When I was little, our family hit hard times and we didn’t even have money for groceries. I was just five years old, so I wasn’t sure what was going on — all I knew was that the cabinets were empty.
When I was in first grade, my brother Caleb and I lived in another state for a month — I don’t want to explain why. All I will say is that it was unexpected, confusing, and the result of serious complications in my parents’ relationship.
A lot of folks like me hit their 20s or 30s and suddenly realize all the things their parents got wrong. The blame rolls in. Our insecurities, troubles with romance, inability to develop healthy friendships, whatever — all of it comes back to mom and pop. If only they hadn’t done this or that, we would be healthy and whole. When my parents divorced after years of trying to keep it together, I didn’t know what to do with their relationship. In the back of my mind, I knew there were bright moments, but I simplified things by seeing their relationship as one big mistake.
When I was a kid growing up in Petal, Mississippi, I dreamed of leaving my hometown and moving to the big city. All that dreaming eventually led me to Washington, D.C., but in the years since I’ve been away, my fondness for small town living has grown as I’ve realized it actually comes with quite a few advantages. Here are five of my favorite benefits:
Last weekend, I got out our trusty, old fake Christmas tree and put it together. But when I plugged it in, I discovered that half of the lights in the middle section were dead.
Until a few years ago, every November I called an old man named John Moorhead and wished him a happy Veteran’s Day.
A couple of weeks ago, there was an unexpected turn of events in my life that knocked the wind out of me. At first, it agitated me; then agitation turned into anxiety, and anxiety turned into a low-grade feeling of panic. I didn’t have a lot of control over the circumstances, and every moment I left things unresolved, it weighed on me more heavily.
Although I hate ironing, I went on a wild ironing spree this past Sunday afternoon.
I never figured much could come from a Twitter conversation, but then I tweeted to renowned Japanese artist Makoto Fujimura last April.
This morning, I spent 90 minutes playing with blocks on the floor with my daughters. My mom is a big part of the reason I did it.
Recently while my family and I were on vacation, my three-year-old daughter loudly asked the question every parent wants to hear in a public swimming pool: “Daddy, can I go pee pee in the pool?” A young mom with long, blond hair and a number of elaborate tattoos looked over at me and chuckled. But I wasn’t sure if it was a laugh that said, “I’m judging you” or “That sounds like something my kid would say.”
I took an etiquette class several years ago in which the instructor told us that compliments must never be specific, because they already embarrass people as it is. The embarrassment only increases with the specificity of the compliment. This is not good for me.
Four and a half years ago, someone gave my newborn daughter a paperback book called Let it Snow. I’ve probably read it several hundred times since then, in part because we had another child who loved the book as much as my oldest daughter.