Bone Weary

When the ambulance pulled away from our house the night before last, my shoulders slumped forward. The painful spasms that wracked my daughter’s body and impinged on her breathing had passed and she, with my husband, were chatting away, as if she’d not been screaming a mere half hour before. I locked up the house for the night, kissed and hugged them both and crawled into bed. I fell asleep to the rhythm of their voices going back and forth, wondering if I’d ever feel well-rested again. I’m exhausted and this morning… Read More

Surviving the Holidays: An Introvert’s Guide

It happened in rapid succession. The emails landed with a resounding thud on my psyche today. “Hello Everyone, We’re thinking that for Thanksgiving…” and “I know it’s early, but we’d like to coordinate the family Christmas…” I am an introvert. I find human contact only manageable in small doses, before I need to run away to a dark hidey-hole to process the interaction. Extended family celebrations, with the enforced captivity, doubly so. If you’ve been reading this blog over the last few weeks, you know I’ve been finding my middle-aged spine. It’s… Read More

Unraveling: Fiction as Life and No, No NaNoNette

I put my 5th grader on a school bus this week for the first time. It’s not much to parents who have been doing this since day one, but I worked from home for many years. I felt like taking her to school was an opportunity. I got to know other parents and the school environment. Some of our best mother-daughter talks happened in the car and I was loathe to give it up. But for the sake of her growing independence, give it up I did. Six months ago, I quit… Read More

Holiday Angst Redux – Opting Out

Ever since giving up smoking and drinking, the holidays have not been fun. Having a child was supposed to cure that, but now that the elf has developed her own brand of cynicism (and adds whatever on the end of every sentence), there’s no reason to pretend. Let the snarling begin. For years, I’ve grumbled over the machinations of the in-laws around this time of year. I’m an introvert, so I generally look like one of the characters of Bring Me the Head of David Dixon at family gatherings. Add an eye roll… Read More

Forces of Nature, Forces of Nurture

Last Friday, I drove blindly home through monsoon-like conditions. There was no visibility, just the horizontal stream of rain and gale force winds. The storm came out of the blue. I left the Home Depot just as normal rain began. Five minutes later, I was jerking the steering wheel to avoid crashing tree branches and the rush of water across the road. I couldn’t see beyond the front of the car, but I feared rising water or falling power lines would strand me. I knew the roads by heart and could wend… Read More

Making Family Where You’re At

The holiday season is a great time to realize, once again, everything that is wrong with your family. This used to be a really hard time of year for me. I have a very small family of origin that fled our shared memories of misery and abuse. I haven’t spoken to my brothers in over a decade. My sister, who is considerably younger than I, stays in touch, but we have an uneasy relationship, much of which is tied up in mutual ambivalence about our mother. My normal is like a lot… Read More

The Evolution of Home

My fantasy as a child was to have a house that was all mine, where I was safe and where all the other children and animals who needed homes would live as well (it was going to be a very, very big house). It would be a long time before I could claim that some part of my wishful thinking had become reality. It wasn’t until my early 30s that I lived in a house with a yard that I owned (with my much better half). Before that time, I lived in… Read More

Don’t Forget Me When I’m Gone

I have to decide what to do with my grandfather’s military uniform jackets. When he passed away several years ago, my grandmother hesitated about giving them to Goodwill,  so I asked for them. I knew he valued the wool jackets with worn patches. They were to him what a wedding dress is for a woman – a barometer of youth and golden days. He was so proud that he could fit into them after a grandma-induced diet,  that he modeled them for me whenever I visited. My grandfather was an old-fashioned gentleman,… Read More