Welcome to my fort

My kids did something last week that convinced me they’re not all that different than kids were several generations ago. With free time on their hands and a house full of toys, games and electronics, they shunned all the fancy stuff and built a fort. Their fort-building enthusiasm made me question why we bother with apps and expensive game consoles when so much fun can be crafted from a king-sized bed sheet, wooden clothespins and a few chairs. The kids fortified their cozy castle with pillows dragged in from bedrooms, favorite Superman blankets and flashlights. Then they disappeared into the fort and played the rest of the afternoon. After hearing hours of giggles from behind the linen walls, I couldn’t [...]

The flip-flop frenzy

Recently we took the kids to an amusement park. While the boys and I rode the big stuff, Tom chaperoned Kate on kiddie rides because his stomach is less forgiving and he has a healthier respect for gravity. As the boys and I climbed onto rides and roller coasters, I noticed that there are now flip-flop storage cubbies at the front of the lines. Ride attendants announce that you should stow your flip-flops and other loose items into a cubby so you won’t lose them. Inevitably, when the flip-flop announcement was made, half the people in line slid out of their so-called shoes and tucked them into the cubbies where they would then retrieve them after the ride. Being a [...]

The Father’s Day Top Ten List

One day Tom accused me of not being able to admit when I’m wrong. I told him he was probably wrong about that, but I did take his comment under advisement. Maybe I’m a tad stubborn when it comes to admitting when my way isn’t the best way. So for a Father’s Day gift, I told Tom and my dad I’d write a list of things they’ve been right about. They looked dubious. “I’ll even publish it,” I said, taking it a step further. “And then you’ll say it’s the shortest column you ever wrote, right?” Tom asked, taking the punch line right out of my mouth. It took brutal honesty to come up with the list, but here it [...]

Letter to my middle child

Dear Jack, Eight years ago tonight, we met for the first time. I was the exhausted woman with the lovely epidural drip. You were the very red, very loud newborn who came roaring into the room at 11 p.m. You fit into my arms like a puzzle piece, and I marveled at your perfect skin and wavy hair. Your brother didn’t warm up to you as instantly as Dad and I did. He ignored you those first few months because he was only 2 years old and unimpressed when you came home and did nothing but eat, sleep and spit up on people. But one day, after several months of taking no notice of you, he walked by the baby [...]

Is downtime a dirty word?

When our daughter Kate was almost 3, I walked into the living room and caught her climbing the wall – literally. She’d scaled a wingback chair and stepped from the top onto a window ledge. Balancing on the thin strip of wood, she grabbed the window casing near the ceiling. When I spotted her, she was hanging by her fingertips, smiling widely over her gravity-defying achievement. That was the day I enrolled her in gymnastics. Right away, she loved it. Fast forward three years and thousands of cartwheels later, Kate has been asked to participate in a preliminary program for a competitive gymnastics team. They say she has a natural ability, which is something I realized that day she climbed [...]