My Husband’s Always Traveling. How Is It Affecting Our Son?

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Last night my husband’s suitcase was on our bed again. I hate to pack, but I like to help him because I know that otherwise he will look like a sad, worn-out businessman at his destination. I can fit about a week’s worth of shirts and ties and sweaters into his carry-on, and they usually make it to Chicago or Cleveland or Richmond or Kansas City without a wrinkle.

We moved about a year ago for my husband’s job and a promotion, and now that things are going really well for him, his trips come more and more frequently.

I am excited for him. We are young, not yet 40, so when should he move up and ahead in his career, if not now? He loves his job and wants to feel like what he does matters in the world. But lately I’ve been feeling uneasy about his days on the road. What is the purpose of all this? What are we sacrificing as a family?

Read the full story on The Mid

Why I’ve Had to Change my Definition of Friendship

beautiful african american woman checking her messages.

One of the most vivid memories of my childhood is a bit of an elusive, weird thing: it’s my mother’s devotion to her best friend. My mother felt and “did”—and still does—friendship so exuberantly, so passionately, that when I was a child I could feel the love wash through our house when her friend was around.

Her relationship with her best friend seemed almost like romantic love to me: long talks into the night, visits to the theater, tearful conversations over the phone. They lived on opposites ends of the same street and one night, not being able to finish their conversation and say good-bye, they walked each other home back and forth, several times on the dark, quiet street, until the early morning hours.

To my mother, a friendship is a connection of souls, something to be treasured and protected and nurtured. Friendship is unconditional, never-ending. She was—and is—always there for her friends in very practical, physical ways as well: picking up kids from school, cooking meals, helping with errands, planning surprise birthday parties. Anything for friendship.

That rush of emotion I had when I was around her and her friend comes back to me often now that I am an adult. I crave that connection with that one perfect friend, who would reciprocate my feelings. But it remains elusive and I wonder now, if it’s even possible.

Read the full story on RoleReboot

When Being a Mother Is a Lonely Gig

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Right before my son was born my mother said something to me that, at the time, didn’t make much sense. She said: “Your husband will love you and support you and will appreciate all of the sacrifices that you are making in raising this child. But in the end, you will be all alone with every big decision, every crisis.”

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, especially recently as the three of us—my son, my husband, and I—were sitting in the emergency room of our local children’s hospital. That morning my 5-year-old woke up and wasn’t able to walk. We thought it might be a cramp from sleeping in a funny position and things seemed to improve as the day wore on—until they didn’t. So here we were, right around dinnertime, in a tiny exam room, eating graham crackers and oranges the nurses brought us.

The full story is on RoleReboot

Teaching a child about death

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The assignment at preschool was simple: draw a picture of your family. The teacher stapled 15 little pieces of paper on the bulletin board outside of the classroom once the drawings were finished. There were big families and small families. Families with pets, babies, and families that looked like tiny aliens.

Our family, drawn on a piece of neon green paper with an orange marker, looked like your average stick-figure family. Mama on one side with spiky hair, Sam in the middle, tiny, and Dada on his other side, bald, and a bit taller than the two of us. Above our heads two orbs hovered, spirals of orange marker lines, with helpful notes from the teacher that Sam must have dictated: “My great-grandmother.” And over the other orb: “Grand-pap, my dad’s dad. He was special to me.”

Both great-grandma—my grandmother, whom we called “Dedi”—and grand-pap have been dead for more than two years. Sam met both of them a handful of times when he was a baby, then maybe later when he was 1, then maybe once more when he was 2-and-a-half. Yet, it seems, their orbs keep lingering in his mind and right over our family.

Read the full story on The Washington Post

We’ll Always Have Frankfurt

I took the last fortune cookie that came with our bill at the dim sum place near my office. My friends and I were celebrating the end of a long week, and we were all loud and slightly buzzed from our cocktails. The thin slip of paper fell into my lap as I crumbled the cookie between my fingers, and I almost simply tossed it on my plate amongst the small pools of soy sauce. Instead, I wiped my fingers and straightened out the strip. I laughed at a joke half-heartedly, not taking my eyes off the words in front of me.

“An old love will come back to you.”

“Well, you are going to have to be more specific,” I joked after I read my fortune to my friends. But I really only had one old love in mind.

The last time I had seen Peter was thirteen years ago when he flew halfway across the world to show up at my office, unannounced, two months before my wedding to another man. We had lunch, then later that afternoon we met up at my apartment and talked for maybe an hour about … I don’t even know what. Definitely not about our six-year, mostly long-distance relationship—by now more of a friendship rather than a love affair—or what was about to happen to that relationship. I think back and wonder why he was there, why he drank tea with me in my kitchen, why he told me that his girlfriend was looking at wedding magazines. Was he looking for a certain reaction from me? Was he there to change my mind? Or his?

We held each other and he kissed my forehead. Then he walked away.

We stayed in touch through infrequent e-mails and occasional phone calls through this thick, juicy part of life filled with marriage and children and careers. Somehow our friendship deepened over the years despite the distance, and our interactions always buzzed with that faint undercurrent of lovers who fell victim to time, distance, circumstance. We could have been. But we aren’t. And now we never will be.

The full story is on Full Grown People