They’ll Have Fun Whether They Like It or Not

Are there any family activities your children absolutely refuse to do with you? I’ll give you a hint what ours is.     A couple weeks ago, on a late afternoon after the Saturday soccer/errands run, I suggested to David that we go for a quick hike on a mountain trail that’s about ten minutes from our house. Before I could even ask the kids to join us, Quinlan called out from another room.     “PLEASE do not make us do that with you.”     We went alone.     This past Saturday, on a dinner out with our neighbors, one of our friends suggested that our three families take the trip up to Ricketts Glen State Park, which is a hike I’ve always wanted to do after seeing photos of its beautiful waterfalls. When I mentioned it afterward to Quinlan, she just went, “Nope.”     The next day, in the car with Saoirse, I brought it up again. I talked about the streams and the waterfalls, and the neat experience of hiking with friends. She groaned in only the way a beloved teenager can (three syllables…

Because It’s True

Thank you to those who reached out after my post last week: you people are something else, you know that? I appreciate hearing from sympathetic spirits, and friends, and others who just simply get that life is complicated and hard and say things like Ugh, I am so glad I’m not alone. Because isn’t that the entire point? The not-aloneness? I ran into the mom of one of Saoirse’s soccer teammates before their game this past weekend. As everyone does when we greet each other, she asked me how I was doing, and without thinking, I blurted, “I’m here.” I didn’t mean anything deep by it–I was really just trying to not complain about how absolutely freezing it was outside, and it was the first thing that came into my head instead. The mom burst out laughing. “I love that,” she said. “It’s so true: just to be like, I’m here, and that’s good enough.” Today, I’m popping out for lunch with my friends Barbara* and Renée, which makes me feel very…

Mental Health, Grief, and the Hole in My Nose

Well, hello! It’s good to see you again! It’s a gorgeous day here in my tiny part of Pennsylvania. It truly feels like fall: the air is quiet now that the birds have moved on. The sun is low. I’m sitting on the front porch with Riley. She likes to hang out with me when I take a moment out here in the mornings or evenings, my constant–but quiet, which is good for this introvert–companion. I don’t know if she just likes the company, or if her canine instincts feel the need to protect me from the chipmunks, but I love having her here at my feet. David and I have been readying the house and yard for the season: shrubs trimmed back, mums blooming, the trusty burnt-orange wreath that will hang against the front door for the next several weeks. Riley sits and sniffs and takes it in. A chipmunk runs by her front paws, ignored. Fierce protector, this one.     I touch the outside of my nostril, where my new-ish piercing is settling in. I call it my third nose hole, to the…