The author on her back porch

Love and A Hurricane

There’s an example of all that is good buzzing at the end of our block. It’s a home being re-built. My friend Judith lost half her house from the wind. It was the only victim of Hurricane Irma in our neighborhood. Her oak tree, with hundreds of rings, gave in to one of the last
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My Dad and my son Matthew

My Dad Sent Three Signs The Day He Died

Yesterday, the last breath of Hurricane Irma slapped branches and bent tree trunks. Now the air is still. It feels like the moment when you run out of things to say to God. I’m looking for signs. The news cycle is already spinning away from the weather and back to Washington, reminding me of the
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Our dog Clarissa

Creating One Last Memory With Licks

I paid close attention to our dog Clarissa’s licks these last weeks because I knew she was dying. I wanted to make sure I remembered what her kisses smelled like, as if the scent of her tongue were her signature. She was euthanized this morning. Before the vet came in, I put my face under
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Celebrating Motherhood With My Daughter Emma

Can You Get an A+ in Motherhood?

I really wanted an A+ in motherhood, and I was completely devoted to the task. I read tons of parenting books and tried to do everything I learned. I’d give myself a B so far. Emma is my second child. My parenting style with her is a good example of what I thought excellent moms
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my son Matt age two

Learning to Parent With The Heart In Mind

My perspective on parenting has changed over time – a lot. I learned to parent from the heart instead of the mind. I focus on my son Matt’s inherent goodness and strengths not his struggles with dyslexia or ADHD. When Matt was a toddler I obsessed about his intellectual achievement, measuring his progress against benchmarks in books for
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Little Matt and Emma sitting in the front yard with their symbols of love - our dogs Clouseau and Sammy

What Love Looks Like

Love looks like so many things. The little symbols of love are the most endearing, like the weedy bloom my son Matt picked from a neighbor’s lawn and brought to her door when he was four. It also looks like the long floral dress Matt bought me at a neighborhood yard sale when he was
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Lilies of the Valley, A Symbol of Peace

Mindful Symbols

I am a big believer in the power of symbolism be it a phrase, an icon, or a flower. Mindful symbols root us and feed our souls. When my daughter Emma was an infant, we put wallpaper in her bedroom. Lilies of the valley on a cream background with pink accents. For the poet William
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Peanuts Characters Lunchbox for School Lunch

The Perils of Paté In Your Lunchbox

My mom cooked with no directions and ingredients we couldn’t afford. She liked to finish with a bottle of red wine aimed at a pot and an indeterminate pour. For the most part things turned out well except when she made my school lunch. She packed my Peanuts lunchbox with a rotation of sandwiches made
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Me and My Father in 1967

A Forgotten Father

“The best portion of a good man’s life: his little, nameless unremembered acts of kindness and love.” William Wordsworth Small acts of kindness are treats for two souls, the giver and receiver. They’re my emotional bread and butter. One of my favorite things to do is offer my spot in line at the supermarket when
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