Today, a bird slowly died in front of my children. The impact against our sliding glass doors was deafening. Housebound by a winter storm, the kids and I quickly abandoned our hot chocolate in our rush to discover that a bright crimson cardinal had struck the glass. It now lay helpless in the snow.
Be honest and don’t construct a cover-up. What’s been seen can’t be unseen: I watched, helpless to intervene or make my kids unsee this tragedy. The suffering we were witnessing elicited, “Mom, let’s help it!” “Should we bring it inside and nurse it?” “What do we do?” “Poor bird.” Our 12-year-old’s large eyes were brimming with tears. Her younger brother couldn’t look away. I wanted as badly as my kids to watch this bird miraculously fly away. But the cardinal grew still and we, silent, mourning the loss of an innocent bird.
Show sensitivity and respect for their particular attachments: Unlike adults, children fall in love fearlessly, without baggage. Maybe it’s toys as much or more than the people surrounding them they cherish. In the case of my children, it was their stuffed animals—each complete with name and personality.
As enjoyable as it was for me to witness the creative powers at work in my children’s play, I knew that the depth of attachment would create a storm of trouble if any of these animal kingdom favorites were lost. After all, these were real as flesh and blood friends in my children’s world. On many occasions, we did come close to losing a stuffed friend. At the grocery, in the airplane, on the sidewalk, silently fallen out of the stroller.
In every instance, the look of shock and pain in the affected child’s eyes was a small step into the brutal world, where fierce affection is often accompanied by sorrow, a pain equal to the love.
Read in full at Houston Family Magazine.
Read in full at The Manifest-Station. “I posed a million-dirham ($272,260.72 into today’s US dollar) question: “Do the children of Dubai play in sandboxes?” Our family, newly transplanted from the Washington, DC area where sandboxes had provided our children with hours of fun in earlier years, mulled over this question the summer we moved temporarily to the desert metropolis of Dubai. Even with all of Dubai’s development, if one catapulted high enough above the impressive skyline, Dubai seemed not too unlike one massive sandbox with ribbons of various roads lying thickly near the coast and rapidly thinning out in numbers the further away from the sandbox’s edge of the Arabian Sea, until only interminable sand remained.
The subject of driving, however, quickly claimed our attention as it rapidly morphed to the level of top priority. This critical arena of living required quick-study because learning this new turf involved navigating Dubai’s roads, roads which often betrayed the foundation they were laid upon: sand.
Continue reading “Through the Sand: A Driving Lesson From Dubai”
Our values as parents will be past down to our #kids. What do you #cherish? Happy to be adding my voice to Red Tricycle‘s #March discussion on #minimalism. #stuff #materialism #place #space #recycling #goodlife#parenting #location #publicspace #purging
“We knew that our young daughter had internalized our commitment to place over space. At school she was asked to define “neighborhood” and she wrote confidently from her own experience: “A neighborhood is a place where people live, work, and play.” Not bad for a six-year-old.
At its core, the simple life for us was wrapped up in our appreciation for walkability. That summarizes our family’s definition of a good place, and that’s what we tell our realtor every time. We want to be able to walk to the coffeeshop, grocery and pub. We’ve resided in apartments and townhouses. Once we even tried a single-family home. Today, as a family of four, we live in a downtown high-rise with two teenagers. We haven’t owned a lawnmower since 2001.
The urban life necessitated a smaller home out of which blossomed the simple life.”
Read in full here. http://redtri.com/teaching-my-kids-the-simple-life-gave-them-a-taste-of-the-good-life/
“As social media mavens, we want to be remembered. Often apt personal anecdotes are the best way to connect with our followers or Facebook friends and drive a post’s popularity. But when it comes to sharing about our significant other and children, the line of decency can often feel blurry.
The question is weighty, worth the internal wrestling.
The What, When and Why: My personal habits on sharing family-related content start with timing. I allow time to pass before I post about an experience that directly involves either my husband or children. Looking back on an experience affords many advantages.”
Published in Sonoma Family Life Magazine‘s November issue on pg 14.
“When I coddle my kids, I hurt them. If I keep myself at the center of their universe, helicopter parenting and serving their every need, the goal of independence is undermined. It’s much harder to stay in the shadows and watch them successfully dodge one bad decision only to perform a dramatic faceplant when the next major obstacle reveals itself. But how else will they learn?”
Thank you, San Diego Family Magazine, for publishing my essay on the perils of helicopter parenting.
Read in full: https://www.sandiegofamily.com/resources/parenting/1981-helicopter-parenting
With great excitement I present Once Upon An Expat now available in paperback on Amazon. Connecting with this talented, fascinating group of writers from all across the globe under the leadership of Editor Lisa Webb has provided me a singular writing high point for 2016.
Go to Amazon for your Kindle or paperback copy and while you’re at it, check out my author page!
The earth was cracked and troubled in Washington, D.C. If only you’d been listening, you would have decoded the garbled whisperings of Auntie Kay’s rapid decline, a sampaguita wilting, just like your bleeding hearts in summer, hot as morning mouth. Instead, you obsessed over perennials, especially your bleeding hearts. And, you stupidly pinned your success on them. Now their decline signaled a mocking failure.
Formerly a burned out parking lot, your skinny 15×45 patch of manufactured grass served as an urban backyard. Belying appearances, this defiled earth hid scars of the past that now threatened to slice up your hands. Your gardening gloves mostly shielded you from the harmful objects—glass, rusty metal, bullet casings, and ground-up concrete. Undaunted, you imagined Eden could be realized in one growing season under your coaxing, a remarkable, almost impossible, feat for a veteran gardener. Unluckily, you were an amateur. Unluckily, there was a drought that year. Unluckily, it was Auntie Kay’s final summer.
On the surface it was the bleeding hearts that filled you with a pitiful, throat-catching anxiety. Running parallel, deeper, viciously circling in your gut, was the once unflappable Auntie Kay now wasting away in Chicago. Be honest. Pull back the curtain: that was the throat-catching anxiety.
Read in full at Santa Fe Writers Project: http://sfwp.com/resurrection-by-kathryn-streeter/
Published by The Washington Post, On Parenting:
“Oh, Friday. We’re growing old together, you and I. From each joyful weekly awareness — It’s Friday! — that erupts around our home to the sleepiness that ends the evening, you’ve been there like an old friend. Long ago, you watched as the little kids came along, encouraging us as new parents to establish a family tradition to end the week. We wanted something that invited the kids’ participation, and so it was that you became synonymous with homemade-pizza-and-movie night.”
Read in full on The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2016/04/29/making-friday-night-pizza-night-as-a-way-to-connect-with-aging-kids/
“You lift your eyes and there is a bird across the street perched on the topmost point of the firehouse bell-tower. Why does she just sit there? What does she see? You need to follow the way of this mama bird, to get up high above the trees so that you can know where you’ve been and where you’re going.
Truth is, the longer you’ve been a mom, the clearer are your failures. The blessing of perspective allows painful truths to emerge that often you picked at blades of grass instead of getting up high. You’ve regarded yourself as a good mom, yet as you gain distance from the early days of babies and toddlers, preschool and elementary school, from this place above the trees you can finally see.
Like that mama bird sitting up high in the tree, you stand now as a humble mom of 17 years, better able to discern where you’ve been and where you’re going. ”
Read in full on Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/kathryn-streeter/motherhood_b_9686272.html
“But when I coddle, I hurt them. If I keep myself at the center of their universe, helicopter parenting and serving their every need, ultimately, the goal of independence is undermined. It’s much harder to stay in the shadows and watch my kids successfully dodge one bad decision only to perform a dramatic faceplant when the next major obstacle reveals itself. But how else will they learn?”