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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

You Were Ambitious

I was ready to write an essay on motherhood and ambition, but then my three-year-old wouldn’t let me leave at drop-off while his older sister waited in the car. He wouldn’t hurry up the stairs to his preschool or through the door to his classroom. We place his stuffed troll in his cubby and hang his green monster lunch bag on a hook. He walks even more slowly across the floor of the yellow room to the door that leads to the playground outside. “Could you hurry up?” I huff at him, and he grins at me. I’m annoyed at his slowness, but I’m also angry at my annoyance. His small legs only propel him forward so fast. He doesn’t hurry. His friends were already swinging on the swings and climbing up the equipment while he walks in slow motion and clings to my hand.

I hug him goodbye and discreetly glance at my watch. Now, I am running late. His eight-year-old sister has to be at camp in 20 minutes, and we will be hard-pressed to make it. One hug goodbye isn’t enough. He wants another and then another. Then, he wants a kiss, and then, he gives me a kiss on my arm as I try to look at my watch again.

“One last hug,” I say, “and then go play.” (more…)

Not Nice

“I was just trying to be nice.”

“I just wanted to be nice.”

“Not nice,” I say to the toddler after he bludgeons his sister with a random toy, “NOT NICE.”

I find myself thinking about “nice” a lot lately, often before recounting a story of something gone terribly awry. Exasperation lingers in my tone. Frustration coats my words. I was just trying to be nice, but things go sideways. They tend to when I start with nice.

I’m not sure why this happens. Maybe, my attempts at niceness appear as sign of a polite weakness. Maybe, nice renders me a pushover, a people-pleaser, who will go out of her way to remain pleasant. Initial friendliness suggests the desire to be agreeable at all costs, even when other people become increasingly unpleasant. Being nice shows that I can be dismissed without much effort or time. Being nice makes me easy to overlook, ignore, and disparage. (more…)

Track 18: What Fades Away

What Fades Away

Katherine Anderson Howell

 

The baby was 3 months old.

I wasn’t happy.

***

I spin and spin around the living room. My head feels lopsided, like it does when I’m too tired, or when panic leaves me hollow. The baby is in my arms. The baby laughs. I spin. I bounce the baby. I force a smile, which becomes a slightly more real smile, which becomes a little laugh. “Shake It Out” plays on repeat. Florence Welch and I sing the old platitude,  “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” The baby doesn’t know darkness. He thinks I am sunlight.

(more…)

Track 11: Someone to Sing You a Song

Someone to Sing You a Song

Jeremy Neely

 

In Fargo Rock City, writer Chuck Klosterman frames his list of “essential” albums by posing a hypothetical question: how much money would someone have to pay you never to listen to your favorite album again? It’s a silly exercise. Even our favorite music, Klosterman admits, is hardly more essential to physical survival than food or air. Music obsessives, however, recognize an irresistible thrust to this sort of parlor game. Art, after all, is a vital element of our human survival, as it nourishes, delights, and gives meaning to how we understand ourselves and the world in which we live.

Having pondered Klosterman’s question for many years, I suspect that I could be bought off, and sometimes cheaply, for some of the albums that have migrated from old CD sleeves to a scratched click-wheel iPod and now to this computer hard drive. Others would fetch a dear price. Yet there remains one indispensable album, Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky, for which I’m not sure I can name my price.   (more…)