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

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