A mix of personal reflections and cultural commentary about family in A mix of personal reflections and cultural commentary about family in America
March 23, 2011
The Quotidian in Community
I wrote this morning about Kathleen Norris' The Quotidian Mysteries. Part of Norris' point is that creative thoughts often arise in the mundane details of life. While folding laundry, an idea pops into her head for a poem, or she remembers that she wanted to write a friend a note, or she recall the ...
September 17, 2010
I Failed as a Gardener
My mother gardens. She has gorgeous flower beds. Everywhere.
Zinnias and lilies and hostas and petunias and daffodils and flowers whose names I've never learned. When I was little, our backyard had more sunlight than it does now, so she also grew green beans and tomatoes and squash and zucchini and lettuce ...
May 25, 2010
William the Strong
When William was two months old, I took him to the pediatrician for a checkup. "He's really tight," our doctor said.
"Yep," I nodded. "It's hard for me to get him dressed. His arms are so strong I can hardly pull them away from his body."
He frowned. "He has extremely high muscle tone."
I've watched enough ...
May 17, 2010
Peter and I have been worried lately because Penny seems to care too much about how her actions impact our feelings. For instance, she had an accident while sitting on Peter's shoulders. So the collar of his shirt got wet. I took her home to change. She wouldn't look me in the eye. I finally said, "How ...
May 10, 2010
The Gift of Children
A short reflection the day after Mother's Day:
"The ethic of giftedness, under siege in sports, persists in the practice of parenting. But here, too, bioengineering and genetic enhancement threaten to dislodge it. To appreciate children as gifts is to accept them as they come, not as objects of our design, ...
May 07, 2010
Being a Mom: Less Happy, More Joyful?
I have a new post at Patheos in anticipation of Mother's Day. It begins:
Yesterday I heard Betsy Stevenson, of the Wharton School of Business, talking about happiness and being a Mom. She said, on Marketplace, "There is an unhappy fact to ponder this Mother's Day: Women with children are less happy than ...
May 06, 2010
Perplexed by the Pill
I have a new post on her.meneutics about the ethical and theological concerns raised by the Pill. It begins: The Pill turned 50 this year, and Time magazine commemorated the anniversary last week with Nancy Gibbs's cover story, "Love, Sex, Freedom and the Paradox of the Pill." Gibbs thoroughly and thoughtfully ...
May 05, 2010
“I Want to Show Miss Katie, Mom!”
There's a little girl in Penny's class who always arrives with armfuls of stuff. A transformer. A wooden crawfish. A princess. A baby doll. Something different every day, thrust into the hands of her teachers. Penny has never been particularly impressed with stuff. She shares pretty easily. She ...
April 28, 2010
I'm sure that everyone knows the feeling. One day you hear yourself talking, and you think, "I sound just like my mother" (or father, or best friend, or whoever). I still find myself using the same incredulous tone modeled to me by my boss at my first job out of college. And I find myself, especially ...
April 27, 2010
"I did awesome jumping Mom"
Every Friday when I pick Penny up from school, she has stickers on her back. I ask her about them. And she tells me, "I did a great job with Miss Sharon, Mom!" Miss Sharon is her physical therapist. So this past Friday when I asked, she was a little more specific: "I did awesome jumping, Mom!"
April 13, 2010
iHave an iPad, but at what Cost?
I have a new post at Her.meneutics, the women's blog of Christianity Today. It begins: We don't watch much television in our household, but my husband and I both find ourselves wed to the computer. I was looking through a photo album with our daughter last week, and we came across one from her infancy. ...
April 12, 2010
By the way, we are NOT the Perfect Family
I've been writing fairly regularly about our family. Telling cute and inspirational anecdotes about Penny, and then there was the sweet story about Penny as William's older sister and their beautiful relationship. Not to mention that photo of the two of them doing Ring Around the Rosie in the grass ...
March 22, 2010
What do you think about Birth Control?
I've been reading a lot of Flannery O'Connor recently, and I came across her thoughts (as a devout Roman Catholic) on birth control. In a letter to a friend, she writes:
"The Church's stand on birth control is the most absolutely spiritual of all her stands and with all of us being materialists at heart, ...
February 10, 2010
What Yoga has to do with Snowstorms
I've been practicing yoga for going on seven years now. Approximately once a week, I spend an hour in a room with a dozen other people, saluting the sun, breathing deeply, and contorting my body into poses that both energize and relax me, all at the same time.
There are three main aspects to yoga, as ...
February 08, 2010
When the Saints Go Marching In
I watched the Superbowl yesterday (including the football part). First time in my life that I cared who won. My husband is from New Orleans. He lived there for the decade of the "Aints," when the New Orleans Saints were far from Superbowl material. By the end of last night's game, his voice was hoarse ...
January 29, 2010
The Beauty of Flabby Arms...
I wrote a post here over the summer that received a lot of comments, so I turned it into an essay that has been published at Divine Caroline (which, I must add, has a pretty low bar for publishing, but I thought it might get a different audience to read this essay).
The essay begins:
Wrinkles. Sunspots. ...
January 28, 2010
Markers are for Paper, Mama
Three snapshots of life in our household:One:Yesterday morning, Peter finds Penny and William in the playroom. William in a chair, Penny facing him, sitting on his lap and coloring his face. Yes. His face. She'd already finished his head, neck, and clothing. He'd done a number on her hands, nose, ...
January 08, 2010
We traveled as a family to New Orleans over the holidays. For the first time, Penny asked us, "Where's Grand Penny?"
She knows that Grand Penny, her namesake, her grandmother, is from New Orleans. So why didn't we see her when we were there? We tried to explain. "Grand Penny got really sick, and her ...
January 07, 2010
Ten years ago, my dad called to talk to my husband. "I hear you're working too hard," Dad said.
"I don't have a choice," Peter replied.
"You always have a choice," Dad said.
And a few months later, Peter chose to leave his job as an analyst in an investment bank and work for a non-profit instead. And ...
December 15, 2009
Civil Rights and the Best Preschool
As we walked away from Penny's annual IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting yesterday, I said to Peter, "I think Penny goes to the best pre-school in the nation."
I'm not kidding. For an hour, five professionals sat in a conference room and talked about our child. The child development expert, ...