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Tag archive for: college

Hey! Can I Get an Epidural Over Here?

It happened again. I wake with my sheets wound round me, legs akimbo, pulse spazzy. I’m fresh from a fight with something I know I can’t beat. It’s 4 a.m. and everyone else in the family is asleep. Our bedrooms are close and through thin walls, I hear my kids not stirring. Not flopping around on creaky springs. Not doing battle as I am.

Downstairs, our living quarters amble generously through wide-open rooms, but upstairs our three small bedrooms are smooshed side by side by side like hideaway nests. Perched above the bustling world with its snapping predators, careless traffic, and vexing noise, the cozy tree house where we slumber in proximity is quiet and still. Warm and laundry-scented. Closely knit.

For literally thousands of mornings, I’ve opened my eyes to the sunlit, soul-settling certainty that the people who matter most to me are within earshot of a groggy-but-grateful “G’ morney!” Even when I wake from pre-dawn nightmares, their collective presence offers deep and immediate comfort. It’s an absolute: As sure the sun will rise, my boys are near me, curled up, tucked in, at ease and at peace.

But that’s about to change. Continue reading Hey! Can I Get an Epidural Over Here?

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Anything to Avoid Writing This Column

Looking back, I probably should have lied. It would have been more cordial. The woman was only making conversation, after all — not looking to meet my demons.

“Do you enjoy writing?” the nice mother asked me at back-to-school night last week as we both folded our overtall, underbendy bodies into the high school English class desks.

“Oh, yes,” I should have replied warmly. “Very much. Of course. More than anything. Who doesn’t?”

Continue reading Anything to Avoid Writing This Column

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The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

When my firstborn son was a toddler, I used to wonder if he would become a bouncer someday because he was big for his age — and fixated on doors. Opening them, closing them. Letting some in (the dog), keeping others out (the dad). He’d station himself in a doorway and take charge, wielding his power like Excalibur: You? Yes, by all means, enter. But not your friend. She waits out here with the others … until I say.

It was cute unless you were carrying groceries.

Now the tables have turned. He’s standing at the doorway of more than a dozen universities, waiting to see if he’ll be admitted. We’re staggering around in the three to four aimless months (110+ days!) between applying to colleges and hearing back from said colleges. The kid is handling it just fine — but for me, this limbo is anguish.

Continue reading The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

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Life is Laundry

Some of my friends are sending their kids off to college this fall and discovering, with some shame, that their offspring — who can build Web sites, play stringed instruments, and locate Latvia on a world map — are deficient in other life skills. Basic skills. Crucial skills.

“We just got back from dropping Devon off for his first night in the dorm,” says my friend Tracy. A superlative mother, Tracy has taught her children to play cribbage, iron a dress shirt, and consider protein and fiber percentages when choosing their breakfast cereals. But that evening, while introducing her son to his new bedroom, she realized there are still some things she’s failed to demonstrate.

“They need to learn how to put sheets on their bed,” she says, describing a slapstick scene of mattress-wrestling that left her shaking her head. “Thank god he didn’t have the top bunk.”

We modern parents are great at teaching our kids the value of empathy, recycling, and broad bandwidth. But have we forgotten to school them in, say, soaping their skivvies?

A young woman I know admits she had no idea how to do laundry when she left home: “My mother always said she paid too much for my clothes to let me mess them up in the wash.”

Another says she’s flummoxed by grocery shopping: “I always forget to buy something important.”

Continue reading Life is Laundry

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My columns are collected in three lovely books, which make a SPLENDID gift for wives, friends, book clubs, hostesses, and anyone who likes to laugh!
Keep Your Skirt On
Wife on the Edge
Broad Assumptions
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