The First Thing

About five years ago I was invited to lead a drawing workshop for a group of teenage boys recently arrived to this country as refugees. I had never taught anybody anything and knew nothing about classroom management. I understood the workshop would be an education for all of us, but some of the lessons of that day have only recently become clear. The boys were attentive and engaged with the...

Better than Before

The girl had received bad news for the umpteenth time in the last few months. Her sobs of despair reverberated down the hall as she asked the powers that be, “What’s the point?” “You’re the point!“ The cosmos answered in the form of a lanky young man charged with keeping order the school. “People like you are the point, “ he repeated. “Don’t you know that you all make us...

Commando Parenting

I always said if any kid of mine where is the teeniest bit artistically inclined, I would encourage the heck out of that inclination. Thing2 is, and I do, but I swear that if there is a God up there, he or she has finely honed sense of humor. I was a slob as a kid. I collected everything and threw away almost nothing. I had drawings on little scraps of paper and stole my mom‘s scissors for...

What Kind of Mother

It’s two day before Thing1’s graduation. I’m on hold with the pharmacy for the third time this week trying to find out what’s happened with the most expensive of his five prescriptions. The insurance company won’t approve an increased dosage. I’m scrolling through Facebook while I wait, stopping to like a friend’s post about a daughter’s scholarships or add a frowny-face to a post...

Negotiations

Since he could crawl, Thing2 has been chasing after Thing1. Thing1 played in Little League. Thing2 cheered for four seasons straight, mangling his brother's name at top decibel. Thing1 started playing golf, Thing 2 held the flags. Thing1 wanted to be alone, Thing2 had to be next to him and even on him. Thing1 was about four when he began begging us for a baby brother. He didn’t want more...