I was talking with a friend recently about my outlook pertaining to summer schedules (and our lack thereof). I was expressing my belief that their brains need time to get bored and inventive. I also don’t try to over-educate them out of fear—to be the first to tell them about world events or harsh realities before they hear it from someone else. I believe as long as I have created an environment where questions are welcomed and there are no off-limits topics, they’ll be fine.
That is not to say I leave everything up to everyone else to teach my kids. Of course not. But I don’t believe every moment must be scheduled and there is a set time/age when a conversation about specific things should take place. Every child and every family is different. I would never presume to know what is right for your kids. However, for me and our boys, I want them to have the gift of boredom.
My boys get incredibly creative when we have removed the electronic devices and haven’t scheduled every minute of the...
Spoiler Alert: I don't say explicitly, but you can probably guess what happens in the movie A Star is Born, so you may want to skip this post if you have never seen it and plan to.
Trigger Warning: This post deals with end of life issues.
A Star is Born. I didn’t see the original. Didn’t know the story. Didn’t realize what a trigger it would be to watch that movie. Until I chose it as the movie to watch for a date night a few months back and a certain scene brought on a full-blown panic attack right there in the luxury theatre sitting next to my husband. I used every bit of strength I had to implement some breathing exercises to calm myself, ground myself, and bring me back to the present. But for a minute there, I felt like a teenager again, with all the raw, unfiltered and untamable emotions that define that time of life.
When I was 16, my grandmother found my grandfather hanging from the rafters in their garage. The memories of that day are not good: it was the first time I have ever...
Three months from today I will turn 50 years old. That fact doesn’t frighten me or make me feel sick, which puts me outside the norm, I suppose. It’s a number. A nice, even number that describes how long I’ve lived on this earth. It doesn’t describe my eternity. It’s just a marker of time. A dot on the timeline.
Decidedly middle-age, I agree. But there is no crisis here. I don’t lament what I have or haven’t done with my life. I’m mostly satisfied (of course it would be nice to be a better meal planner and cook and have a supermodel’s body with exactly ZERO effort to do either…but therein lies the rub. Gotta do the work to get the result and I have other priorities). At this point in my life’s trajectory, I am content with exactly where I am. The fact is that I don’t want to look younger. I don’t want to BE younger. I want to look, act and feel good. I want to be here, now. Fully present.
I’m not perfect. I gave up that pursuit a long time ago. I don’t strive toward perfection, nor do I...
My mother would have been 73 today. She died at 55 of a heart attack caused by undiagnosed coronary artery disease. She was also an alcoholic who never found sobriety. I should back up a little to give you some context. BOTH of my parents were alcoholics. My dad was what I refer to as a functional alcoholic: he would get completely smashed after work, fight with my mom all night, and get up and go to work the next morning, very seldom missing a day. My mom was what I refer to as a dysfunctional alcoholic—she binged for days at a time. Staying up all night, drinking and burning holes in every couch we ever owned, the bright red tip of her cigarette falling off and sliding between the cushions while her eyes rolled into the back of her head. Her binges were separated by up to two weeks of being sober—just long enough for me to hope she had turned a corner and kicked the habit. And then I would come home from school and find her in her spot on the couch, smiling with a happy buzz I knew w...
Annalise took a deep breath. This was supposed to be a simple run for pizza. She gripped the steering wheel and prepared to listen to her 16-year-old daughter’s complaints about her retired police officer husband and his strict rules on dating and homework. Elise had not been getting along with her stepfather lately.
“Why, honey? Why on earth would you want to go live with grandma?”
“Because dad touched me.”
Annalise felt her chest tighten, her pulse quicken, her breath escape and panic rise. Struggling to control the car with trembling hands, she managed enough composure to steer into a parking lot. She faced her beautiful 16-year-old daughter, Elise, whose face was twisted in angst, tears streaming from her pretty blue eyes.
“Honey, what happened? What is going on?”
“Nevermind, mom. Forget I said anything! I really don’t want to go to jail.”
“You go to jail? What are you talking about? Look at me. You MUST tell me what is going on.”
I stood in awe at the base of a tree. A redwood. It was tall, lush, and standing in a grove of other majestic trees.
But this one was different. Hollowed out by a fire at some point in its past, it seemed to my non-scientific mind that it should not be standing, let alone flourishing.
Yet here it was.
As my little boys ran through it, playing and giggling with delight, my mind struggled to understand how a tree could withstand a fire that surely could have, maybe even should have, destroyed it.
The resilience of the redwood struck me and then the soft thought landed: this tree is not dissimilar to people who have gone through things that should have destroyed them, but didn’t. They may have been left scarred and changed, but that only proves the majestic nature of their own resilience.
The following stories are my tribute to the men, women and children who have shown exceptional resilience in the face of adversity.
May their experiences encourage you to persevere through the storms and...