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

Note to Self: Do Not Marry Tom Cruise

I bought my first People magazine ever when I saw Katie Holmes’ escape from Tom Cruise plastered across the cover. This marriage had always been symbolic to me of that precipice where the fairy tale leaves off and Happily Ever After is a free fall. While I’ll never know and am not too concerned about what actually happened between those … Read More

The Surprising Gift of Office Life

I was working from home by day, mothering by night. My big outings were walking the dogs and taking my son to school — neither of which required showering, dressing, or interacting with humans for more than a brief exchange. I had been depressed and exhausted for so long, I had lost my reference point for how a happy and … Read More

Prince Loving

What fairy tale genius decided that the answer to a woman’s prayers was Prince Charming anyway? When a woman is immobilized from a C-section, supporting the family financially without any help, too exhausted to take her own shirt off, what good does Charming do her? What if little girls today were raised on a new archetype: Prince Loving?  The guy … Read More

Saying it and meaning it

The way I talked to Pete when I was upset never served me–or us, or the problem I was trying to solve. My constant disappointment, carried far and wide by my tone of voice, served primarily to cement alienation in our marriage. And things weren’t improving much in divorce. It became obvious that if I wanted our dynamic to change, … Read More

Sick

My body makes its own memorials. When I am ravaged by a sadness I can not solve, eventually I go to the calendar where I find a fact to back up the ache. Two years after the second baby I will never have left me–taking me with her right out of my marriage, I become deeply infected with the grief … Read More

What the Heart and Stomach Will No Longer Hold

He walks onto the bus, and the 12-year-old girl in me leaps to attention. Everything about him is wrong for what the middle-aged me wants and needs–it’s obvious in everything from his posture and his grooming to his Converse high-tops, but my body is responding to different cues. I tell myself, “Yes, appealing. No, you may not engage.” When I … Read More