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Children Are Meant to be Unfinished

“And don’t forget you didn’t finish the laundry,” I yell defiantly. I watch the slim profile of my daughter stomp up the stairs, her dark ponytail swinging side to side. I can hear her breathing through her nose, in and out, in and out, like a bull about to charge. I watch as she turns the corner, out of my view. I brace myself, waiting for the door to slam, yet thankfully I hear a quiet click of metal on the wooden frame. I stand still, one hand clutching the…

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Gym Clothes and Participation Trophies

Recently my daughter forgot her gym clothes. I know. Tweens and their irresponsibility. Except, she mentioned all weekend that she needed to do her laundry. She’s 12 and part of her household chores is managing the washing, drying, folding and putting away of her clothing. She mentioned it a few times, and in each instance I replied: “Okay, no problem. You can do it as soon as I switch my stuff out.” “Do you want me to move it?” she asked. “No, no. I want to make sure everything is…

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Dear Mermaids: Body Image is not a Trend

At the beach this summer, I saw two young teens snapping photos at the edge of the water. The pair giggled at first, trying to get just the right shot with the ocean in the background, catching the sun dancing off the waves. Both wore their hair up in top buns, and possessed strong athletic bodies. Skin tan and glistening, I admired their youth and beauty. I put my nose back into my book when I heard, “Wait, we can’t use this one because my face looks too round.” Then,…

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The Words She Keeps

I was in eighth grade when I overheard a group of boys discussing their female classmates in the library. I sat frozen in a cubby desk hidden from their view. I attempted to finish a make-up vocabulary test, but my focus disappeared as I listened to their words. “The new girl is cute, but a little chubby. Sometimes she is pretty, but other days, I don’t know.” I felt the young man’s words cut through my skin and consume my thoughts. I looked down at my thighs and noticed their…

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The Firsts That Come in the Tween Years

In motherhood, there are so many “firsts” that take your breath away. That first time your baby laughs. The first steps a toddler takes to your outstretched arms. The first time your son takes the school bus or your daughter learns how to ride a bike. When I reflect on these moments my heart feels full. As our kids grow, the “firsts” come less frequently and the time stretched between them lengthen. Instead of celebrating a new milestone, the goal becomes surviving another Monday shuttling your kids to piano, soccer,…

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