The Smoky Trail of Tears

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It was a moment I didn’t see coming.

“You are a little engine, but you go so fast.”

Right there, in the middle of a Thomas adventure, I lost it. The tears flowed, and the familiar words I can practically recite in my sleep blurred. My son lifted his head with concern to study my face. I locked eyes with my husband.

“I know,” he whispered.

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A Hybrid Motherhood

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“They’re only little once.”

My son was almost six-months-old when my grandmother decided to offer me unsolicited career advice. I’d be lying if I said the thought had not crossed my mind. Return to the working world or continue as a stay-at-home mother?

I considered my two graduate degrees, sure, but ever since the wee hours of a July morning back in 2013, life had dramatically changed. I was a mother now. And yet, a longing lingered in me to make a difference, no matter how small, outside of the home.

In the months that followed, I submitted numerous applications and accepted the only job I didn’t actually seek out. Quite simply, I knew it would allow me to be a hybrid mother.

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Fathers: A Millennial Sketch

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What will your children write about you when they’re grown?

If you have little ones, it is likely that they will enter college in less than two decades. And, if you are anything like me, you consider that milestone to be light years away. (I hear that it all moves too quickly, so I am trying to prepare myself for the blitz of adolescence.)

But I teach first-year writing, and I am offered a glimpse into new life beyond the nest. And I can tell you with confidence that nothing, and I mean nothing, emerges more often in my students’ personal writing than their relationships with their fathers.

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The Answer to Marriage Is Soccer

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I wanted to be angry. Truly.

After a Saturday full of child laughter (i.e. parent supervision), the last thing I wanted to do was put both kids to bed by myself. The very act ages me exponentially. But my husband wanted to go to a soccer game, and I knew this “favor” would come in handy at a later time of convenience.

Marriage mistake #1: Keeping score.

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My Parent Self[ie]

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The picture was terrible. Just terrible. But, then again, selfies were likely invented by someone younger than I am.

After several chaotic hours with my children, I decided that the real cherry on top of our day should be special. Go hard or go home, right?

We ventured to the local Wildlife Center in a muggy 90 degrees for their daily show. Thirty minutes of educational entertainment for $0 sounded like the best idea I have had in weeks. My son was thrilled.

So excited, in fact, that he improvised and stuck his tongue out when my thumb finally found the capture button.

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The Night Rape Knocked

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On the night of my eighteenth birthday, I heard a loud knock on my door. It was approximately 11 p.m., and my roommate had no plans to return until morning.

“RA’s! Open up!”

I peeked through the peephole. Two men, not much older than myself, sought entrance. In my naiveté, I opened the door.

“We heard complaints of noise. Are you having a party?”

I was stunned. Only three weeks into college, and I was already in trouble. But, quickly, my real error surfaced: I had unknowingly granted two strangers access into my room late at night.

It was 2 vs. 1, and I was in no position to win.

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The Friendship Paradox

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Thirteen years ago, I graduated from high school, and my confession is this: I only actively communicate with one friend from the first 18 years of my life. 

When I was younger, someone told me that the older you get, the more you will long for the people who knew you when you were young. I couldn’t agree more and, in recent years, have found myself missing those childhood friends.

To where, then, do they disappear?

They go to college.

They invest in romantic relationships.

They pursue professional opportunities.

They have children.

This is the secret held by the other side of adulthood: Friends don’t keep.

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