Blind date

You realize with a shock as you are hugging her that you have arranged to meet at the same coffee shop where you first met your ex-husband. You blurt this out ungracefully as you sit down across from this stranger who has been a planet in your family constellation for more than a year. The other woman your son loves. … Read More

Self-Responsibility and Storytelling

The tricky thing about telling the truth is that there is no single truth. A diamond has endless refractions, and so do the events we live through. How we dig a moment up, shape it, and polish it influences what we can see and feel at any given time. But this process is in constant flow, as we are. The way … Read More

Stepping off of the merry go round of disappointment

Locked into a dynamic defined by opposing camps of “Disappointer” and “Disappointed”, there’s not much room for anyone to find new ground. Trying to get something that has never been attainable from someone who was never equipped to give it in the first place is like being on a merry-go-round and expecting to end up someplace different. About six months … Read More

Becoming an outlaw

Since he had words, my son has been trying to find the right names for the complicated constellation of adults in his life. For years, he called Taylor “Daddy’s husband” and could not be persuaded to call her what she was: Daddy’s girlfriend. With a good number of his aunts, uncles and grandparents divorced and reconfigured in relationship, Teddy still struggles with … Read More

The Co-Parent Carpool

When I returned to full-time employment, my new job’s hours were exactly the hours of my son’s preschool. Which meant that I would need to be commuting to work at the times I would otherwise be transporting my son to and from school. I negotiated a daily rhythm that had me coming in an hour early and leaving an hour … Read More

Claim Your Own Independence Day

Once, a man I had just met at a seminar casually mentioned that he was celebrating his own, personal Independence Day. When I inquired, he explained that he had decided to quit smoking 14 years ago on this day. Every year, he celebrated this choice and its related freedom. More than two years after Pete and I split, I was … Read More

Trying to Act Normal When Nothing is Normal

When he was not quite two, Teddy and I embarked on the very first foreshadowing of his independent life away from his parents: a weekly Mommy and Me class. I enrolled with the idea that we’d make some friends in the neighborhood who Teddy could play with in the next few years until his school days officially began. The first class met … Read More

Fresh Kill

My cat Valentino has a nightly ritual — one that he has had his entire life. He “kills” something for me while I am sleeping and then carries it, meowing in a series of wild howls, into my bedroom. In his early years, his kill was what was lying around: socks and dog toys. These days, he has a wide … Read More

Separation before the age of story

The world, it occurs to me, is woven together in story. We create our context and our identities through the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what our lives are meant to be and mean. Family, too, is a net of story. When ours gave out, our son was a year and a half old. His life … Read More

The One Thing You Cannot Live Without

People who suffer from the rare condition CIPA, congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis, can’t feel physical pain. While this might seem like a kind of advantage, it actually puts these people at risk of seriously hurting themselves without getting the warning signs that help protect the rest of us. Through my divorce, I discovered I had a similar liability–though … Read More