To My Former Students: Walt Whitman Was Right

Dear Former Students,

I talked about you today. It’s funny – I actually bring you up quite a bit in conversations. Our time together was a mere five years before I started a family of my own and never returned to the classroom. But clearly, those five years made an impression on me. You made an impression on me.

Some of you I still know. Maybe we grab lunch every now and again. Maybe we keep in contact on social media. Maybe we cross paths in the small world that is our city. Maybe we run into each other at a bar, and I become embarrassed that I am clearly not sober even though I am no longer your teacher and you are no longer my student and we are both within our legal right to over-indulge. But the thing is, you could be seventy-five years old, and I could be eighty-five years old, yet I would still think of you as one of “my girls.” And I would still feel the same responsibility to be a good example, to hold you to high expectations, and to count your head on a bus to make sure I wasn’t leaving anyone behind on a field trip. Continue reading “To My Former Students: Walt Whitman Was Right”

Saving a Bird – And the World – In Three Easy Steps

A bird flew into our window today.

I was sitting at our kitchen counter when I heard a thud. I looked up to see something falling to the ground and a flurry of feathers floating in the air.

Damn. That had to hurt.

I apprehensively opened the sliding glass door and stepped onto the deck, concerned about what I might find. Would it be a dead, disfigured carcass over which I would feel both heartbreak and disgust at the idea of having to dispose of it? Would it be a pissed off fowl ready to come at me as revenge for my ill-placed kitchen window? Thankfully, it was neither. What I found was a brilliantly beautiful bird sitting on my deck almost motionlessly, trying to figure out what the f*ck just happened to him. Continue reading “Saving a Bird – And the World – In Three Easy Steps”

It’s Not About the Blueberries

“And how are you guys doing?”

Our school maintenance guy Keith inquired about my family’s well-being as we played a quick game of catch-up. I was dropping off my son’s textbooks and gathering the artwork and supplies he had left in his locker before departing for Spring Break…and never returning. His 5th grade year came to a close yesterday with a social distancing car parade around the campus as the teachers waved and held up signs of affection and well wishes. Today, parents were invited to come up at assigned times to finish up the business of school before beginning summer a little earlier than we had all planned. Continue reading “It’s Not About the Blueberries”

Everything GenX Knows, We Learned From Weird Sesame Street Videos

The best thing happened yesterday morning. I opened up my Facebook feed to find my friend Emily had randomly posted this old Sesame Street video of how crayons are made. If you grew up in the 1970’s and 1980’s, you know EXACTLY which video I’m talking about. It was amazing to lay eyes on it again after all these years. And of course, it took me down a rabbit hole of watching other old Sesame Street videos that, despite being dormant for decades, were able to come to the forefront of my memory with a readiness that was both comforting and eerie. As the words to the songs fell easily from my lips, and the images put me right back to being in front of a rabbit-eared television set, I marveled at how so much of my childhood could be encompassed in a few video segments. And how my entire generation was molded by these sights, sounds, and concepts. Continue reading “Everything GenX Knows, We Learned From Weird Sesame Street Videos”

The Unwanted Superpower

You do not see me.

We share pieces of each other.

But you do not see me.

I peek my head through your door multiple times a day.

But you do not see me.

I ask you questions like How are classes going? Can you please set the table? Do you need anything from the store? Would you like to go on a walk with me? Is everything okay?

But you do not see me.

We walk the same floors, wash our hands in the same sink, and both smell the same funk that signals the trash can needs to be emptied. Continue reading “The Unwanted Superpower”

No Matter What the Waitress Brings…

Do you ever have those moments when something that never meant anything to you suddenly does? And you wonder how you missed it so many times before?

It happened to me yesterday.

I was walking home, listening to some tunes, having just trekked to the pharmacy to pick up some items we needed. I was wearing a backpack to carry my stuff. (Do I need to prove they were essential? That I was justified in breaking the stay-at-home mandante? Because I feel like I need to prove they were essential. I can sense you judging me. It was medicine, guys. And vitamins. And okay, okay Continue reading “No Matter What the Waitress Brings…”

The Gumball Tree

I am looking out my window, feeling the weight of things that have been bothering me. Things I’m so good at tucking away inside. Because they are dumb in the grand scheme. They are petty and poisonous and 100% of my own creating, and they don’t deserve to have light shined upon them where they might cause someone else pain. So I look out the window, hoping if I look long enough, the feelings will find it quite nice out there and decide to make a new home. Continue reading “The Gumball Tree”

Going On a Run, 1970’s Style

I went on a run today. Voluntarily. That’s what this has all come to. The first day of sunshine since the world has been on quarantine and I go all Brittany Runs a Marathon. I mean, yes, I do work out five days a week. But I am not a runner. Yet being quarantined in my home with three other people – even three other people I love dearly – has taught me much about myself. Namely, I need alone time. And apparently I need it enough that going on a run sounded like something I should do. Continue reading “Going On a Run, 1970’s Style”

What’s In a Name? Only Your Daughter’s Future Chastity.

Today is my daughter’s fifteenth birthday. I thought it a fitting occasion to post this piece I wrote for the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition in 2016. It didn’t win, but it was a Final Round Qualifier in the Global Humor category and received a very nice comment from one of the judges: “Excellent story in the Bombeck tradition. Light and funny with great structure and writing.” Quite flattering, especially considering the panel of judges was made up of several accomplished writers, along with Nancy Cartwright, the award-winning actress better known as the voice of Bart Simpson. I can’t be sure she is the one who made that comment about my piece, but let’s just say it was her. I was pretty over the moon about it at the time, so it’s kind of weird that I never celebrated it publicly. Chalk one up to humility for a change. And I never shared the piece elsewhere; I had almost forgotten about it entirely. But I came across it the other day as I was taking advantage of my COVID-19 “social distancing” by doing some Spring cleaning on my neglected little blog here. And since my daughter is the topic of the piece, I figured her birthday is the perfect time to share it. So here it is (and preemptive apologies to anyone named Brandy)…
Continue reading “What’s In a Name? Only Your Daughter’s Future Chastity.”

Imperfect Prayers: When You Don’t Know What To Pray For

I believe there is power in prayer. Deep in my bones, down into the tips of the roots of what I feel to be true, I believe it has power. But too often I find myself at a loss for how to use that power. It’s a daunting task to know what to request when God is there with what is always an open-ended question.

This past year in particular has tested me. I haven’t always known what to ask of God.

In that time, we lost our dog, searched for guidance over my daughter’s scoliosis progression, helped her through two knee surgeries, watched my dad continue his battle against Parkinson’s disease, witnessed my grandma’s health and mental decline, and were heartbroken by the sudden passing of my father-in-law in November. For some of these, it has been easier to know my prayer. For others, I’ve been at a loss. Continue reading “Imperfect Prayers: When You Don’t Know What To Pray For”