The Magical Shotgun Seat

Shotgun seatDid you ever wonder about the origin of the term “shotgun” to refer to the front passenger seat of a vehicle (at least here in the U.S.)? It harkens back to the Wild West, when somebody with a shotgun would sit next to the stagecoach “driver” to act as a guard.

In our house, “shotgun” gets called quite a bit, as our two teens jockey for what they consider the best seat they can get at the moment, second only to the driver’s seat. (This, too, will change soon—too soon—as our son gets his permit in less than a month.) Nevermind that just yesterday they were both infants in rear-facing seats, and we needed a network of mirrors just to see their faces while we drove.  Continue reading

To My Daughter, With Love

Becky Blog Photo2You have always given me a run for my money. From the time you could walk, or even crawl, I had to watch you like a hawk. You were the child who, if I put down in one place and turned my back for even one split second, would be gone or at least on your way when I turned back. You are an explorer, always testing life to see how far you can push, and how far you can go. Continue reading

Talking About Suicide

SuicideIf you’re the parent of a teen- or tween-age kid, there’s a good chance that you’ve watched, or at least heard about, the Netflix original series, “13 Reasons Why.” Our local school system recently sent us a notification concerning the show, offering up resources like this one to help have a discussion about suicide with our children, and I’m glad that they did this.

My husband, a teacher, first heard about “13 Reasons Why” from his high school students and he’s watched a few episodes so far. I haven’t watched it yet, and I’m not sure that I will. Mainly, my time is limited and 13 hours is a big investment in a television show. But I’m also not sure that I want to see the subject matter played out in front of me. Continue reading

Talking to Strangers

shutterstock_313066517Neither of my children like to sit next to strangers. Whether we’re at the movie theater, on a train, or just waiting in line somewhere, they typically like me or my husband to serve as a buffer between them and the unknown person. I hope they grow out of it–I’m sure they’ll grow out of it–but for now it’s slightly annoying and I do try to get them to stop it. The funny thing, of course, is that we spend so much time when our kids are young warning them about strangers, and then we do a 180-degree turn and try to get them to not be scared of every stranger. Parenting, am I right?

On a trip to New York City yesterday, my daughter said to me, “You like talking to strangers.” It was an interesting observation because I have no doubt many people who think they know me or kind of know me from social media would think that I hate people. But my daughter is right–I DO like talking to strangers. And I typically do it without a conscious thought. Continue reading

Dear Perfect Parent


I can’t tell you how glad I am that you’ve come along. I’ve spent 14 years now wondering how to do this parenting thing right, convinced so many days that I’ve done it totally wrong, and now you’re here to confirm what I long suspected. I suck as a parent.

But luckily, you don’t. You know exactly what to do, right? You’ve got the right answer for every situation this parenting thing can throw at us. I mean, you must, because I’ve seen the free advice you’ve been doling out–especially lately.  Can you spare me five minutes of your time before you go wring your hands and wag your tongue over the next parent who society thinks needs a public skewering? Because I so obviously need the help. Continue reading

When Nobody’s to Blame


Source: Forbes

I haven’t totally reconciled myself to the need for zoos to exist in our society, whether for research purposes or entertainment. There just seems to be something wrong about placing animals in pseudo-real environments, whether for a well-intentioned reason or not. Perhaps it’s because I myself hate to be fenced in, and naturally project my feelings onto something that so obviously does not belong where it’s been placed.

I also agree with my husband, who summed it up perfectly: Circuses and zoos were created for entertainment before the advent of television. In this Digital Age especially, when we can watch most animals in their natural environment via hidden camera, GoPro, and other means, why do we still need circuses or zoos?

However, my feelings shouldn’t be taken into account by anyone when it comes to what happened with a wayward child and Harambe the silverback gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo this past weekend. And guess what? Your opinions shouldn’t matter either. Continue reading

A Spotlight on Mothers and Motherhood

Mom and Me James Bar Mitzvah2
I had my first inkling of what motherhood would be like just minutes after giving birth to my son. What had been a long night and day was finally over and, suddenly, I found myself alone, shaking and cold, on the delivery table. Everybody–Doug, the doctor, the nurses–had whisked away with the baby, somewhere else, and simply left me there. The spotlight had moved on from me, to my son. Two years later, it happened again with my daughter.

I think the best parents realize this early on. While we may occasionally commandeer the spotlight in our own lives, for our own achievements, the spotlights in our children’s lives belong solely on them. Continue reading

Why I Tell My Kids They’re Beautiful

Rachel GettysburgMy mother never told me I was beautiful. It’s an admission that I make with no need for therapy, or sympathy. But, there it is. I won’t pretend it didn’t affect me growing up, nor that it didn’t have a lasting impact. It’s on my mind more these days because I’ve got two kids of my own, and they’re entering that gawky stage of adolescence, with its hormones and pimples and insecurities and over-awareness of self. It ain’t pretty–but yet, I look at them every day and see their beauty. How does a parent not? Continue reading