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Browsing Tag: family

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…

On Showing Up

My cousin Joe passed away two weeks ago–he was 80, and had been in diminishing health. Joe and his wife, Ro, are some of my favorite people in the extended family: funny and smart and to me, growing up, the epitome of class. Ro was gorgeous and always put-together, and Joe was friendly and interested. They were loving, funny, Ro dry and sarcastic, Joe silly. She’s Italian and petite, he Irish, tall and lanky. They made me feel comfortable, even when I was young girl quaking with discomfort in large gatherings of strange relatives. But here’s the thing I always admired most about both of them: Joe and Ro were “show-uppers.” Joe and Ro were the distant cousins who come to everything, surprising us every time, even though we shouldn’t have been: all the family events, big and small, no matter the distance. When we threw my mom a surprise birthday dinner in Hershey last December, they were there, despite the late hour, the dark roads from Wynnewood, and Joe’s declining health. When my father died nine years ago, they drove out not only to my…

But Not So Fast: The Oldest is Nine

Our Saoirse Kate turned nine a couple of weeks ago, and I’m still recovering. (Just kidding. I only cried twice.) (In one day, I mean. I only cried twice in one day.) She is now just a foot shorter than where I stand at five-nine, unless I’ve started to shrink already. She was measured for new shoes this month, and she and I are officially able to swap sneakers now. She went running with me the other day, and was able to match my pace  (which is probably a testament more to my current, er, athleticism than it is to her grown-upness, but never mind that). She is an arguer, a crier, a frustrated executive of her sibling squad. She is also: a talker. She shares, she elaborates, she has theories. She is tentatively confident: she played basketball for the CYO league this year, and she progressed from a girl who nervously adjusted her ponytail whenever she was unsure of what she was doing to becoming a player who wrested the ball from an opposing teammate’s hands in her last game, pivoted on one foot, and shot the ball without a moment…