Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’


How to Say Goodbye in 10 Simple Steps

August 29, 2018
close up of pink rose flower

Photo by Pixabay on

When it comes to saying goodbye, I call BS. It’s not sweet; in fact, it sucks.

I’ve been forced to say a heartbreaking goodbye to my brother, who suffered a long slow death via AIDS. When a vessel burst in my dad’s brain, I whispered an equally sad yet surprising goodbye. I’ve said less permanent but still challenging farewells to hosts of others: friends and family; teachers and students; neighbors and co-workers. I’ve cried my heart out saying goodbye to beloved pets. Even harder, I’ve kissed away my children as they’ve flown into their new lives.

In addition to my personal struggle with parting’s sweet sorrow, my kids have been faced with their own good-byes; with each other, their friends, and the world they’ve always known. While stepping out and into a new life comes with great anticipation, excitement, and potential; it’s also scary, sad, and often riddled with anxiety.

When it comes to saying goodbye, I have few words of wisdom to offer. It doesn’t get easier, but I do know this; it happens—again and again. And avoiding its pain doesn’t work; grief always resurfaces. That said, there are a few things I’ve learned to help ease the process.

  1. Cry; sit with the pain and let yourself cry. Feel all the feels, but then get up. Both are equally important.
  2. Drink water; crying dehydrates.
  3. Be grateful; pick one thing a day and offer thanks.
  4. Walk in nature; it will whisper comfort.
  5. Run. Draw. Pound on a drum. Do something to channel your emotions.
  6. Hug an animal.
  7. Organizing shifts energy.
  8. If you have a garden, tend to it. If you don’t, buy a plant.
  9. Listen to music and read a book; any and all.
  10. Know that your feelings are normal. Know it is hard. Know you will survive.

Saying good-bye stinks, but it can be managed. Instead of burying the sadness, take care of yourself. It doesn’t make it easy, but it makes it easier.



Awareness in the Air

June 27, 2009

Expect this to be a day of Healing, Awareness, Harmony, and Gentle Order.

-Naomi Rose

Not this day. Where’s the Healing? Awareness? Harmony? Ha! Definitely no Gentle Order on this travel day.

It began with no running water and yes, I had to fly. On an airplane. Although believe me, I would have preferred to fly on the wings of some magical dragon.

Travel days start early in the great white north. Two things are necessary at 4:30 a.m., a shower and a cup of coffee. I got neither.

Instead, I put a baseball cap on my fine looking hair, piled three kids into the car, and drove. Not so far. Within fifteen miles, my youngest threw-up. We arrived at the airport, changed clothes, and found coffee. Until someone ran into me and spilled it all over my jacket. At least coffee smells better than throw-up. Maybe that was my healing harmony.

Maybe not. My husband said good-bye at security check, and my two-year-old performed a stellar tantrum. She cried so hard that snot slid down her nose and onto my shoulder. It didn’t help that I had to send her doll through an x-ray machine. Ever try to remove a screaming toddler’s shoes in front of a hundred strangers ready to call you a bad mom if you raise your voice? So okay, maybe my day did have some awareness.

By now, we were late, so we ran. I hauled three kids, two pink backpacks, and a suitcase of my own down the corridor as fast as I could. You know that feeling you get when you wonder, gee, will I see someone I know travelling? I prayed NOT to have that happen. Apparently, it was not a day for prayers. A voice from aisle ten said, “Hi Carrie”. It was hard to find a good response with coffee, vomit, and sweat settling on my skin. I bit my tongue and said hi with as much gentle order as I could muster.

I won’t bore you with the details on the plane. If you have kids, you know what flying’s like and if you don’t, you’ve probably had to sit near kids. You know too. Fun, fun.

We arrived in Detroit, and no one at baggage claim came with a cart and a hand out. Too bad. I would have paid big bucks for help. How do moms travel with strollers, car seats, suitcases and exhausted kids? I don’t remember.

After waiting in a long line with whiney kids, we smashed into a compact rental car and headed for McDonalds. Nothing like a McShake to improve the day, until of course, a truck swerves into another truck. Brakes slammed, and I skidded off the road. Safely, thankfully. However, the backpacks behind my kids’ heads slid onto their heads and caused them to spill all the milkshakes and food down their fronts. More tears.

We arrived an hour later at our friend’s house. We did not give them hugs. Instead, I asked for a bar of soap, four towels, and marched us directly into the shower. Fortunately, there was running water at their house.

And, there it was. I finally found healing, awareness, harmony, and gentle order. In the shower. Thank the good Lord my kids are older. I don’t think I need to find any more awareness in the air.

Happy summer travels!


Don’t Blame Erica Jong

June 12, 2009

You take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame. –Erica Jong

Could someone please explain this to my children? Seriously, what would they do without Mom to blame?

At our house, you can hear someone ask, “Where’s my blue shirt with the butterfly on it?” “Who moved my homework?” “Where are my ski gloves?” or “Who took my snack?” at any given time on any given day.

My answer, of course is Poltergeist. The Borrowers. Mysterious fairies live in our house and eat my kids’ homework. But do my kids think so? No sirreee. Mom did it.

Just exactly when do we grow up and learn not to blame? Can we, as adults, embrace personal responsibility and stop blaming the driver in front of us? The weather? The teacher? Okay, so maybe I won’t stop blaming the parent who screams at kids on the soccer field, but he’s an idiot.

Waking up to the realization that we are in control of our actions and reactions to life is not an easy task. We can’t control snow in the spring, but we can fix a pina colada and crank the heat and pretend. In fact, I’m headed to the bar right now.

When we blame others, or the weather, or circumstance we find discontent. Once we own up to what is, we can begin to truly let go and live.

First, I have to go find my car keys. My husband stole them.


Did Chief Seattle Smell Stinky Feet?

June 1, 2009

All things share the same breath- the beast, the tree, the man, the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. -Chief Seattle

Chief, did you ever breathe the stink of boys’ socks after a basketball game? How about adolescent girl perfume? And smog from the city? Somehow, I gotta think the breath of today is not the same as the breath of yesteryear.

Do we really want to share our breath? Do we really want to breathe at all?

Yesterday, I caught my six-year-old rolling upside down on her bed with her feet in her face. At least she wasn’t standing with her toes in the toilet like she did when she was two, but still. What was she doing?

I asked.

“I’m smelling my feet! Wanna smell?”

No thanks.

“But they smell good! Come on, smell!”

So I did. Good, would not be the adjective I would use, but I didn’t say so.

Maybe letting our children develop a healthy sense of who they are, even if it includes odorous body parts, encourages self-esteem. Besides, do I want a daughter adorned with Chanel, sporting perfectly pressed ribbons, and who wears make-up and high heels? I do not. While sticking one’s toes in one’s nose might not be the most lady-like habit on the planet, it does allow for exploration and eventual self-confidence.

If I try hard, I can get over the smell of stinky feet and recognize that to a six-year-old, a whiff of a toe may be divine. The old Chief was right. We are all on this planet breathing the same air that gives us life. Maybe we won’t like the same sweet smells, but, recognizing that we connect through breath is the first step toward a more peaceful existence.

On the other hand, they do sell some mighty fine peppermint foot lotion. . .


Chocolate for Jesse

May 11, 2009

Find the good. It’s all around you. Find it. Showcase it and you’ll start believing it.”
–Jesse Owens

Does this mean that if I start finding chocolate I’ll get more? Like on Easter morning? My youngest daughter would like this analysis. Chocolate breeds more chocolate. Oh heaven, you found me.

I’ve heard about the law of attraction many times. And, I believe it. Not in magical chocolate appearing (wouldn’t that be great?!), but in getting what you give. Little kids constantly remind us of this.

Yesterday, a friend told me her three-year-old dropped her juice at Target and said, “Oh shit.” What happened to toddlers saying, “Uh oh.” Or “Boo Boo?” Our kids reflect who we are time and time again. And the times, they are a changing.

In a day and age when technology pounds us with stimulation, cars lock the grid, and people round corners from every angle, we do get a lot. A lot of junk.

How do we respond to all this stimulation? Can we find good in the face of buzzing idiots? Instead of flipping off the snowboarder who cuts me off, can I wave? For me, it’s hard to be kind to snowboarders, but I’ll give it a go.

Is it possible to give goodness in the face of it all? I hope so. While the outcome might not be more chocolate, I think we can find simple abundance at every corner. And who knows, maybe it will be just as sweet.


What’s in Your Heart?

April 20, 2009

As he thinks in his heart, so he is.

-Jewish Proverb

I began this blog six months ago and by now, my readership has grown. Hopefully. While some of you know me, many do not. In accordance with this Jewish proverb, plus a facebook game that tags you to tell 25 things about yourself, I’ve decided to post a few juicy tidbits about myself.

My heart includes the following twenty-five:

1. My three kids are the light of my life. So cliché, but true.

2. If I’m not writing, I’m skiing. Hopefully, with Dan.

3. I am a salt-aholic. Not only do I ask for it at Chinese restaurants, but request salt at fine dining establishments, just to annoy the chef.

4. I read three books at a time. I’m such a braggart.

5. My hair has golden highlights that my son calls zebra stripes. Want to rent a 9-year-old?

6. I secretly wish I were a singer in a rock and roll band. Or at least, wish I carried the rights to that song.

7. My oldest brother died in Japan at 6 weeks old. I never knew him. He would have been 11-years-older than me. My brother, Kirk, died of HIV in 1991. My parents are strong people.

8. I have one other brother and two sisters who live far, far away.

9. My dad taught me to be kind, think ahead, and to eat bread with thick butter and sugar on it.

10. My mom taught me to smile, look for the good, and to never throw anything out, including leftover coffee.

11. I dread wrinkles on my neck. No laugh lines there.

12. I lived with a Muslim family and married into a Jewish family. Neither is right and neither is wrong.

13. I like peanut butter, ketchup and bacon sandwiches. My grandmother taught me.

14. My prom picture is posted on Facebook. But I still like the guy.

15. This may kill my readership, but I don’t like dogs. Except for mine, and only sometimes.

16. My friends taught me to laugh, cry, and to hem pants with duct tape.

17. The worst date I ever had was with a virtual stranger at a Quiet Riot concert at the Air Force Academy. I told him my dorm at Colorado College had a curfew and ditched him.

18. Not only did I go to camp, but I was a camp counselor and loved every minute of it. Except for the meatloaf.

19. I liked high school better than college and much better than junior high.

20. I love to dance but am almost worse at it than singing. My friend gave me private lessons in her basement, just so I could make the high school girls’ chorus line my senior year. It worked. But, I still have two left feet.

21. The closest I’ve come to Hollywood is shaking Jamie Farr’s hand. That’s because he’s from Toledo, like me.

22. I grew up 15 miles from the flattest, recorded place on earth. Go figure, I was the only honors student at the school who wanted to be an Olympic skier instead of a doctor.

23. I sit in the back row of the movie theater.

24. Go Blue!

25. My book, Soul Sunday: A Family’s Guide to Exploring Faith and Teaching Tolerance is dedicated to my kids, with all my heart.

What’s in your heart?


Eleanor Roosevelt Hated Dogs

April 6, 2009

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. . . You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

-Eleanor Roosevelt

I don’t like dogs. There, I said it…or at least wrote it down for all to see. Lightening may strike my house, but at least I put it to paper. The weight is lifting already.

It’s a long list. I don’t like barking, biting, or jumping. I don’t like wet noses rubbing against me. I definitely don’t like getting my legs licked in the summer. I don’t like dog hairs on my jeans. I don’t like remembering my mom being knocked down by a Doberman.

Of course, I have a dog. And, I love her. Go figure.

I never thought I would, but I gave a puppy to my husband for Christmas. It was a long time ago. Ten days later, I discovered I was pregnant. Bad karma. Having a puppy and a newborn is a bit like drinking tequila and driving a car. The two don’t mix.

As the years have passed, I’ve learned to love my dog. While I still shun from a slobbering Snoopy, I’ve found affection for man’s best friend. Saki greets me with a wagging tail no matter what my mood. She provides companionship and safety and unconditional love for my family.

I’m still afraid of some dogs. I still don’t like other dogs. But, I’ve also learned from them. By facing my fear and doing the thing I never thought I’d do, I’ve learned to smile at wagging tails. As long as they don’t jump.