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Category: Family Life

It’s that “Bother” Word that Counts

I struggle a lot with the big picture–if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you are nodding your head right now, because you know I’ve been struggling with it. Call it whatever you want: mindfulness, being proactive, taking action. Getting my head out of my you-know-what, even. But the big picture is so big sometimes I cower in front of the magnitude of it. Tell me I’m not the only one. These past weeks have–by forcing me into the big picture, whether I want to see it, or not–put a spotlight on this little failure of mine: the school massacre in Parkland, Florida. The beginning of Lent, with its focus on the Big Picture itself. The quiet waiting on news from my literary agent, which usually sends me into a paralyzed tailspin not unlike inertia. So many things that I fret about, think about, wonder about–have Great Ideas about–I don’t act upon as often or consistently as one would expect from a 41-year-old grown-up with a mortgage. It’s a lot of life slipping…

Because the Food is at Your Fingertips, Children

The girls and I are sitting on the couch, talking about…food. It’s a regular discussion around here. On this particular afternoon, the girls are saying that they don’t like the chicken nuggets served from the school cafeteria because “they taste like a freezer.” I’m kind of impressed that they would notice something like that and make a lighthearted compliment about their palates, which–as such a comment would, in Nowhere Land, I suppose–immediately insults them. Saoirse is the first to get defensive. “Well, I still like sugary stuff,” she says, like I’m about to deny her ice cream cones forever.  “It’s a compliment,” I reply. “It means that when you travel around the world some day you’ll be able to land in any country and enjoy whatever food you find there.”  My comment worked: the girls perked up, and thankfully the conversation shifted. Quinlan: “I want to travel.” Saorse: “I want to go to Mexico.” Quinlan, to Saoirse: “You’ll have to speak Spanish in Mexico. So you have to learn your Spanish.” Saoirse nods…

I’ll Go First

A former student of mine died a couple of weeks ago. He was 27, and the news was sudden and absolutely staggering. His loss is one that’s going to reverberate through the community for a very long time: a big light went out when this young man left the Earth. There’s no ignoring a darkness like that. As always in times like this, the tributes began to pour onto his social media pages. I can’t tell you how many of the messages started with “I know it’s been a while since we talked” and ended with some form of “I wish I could just laugh with you one more time.” Reaching out. It’s something that so many of us have good intentions of doing, honest, if it weren’t for just being so busy. I remember, about a year ago, thinking that I hadn’t heard from this old student as often as I used to, but I never got in touch with him to say hi. There’s another former student, one who moved back to my area and asked me to…