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Ring the bells that still can ring.

As I approach my 43rd year, I have to be honest and tell you that I’ve been struggling lately. That for most of my peers - those parents that in every way possible are in the trenches right now, it is genuinely hard. In the spring, I felt like I could get through this thing. And maybe in the summer too. But as I watch all of us scrape the very bottom of whatever we’ve got left in us to parent and teach and work and just generally survive but also put on some sort of moderately positive face for our children and parents, well honestly that’s been hard lately. One of my all time favorite quotes is from Leonard Cohen's 1992 song, Anthem. In it, he describes:
Ring the bells that still can ringForget your perfect offeringThere is a crack in everythingThat’s how the light gets in
As I close out 42 and look ahead to 43, it's requiring me to dig deep this year, to ring the bells I still can ring. And looking back over the past year, it seems indeed there was so very much to celebrate.
Th…
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Parenting in a pandemic has taught me this: the grown ups aren’t coming and the point of everything is to fall apart.

It is summer. The woman, mid-life, bathing suit at mid-calf, emotionally deadened enough to her bizarre current state of reality where she really feels nothing beyond the mid-point of her still beating heart, climbs slowly into the lake. The water is cool but not cold. It soothes her hot, pale skin and surrounds her fully. Here in this moment, there is not noise or Twitter or barking candidates, global pandemics and recessions and worries and constant planning. In this moment, held by nothing but the arms of the lake’s ripples and her own weightlessness, there is nothing but the glorious silence and stillness of the water. As she comes up for air, the silence is punctuated by reality. The beach is full of wet sandy feet. The water is full of noisy children. Her own children tug on her suit and she scoops them up, big and small alike. She reminds them that no matter how big they get, they will always be her babies. Besides, in the water we are all weight less. We are not weighed down …

The 6 Needs of Every Child

When Amy Olrick posted a brief note a few months ago asking if anyone wanted a sneak peek at a book she’d written with her husband Jeffrey, my virtual hand immediately shot up. I steadfastly tell my children to only connect with people you know in real life, on the Internet. Yet Amy is someone who I’ve never actually met, but can imagine us quite clearly as ever sitting down and sharing our challenges and triumphs as writers and mothers over a cup of coffee or something stronger. And over that cup of coffee we'd be discussing this truly fantastic book she wrote with her husband. It’s a great resource for parents. I can’t wait for you to read it.
I don’t often read parenting books, but here is what is great about what Amy and Jeffrey have done here. The 6 Needs of Every Child isn’t a parenting book so much as it’s a relationship book. They wrote a whole book for parents that isn’t about what to do, in as much as how to think about how to be with your child. What does it look like to…

The Toxicity of the Quarantine Snake Oil Salesman

Could we have a brief chat about something I've been seeing pop up all over my FB and Instagram feed?  Here is what I can say for sure about this time of life: nothing. I can say absolutely nothing for sure.The only thing I can say with certainty actually, is that absolutely nothing is certain right now. What will happen today or tomorrow, when schools will open, when I will be able to hug or visit you, when I feel predictably sad, or happy, or predictably anything at all with any kind of regularity. The one gift I’ve given myself these last few weeks, and the one gift I’ve given my children without apology, is that whatever they are feeling or needing to do right now, whatever they think they need, is exactly right. I’d like to talk to you about the real snake oil salesman of quarantine. I’m not talking about the odd sort of COVID truthers who think this is all a hoax or something of that ilk, but more about the folks who have some very specific messages about what you should be do…

Goodbye to the house that used to be a home.

There is an odd sort of emotional exhaustion to quarantine. Though we go nowhere, I find myself doing a lot each day and so at night I’m the kind of tired when I just sort of fall into bed and sleep overwhelms me. There is no gentle drifting. I am just awake and then asleep and then awake again. It’s a very jarring, sort of matter of fact process. And in between occasionally I will stop and really notice certain things if for no other reason than during this very busy and very not busy time, it seems to be a season that has afforded me more time for all the noticing. The laundry in my neighbor’s yard blowing in the breeze. An actual woodpecker in my tree this morning. The way that my grapefruit smells after I first cut it open.
Have you ever cut a grapefruit for someone? Has someone ever taken the time to cut you a grapefruit? It’s actually an extremely precise and painstaking process where you have to make sure you go in between and on the side of every single piece of white fleshy fr…

Notes From The Underground: Day 1

We’ve been home for two days now. It’s the weekend and so I guess so far life doesn’t seem that unusual. But tomorrow when it’s Monday I expect things will start to get real.
Ruby tells me that she believes God does everything for a reason. I am and have always been entirely unconvinced of this, but I sit with her long enough to see where she’s heading with this and she tells me she thinks this is God’s way of telling us to slow down. I’m not convinced God had any hand in this. But I can’t deny that perhaps this is an unintentional silver lining. 
We did nothing this weekend. Although I suppose I did the kind of nothing that is actually more something than most of the nonsense I pretend is something on most weekends. I took nine separate walks this weekend. I used every single dish, cup and fork - twice. I FaceTimed 8 different people. I started a new book. I cooked all of our food. I played six games of Uno. There were no sports or hebrew school or Girl Scouts or visiting with family o…