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/
Love City, Love Bike
In downtown Austin, the clerk helps me with my groceries: wine, chocolate, tea, pepperoni and eggs.
“Is a double-bag fine?”
Uh-huh, I nod and add to please pack things tightly.
I load my sturdy basket behind the seat of my old lady’s bike, as my teens call it. I’m mostly worried the eggs won’t make it home on the path that leads to our downtown high-rise apartment.
When we moved to Austin not only did we downsize to fit our family of four into an apartment in the heart of the city, we freed ourselves of our second car. Between bikes, Uber and car-sharing options, having one car was completely rational. Biking around town is our preference, whether to the store, doctor or coffee shop.
Go to Austin American-Statesman for the full story.
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?”
“I’m a safety mom. A safety person, in fact. During a past ski trip, I consistently arrived back at the chairlift last, underscoring my obvious preoccupation with not hurting myself. I checked my speed the entire descent down the mountain. Speed is not my middle name.
My teens were ahead of me. And though cautionary words were on the tip of my tongue, I made no effort to prohibit them from their rapid downhill flight. I didn’t want to harden their resolve.
People who thrive are people who are being who they believe they were meant to be. That is exactly what I want for my kids, and probably pretty close to what you want, too. We want our kids to mature into independent young adults who can make wise choices on their own.”
Read in full on Scary Mommy: http://www.scarymommy.com/club-mid/quit-helicopter-parenting/
Published today on The Good Men Project.
I wrote this story to further contribute to a larger conversation going on about how IKEA affects relationships. My essay “The One Trip Guaranteed to Stretch Your Marriage” published in February. I was amused when just recently The Wall Street Journal published the highly-popular piece “Can Your Marriage Handle a Trip to IKEA?”
Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think 🙂
Today, WSJ Hilary Potkewitz probes the challenges IKEA presents to relationships in “Can Your Relationship Handle IKEA?” My personal testimony on this very theme was published by The Good Men Project.
“The One Trip Guaranteed to Stretch Your Marriage”