Of Teachers and Why We Love Them, My Favorite One, and Two Birthdays

I think we’ve seen the last of them for this year: the first-day-of-school photos that spill down our social media screens. Darling children in their new clothes and unscuffed shoes, grinning for the camera and holding their signs: Amelia, second grade. Dylan, fourth. And the less-than-darling, I’m-too-old-for-this children, holding signs or not, wearing I-couldn’t-care clothes … More Of Teachers and Why We Love Them, My Favorite One, and Two Birthdays

It’s Okay to Ask

Time spent teaching is never lost. I spent an hour in a 9th grade classroom yesterday. The first time in nearly five years. This was at a public school, Durham School of the Arts downtown. The place where my daughter now spends her days, where my middle son used to spend his. And we’ve lived … More It’s Okay to Ask

Two Questions

The text had two questions, the first from the daughter, who is ten: “Are you related to Robert Louis Stevenson?” And the second from the mother, who is old enough to be a mother: “(The Daughter) is reciting her most favorite tomorrow… ‘The Swing.’ I’ve been coaching her to try to recite it without the … More Two Questions

Morning Drop-Off

I drove the girls to school on Thursday, a late-summer, light-filled morning. It was just the third week of school, day thirteen if we’re keeping count, which might not be a good idea.     The conversation en route was cheerful. Chatter about driver’s ed, gladness that it was already Thursday, and the painted parking … More Morning Drop-Off

Knowing Blake

I have never felt that his was my story to tell. I had the privilege of being his teacher for only a few short months, you see, and that is nowhere near long enough to discover anyone, let alone this bright-eyed boy, this sometimes seven-year-old-wonder in a fourteen-year-old body. Like anyone else, he was not … More Knowing Blake


I am so grateful to be at home. I love seeing how the sun falls in the breakfast room in a silent house at 2 p.m. on a September Wednesday. I love having the laundry done, so that kids who dirtied their uniforms only yesterday have them spanking clean and ready to go today. I … More Reluctance

A First Sentence

“First sentences are doors to worlds.”—Ursula K. LeGuin Last night was Will’s first soccer game of the school year. It’s still more than a week before the first day of school, but soccer has been underway for a while now. Yesterday’s game felt familiar: the boys tore up the field and all of us parents … More A First Sentence


I had forgotten completely this in the longing for winter—this winter now just past, this winter that wasn’t. Thirty degrees today and sixty tomorrow: I had wished for just one solid week of winter. I worked my favorite puzzle on the coffee table again, the one with the picture covered in snow, the one that … More Reminded

Friday Night

In the past few days, I have written many pages of comments on my students’ papers, paragraph after paragraph of report card comments, and five (now nearly six) letters of recommendation. My tennis elbow– earned two years ago when I spent every spare minute typing away at my Master’s thesis– has recently (are we surprised?) … More Friday Night