Monthly Archives: June 2010

Things I’ve learned the hard way

1. No coffee after 6 p.m. if you want to sleep that night.

2. One more glass of red wine is usually a bad idea.

3. Nothing good happens after midnight. Only bad stuff. Go home.

4. Changing to the faster supermarket lane will automatically make it the slower one.

5. Listening to my gut generally gives me the right answer.  It’s when you talk yourself out of it (which I frequently do) that you get yourself into trouble.

6. I’m too old to buy clothes at Old Navy.

7. Life is too short to worry about whether your house is clean enough. (BTW – mine never is.)

8. Don’t pick at it. Just leave it alone.

9. Cleaning up the kitchen as you go along is way better than saving it all until the end of the evening.

10. When children are “too quiet” it’s usually not a good thing.

11.  Actions are way more important than words. (Although words can be a nice bonus on top of actions.)

12. Perfect people are really irritating.

13. Errands usually take longer than you think they’re going to. (Particularly if you forget #4).

14.The world always looks better after a good night’s sleep. (See #3).

15. If you’re thinking about going for a run, just go for a run and think about it later.

What would YOU add to this list?


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Filed under Funny Things, Gratitude

Risking it

As I’ve been thinking about and praying for Abby Sunderland over the last 24 hours, I’ve been thinking about the parental “risk spectrum.”

On one end are parents who don’t let their 16-year old daughter drive around the block alone. On the other end are parents who let their 16-year-old daughter sail around the world alone.

Note that the purpose of this post is not to bash the parents who let their daughter sail around the world alone. While I don’t understand it, I don’t know them, their daughter, or any of the circumstances, so it’s not my place to comment on it.

Making decisions about what’s an acceptable level of risk is hard. It’s sometimes agonizing for me.

I will never forget the day I put Emma on a plane by herself for the first time and then cried the whole way home. (She was 10.) Or the day I let her go on the el by herself for the first time (which was actually scarier than the plane, because there was no el employee to hand her off to, and no one waiting for her on the other end.)

I probably have a higher level of risk tolerance than many parents. In general, I don’t think the world is a more dangerous place than it used to be, as I’ve written about here. I did let Emma go on a plane by herself, and I did let her ride the el by herself. I didn’t put those plastic bumpers on the edges of the coffee table, and my kids had the bruises to show for it. I hate to admit it, but I don’t make my kids wear bike helmets when they’re riding up and down the sidewalk (when they ride in the street, yes). And we now have a trampoline in the back yard.

But regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, I think making daily decisions about how much risk you can tolerate is one of the hardest tasks of parenting.

I wish I could just have my set of rules to refer to. That would make it neat and tidy. This is ok. This is not ok. But the fact is that the decisions are situational and based on the individual kid. What I’m ok with for Emma, I may not be ok with for Margaret when the time comes. (No, let me restate that. What I’m ok with for Emma, I can say with absolute certainty I will not be ok with for Margaret.)

I guess we all just do the best we can. And then close our eyes and pray.

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Filed under Parenting, Uncategorized


We’re completing another school year today.  David’s first year of “real” school. Margaret’s first year of pre-school. Emma’s junior year of high school. (Okay, for Emma, it doesn’t completely end until Wednesday, but work with me here.)

And again, I’m struck by how fast it went.  School started. I blinked and it was Halloween. I blinked again and it was Christmas. I blinked again and it was Easter. I blinked again and school was ending.  Another year gone.

I have proof that time has passed.  David’s hair (more) and teeth (less) are evidence.

I know I’m not alone. I’m amazed by how many conversations include a reference to how quickly time passes. So forgive me if I’m stating the obvious.

I’ve had twelve years of start of school/blink/Halloween/blink/Christmas/blink/Easter/blink/end of school with Emma. I have one more and then she will be gone. On to the next phase of her life.  But I won’t think about that now.

I will think about today, as we enter the lazy, hazy, hot, humid, sweat-running-down-my-back-and-front-why-do-we-live-here (sorry, that’s a topic for another post) days of summer.  Of relaxed bedtimes and relaxed dinner times and what-the-heck-it’s-hot-let’s-eat-dinner-at-the-pool evenings.  Of sunscreen (I know that you’re supposed to use it year-round but I don’t, okay?) and damp beach towels and block parties and where’s my other flip flop?

Today it stretches in front of me.

If only I didn’t have to blink.

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Filed under Parenting