We’re crossing F street and Phoenix asks me for the difference between empathy and sympathy. And this leads to a discussion on two tangential experiences: commiseration and understanding. Watching my children grasp new concepts so swiftly, it’s still breathtaking all these years in. I don’t know what brought these emotional-relations topics on but I can think of some salient, personal examples in our lives, and I share them with my oldest as I feel the steering wheel hot under my hand. I glance across the street at a carved wooden structure; the sun is hitting the swollen river and I’d planned to let my oldest drive us down to class today but we were feeling rushed. Phoenix has his new learner’s permit folded up in his wallet, which he’s learning to take everywhere with him.
Earlier in the day we’d sat together on rigid bleachers and watched Nels play in Homeschool Gym & Swim – first, basketball drills and then, lessons in the pool. Forward crawl, breast stroke, butterfly, backstroke, diving practice. The homeschool group is small and Nels is one of the oldest, and tallest, of the attendees. He’s right at the cusp of finding it an utterly valueless experience, but I’ve convinced him the exercise will do him good. He’s a cheerful sort and so he applies himself and his swim stroke especially has already improved. I’m sitting with my coffee and my other child at my elbow and I can feel myself slipping into an irrelevancy, but it’s week two or month eight and I’ve been stuck here a while.read more
The fall is suddenly upon us, and it is indescribably wonderful. I’ve felt this exact autumn in my bones most of my forty-one years and I could recognize it with only a handful of my senses. I remember the last ninety-plus degree day, just a short few weeks ago, and then suddenly the temperature dropped. It is still warm enough, with rich rains, sometimes violent ones. My husband kept watering our sparse tomato plants right up until last week, although I told him there was not enough summer warmth left to coax the green fruits into ripeness.read more
The weather may be dipping into fall but it’s still plenty warm out, the sun is still hot on my skin and the heat catches and holds in my pigtails as my sponsor and I step out of the grocery store – carrying small packets from the deli and in my case, a quaint salad roll of basil, avocado, and cucumber – and travel to her car. She’s a far-parker, like my late father. It feels delicious outside.read more
Content warning: homophobia, transphobia. Recently on social media I watched as former classmates of mine blasted parents who support their trans children; that is, parents who allow their children to transition and who actively support them through the process. These...read more
Did you like what you’ve read? The above essay is excerpted from my upcoming publication: “HOW TO NOT F*CK UP YOUR KID (ANY MORE THAN THE WORLD F*CKS WITH THEM)” – working title. This zine improve your parenting efforts, but is also helpful to those of us who survived our childhoods!
This publication will be available on Kindle, pdf and reader form, and a limited-edition print run. Sign up for updates!