Parenting

Surviving Racial Disasters

It Happened. Again. Sneaker waves of racist lashes and systematic suicides keep hitting our neighborhoods, news feeds and nerve systems. Past reports about Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Ezell Ford have now been replaced with fresh videos of Walter Scott, Philip White, Eric Harris and Freddie Gray. I have screamed, cried, cussed and […]

Between Rock Face and River

  When Phoenix started walking she pretty much just skipped the “find your feet” part and just went into full-scale running. She would run with this awkward gait, her hands flung out at her side, her head pushed out as far as it could go, and she would sprint on her toes. She did nothing […]

An Atmospheric Low of the Soul

cy·clone ˈsīˌklōn/ noun METEOROLOGY a system of winds rotating inward to an area of low atmospheric pressure, with a counterclockwise (northern hemisphere) or clockwise (southern hemisphere) circulation; a depression. Four months into the journey of motherhood, and my world is spinning. Sleepless nights, disordered days and the constant companionship of self-doubt swirl around me fiercely. […]

Free Fall

  May 27, 2009. This is the day I learn I have cancer. Weird. I never thought I’d hear those words. I am still drowsy from anesthesia. The doctor just comes in, and she says, “Well, we thought it was hemorrhoids, but it’s not. It’s a tumor. It’s cancer.” Just like that. Now I am […]

Learning to Float

I don’t like going out in boats. There is something about a “recreational” structure floating out in the vast expanse of dark deep water where at any moment a storm could strike, sending me to an untimely death, which makes the idea of a relaxing boat ride nonexistent in my world. The bright orange vest […]

What I Want Them to Remember

Their nightstand and bookshelves tell you all you’d need to know. Anne of Green Gables, Ramona, Laura Ingalls Wilder. We have Girls Think of Everything, Rosie Revere Engineer, Not One Damsel in Distress. Harriet Tubman. Helen Keller. Sojourner Truth. Marie Curie. These are their heroes. We go through our Bible with care and find all […]

Why I’ll Never Put A Lily At My Mother’s Grave

When I was married, I gifted with great ceremony white lilies to three older women that I loved. My blood mother. My stepmother. My mother-in-law. I carried the long and elegant stems across the pebbles toward their wooden folding chairs. All three of them died young. Cancer, cancer, and a freakish surprise sort of thing […]

Motherhood on the Head of a Pin

 Jill Lepore wrote a book about a woman we know hardly anything about. A thick book, a love letter, a weighty tome about a woman of whom the slimmest of evidence exists—letters, a single hand-stitched notebook, ghostly things that others said of her. She was a poor woman from Boston right before and after the […]

Wedged

I never thought I’d still be breathing at 45, painted skulls on tiny coffins to distract my broken mind. But now I’ve tasted worth and felt confidence creeping up my spine. I know you had a lot of problems, always told me you were trying. And I have felt deep purple blood flow from your […]

The Tantrum Days

Friends, can I tell you a secret? Being a mother has been one of the most exhilarating, joy-filled experiences of my life  . . . but it also has been the most heart-wrenching, confusing, frustrating thing. Some moments are wonderful, bliss-filled snapshots of this blessed life I live. Some moments I hope to always remember. […]

Leaving Home and the Geographies of our Days

Every time we leave, I always hope for a clean break, where you wince but then rip off the band-aid and you’re okay. Where the pain is quick but then fades, and soon, you’re just left with a scab. Or I hope that if the pain does remain, it’s still beautiful in its own right, […]