Monthly Archives: October 2015

An Open Letter to Moms on Facebook With Above-Average Kids

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Dear Moms on Facebook With Above-Average Kids (hereafter referred to as MOF-WAACs),

Your children are unique in their accomplishments. They exceed in a wide range of sports: soccer, basketball, field hockey and then soccer again, but of the “travel team” variety. They are given baffling-to-me-and-perhaps-other-people-who-don’t-live-in-your-town awards like “regional,” “all-city” and “division champ” (I say choose one geographical designation and go with it, but I don’t live in your town.) They always get A’s, and you, as a MOF-WAAC, have never failed to photograph their report cards and upload them to Facebook with the hashtag #soproud. In fact, from their post-natal APGAR score (perfect 10s, scanned and uploaded) to their college diplomas (magna cum laude, ditto), they’ve done nothing but made you #soproud. One noteworthy example (and I’m not making this up): Your toddler photographed mid-defecation, straddling a low plastic toilet with the caption “First poop in a big-girl potty!” And the hashtag #poophappens. On this point I couldn’t agree more: Poop does happen. But ask yourselves, MOF-WAACs, do we need photos of it online?

Read more at: http://tuenight.com/2015/10/soproud-moms-on-facebook-we-need-to-talk/

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Dear Kids

My mother gave me a stack of letters she saved from the time I was studying in France. Because any act within a family is layered with unspoken meaning or meanings this one made me think:

  • Of her mother, whom I called Grandma Howard and she called Mother. Grandma Howard was briskly unsentimental and the opposite of a hoarder. If you handed her a birthday card she would read it quickly, say “that’s nice,” and shove it into wastepaper basket.
  • At the end of her life there was very simply nothing left. Cabinets were empty, a closet was hung with her single blue synthetic quilted robe, and the possessions we thought we would divide among us amounted to a punch bowl and a couple of chenille bedspreads.
  • I think it helped her leave this earth. She was so very unencumbered.
  • Is my mother contemplating her own leaving?
  • My other grandmother was a hoarder but that’s another story. The Brothers of the Rose Cross pamphlet is from her.

Back to the letters. My tone surprised me: so confident, so logical, so bossy. Dear Kids, I would start each one, in writing cramped onto thin aerograms, then I would tell my stories and give instructions as to what I needed: money, information, favors done.

I think of myself as tentative, with overwrought thinking about matters I wish I could sail through in a manner that looks confident, logical and even bossy. But during this time in my life I’ve been thinking about how I present as opposed to how I “really” am and wondering which one is real. More overwrought still is the writing in my journal: in turns, depressive, dreamy, indecisive, self-doubting.

So, kids, which one is the real story of my life?

Asked and answered

This is what press secretaries say when reporters repeat questions — usually because the press secretary has declined comment. I would like to say this when family members with failing memories pepper me with the same questions usually about logistics, what my children are doing and the status of a divorce affecting a sibling. But I won’t.

where I get my information about press secretaries

where I get my information about press secretaries

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The Year of Living Danishly

Denmark is prides itself on being one of the happiest places to live in the world. But I bet it’s a quiet pride that doesn’t disparage other people and their ways and I bet they celebrate it by being together, cozily, in their well-designed living spaces.

These are my bets because I just learned the word hygge, by way of a book called “The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country.”

Writes author Helen Russell, “Hygge seems to me to be about being kind to yourself – indulging, having a nice time, not punishing or denying yourself anything. There isn’t so much enforced deprivation in Denmark. Instead you’re kinder to yourselves and so each other.”

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It’s seductive to think you could just move and be happier. But I guess people have always done this with mixed results: The Pilgrims, the Donners, me.

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