At the outset of the pandemic, a Zen intensive with a most unusual sensei — my pet fish
Romeo is a fish that lives in our kitchen. My daughter chose him from a pet store four years ago, when she was 11. She bought him with her own money along with a square plastic fishbowl, white rocks and a decorative accessory: a mock-wood signpost that reads “beach” in jaunty letters with an arrow pointing the way. …
A woman seeks out my husband daily and shows me how to be better at loving
There is another woman in our town who loves my husband. Her name is Pam. Every time she sees him, which is sometimes five days a week, when they part ways she raises her crumpled hand in the air and says, “I love you, Todd!”
Todd always replies, “I love you, too, Pam!”
One day over breakfast he said to me, “That’s what I’ve got, you and Pam. The people who tell me they love me.”
I laughed, about to protest, for surely this…
A challenging request leads to real holiday magic
When my daughter was 6, she put one thing and one thing only on her wish list. “Dear Santa,” Libby wrote on a piece of pink stationary in her first-grade-best handwriting. “I want a magic wand for Christmas. One that is very beautiful and fits in my pocket.” Before she signed off, she added, “Please can I have one that really works.”
I was stymied. Even if Santa brought her a wand, what would happen if it didn’t work the way she wanted it to? “Is there anything else you want to…
Before this story begins, you should know that it has a happy ending. At the finale, you will be rewarded with baby birds chirping happily. But also know that before we get to the happy part, you, the reader, will be asked to navigate instances of animal imperilment and at least one reference to a somewhat gruesome death.
Animals that suffer in today’s tale do so at the paws of Seuss, accomplished huntress resident of our suburban home. …
In the early days of February 2003, the amniotic sac in my uterus ruptured. It came as a spurt of viscous fluid soaking my sheets in the wee gloomy hours of a morning. At 12 weeks pregnant, nothing about that puddle was a good sign.
The event marked the beginning of a three-month ordeal that would take me through the murky depths of omnipresent fear and uncertainty to the gut-punch of trauma, loss, and grief. The experience would also send me to the giddy heights of existential transcendence. The time I had with that baby would explode my worldview and…
The Why Season
Explaining love, death and everything else to a three-year-old.
Parenting a three-year-old is an invitation to live in a world where meaning has no basement. In the existential spaces of the brain in its fourth year, every explanation can be countered with another question.
Consider a recent conversation between me and my oldest daughter, Libby.
She approaches me as I am puttering around the kitchen, cleaning up from breakfast.
“Mom, can I lick your phone?” she asks, curious and without a hint of irony.
“No,” I respond.
I reply, “Because it’s not very good for…