7 Things I Want My Kids To Know On The First Day Of School

Things I want my kids to know on the first day of school

As you lie in your beds on this – the night before the first day of school – I know you are dutifully trying to sleep despite the anxious thoughts creeping through your minds. My mind is racing too. Trying to remember what it is like to go 8 hours without seeing your faces. Trying to remember what 8 hours of silence sounds like. Trying not to mourn the end of our lazy mornings, our big adventures, and time that belongs to no one but us.

I promise when we walk through those double doors tomorrow, you will forget all the doubts and fears that are keeping you awake tonight.

read more

Believing When It Is Hard to Believe

I am, and always have been, an open book. I say the things I think the exact moment I think them. Apparently I write that way too. There is no filter, no editing, no careful selection of facts and emotions to create a picture of a theoretical existence.

And if being an open book means talking about the myriad times I have chosen to find joy even in heartbreak, it also means talking about the times when I could not.

Maybe it’s not pretty. Maybe it’s uncomfortable. But it’s real. Besides, a good book always makes you a little uncomfortable, doesn’t it?

read more

New LOP Article On Babble: Summer Ain’t Over Yet

Babble Summer Ain't Over Yet Screw You Back to school displays

I typically don’t write a lot in the summer because, well, I like summer just as much as my kids. I did manage to write about that for Babble so please click here to read the article!

“When I was a kid, the end of the school year was brutal. I was ready for summer vacation by mid-April. My brain, which generally fired on all four cylinders, was torturously limping toward the finish line on a flat tire and a crappy suspension. And the idea of finishing my last school project (inevitably a diorama of some kind) was more torturous than being trapped in a pit of snakes.

read more

This Is The Me They Love: New Article on YourTango

This is the me they love YourTango article
Check out the LOP’s new article on YourTango!  “My 7-year-old took a picture of us watching his brother’s basketball game when we weren’t looking. It’s blurry and overexposed and all I could see were the things I don’t like about myself: Double chin, wrinkles, the weird angle of my profile, the perpetual coffee stain on my shirt. If I’m being totally honest, I was planning on deleting it when he wasn’t looking. That’s the problem with modern technology, digital photography, smartphones and filters: We can instantaneously erase anything that isn’t “perfect.” We can keep reviewing and critiquing and recreating a picture over and over again until we get what we want.

That’s not always a bad thing, but we lose something along the way. We lose a little bit of who we really are.

The more I looked at this picture, the more I liked it. Because it’s one of the few candid pictures of me that exists. I’m usually the one behind the camera. And if I’m in front of the lens, it’s often a posed picture. A group shot at Christmas. A night out on the town in fancy clothes.

I love all of those pictures, but I love this more. Because this is what my children see when they look at me…”

read more

The Light And The Dark

Chatham vacation beach family

We were away this week. And by away I mean away. I completely checked out. No phone, no email, no texts, no TV, no Facebook.

Just people. Sand and seals and starfish. Card games and songs and mini golf. Lobster rolls and three different clam chowders. Bright sun and cold fog. A precious baby boy who shares my name. Family.

I was so unplugged I didn’t even take that many pictures. And it was amazing.

Maybe I didn’t check out as much as I checked in.

There was some hard stuff too. That town, that house – they are filled with ghosts for me. I stood at the same counter where I heard my dad’s last words. I walked the same stone terrace where my brother and I lay hand in hand later that night. I drove the same winding streets where we followed the ambulance for miles.

read more

Years That Ask Questions: A Letter To My Father On The Second Anniversary Of His Death

Years That Ask Questions And Years That Answer

Dear Daddy,

It’s been over a year since I last wrote you a letter. Two years since I stood in church clad in a black dress that mom told me was more appropriate than the orange one I wanted to wear.

I had thought about that dress the whole 12 hours we drove home from Cape Cod, in the silence that filled the car between the calls. The calls about death certificates and funeral receptions and Valium prescriptions. I thought about it as we drove past New Haven and I made Billy stop the car so I could walk on the Green just as I had 15 years before. Just as you had 40 years before.

read more

This is Forty

40th birthday this is 40

Last month, I bid my thirties farewell. There wasn’t much fanfare. No dark clouds in the sky heralding the end of life as I know it. I just woke up one day and was 40.

40 is a tricky number. To some it is a dirty word. To some it is a chance to throw a big fun party that rivals your wedding. To some – judging by all the articles titled “40 things I’ve learned at 40” – it is apparently the age of total enlightenment.

But no matter how you slice it, 40 can be weighty.

read more