Summer

Tomorrow is the last day of school for us, which, at this point, feels like a real relief. In the last two weeks, I’ve participated in, prepared for, shopped for, and attended more school-related, end-of-the-year activities than is normal for a person like me. It has been two weeks of:

“Mom, I need a special lunch for my picnic tomorrow.”

“Mom, I need to wear a Kelly green shirt for tomorrow with no writing on it.”

“Mom, it’s joke day and I need 3 really good ones.”

Thank you for having them all year and now just give me my kids already so I don’t have to prepare another thing.

It’s all over tomorrow, thanks be to god.

Summertime begins, which scares most of us with kids, even if just a little bit. Because: What the hell are we to do with them all summer long?

I feel it, but also? Summer is my thing: I know what to do in summer. In summer, it’s 1987 around here again. We go to the pool, friends are around, and we have just a few anchored plans. Summer Bucket Lists where we pack in activities? Nope. Summer Bucket Lists weren’t a thing in 1987. We had a bucket and some water balloons one day, though, and I still remember it.

What do we give them for the summer? This is now a question for many of us. I don’t know that my mom ever asked this question of herself for us. She gave us plenty, but she gave us whatever was there: mostly, cousins at a lake and friends at a pool, and it all felt so fun. I think I still love summer because of how it all went down then.

Some of us want to give experiences that we don’t have the time for in the school year. And: Sure, fine, yes, let’s do that. But let’s be clear: What they consider a great experience and what we consider a great experience can be very different. So, let’s keep everyone’s expectations in check. And low.

The only activities we have planned for this summer are some little trips with friends and a camp for each of my older two kids. My 9-year-old baby is going away to a sports camp for which I’m not prepared, but since he set his own alarm on camp sign-up day so that he could register and figured out the roommate situation on his own, I figured that I needed to exit left with my fears. He’s ready, even if I’m not. He told me that it was time; I told him that he’s never loved anything in his whole life the way I love him so cut me some slack and get in every gosh darn picture that that camp posts on social media or I will drive the three hours and jump out of my car and start snapping pictures while calling his name. It’s sure to go well.

My 7-year-old loves animals. Coming from my womb, I thought there wasn’t a chance of that (I want no harm done to any animal, but could they please not come near me ever?). She’s going to horse camp. I’ll kick her out of the car and be on my way.

The baby? He wants to go nowhere. He has thumb-downed every camp opportunity suggested so, instead, he’s going to be attending Camp We Have A Big Family, Who’d Like To Have A Baby Flavin For A Morning? He wants to ride his bike all day and end up at a pool or a lake. And then go out to lunch. I understand this one really well for now, actually. We’ll get along great.

At different points in the summer, I have plans for them — it’ll be day-camp-like experiences, which I’m calling, “Camp Don’t Be An Asshole” Days. I really should trademark that. We’re going to volunteer and learn that there are so many kinds of human experiences on this planet and each of them is worthy of its place. Our job is to help make the world spin a little more towards kindness and that means learning from new people what kindness looks like for them. They didn’t register themselves for this camp; I wouldn’t have either in 1987. No worries, though, it’ll be good.

What are your plans? Are you 1987-ing it with me? Will my feral kids run into yours on a bike with bare feet? I hope so. Let them go if you can. We get 18 summers with them — more or less. My only job for this one is that when they read a line in a book someday that describes endless summer days and pick-up games and how the lake feels on your skin in the beginning of the summer versus how it feels in August and how it is to have friends in the summer that you see no other time but then, they’ll know what that all feels like. This is the only time for all of that. Camp Don’t Be An Asshole, too.

We can do this. All of our moms and dads did it in 1987, without the internet even. When it gets hard, hand them a sucker. Tell them they can’t bite it. Or tell them to unload the dishwasher — that’ll keep them away for awhile. Remember: We’re not camp directors; we’re parents. And our best job is to love them well. Here we go.

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Anne FlavinComment
1987ing It

Hello,

I’m here to offer what may be an unpopular option. Nevertheless:

It’s May. May is the spring equivalent to busy December, with all of its end-of-school activities, communions, graduations, confirmations, and sporting events, which is why they put Mother’s Day right in there, too, I’m sure: there weren’t enough have-tos already on our calendars.

I’m here to nicely suggest: You needn't go to every one of your child’s games, events, meets, competitions, or whatever other activity they may partake in that allows for parent attendance.

If you have children, and you want to, you may, at this very moment, be filling up your whole life doing their activities: driving to practices, watching 3-hour baseball games, volunteering at their schools, taking them to friends’ homes to hang out — all noble, and sometimes fun, ways to spend a night or an afternoon. We delivered them and we should be there for them, right?

Right.

And...

We should have something for ourselves. We can’t have anything for ourselves if we cannot find a moment for ourselves. Also, the moment for ourselves must come after 6:30am and before 8pm once in a while.

You don’t need permission from me, but maybe you need to hear it from another mother who loves her kids so much that she, too, would do, and does, the most she can for them at so many points: I nursed each kid forever and I skip their baseball games without even a reason. I love that they love to play, but their loving to play shouldn’t have to mean that I have to love to watch every single game.

There’s much discussion about children’s sports in this era: Is it all too much too soon? Are coaches putting too much pressure? Are parents? As with most issues, I believe there are a combination of factors that can make it too intense for some.

Remember 1987? I do. If my mom was at my game (and there were plenty of times she wasn’t), she was at the park with my little sister while my little sister played there and I played on the field or court. She kind of watched, mostly talked to other people, and always came a little late. Not because she wasn’t a good mother, but because she didn’t really care about every single sport I enjoyed. And that was totally fine.

I want my kids to have activities they love to do and part of that means they need to figure out what they love to do by doing it even if I’m not watching. Remember: The goal for all of our children is as much independence as they need with a hearty side of “Don’t forget how much I did for you and come back to visit me often enough.” Oh, and who decides if it’s often enough? I do, of course.

It’s supposed to be a beautiful weekend here. It’s gorgeous out right now. I know because I’m sitting in my car at a baseball field, not because any one of my kids has a game, but because their friends did and they wanted to watch, practice, and play at the park. I’m alone in my car with the windows down and we are all winning right now.

Tomorrow is soccer Saturday. I can’t wait to go to watch that one tomorrow because it’s a first this season for our youngest; I’ll hit a baseball game, too, so long as it stays beautiful. And then that’ll do for a while. And they'll be ok. This won’t be the thing that makes them turn to drugs in high school, I don’t think. Also, those same people who raised us and didn’t really care what we were doing all of the time are now grandparents, and - craziest thing - now that they’re regularly sleeping through the night, they like to go to so many of these events for their grandkids. And they can cheer while we’re not there. Also, other parents who send pictures of whatever your kid did well while you’re MIA? That’s real teamwork. We all know it takes a village. Let’s set them up well in one and remember that we will never make it as the whole village for them, as much as we may wish for it to be so.

Want to join me? Take a break. Find a few minutes to have a little life other than their activities. Have them tell you all about how they played when they get home. They might exaggerate a little about how they did, but don’t we all deserve the chance to pretend we were better than we actually were? I think so.

 

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Anne FlavinComment
National School Walkout

Are you unsure of whether to have your kids participate in the #NationalSchoolWalkout today?

Do you send them to school everyday? If you do, they regularly have active shooter drills as it is. If you think they don’t know what they’re doing because you asked them once and they didn’t seem to know, ask them again. Kids know all the things if you really ask, listen, and let their answer go on.

We haven’t talked a whole bunch about all of it - the school shootings, the walkout, the lockdown drills, etc. - but the first thing my son showed me when we went into his classroom for Open House was where they hide for lockdown drills and how his classroom was better than his sister’s because it has a little quadrant that’s protected from sight from the doorway. He’s never ever mentioned that before and I thought he didn’t really know what was up honestly. He felt bad for his sister (who also knew enough to feel bad for herself), but also like he beat her because everything’s a competition for them and he won the classroom that he believes he’d be least likely to die in. They know.

I’ve heard parents explain their concern about the walkout today: Does their kid really get it? Should they push their views on their kid? Shouldn’t we just be kinder to each other and then shootings wouldn’t happen?

Well, kids don’t get lots of things, like why it’s gross to pick their noses, but that doesn’t mean I don’t tell them to stop picking their noses. I push my views on my kids because I pushed them out of my vagina myself, which makes me the deciding vote for lots of things for them.

Our children are being raised in our Irish (and a tiny bit German) Catholic family, which means all sorts of things like we make our First Communions (even though we don’t agree with everything the Church thinks) and we go to wakes and funerals (even if we didn’t really know the person who died) for the people we love who are still living and grieving. They get an opinion, they get a vote and a voice, and sometimes my vote and voice overrides theirs. Honestly, I don’t have to pull the override card often, though, because most times I explain it and they get it. And sometimes, when the universe has my back, they explain it to each other and I sit back and think, “Carry on raising yourselves. You’re good.”

As for whether our kids should be kinder towards one another, of course they should. Always. But kindness is no match for terrible gun violence prevention legislation.

You think other countries don’t have kids who feel bullied and ostracized? They do. You think other countries don’t have kids who play violent video games? They do, too. You think other countries don’t have people with mental illness? They do.

We have the same kinds of people in the same situations across First World countries, but only we in America have gun deaths at the level we do. Why? Because guns and because of our easy access to them thanks to the NRA that continually fights the most common sense, non-partisan gun legislation.

Why do they fight that? Because money.

I’ll stop now, but not before I say: If you haven’t educated yourself on the statistics, you don’t get to say what you think the problem is. Facts exist that point to the problem being our access to guns in America. Your opinion is not more important than the facts.

As for the kids, they’re always all right if we are. If we want to scare them or put our anxieties and concerns on them, we can do it without even saying it. Have you ever been in a bad mood, but not mentioned a thing and you’re still going through the motions at your house? Watch how your kids react. It’s a total shitshow. Without saying a word, you can create a whole atmosphere: Mothering (and Fathering) is the most powerful, I do believe.

Let’s give our kids a chance. Let’s let them learn. Let’s teach them, and let them teach us. Let’s give them some credit, for goodness’ sakes. We can’t expect them to become the kind, thoughtful, articulate people we want for them to be - who stand up to bullies - unless we give them opportunities all throughout their childhoods to practice that. They learn the same way we do: by doing. Nothing happens in an instant; we develop. They develop, too.

We get what we put into the world. Give it the best you’ve got.

See you on the pavement. And teachers, thanks for always standing up for our kids and for speaking truth to power. We honor your commitment to our kids everyday, today included.

EssaysAnne FlavinComment
Ireland

We returned home last week after spending a couple of weeks in Ireland with family. I wrote this while there. I'm posting this so that in a year, when it comes up in my Facebook memories at a time when I've surely forgotten that I was going to try harder in this respect and lapsed back into being a crabass, I'll be reminded of how nice it was when everyone went out of their way to be kind and fun with us, when my kids were regarded as additions to the fun instead of annoyances to someone's environment, when everyone's positive attitude made our attitudes positive. For what it's worth.

***

I haven't encountered one crabby person, one person who is put out by our pathetic driving, bothered by our children, annoyed at our presence. Every idiotic question of ours has been answered sweetly, if with a laugh. When we went down a one-way street, no one honked or waved at us with a mad face: instead, a woman restauranteur came out of her restaurant, opened the gate leading to an alley next to her cafe, and motioned for us to turn into it (we still didn't know we were going the wrong way) - and she let us in her private parking area and told us to turn around because we were going the wrong way. Thank you, we said. No problem at all, she said. As if she hadn't a million other things to do before opening her restaurant.

There is another way to talk to each other. There is another way to be with each other. Unbothered, unannoyed, without an eye roll or a heavy breath, letting things roll, knowing that everyone's trying their best, with mostly good intentions at least a great majority of the time.

Even if we get talked about behind our backs, what does it matter then? They were kind to our faces and I'd take that over the reverse, if I had to choose. And who's to say they talked about us when we left? If they did, they laughed about us and they should have. I'd have laughed with them.

We are a nuisance in a land of people who are unbothered. If necessary for our safety, they gently correct us, but mostly they live, let live, and are funny in those processes.

We are chaos in a land that isn't fussy. And this is why everyone comes back here again and again - because it's certainly not for the weather (notice our wool sweaters for an Irish summer): we learn patience, we learn kindness, we learn to laugh first, to let things roll.

My children have noticed as well, as my eldest declared, "I haven't met one grump here yet. Are there crabby people here?" His favorite friend here was my 83-year-old uncle who made him tea, let the younger siblings fill his bird feeders, gave us his home to stay in - all of this when I can hardly answer my doorbell at home without some minor frustration when it rings. I mean, really.

My uncle made his home, with all of my children and my mom and my husband, all ready for us. No trouble at all, he said. It was trouble, but he does it. They do it. They go out of their way for kindnesses.

This is Ireland. You don't come for the weather. Or the food, really (except the seafood chowder. And the really good butter and cream and milk and I've gained some weight, but #worthit). It's the people here. They make you better before you leave.

People say kindness is free and it is, but that doesn't mean that it's easy, that it requires no effort. Breastfeeding is free, too, but it's no joke in the beginning - it takes effort to get it going. Same here, I think.

And so I hope we come home with this muscle memory of smiling first, of assuming the best and taking a kind approach first, of speaking to other people's children the way our children have been spoken to here.

This is why we should travel: to learn the best the world has to give. And then to bring it home with us and spread it around.

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Anne FlavinComment
Action

What concerns me most about the Stanford rape case: it is but one. It is but one of many, many horrible scenarios that occur on campuses and elsewhere in a culture that does not protect its women. Usually, bicyclists don't catch the rapist in action. Usually, there is no trial. Usually, the victim cannot, for myriad reasons, articulate what a rape has done to her psyche.

I am angry that colleges and universities across the country are not addressing the serious issue of rape on their campuses. It is a serious issue. And we, as consumers of their education, should demand better for our daughters and for our sons.

If you have not yet viewed the documentary The Hunting Ground, please do. If you have a child who does or who will someday attend a college or university, this documentary should be required viewing. If your child is in high school and will be headed to college or headed to visit friends while they are in college, this documentary should be viewed first.

I am angry that the people who have the power to affect change are not, and are, instead, reconfiguring reporting policies so that their campuses appear safe to prospective students. I am angry that, while Brock Turner is in the news this week, next week it will be some other unrelated thing which I cannot predict, and that no change might come from what his victim endured.

I do not care about what his parents write. I do not care about him. I do not care whether he was a good swimmer (though, obviously, not a fast enough runner because he got caught). What I care about is the larger picture which has shown that this will happen again and again, that other women will suffer at the hands of other men just as Turner's victim has.

Knowledge is power. And then, after knowledge, action brings power.

We have a crisis where young women are victimized and then, to make matters worse, if it can even be so, justice isn't served, knowledge isn't provided, nothing changes.

If our universities and colleges are not acknowledging this problem, then let us help them acknowledge it. Let us let them know that WE KNOW, that hiding facts and knowledge is the antithesis of what we expect from a place of higher learning.

I submitted the petition found here:

http://www.seeactstop.org/campussurvey/

to my undergraduate alma mater as an alumna in the hopes that they will listen. Please do the same for any college or university with which you have been connected so that we can start some action.

If we have rankings of party schools, of best academic schools, can we not have a ranking of safest schools? Of lowest incidence of rape schools (where we know the school is fully reporting)? Give me that list. Because those are places I'd like to know about.

Happy P.O.'d Monday, Mamas!

***THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUNNY. BUT, IF YOU DON'T LIKE SARCASM, DON'T READ IT: YOU WON'T FIND IT FUNNY. SARCASM IS MEAN TO PEOPLE WHO DON'T SPEAK SARCASM. WE SPEAK SARCASM AS A FLUENT SECOND LANGUAGE IN OUR HOME AND SO IT WAS/IS FUNNY TO US. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.*** I was texting with some girlfriends today and from our meticulous data and specially-special research collection, we do believe that this Monday has most mothers - particularly those of young children - feeling, maybe, a little P.O.'d - to put it kindly.

If you relaxed yesterday, then whatever work you normally do on a day, but didn't yesterday because you were going to take the day off, was waiting for you bright and early this morning. No real rest for the weary, you know. If the work is just waiting for you when you come back, does that really count as a rest day then? Remember "No Homework Coupons?" When you could hand that in instead of your completed homework? You never, ever had to finish the homework if you had one of those suckers. Those were the days.

But those are no longer the days. Shit doesn't get done if you don't do it. Or ask for it to get done no less than 5,678 times.

I have a husband who is like a lot of other loving husbands in that he loves his wife very much, but that love does not translate well into actions we might have wished for, OR BLATANTLY TOLD THEM we'd like. They get confused by us, I guess.

So, that brings us to today, The Day After Mother's Day or, as our research has pointed to - P.O.'d Monday - where we look around and realize that on the one day of the year when we might have earned a break, we, perhaps, did not.

My husband missed his flight home yesterday morning and then came home at dinner time with his head out of the game of parenting young children, and I had exactly negative sympathy for his situation. My mom did, though - bless her heart. You would think that my husband was the one who resided in my mother's womb so many years ago with the way she takes his side in every possible scenario. Like, when, after 30 hours of back labor with my first born, she commented on how hard it must've been for Pat to sleep on the cot in the hospital. Yes, Mom, that must've been really hard for him. Let me give him a massage. Oh wait, I can't because I am nursing the infant human I just grew and pushed out of my own body.

Anyways, Mamas, if your Mother's Day was a little less than you might have hoped for, I promise you, you are in some good company. Some whole parts of school pick-up lines in randomly selected suburbs around Chicago, and in Fort Wayne, Indiana; New York City, New York; Seattle, Washington; and all the way down south in Louisiana, felt the same way today. P.O.'d Monday is not restricted to any one region, we've learned.

I spent yesterday doing exactly what I always do, which I still consider to be an insane privilege, even if it is a privilege that I would've greatly desired to take a break from yesterday, but, you know, dreams don't always come true - without a woman making them happen, anyways.

Yesterday the kids and I grocery shopped together and they were, surprisingly, wonderful little children. That's them at the check-out counter looking - but not asking for - one of the millions of toys; it was a small miracle. It's like they knew enough to give me a break from their usual, developmentally-appropriate-but-annoying-nonetheless shenanigans. No one crapped their pants, either, so it really was a successful day. And, yes, my standards have now left the building.

Today, with data collected from the field, I developed a new working line of Mother's Day cards, which will have this card as a feature in 2017:

"Today I'm going to do all of the stuff you normally do, but I'm gonna act like it's a much bigger deal, because I'm doing it with a penis. (And that's if you're 'lucky'). Happy Mother's Day!"

Happy P.O.'d Monday, Mamas! It's a real thing. You are not alone. The bittersweet news is this: Our babies grow up! And the break you so wished for yesterday will be there eventually. I know this because my mom got to pee alone every time she went to the bathroom yesterday. That, actually, was my Mother's Day gift to her. I know - my generosity knows no bounds.

xo, Annie

P.S. Rumor has it that Father's Day is the new Mother's Day if yesterday was a total bust for you. Bring on June.

To Plant Something Good Anywhere

For all of the hate, there is this love.For all of the anger, this contentment. For all of the despair, this hope.

This is as real as all of that.

Each of us, to some extent, lives in a bubble of our own making. It gets punctured from time to time by ourselves, by our circumstance, by life in general, and even a tiny hole can leave us out of sorts - disenfranchised, even - by the change in air pressure around us.

We feel off, then; life feels off.

When it feels off, it is good to get back to the basics: to put down our phones, to make a meal and sit down to eat it, to turn off our television or our radio, to go for a walk, to talk to our neighbor, to listen to the people we love, to make eye contact with another living being, to smile, to laugh, to garden, to plant anything good anywhere that might become something more beautiful eventually.

Doing any of that is just as true as whatever else has occurred in the world that has felt awful that day. Adding any bit of beauty to our world counts. If each of us, instead of asking the question "What is our world coming to?" when bad things happen in it, went out and managed to perform some large or small offering of goodness, what would it feel like? What would our world actually come to then? After an offering of goodness, if we still needed to, we could ask, "What is this world coming to?" and we could look around and see something beautiful that we helped to create, that we somehow set in motion.

Instead of blaming, we'd be creating. Instead of asking loud, rhetorical questions, we'd be offering quiet, real solutions.

This sun was shining. This baby - he will always be my baby - was trying to kiss my face off. I was laughing. All the kids on the block were playing outside, yelling and running through my muddy yard. My husband was working at a job he loves.

I am privileged. We are privileged.

Terrible, unconscionable things were happening somewhere while all of this went on here. Terrible, awful things. Terrible, awful things have happened even in my bubble; even if we think we can keep everything terrible and awful out, we cannot. Even with privilege, life offers no immunity. Without privilege, you have already been exposed.

There is no known inoculation for all of the terrible and awful things, but peace can help. And peace comes from love and compassion.

And this love, this goodness is as real as anything.

Find it, spread it, offer it, give it, plant it, grow it, work on it, receive it, and make it as real as any of the terrible things we see in the world so that someday it grows into something that offers a beautiful answer to the question "What is this world coming to?"

To beauty, to love, to kindness, to goodness. From planting something good somewhere.

***

It is Holy Saturday today for Christians and it is holy Saturday for everyone because it's the only Saturday like this one we've got. Give it something good.

Everyday

Two hand-done pieces on marbleized paper (I did the marbleization with nail polish!) that were just sent out. "Where there is light, there is hope.

And so, everyday the sun comes up and its rays say to you, 'Hello again! Hope is here!'"

Every darn day - even when we can't exactly see it.

xo,

annie

photo-5 copy 14

photo-5 copy 14

Love

At first, I fell. Into my husband's eyes and his heart. Now, though, I often forget the falling. I know he does, too. That was a lifetime ago - three lifetimes ago, actually. We work to love, not because it is hard to do (though it can be), but because it is so easy - with all of the other things in the world - to forget how we started on this adventure. For love, there must be intimacy and trust. There must be kindness and time, given and received. We must put away our screens and look at each other. We must listen.

Our phones have been our biggest obstacle to connecting. It is so much easier to scroll through people than to focus on our actual people, to comment quickly rather than to think deeply and respond with great care and heart to one another. Our world moves more quickly than when we started together. Moving more quickly, however, does not get us connected more deeply. There's only longhand for that: only the real stuff - face-to-face talking, listening, responding, understanding, caring - does that.

Only the real stuff is what matters at the end of the day, at the end of a life - all throughout a life, actually. If you have one person who you love, who loves you, one being whose eyes light up when she sees you, if you can remember what that feels like and can offer that to anyone else in the world, that's the whole beautiful piece of love for me. That's how the world goes around. That's what we celebrate in our house today. It is not about coupledom or marriage or any other construct; it is about flat-out love for our fellow humans with whom we share space and soul.

This girl of mine and I went shopping the other day. She was going to pick out a treat for herself, but I could tell that she was picking out something just to say she got something. I said, "Don't just get something to get something. We can try again another day. Only get something that you really want, that really makes you happy."

She put down the cheap, crappy hat she was carrying and said, "This is not the thing I really want."

Then, we went home and she made this wonderfully ridiculous construction paper bow headband because this was the thing she really wanted; this was the thing that really made her happy. This was the thing she loved. It didn't look like anything else we saw and, yet, it was exactly perfect for her.

So many times we stick with something just because we want SOMETHING. We want it to count as having something, even if that something doesn't feel like exactly what we want, even when we shove it on us or into us to fill us up. Sometimes, that's life and it's fine.

Other times, though, it's best to let go of the things that are just taking space for the thing we actually want, the thing or the person we'd actually love. If she'd gotten the hat, she'd never have made this bow headband. She'd never have danced around with it on her head, made a matching dress with a matching story - she'd have had none of that happiness.

How many times is that the case for us? With people we hang on to because we aren't sure there is anything better? Because we think that being alone feels worse? (It does at first, if you're not used to it, FYI.) Because working hard for the love we want feels like too much hard work?

The love I like to celebrate is the deep, dirty, hard-working love that gets messy lots of times, that sometimes feels like too much work because there is not enough time, that especially feels like too much work when there looks like a perfectly pre-packaged facsimile that can be purchased somewhere else. And shipped to your door for free.

It can't be purchased. It can't be faked. You might fall for it in the beginning, sure, but for it to stay - for it to be real and honest and heartfelt, for it to have eyes and ears - you've got to work for it. We do at least. And most every other couple or person who practices loving well does, too, from what I've seen. At least from time to time.

Happy love day to all of you who work hard to love yourselves and your people. It's the best nectar out there, but you've got to climb the damn tree.

Keep climbing. Take breaks when you need them. Make things that make you happy, ginromous-bowed headbands included.

xo, Annie

Wander the World

We spent the past week in the Bay Area. While my husband worked in the city, I worked my way across the city as tour guide with our three kids. It was a whirlwind. I am significantly outnumbered, namely with a two-year-old whose greatest skills include running and running even faster when you ask him to stop. But, I swear to you, it was so much fun for me. I suppose this is what parenthood does to you: It makes you completely crazy and then you find the crazy to be some of the best moments of your life. I don’t even try to get it anymore.  Whatever. More than almost anything else in the world, travel forces you to live in the present, which is just about the only way that you can survive well when parenting young children anyways. There was whining and yelling (from me, too) and there were great memories made amidst all of the chaos.

And then, we were able to come home and remember why having a home feels so lucky and so good.

Both, And. Today, this. Tomorrow, that. Home and Away. Roots and Wings. Presently living to make what will be, as my son said while we were away, future “core memories.”

I wrote this; it's for all of us who take our kids anywhere we can (out to dinner counts), even when it's hard and tiring - keep going if it makes you (and them) feel good. Your kids will thank you and you will thank yourself.  Cheers.

***

I’d wander the world with them by my side if money were air and time didn’t divide.

I’d wander and learn and pretend to live there for awhile until the wind blew the way to the new place we’d play.

“That girl with the kids? Have you seen her around? I can’t figure out what she’s doing in town.

Her husband comes and goes and nobody knows what she’s all about.”

They’d say all that and then they’d go back to their houses and families and friends.

She has a home and a family and friends, just like you. Her dreams and her wanderlust are large, like yours, too.

But instead of sitting idle and finding reasons why she can’t, she goes. And she goes and where she’ll stop,

well, she knows.

By the water or by the fire, on a couch or in a house with her family and friends and her dreams on a map of the next place she’ll be.

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