Aug 16 2018

This Morning, When You Left for Kindergarten

This Morning, When You Left for Kindergarten

Here is what I see when I look at you: a squishy belly tethered to me by a miraculous cord. Doll-sized newborn diapers, still somehow too big. Wrinkled fists and rocking chairs and receiving blankets. Peach-fuzz hair like velvet against my cheek.

Where has the time gone? This summer, we stored another bin of clothes you outgrew overnight. We trimmed off the last of your white-blond curls, watched the fine ends fall to the floor, swept part of your remaining infancy away. The child who stepped down from that chair suddenly had hair the color of sand.

We’ve been through this before, you and I — packing lunches, first-day photos, waiting in a drop-off line — but today, something is different. This feels like the official end of your babyhood and the official beginning of something else, something long and important and transformative, a thing that will shape you while I am not in the room. All I can do from this distance is trust. Continue reading

Oct 4 2017

Teachers, You Should Watch What You’re Doing

Teachers, You Should Watch What You’re Doing

The second you decided to step in front of a classroom, you agreed to spend your day on a stage.

They are watching you all the time: the students, the administration, the parents, the media, the world. They are looking at your test scores. They are examining your data. They are hoping you will be the one to save education, to prove that our children are just as brilliant and well-trained as any emerging graduate from anywhere.

It’s sometimes difficult to experience that level of scrutiny. The parents, sitting at the next booth over, overhear when you order wine during dinner. The teenaged cashier at your local grocery store recognizes you from the school hallways and peruses your purchases. The kids, during class, notice everything: Toenail polish. A quarter-inch trimmed from your hair. The fact that you’re wearing the same shirt as last Tuesday. Continue reading

May 7 2017

Sorry I Was in Your Way, but the Thing Is I Have a Baby

Sorry I Was in Your Way, but the Thing Is I Have a Baby

As a parent of small children, you often get the vague sense that you are in the way. You notice the quiet cringes as you enter a restaurant, the looks of crushing disappointment when you board an airplane. You apologize thirteen times in the span of a one-block walk because the kids still haven’t learned (after eight million reminders) to look where they’re going.

Sorry. Sorry about that. Say excuse me, P. Look FORWARD when you walk, please. I’m so sorry.

We’re working on it. And most of the time, people are pretty nice — if not warmly understanding, they’re at least tolerant. I’m sure the people who wince at the sight of kids aren’t even doing it on purpose. It’s probably just an automatic reaction. Subconscious.

I’ve gotten used to feeling in the way, but there’s a huge difference between FEELING in the way and someone straight up telling you that you are — something that, this past week, has happened twice. TWICE. In one week. Continue reading

May 1 2017

To the Heroes Who Love Me When I Am Anxious

To the Heroes Who Love Me When I Am Anxious

Most of the time, I’m fine.

Or, more accurately, I’m “fine.” Most days, I function just like everyone else appears to function: I grocery shop, I play outside with my children, I laugh easily. I seem relaxed and comfortable and carefree. There is a soundtrack always playing in the background of my mind that is filled with worries and what-ifs, but on these days the music is low. Controlled. Almost muted.

And then there are days like the one last week. My husband was out of town, I was alone with the kids for several days and nights, and a few new-ish friends popped over for a couple hours to have some wine and watch a show. After a little while, I went upstairs to put my daughter to bed; and by the time I rejoined my company, I was drowning under the first crushing wave of a phobia-related panic attack. Continue reading

Jan 22 2017

The Space Between Baby and Boy

The Space Between Baby and Boy

We’re in it now, this space between baby and boy.

We’re teetering, delicately and precariously, a roller coaster in its graceful pause just before the plunge. It was a little rickety at first, climbing that steep, steep slope: Sleepless nights. Endless spit-up. Needless crying. I felt each click click click of the ascent. But for now, we are floating here, balancing above the next phase of your life.

With your sister, I didn’t realize it was coming. I just woke up one morning and she was a little girl. Somehow, in one dreamless night, her ringlets grew out, her face changed, her speech solidified. I didn’t know there was a space between until it was gone.

But with you, I recognize the signs. I feel fortunate that I can see it this time around, grateful for the opportunity to soak in every last minute of your babyhood. Continue reading