The light from my phone refracted into a thousand facets against the unseasonably cold April rain that fell in slippery ribbons against my windshield. My best friend of twenty-five years, had given birth to a son, her second child and yet another milestone that would be reduced, for me, to a few blurry photos on Facebook. As her baby drew his first eager breaths in this world I cried through the thick, damp air and the three-thousand miles between us. My life has taken me across the world, from the castle-lined shores of the North Sea to the Greek Isles…


In my life, I’ve been a lot of things: a girl, a sister, a daughter, an athlete, a student, a wife, and eventually a divorcee. When I became a mother, everything else faded for a time into the hazy background, obscured by sleep deprivation and devalued by the sheer responsibility of keeping another human being alive. I was a mom, and more specifically, I was a boy mom. …


When I was seven years old, my father started sleeping on the sofa with a rifle.

We lived in a small Oregon town with a population of only a few thousand. Nestled on a gravel-lined, dead-end street, my childhood home was an idyllic setting to raise a family. To the east, a snow-capped Mt. Hood jutted from the tree-lined horizon. To the west, acres of cow pastures rolled into the distant hills. Everyone on our tiny street knew everyone else, and everyone knew our next-door neighbors hated us.

Lined up in neat rows along our backyard was a young orchard…


Brazilian Jiu Jitsu White Belt

I’ve never met a person who was completely satisfied with their body. Due to the exquisite variety and diversity of the human form and preferences, one woman’s thunder thighs might be another’s curvaceous booty, while one man’s lean runner’s calves might be another man’s chicken legs. We’ve all heard the phrase “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” but when it comes to sports, beauty isn’t what empowers us through long training sessions and grueling competitions. Beauty isn’t even the reward after a hard season, especially in grappling sports because — let’s face it — gnarled fingers, smashed faces…


So, I have this story to tell and no one to tell it to ( #singleparent ). Instead, I’m just going to record it here for posterity.

My kid lost a tooth today. He’s nine and still believes in the tooth fairy. But sometimes I wish I still believed in magic, so who was I to shatter his childhood? He put that tooth in a #Ziploc bag and shoved its way to the corner of his bed because he was afraid he’d knock it out of bed. …


I live for these moments—the moments in between.

Between the chaos and the mess…

Between the yelling and the crying…

Between the naps and the feedings…

There is pure, perfect bliss.

I rock my baby slowly, listening to her shallow breaths, smelling Johnson’s shampoo in her hair.

Her chubby hand grips mine without knowing she’s doing it, as though some ancient instinct is telling her to hold on because only I can keep her safe. Probably the same instinct that tells me to linger a little longer in her room.

I should be washing dishes, folding laundry, catching up on…


The first time someone asked me if I was a “Pantser” I checked my belt and then felt slightly offended.

It wasn’t a term with which I was familiar at the time, but it seems like there are two categories of writers: the Plotters and the Pantsers. Plotters outline; they meticulously plan their books and articles, take pages of notes, storyboard, bullet journal, whatever it takes. By the time Plotters start writing, they’re just translating an already existing story into pretty words.

Then there are the Pantsers. These writers start projects with a direction, but little or no framework outside…


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the process of writing and how diverse of an experience it can be. I split my time equally (on a good day) between fiction and freelance journalism. While I enjoy and benefit from both types of writing, fiction seems uniquely suited to encourage and facilitate personal growth. Non-fiction, even personal essays, are grounded in reality. They are meticulously researched, considered, and logical observations about the way the world works. Essentially, they are firmly rooted in the present and learning from the past.

Fiction, on the other hand, is not bound by time and…


Did you know posting a daily photo of something you’re grateful for can make you happier in just one month?

I hate to break it to you, but November is here. Are you ready?

Imagine this: It’s November 1, and you wake up late because it’s still pitch-black outside. There’s frost on grass and a shriveled jack-o-lantern imploding all over the front porch. One of your kids has a math test at school that they forgot to study for because of Halloween, another has the flu, and one is still dressed like a pirate wench and refusing to change clothes. It’s too cold for the dog to go outside so he poops on the welcome mat while no one eats…


My living room wall is adorned with three unusual piece of art created from the DNA of my children.

My living room wall is adorned with three unusual pieces of art created from the DNA of my children. These priceless images were born out of death, and serve as constant reminders that love and family transcends time and generations.

I had recently lost my grandmother, and while we were not especially close, it surprised me how small details of my life reminded me of her. Seemingly insignificant acts that I have performed hundreds of times in my life were suddenly brought into focus by the torch of her death: the way I mold my pancakes into shapes for my…

Mary Widdicks

Psychologist turned author and journalist. Everyone makes mistakes in life, but no one should have to make the same mistakes as me. Follow me: marywiddicks.com

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