Personal Essays and Writing
Back-to-School Jitters: From Remote Learning to Regular School
September and the return to school often brings a sense of excitement and anxiety for families, and that is even more the case this year as there are still so many unknowns. What will learning look like this year? And how will it feel for kids, like mine, who have not been in a classroom in 18 months?
June 28, 2023
I have vivid memories of my late ’70s summer childhood: Sun-washed backyard decks and kids hanging out in cut-off jean shorts. Looking back at faded polaroids, there’s a sense of ease, as family and friends enjoy each other’s company...
June 7, 2023
Ahhh, the author’s bio. I always thought it an afterthought, you know, something to think about only after you’ve written your essay. It’s supposed to say something about you as a writer: who you are, where you’re from, things you love (or hate), and what you’ve written. Bios can be thoughtful, original, creative, and funny.
APRIL 30, 2021
"I remember my now 8-year-old daughter at 2, unable to jump off a rope swing onto a mat during drop-in gymnastics. She just couldn’t figure it out. So she climbed down and tried it again and again. It took 12 tries, but she finally hit the landing, her father and I shocked, watching our first-born’s resolve on display. It’s a trait I’ve seen frequently during this year of remote learning."
April 21, 2021
Natalie Serianni was in a Zoom meeting when one of her colleagues alerted her to a child behind her. With her headphones and tall desk chair, the Seattle, Washington, English professor hadn’t noticed her second grader—who’s remote learning this year—sneaking into the home office.
March 15, 2021
During the ‘80’s, Christmas mornings in our suburban Maryland home crackled with comfort. A gurgling coffee pot. A Beatles marathon on DC101. My Rainbow Bright pajamas. The damp air being let in after my mom’s quick cigarette break. My two younger sisters giggling as they stripped wrapping paper off boxes.
April 23, 2021
The buzzer sounds as I pull up my white soccer socks. It’s freezing; I can see my breath.
Inside but outside. An old airport hangar converted into a three-field soccer complex.
The scoreboard reads 10:52 pm.
April 15, 2021
I’ve always thought that while most new parents find mommy-and-me meetups when they have newborns, it’s parents of “threenagers” who truly need a support group. Each day is like being on a wildly awful and delightful rollercoaster as your child cycles through deep and intense mood swings, creating emotional whiplash for us poor, exhausted parents just attempting to hang on.
June 18, 2019
When my oldest daughter started kindergarten on our eighth wedding anniversary—I felt it.
When she lost her first tooth at her first soccer practice—I felt it.
And when our youngest daughter was born on September 2nd, the same day my mom died 15 years prior—also her birthday—I definitely felt it.
Sarah Cannon is an acclaimed author, mother, brain-health advocate, and remarkable literary citizen. In her 2018 book, The Shame of Losing, Cannon beautifully captures her precarious life after her husband’s traumatic brain injury. She was a mother of two small children, a wife, and a caretaker, all while wrestling with a new and unsettling reality.
It’s 8:10. “Okay, sweetie!” I yell down the stairs. “Five more minutes, then we’re leaving!”
“OK, Mom!” she bellows back.
I’m hopeful she’s brushing her hair and putting on her shoes. Maybe a jacket.
She’s six. She’s carefully cutting up small pieces of paper and using a maroon marker to put a squiggly line on each one.
July 7, 2017
A close friend of mine, with two young children, has a fun, whimsical sign hanging in the entryway to her house that reads: “Welcome to the Shit Show.”
Every time I see it, I giggle. I can’t think of a more fitting sign for a new family of four.
September 10, 2020
Our COVID-19 adventure continues! That this has been challenging six months for all of us, is perhaps the understatement of the year. We have been under duress at home and in the wider context of social justice and our current political climate. Things are hard.
October 18, 2018
Full disclosure: I am not a photographer.
Another disclosure: I know Erin.
Last thing: I am obsessed with Erin’s photography.
For the way they make me feel. She’s taken our family pictures since my oldest was a baby and has captured our clan every year since.