Parenting

Simplicity and Justice

I remember Tom and Jerry, Leave it to Beaver, and Sunday paper with comics mom cut out and taped on the refrigerator door. I remember Laurel & Hardy, The Rifleman, and watching boxing or NFL with Dad in between Sunday services when I was supposed to be napping on the bed or on the floor. […]

Complication and Contentment

My first place was a two-bedroom apartment with a little porch that overlooked the lush green of Richmond, Virginia. I was a single mom of a curious two-year-old, so an apartment on the third floor added an extra layer of complication to my coming and going, but I preferred the inconvenience over the sound of […]

The Simplest Gift

My nine-year-old broke his arm last weekend. He came running into the house with his arm in a weird zigzag and his younger siblings trailing in his wake. All three were gibbering away in a shell-shocked, confused kind of way. I bellowed at everyone to be quiet and then sent my patient into the kitchen […]

Elemental

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)   On this, my first empty-nested Mother’s Day, I am reminded of the goodness of the Lord. My babies are all grown-up-ish. This season of mothering has come to its end. God has a purpose for […]

Sleepless in Spring

I took a walk today and I looked up at the bright blue spring sky popping against bright green leaves on old oak trees and I cried because today my fourth child is eighteen months old, and WE ARE STILL HERE. Pandemic, homeschooling, batshit crazy world but here we are.  Almost two and a half […]

Tree Hugger

I am a literal tree hugger, and my husband can vouch for it. I’ve embarrassed him often by curling my arms and cheek around a gnarly old trunk. My favorite trees are the sprawling, ancient live oaks that grow where I grew up. We planted one in our backyard a few summers ago, a tiny […]

What They Got Wrong About Women

In Cassandra Speaks, Elizabeth Lesser tells us about Pandora. You might be familiar with the Greek myth: The gods punished men by giving them a woman (Pandora) and a jar filled with human suffering. Because Pandora was prone to evil, she opened the jar and released every kind of suffering and misery onto humanity. All […]

The Hope of Remembering

In art class one day, I was attempting to paint a landscape with oil colors. I couldn’t get a particular area just right. It seemed off. I began to pull my canvas off the easel when my teacher stopped me. “What are you doing, Paula Frances?” “I’m going to start over. It doesn’t look right.” […]

Harbinger of Memories

It’s the leaves. They’re the harbinger of autumn and they’re already dotting my green lawn red. My girl, she picked one up last week and greeted it. “You’re not welcome here!” she stated matter of factly as she deposited it into the dumpster. It’s not that we don’t love fall, we do. Both of us. […]

Encoding. Storage. Retrieval. (For the women who came before and after me, who make me who I am.)

With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your […]

The Voices

Kim is a college professor by weekday, but works hostile mob patrol at the week’s end. A Saturday morning moonlighter, Kim stands on the front lines—or rather the sidelines—of American youth soccer fields. You’ll find her bravely canvassing the crowds of lawn chair-clad parents, grandparents, bored siblings and panting dogs. (After a bad call, sometimes […]

Why I Don’t Want My Daughter to Be My Best Friend

Searching my university library’s database, I come across an article associating enmeshment—that what a lack of boundaries with my kids is called—with adolescent depression.

Deeper Still: Mental Illness and Love’s Long Reach

God’s angels held back the car as Rose intentionally ran in front of it. I grabbed my little girl, held her, and began weeping. Why would a child try to kill herself? Why does God allow such brokenness?  The air froze in my lungs as Rose told the doctor that she wanted to die and […]

This is for you, Love.

This is for you, Love. You who stands with arms outstretched and ready to receive. I see you, and I celebrate you.⁠ For you, it’s always Mother’s Day. There is no need for birth certificate or birthright with you—you are not defined by nature or pedigree. Family is more than blood to you, and your […]

This Open Table

Not long after my husband and I were married over 15 years ago, one of our first “grown-up” purchases was an antique, oak kitchen table. It can expand to make room for more guests. Through the years, many guests have indeed dined there, resulting in several scratches and knicks that add to its charm. The […]

Couplehood & COVID-19 Perfect Together?

It’s been 3 weeks. Maybe it’s been 4. Living in the shadow of NYC where My Beloved and I have plied our trades for the majority of our careers, we are currently sheltered-in-place. The good news is we are both safe. The good news is we are fully engaged each day, so as not to […]