Category Archives: Family

who can bend the ball like beckham? 4

Atticus had his first soccer practice on Monday night. Despite our careful preparations to build his excitement, it was kind of a disaster. I’m going to put a big part of that blame on the YMCA, because it was disorganized and our actual coach didn’t even show up. The people who were there were very […]

the walk of shame. 9

When I was pregnant with Atticus, I felt close to Mother Mary, she who had walked those same steps (or rode them on a donkey, if you prefer). But I am not finding a lot of biblical models for parenting a toddler. There’s Hannah, who dropped her toddler off with Eli and went home to […]

in the cozy zone. 6

I am not exaggerating when I tell you that Mike is addicted to socks, especially wool socks. As soon as it gets below 60 degrees, he’s all, “I better wear wool socks so I don’t catch a chill!” Don’t even get me started on how he really believes that cold feet will make him get […]

a place for each of us. 1

Each year, I pick out an ornament for Mike and he picks out one for me to represent the past year. This is the only gift that he and I exchange, so it’s kind of a Big Deal and both of us like to get it right. A few years ago, Mike and I started […]

make someone happy. 1

Like everybody else in America, I was utterly enchanted by the Batkid story on Friday (by which I mean I practically needed fluids to replace all the tears I cried all day long and I need everybody to stop talking about it). What a beautiful gift they gave him. Not only that, what a beautiful […]

the deep down dark. 2

“The Companionable Darkness” by Kathleen Norris Friend and neighbor you have taken away. My one companion is darkness. -Psalm 88 The companionable dark Of here and now, seed lying dormant in the earth. The dark to which all lost things come—scarves and rings and precious photographs, and of course, our beloved dead. The brooding dark, […]

the brave little toddler. 6

Our group moved from house to house as the toddlers excitedly took in each step of trick-or-treating. Yes, we can stay outside even though it’s dark. Yes, you can run through the leaves. Yes, if a house has a light on, we can go there. Yes, if you ask really nicely, they might give you […]

down in the dirt. 3

When I first learned how to drive, I would fill up my car at the corner gas station. Local men drove their tractors or pickup trucks there and hung out in their worn overalls and John Deere hats, which they would tip at me when I walked by. This is probably why I picture Jesus […]

lucky thirteen. 4

When I was eleven or so, my dad bought a riding lawnmower and presented it to me. “This is why we had you, so I don’t have to mow the lawn.” In case you can’t tell, my dad ascribed to the Bill Cosby School of Parenting. Before remote controls he made us get up and […]

landing in ordinary time. 2

I took it as gospel truth that it would always take a week at least to shake off the school year. In the past, after one of the Bad Years, it took two full weeks for the sun to bake the frustration away until suddenly I felt human again. We are the luckiest people in […]

parenting milestone: chicken noodle soup 5

In kindergarten, I was sick on the day that my class went to the circus, and I missed out on seeing the unicorn. (Or “unicorn” if you prefer.) I was absent so many days in first grade that I could have been retained. One year my extended family had to do a second holiday gathering […]

how to get in shape: ten easy steps. 6

1. When your son asks what you are doing, tell him that you are going to exercise. Try not to get too upset when you realize he has no idea what that word means. Mentally calculate how long it’s been since you last exercised. Quickly abandon that advanced math. 2. Set your laptop up in […]

epiphany. 0

When I decided to have a (vaguely) Muppety party for Atticus, I thought it would be a good idea to put the words “Muppet party” into Pinterest. It was not a good idea. I wanted things like guaca-wokka-wokka-mole, but instead there were elaborate parties with details I could not hope to duplicate. It took a […]

our benediction. 2

At the end of each Sunday morning service, the acolyte snuffs out the candles on the altar, but not before lighting the wick on the candle-lighter to symbolically carry that light back out into the world. A reminder that we carry God’s light with us wherever we go. When we take Atticus anywhere, the question […]

advent I: preparing 3

(Picture by Mark File.) Does every mother believe that her child is exceptionally musical? My kid loves music. He dances around strumming his blue guitar and he requests certain songs and he pretends to sing into a microphone. On Sunday, we had an idea that we could maybe keep Atticus in the service with us […]

prone to wander. 6

Atticus and I have been walking the streets of our neighborhood, counting political signs and dogs and (of course) trucks. He cranes his head to look for airplanes from the comfort of his stroller. We talk about his day. We watch the leaves fall. Mike made a playlist that features songs we think Atticus can […]

saving my life. 4

Yesterday, we had my grandpa’s service, and my mom and her sister and brothers spoke about my grandpa. We sang hymns that I remember singing while standing next to him in the pew. It was a lovely time with family. But something was missing. And that something is the story I am going to tell […]

little monkey. 7

When my mom went back to teaching, my brother and I would stay at my grandparents’ house after school. Grandma would have a snack and the comics page of the paper ready for me. We would play in the carport or ride bikes and then do homework. I read the books on the shelves and […]

long shadows. 4

I’m not afraid of the dark when the sun goes down And the dreams grow teeth and the beasts come out and cast their long shadows Every time they start I’ll be right here with you, I’m not afraid of the dark. -Josh Ritter Atticus has been waking between 4:00 and 5:00 am and needing […]

on difficult transitions. 7

In my mind, surely placed there by a thousand ad campaigns and television shows, the working mom stood by the stove, frazzled, while the kid cried his face off nearby. This was the image I had of what our home life would be like when I went back to work. I was shocked and pleased […]