Moments, Parenting

The Silliness of Three

Make a silly face, Mama. There’s a 3 year old on my lap, face forward and cupping my cheeks with her hands. I oblige, raising my eyebrows, sticking out my tongue, and wiggling fingers behind my head like some kind of deranged rooster. It is morning, and silly faces are our ritual. Another one! She makes a silly face without even knowing it, bed-headed and sleep-encrusted, puffy eyes. She smushes my cheeks together, forcing my lips forward in a pudgy pout. This time I attempt to cross my eyes,which I’ve never been successful at- not even with a slow finger to the nose the way so many have instructed me. I end up squinting them, nose crinkly and drawn up, duck lips like the high school girls on Instagram.  …

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For When They Still Believe

I can’t remember exactly when I lost it, but there came a time in my childhood when I stopped believing in magic. Maybe it was when I learned the truth about the tooth fairy that day in second grade, or when I stopped daydreaming about Peter Pan and started daydreaming about the boy who sat two rows over in Social Studies. All I know is that at some point in my life the pixie dust lost its sparkle and I was on to the Very Important Issues of middle school. Issues like deciding upon which side of my head my side ponytail should reside. Or which Bryan Adams song best reflected my current state of tweenage angst. …

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On Fear and MotherhoodMoments, Parenting

On Fear and Motherhood

When I was thirteen I applied to my first writer’s workshop. I sent a thick packet of papers in an envelope I’d lifted from my father’s office store room, where shelves lined the walls with boxes of binder clips and ink for stamps. I wrapped that tension tie tightly with string. I sent off the words and went about the business of ninth grade. What I’d written that day when I sat down at the brand-new Hewlett Packard was stupid, really. Embarrassing. Trite. The kind of adolescent poetry whose sugary sweetness causes cavities as the words are read. But buried in the third paragraph was a single point of truth. She’s afraid she hasn’t been in enough pain to write well.  …

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A Course of ObstaclesEssays

A Course of Obstacles

I dropped my shoes in a corner of the kitchen and emptied what remained of a flat Coke-a-Cola in the sink. I really need to scrub it with bleach, I thought, noticing the coffee stains and dark scratches on the white of the porcelain. I remembered I’d had the same thought the previous night before bed. I’d gone on to dream of circling the drain. Shining the sink had been a nightly ritual I’d long abandoned. Other things on the list of things-let-go: Making the beds. Folding the clothes. Showering daily and after-lunch walks.    Getting back in the habit would get me out of this rut. Maybe I’ll get around to it tomorrow. I looked up. Every surface was littered with the debris of our lives. …

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