Rituals & Spirituality

In Defense of Halloween…

pumpkin IIYears ago, I read an essay by a reform rabbi explaining why she didn’t allow her children to celebrate Halloween. It’s not a Jewish holiday, she said and, in addition, she abhorred the stereotypical images of women and girls as witches and bunnies and princesses.

I wanted to admire her integrity and determination in the face of societal pressure to celebrate a holiday she had issues with, but I couldn’t help but feel only sympathy for her kids. We go to the movies that day, she said in the article, and no one else is there. It’s wonderful.

Later, when I had a child of my own in daycare, another kid’s dad told me, “We don’t celebrate Halloween. We’re Christian.”

Wow. Halloween gets it from all sides, doesn’t it? [Read More…]

Too Much Post-Halloween Candy? Never Fear, The Great Pumpkin Is Here!

Melanie Elliott Halloween IIIOur first Halloween with The Littlest E was easy breezy. He was 15 months old and didn’t really know or care about pumpkins, costumes, going trick-or-treating, or eating candy.  We stayed home that year and answered the door whenever the bell rang.

For the past few years some friends of ours whose son is The Littlest E’s age, have held a Halloween potluck.  They live in a great kid-friendly neighborhood with lots of children going door-to-door.  We starting going to their house when The Littlest E was a little over 2 years old.  That first year attending their party, we lasted 10 minutes trick-or-treating.  Our little guy was too scared of adults in costume and he didn’t even like being in his own costume.  It was all a bit too much for him. [Read More…]

Autumn in the Air (Going Back)

leaf“I wouldn’t go back there for the world!” I said to a woman whose daughter was picking out new school stuff alongside my son.

“All I did was worry about homework and clothes, and if I wasn’t doing that, I was chasing a boy – not that I ever caught one. It was just way too much stress.”

“I know!” the woman laughed. “I’m glad this one’s only in first grade!”

“That’s when I was talking about,” I replied. She grabbed her child and fled. [Read More…]

8 Tips For Boomer Women To Better Enjoy Their Friendships

We can say without a doubt that intimate friendships have always been important to women. But have you noticed that they’ve become even more so as you face the transitions of children growing up and parents growing older?

Findings from a recent MacArthur Foundation Study indicate that the emotional security and social support that these relationships provide for women have been a survival strategy for them in adversity. In fact, friendship is one of the keys to a long and more satisfying life. [Read More…]

Motherhood Is The Ultimate Blessing

It’s Monday night and the house is quiet.

Well, I take that back – it’s quiet except for Hayden, who is squirming and complaining on my lap. He’s been in a grouchy mood all day, and I think I’ve nursed him 49 times. Possibly less, but it doesn’t feel like it. Lily is chattering in the background too – covering her doll with a maroon plastic pasta strainer and singing “wash, wash, wash.” (Give that girl an A+ for creativity, because I promise she isn’t reenacting anything she’s seen here before.)

But. it’s more quiet here than usual, because the rest of my kids are dispersed throughout our town tonight….some are playing football in a park with their older brother, a few are off on an ice cream date with Daddy, and Mackenzie is staying the night with a friend from work whose husband is out of town. [Read More…]

The Long Wave Goodbye

Dear Reader: Each year, I repost this essay, written when my children were young. However, it remains true to me; the original wave is etched in my heart and mind forever.  school bus

Today, I waved to my daughter riding away on the bus. The silly kind of wave – two arms, as if flagging down a passing ship.  We both continued waving until the bus was out of sight.  Walking back to my house, I had a lump in my throat. I am sad.

I’m sad for the time which is passing so quickly; sad, too, that I see that my parenting must be working well – my own daughter still longs for me.  I did not have that with my own mother. I will continue to try my hardest to fulfill that need, until her hands stop reaching for mine, the arm waves stop and I see her waving to her friends, not me. That time is coming. In fact, it’s just around the corner.

\Writer Kelly Salasin blogged, “There are so many deaths in mothering, beginning at the beginning, and arriving every day after. But equally matched with these deaths are the blessings of a new life – new growth – new possibility.” These words resonate with me. [Read More…]

Back-to-School, But Why?

The end of summer approaches, and vacations that took months of planning are now nestled in camera rolls of our iPhones.  The baseball season that began with hope for every team now holds promise for a remaining few.  And, the season for summer squash and tomatoes is coming to a close.  But, as with all things in life, the end of one chapter marks the beginning of another. With the coming fall, we look forward to football, the changing of the leaves, and school.

It’s natural to be nostalgic at the beginning of the school year.  The next incremented grade is a hard number that reminds us that our little ones are taking slow but inexorable steps towards adulthood.  For some of us, there aren’t many more steps to take.  As those steps slowly add up, we parents hope that we’ve given our children the education they’ll need to make it in that adult world. [Read More…]

By |September 2nd, 2014|Categories: Adoption, Commentary, Daily Living, Rituals & Spirituality|Tags: , , |0 Comments

The Ocean, Buddha and Nummies

Amy Wright Glenn's oceanI stand in the ocean. The water is warm, placid, and crystal clear. Little translucent fish swim around my legs. I hold my 22-month old son Taber in my arms. He rests his head on my shoulder.

My husband puts his goggles on to check out a nearby Needlefish. It’s our family morning time at the beach. Having recently moved to south Florida, we are amazed by the world-renowned beauty found a mile away from our doorstep.

My son pulls my blue swimsuit to the side and begins to nurse. I stand tall, gaze at the surrounding beauty, and breathe in the powerful peace moving through my soul. I etch this tender mercy into my heart’s collection of memories. This moment is so primal, so right, and so beautiful.

I stand in the ocean’s magical waters and breastfeed under the sun. [Read More…]

By |June 30th, 2014|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living, Rituals & Spirituality|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Oranges for the Buddha

TFranz_OrangesBuddhaWhile living in our little semi-urban house here in Kumamoto, Japan, we are often visited by one of the neighbor ladies bearing gifts of whatever is in season in her well-tended garden. In spring, there are strawberries. In summer, eggplants and tomatoes. In fall, persimmons and squash. In winter, oranges. These fruits and vegetables then sit before the Buddha on our altar as an offering—for a short while, anyway—before winding up in our kitchen to be duly prepared and then consumed by the family.

I’ve always been struck by this neat little cycle of generosity: neighbors sharing their bounty; our family engaging in ritual at the altar; my husband and I preparing meals in the kitchen; and the four of us then eating in proxy for the Buddha, just as it’s done in many households and monasteries throughout Japan. It’s idyllic. Almost. It’s that last part where my genuine feeling of generosity too often breaks down and becomes complicated. The fact is, mealtimes with young children can be very, very challenging. [Read More…]

The Value of “Tuck-Ins”

austin'sThere’s a saying in the South that goes, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”  I was raised on this aphorism and felt it acutely around special occasions such as Christmas, Mom’s birthday, and, of course, Mother’s Day.

Growing up, it was always interesting to me that the same amount of fastidiousness wasn’t applied to Dad’s birthday or to Father’s Day.  As a boy, this seemed demonstrably unfair, but as I’ve gotten older and entered the ranks of parents, I think I understand why the disparity exists.  I think it has to do with our need for a protection that is both intimate and nurturing.

Now, right off the bat, I can hear the internet criticizing this opinion.  “Men can be just as intimate as women,” the web might say.  Or “This opinion of yours that mothers are more nurturing than fathers is sexist.”  And I am sure there are millions of counter-examples to refute everything I’m going to write. [Read More…]

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