You Have the Right Person

I woke up this morning, like most of the country, to the horrifying news. Another gunman in a violent rage, this time letting loose on a movie theater, killing a dozen innocent victims and wounding scores of others. Like the rest of us, I watched the news footage, read the online articles, followed the tweets, both drawn to and repelled by the gruesome details of what happened in Aurora, Colorado late last night. Surely a clearer, more […]

Running for a Reason

Running with her is the last thing I thought I’d be doing last weekend, the last thing I ever thought I’d do, actually, but there I was Saturday morning, jogging beside her as she crossed the finish line. She was so tickled with herself, with finishing under forty minutes, and she beamed when she realized she took third place in her age group. Not bad for her first 5K. It’s been a while since my last […]

My Middle Child

She’s the child with fewer photographs, fewer remembered milestones, more hand-me-downs. The child I feel like I’ve shortchanged ever since those brutal early months when I could barely get out of bed and bond with her. She doesn’t even have a cool domain name like her older sister. Sometimes it stinks being the middle child. She seems to be taking it all in stride, though, my second-born with her mellow personality. But I don’t think everything is lost on her. It might […]

A Letter to My Son on His Second Birthday

Dear Wesley Scott, Your middle name was supposed to be Benjamin. We had it picked out for years. But then your sister was born, and then another, and pretty soon, we almost gave up on it entirely. I always wanted a little boy though. You can blame your uncles for that. They were the best brothers an only-daughter could ask for. But your dad was happily convinced that if we had more children, they’d be girls, […]

All I Really Need to Know I Learned (from My Mother) in Kindergarten

At the beginning of every school year, I got used to seeing my mom in the principal’s office. And every year my schedule always changed the next day. It wasn’t until much later that I learned my yearly placement scores landed me in the lowest reading and math classes, and every year my mom met with the principal to request that I be transferred closer to the top. My mom’s not a pushy woman. She’s not one of those parents who likes to throw her weight around. She’s […]

A Letter to My Daughter on Her 11th Birthday

Dear Rainey, I was digging through some old papers the other day and came across a picture of you. It was February 29, 2008 – Leap Day – and you drew side-by-side self-portraits, one of you then and one of you four years in the future. I remember it vividly, hanging there in the hallway outside your first grade classroom, how inconceivable it seemed to me at the time that you’d ever get any bigger, that you’d ever grow into the fifth grader you imagined yourself becoming on the right side […]

Strictly for the Birds

Recently I gave Rainey a writing assigment: Think back to when you had a happy experience and remember where you were and what happened. Were you alone or with someone else? When did this happen? What were your thoughts at the time, and what did people say? How did you feel? Write a story about that happy experience. She chose to write about a field trip we took to a nature preserve a couple weeks […]