When Child Support Stops

One day it didn’t come. It just stopped. It wasn’t the first time, but somehow we are never ready for it when the child supports stops.

Surely it was just because of the long weekend. 

It was Labor Day. I’m sure that’s the lag. It will come. 

And sometimes it does, but if you’ve been blessed enough to have the financial support of the other parent for any amount of time, you know the rhythm. And this time, the rhythm said, “It’s not coming.”
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There Ain’t No Elf On My Shelf (And That’s Okay.)

An opportunity for bright, new holiday traditions – without obligation.

The holidays are a challenging time of year for single, step and blended families like mine. Traditions that once had sweet roots in the family I created find themselves soured in “the other family” we have become.
Every year, I’m confronted by those traditions. Every year, it’s a lump of coal come early. Continue reading

Family, Creating a Place to Belong

Where do I belong?

I see it in my kids’ eyes when they look at me when we reunite after a weekend with their dads. It’s a quiet searching, a longing, an uncertainty reaching out for reassurance. It’s a question:

Where do I belong? Do I belong with you?

And I see it in their actions. As soon as we get home, they check their rooms, “Can I go see my room?” They flit around the house perching briefly here and there, noticing little changes, arranging and visiting their things before they “settle.”

Did anything change? Is it all how I left it?
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Lean In: A Response to Wendy Bradshaw PhD’s Resignation Letter

DEAR PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS EVERYWHERE,

Don’t go.

I know a hard wind is blowing – I see the rawness it leaves on my own children’s faces when they come home from school each day. I experience the force of it with them when we sit down at our round table to brave homework each afternoon.

But don’t go, Wendy Bradshaw Ph.D.

THE LASTING MARKS YOU LEAVE

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be you.
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Mourning My Saints, Remembering My Roots

A Story About Family Identity From the Ground Up

This week we lost our family dog to cancer, and while the dog was truly the sweetest pup ever, I find myself grieving my mother who gave us the dog and has herself been dead for more than three years.

It feels like with every little loss like this one, I lose a hint more of what remained of her in this world – the lingering wisps of her sliding away, carried right out of my life on the back of a passing wind. And I’m an observer – round eyes, hands bound.

Whoosh.

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What to Do When Co-parenting Isn’t an Option

Co-Parenting from High Ground

For Justine, a fellow parent with limited co-parenting options.

I had big plans for this article. It was going to be didactic and helpful – a foundational resource article for parents trying to co-parent amicably.

Then I read a story about a parent trying to better her life – setting life goals, eating right, prioritizing family – but stuck in a toxic co-parenting relationship. And now I’m just all kinds of mad for her. Why? Because I can relate.

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A Single Mom’s Letter to Her Son

A 12 Year Journey with a Boy

Dear Boy,

On this night 12 years ago, I was several hours into laboring with you. I was alone in my apartment, but in just one hour, I would have enough of the relentless waves of discomfort and call your father to ask him to drive me to the hospital. And not long after, if 12 more hours isn’t long, life would change forever.

With your birth, our family would be born.

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What you call a step-parent matters

Why Labels Matter, Like It or Not (This is Why I’m Renaming My Husband)

What’s In a Name?

In high school, I got an award for being an “Advice Queen.” At the time (thank you seventeen) I was flattered thinking it meant people thought I was wise.

Now, I’m sure that what it really meant was that I shared a heap of unsolicited opinions about things that were none of my business (thank you thirty-three), and people noticed.

Though I’m sure I am a little more legitimately wise, am careful about sharing my opinions and try desperately hard not to give unsolicited advice, thank goodness I have a good friend who really is wise and really does give good advice.

Recently, she gave me a gem about labeling or naming. She said, “Call it what you want it to be.”

It got me thinking.
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