What do playgrounds say about us?

FullSizeR(8).jpg

One of my earliest school memories involves biting the dust while climbing an oversized metal spider in the middle of our playground. Morning dew and my mother’s shoe selection were equally to blame.

But I didn’t give up on the challenge. And, by the end of that week, I conquered the source of my fleeting Kindergarten shame.

It would be decades before I would see equipment that resembled that delightful spider I once cursed. Last week, in fact, I took our kids to a park with a similarly aged steel insect and a rusted merry-go-round. As you may have guessed, both still inspire squeals of joy…and caution.

Continue reading “What do playgrounds say about us?”

Now What?

img_1636

In every parenting journey, there is a moment when the unthinkable happens.

You decide to stop having children.

For our family, the curtain call came five months after our daughter was born. No more babies. Slowly, our lives adjusted, my body mostly returned, and our careers settled.

But a question has increasingly haunted me: Now what?

Continue reading “Now What?”

A Birthday, Bittersweet

img_3384

“How was your day?” It’s a question I have found myself automatically asking my son on our ride home from preschool each afternoon.

[Silence]

For months, this has been his response…that is, until just a few days ago. The weather was obnoxiously humid and the kids – most inconveniently and unsurprisingly – wanted to play outside. I found respite on our porch swing and a blonde-haired boy quickly climbed up to join.

And in the swinging, this magical thing happened. He started talking.

Continue reading “A Birthday, Bittersweet”

Resisting the Seven-Year Itch

IMG_3100

My husband and I designed our home to be a space of freedom and exploration for our children, but one area remains off-limits: the corner of our main hallway. In this nook resides our wedding invitation and my dried bouquet. They rest upon a table built by my groom – an anniversary gift.

It didn’t take long for our little ones to learn: Do not touch something so sacred.

And the great irony is this: I wish I had been so careful with my actual marriage these last seven years.

Continue reading “Resisting the Seven-Year Itch”

All That Glitters Is Not Disney

IMG_1753

Disney. Is there a word more divisive in all of parenthood?

When you are raising your children five hours north of Walt Disney World, you quickly learn that you cannot be an isolationist.

“Have you been yet?”

“Are you all planning a trip?”

And, my personal favorite: “You’ll love Disney!”

But, let’s be honest, it isn’t just about the annual pilgrimage to Neverland – we’re talking the entire culture that Walt Disney may or may not have known he was building. If you are not yet a parent, it’s that feeling you get when you walk into Walmart only to be entirely consumed by a Frozen display…only there is a little one at your side who cannot take their eyes off of the glitter.

It is all too easy to hand over the reigns to the conglomeration – to buy the products; to sing the songs; to encourage children to dance to the beat of their favorite characters.

Except, of course, if you belong to the 1% who remain in the shadows. And, here, this is where you will find our family.

Continue reading “All That Glitters Is Not Disney”

It Rained Upon a New Fedora

IMG_1433

“You’re so hipster.”

If you are a mother who prides herself on being countercultural, this statement stings a little. I proceeded to shoot my husband the look.

“Well, you are wearing a fedora.”

Truth. Earlier that day, I had purchased my very first non-winter – dare I say fashionable – hat. It seemed like the perfect item to hide my exhaustion long enough to survive an evening of carnival fun in my hometown.

Only I didn’t plan for the rain.

Continue reading “It Rained Upon a New Fedora”

Elusive Icing on the Cake

IMG_1213

You haven’t really lived as a mother until you have survived your first mommy-shaming birthday party. What does one look like, you may ask. Allow me to offer a few examples of what you might hear:

“Oh, yes, we only use bamboo and wool diapers.”

“Does your child attend the Jewish Montessori preschool?”

“No sugar or food dye for our son!”

Continue reading “Elusive Icing on the Cake”

The Eyes of March

IMG_0271

When you return from a long road trip with two young children, the last thing you want to discover is that your oldest has pink eye. Inevitably, somewhere between “kissing baby” and the poke-sister-in-the-eye trick, you will lose your mind in trying to confine the infection to just one child. Tears will be shed, sleep will be lost, and you will offer a prayer of thanksgiving for antibiotics.

And, if you are very lucky, you will regain your sanity just in time for your youngest to start rubbing her eyes.

Continue reading “The Eyes of March”

The Kind of Hope That Floats

IMG_0089

It is a myth that parents enjoy every single moment that they are afforded with their children. Personally, my breaking point each day is bath time.

Piles of stories have been read.                                                                                                             Balanced meals have been eaten and, mostly, not thrown at Mom.                                               And, somehow, I have been able to hold it together.

Just when I feel like a victor, my husband runs the bathwater.

Do you hear that?

Yes, it is my soul…crying from fatigue.

Continue reading “The Kind of Hope That Floats”

Of Walls and Dreams

IMG_9164

I am 30-years-old and have worked close to 20 professional jobs in my life. I have done it all – from assisting golfers to educating the homeless to refilling paper towel holders for $5.45 an hour (which, I should add, practically made me homeless). Despite all of the hours that employment consumed in my young adult life, I always found that it kept me humble and motivated me to study harder.

When I graduated with my first master’s in 2008, I could think of no better way to drain my bank account than to have my new degree, as well as my bachelor’s, professionally framed. You see, these two pieces of paper were more than simple accolades – they were physical reminders of the youth that I sacrificed for a better life.

Continue reading “Of Walls and Dreams”