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More Perfect

Today this is how safe my family is: My 2-year-old baby girl skips around the house in lime-green underpants, her family cheering every time she succeeds in making pee-pee in the Elmo potty. This is how sweet our life is: Later, she and my son and his friend take turns stirring a wooden spoon through pumpkin batter, … Continue reading

Opening day

Eleven years ago, I read a book I can’t remember in the bottom bunk of a bedroom I was sharing with my new boyfriend, Sean Flynn. Once the sun lit the room white, the gangle of a man I’d just begun dating sprung from the bunk above me toward the nearby desk and roused me … Continue reading

The mystery of being loved

A friend, saying she’d been a fearless young woman, added that she’s become increasingly anxious as she’s grown older. “When I feel that anxiety starting to build, I tell myself, ‘I am loved.’ It calms and centers me.” The next day, another friend shared a link to a Krista Tippett podcast in which the interview subject, … Continue reading

James Foley’s prayer

“If nothing else, prayer was the glue that enabled my freedom, an inner freedom first and later the miracle of being released during a war in which the regime had no real incentive to free us. It didn’t make sense, but faith did.”—James Foley, “Phone call home,” Marquette Magazine, fall 2011 My sated and somnolent … Continue reading

All this change makes me feel

I want to run toward and away from change. I want to be in its inner circle and skirting its periphery, a safe distance from the roil and tumble of its consequences. When things change, I want to hold my babies closer even as I rejoice in the slow curve of learning to let them … Continue reading

From this deep slumber

I believe in the sanctity of privacy. After a shamefully garrulous riff in my 20s, when I put pen to paper or key to screen whatever rot spewed forth, I finally grew up enough to begin erring away from over sharing. This coincided in a way with becoming a mother. Learning the value of protecting … Continue reading

“The really important kind of freedom”*

Maybe it’s because I was raised Roman Catholic and the yen for social justice stuck like hot tar to my ribs. Maybe it’s because some of my best friends were social workers in child welfare. Maybe it’s simply because I was in a comfortable enough spot that I could, and thus wanted to, challenge myself … Continue reading

“Her Children’s Keeper”

My attempt to pay tribute to the incredible Davida Ellen Williams, the social worker for Hephzibah Children’s Association who trained Sean and me to be foster parents and guided us through some of our most challenging experiences in foster care has been published. I’m particularly proud of this piece. In reporting another story about another … Continue reading

Hearts touch through this work

It’s been a dizzying month of getting affairs in order. I’m joyfully relieved that my recent life’s myriad dissonance may be resolving, and am hopeful that this caesura may last at least long enough for me to catch my breath. If I’m lucky, maybe catch a few more consecutive hours of sleep, too. Some of … Continue reading