A Title for the Times

The problem with being a reader with an insatiable appetite is that I read so much I don’t always remember books I’ve read in the past.

During this shutdown, I’ve been doing the book-version of shopping from my closet. I’m re-reading and re-discovering books I already own and have read in years past. 

My latest “re-read-but-it-felt-like-a-new-read-because-I-read-it-so-long-ago-I-didn’t-remember-it” was Terry McMillan’s The Interruption of Everything. (In my defense, the book was published in 2005.)

Because without even reading the book’s jacket copy, the title was perfect for life right now.

While the protagonist, Marilyn, is the same age as me (44), her kids are in college. My son will be starting the 7th grade this fall.

But how perfect is this paragraph when it comes to describing moms?

“Being a lifetime wife and mother has afforded me the luxury of having multiple and even simultaneous careers: I’ve been a chauffeur. A chef. An interior decorator. A landscape architect, as well as a gardener. I’ve been a painter. A furniture restorer. A personal shopper. A veterinarian’s assistant and sometimes the veterinarian. I’ve been an accountant, a banker, and on occasion, a broker. I’ve been a beautician. A map. A psychic. Santa Claus. The Tooth Fairy. The T.V. Guide. A movie reviewer. An angel. God. A nurse and a nursemaid. A psychiatrist and psychologist. Evangelist.”

And then there’s this paragraph, about acknowledging the need for change:

“It has taken me a long time to recognize that I’ve never put myself first, I’m always on the bottom of my things to do list and I keep getting carried over to the next day/month/year. But not this time. I think I finally get it. You don’t have to give up everything to own your life. And you don’t have to give everything you own to fuel someone else’s.”

That’s the part I’m working on.


Unplanned, Unexpected Lessons

On Friday the 13th (March 13th), the world changed as we knew it.

My son came home from middle school thinking he’d spend the next two weeks at home because of the district-wide shutdown.

Two weeks turned into almost three months.

In that time, my sixth-grade son and I worked through his assignments. We read. We discussed. We learned. 

Click here to be redirected to Motherwell Magazine to read my recently published essay, “7 Unexpected Things I Taught My Kid During Homeschooling.”


In Loving Celebration


Friday, June 12th is Loving Day. The name comes from Loving v. Virginia (1967), the Supreme Court decision which “declared all laws against interracial marriage unconstitutional in the United States.”

1967. That was only 53 years ago. 

(By the way, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out the 2016, Oscar-nominated film Loving.  The movie is based on the real life story of Richard and Mildred Loving whose own interracial marriage and legal battles ultimately made it possible for my husband and I to marry.)

My husband and I married in 1999. We were lucky; race wasn’t an issue for us. My parents were entirely accepting of my husband-to-be; I think because they had dealt with their own difficulties prior to marrying. When they married, in 1975, their different religious backgrounds weren’t readily accepted by their parents. (45 years later, they remain happily married.)

But even though it was 1999, and we were on the verge of a new millennium, I had the hardest time finding a wedding cake topper featuring a mixed-race couple. My mom and I visited shop after shop with no luck. Salespeople couldn’t make any suggestions about where we might locate such a cake topper. And don’t forget – this was in 1999. The internet was not what it is now. 

I’ve always been disappointed that I had to settle for the closest thing I could find — a cake topper that featured a white woman with blond hair (I’m brunette) and a dark-skinned groom.

Hopefully, other brides no longer have that issue. 

And hopefully, times are changing.

I think about the famous African-American individuals we learn about in school. The familiar names – Rosa Parks, Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, just to list a few. I think about the names that Hollywood has taught us – for example, Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson (from Hidden Figures) and Mr. and Mrs. Loving.

Why aren’t those names taught? 

And what other names remain unknown to most of us?


My Confessions as The Mother of a Biracial Son


This is our family.

The events this past week, this past month, these past months, years, and decades directly impact our family.

And, like I often do, I had to sit down and write about it.

Click here to be redirected to Motherwell Magazine’s Facebook page to read “My Confessions as The Mother of a Biracial Son.”

Let’s continue the conversation. 


Taking It Day By Day

When someone asks how we’re doing, I answer, “We’re taking it day by day.”

But what I really want to say is, “We’re taking it bird by bird.”

My second answer is a reference to what is considered a classic writing book, Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. 

I’ve read this book in the past, but now seemed like a perfect time to take it off my bookshelf and re-read it.

While it’s especially valuable for writers, I do believe much of the book can be applied to readers and artists in general.

During these challenging, scary, unchartered times here are some words from Bird By Bird that I hope help get you through your day-by-day.

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work; you don’t give up.”

“If you are a writer, or want to be a writer, this is how you spend your days – listening, observing, storing things away, making your isolation pay off.”

– “I honestly think in order to be a writer, you have to learn to be reverent. If not, why are you writing? Why are you here? Let’s think of reverence as awe, as presence in and openness to the world.” 

– “My deepest belief is that to live as if we’re dying can set us free. Dying people teach you to pay attention and to forgive and not to sweat the small things.”

– “To live as if we are dying gives us a chance to experience some real presence. Time is so full for people who are dying in a conscious way, full in the way that life is for children.” 

– “Don’t be afraid of your material or your past. Be afraid of wasting any more time obsessing about how you look and how people see you. Be afraid of not getting your writing done.” 

– “Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul.”