You come upon a capsized boat in a sea littered with people trying keep their heads above the waves that keep forcing them under. There are hundreds out there, most of them exhausted and as good as dead, but there are a few holding on to pieces of the wreckage, still fighting, that you could reach out and grab, pull to safety. Do you do it?
Of course you do.
I would too.
But somehow as a society, we don’t.
My friend has a son in his mid-20s who has struggled with addiction for the past decade. The past five…
When my middle son was nearly 8, he put my then-boyfriend (now my husband) through the equivalent of military training for assessing the mental fortitude of potential step parents. Think hazing on steroids, or Jelly Bellies.
I’d put my three sons to bed, snuggle up next to my boyfriend on the couch, exhale, and my middle son would appear at the top of the stairs in his Toy Story jammies, hands on his hips staring down at us.
At first, silence.
Then, “What are YOU still doing here, Nose Hair Man?”
My boyfriend always laughed it off with me in…
During blogging’s heyday I thrived and grew as an online writer until it destroyed me. Why? Because success (I use that word relatively here, because for me that was an audience of hundreds, not thousands or hundreds of thousands…) distracted me. It made it hard to focus on WHY I was there: to become a better writer and to be of service to others by sometimes making them laugh, share mistakes and hard-earned wisdom and hopefully, feel less alone.
“Great writing should help people become less alone inside.” — David Foster Wallace
But unlike print, which is where I started…
Sometime around middle school, my middle son started playing World of Warcraft and Call of Duty. He loved video games from the moment he tried them. Years of tug-of-war ensued, with me trying to place limits on screen time and him mostly exceeding them. He was obsessed; he loved gaming and his two brothers even hinted that he might be out of control in terms of hours played…and also that he was very good at it.
So what if he was good at gaming? I wondered. How would that help him in the future? It seemed such a colossal waste…
My husband and I went hiking on our first date. I got inside his car and noticed it was a bit messy. What I didn’t know then is that it was the “cleaned up” first-date-with-my-fine-new-lady-friend version of his vehicle. During our romance I learned that he was working full-time, remodeling his home and constantly planning or going on epic outdoor adventures. I wasn’t sure when he slept and he sure as hell didn’t have time to clean, so the piles of mail and clothing and detritus of living seemed almost…cute, excusable. …