Teachers Come in All Sizes

Filed Under All Posts, Parenting | 7 Comments

We’re please to introduce our first guest blogger: co-founder of Plastic Pollution Coalition and contributor to the Huffington Post, Lisa Kaas Boyle describes herself as an environmental attorney, mother and life-long learner. Welcome Lisa!

I was one of those people who always dreamed of having children, even when I was a child myself. Naturally, I had a lot of expectations about being a parent. Many of these expectations turned out to be false — like the idea that having a child would be like having a part of me break off and develop into another me. I quickly learned that, apart from some obvious genetic similarities, my kids came to me as strangers I had to get to know. The next big surprise, and this was even more shocking to me, was that my kids would be teaching ME things.

My son Jake, who turned 13 this month, has been one of my greatest teachers. He taught me a profound lesson when he was not yet two. I had recently quit working outside the home to be a “stay-at-home mom.” Read more

Once Upon a Childhood…

Filed Under All Posts, Family, Parenting, Prudence Baird | 13 Comments


Prudence Baird is transported back to a time when her boys were small; a time rich with storybooks, morning hugs, inquiry and magic.

Mother’s Day has come and gone—again bringing with it all the reminders that this phase of life soon will pass. Lumpy breakfasts in bed and hand-drawn cards, both lovingly crafted by children eager to please, have been replaced with brunch out and Hallmark cards personalized only as a grumpy teenager can do—with a signature.

And so it is that under a starlit dome outside my bedroom window, as Gemini’s twins arc overhead and the grandfather clock begins to strike midnight, my restless mind mulls over a bittersweet discovery made earlier that day as I trawled through a neglected drawer looking for letter-sized file folders.

My probing hand settled on a smooth plastic stick, a foot long, with rounded ends—a child’s toy; a magic wand mixed in with old pens, highlighters, Post-it notes and rolls of tape. The wand’s cool resin holds inside two liquids—one heavy and cobalt blue, one light and clear. In this embryonic fluid dances a teaspoon or so of silvery sparkling stars and tiny gold crescent moons that float from one end of the wand to the other.

I hold the wand to the light. As the particles swim to and fro, I am transported Read more

Prelude to an Empty Nest

Filed Under All Posts, Parenting, Prudence Baird | 15 Comments

The screen door bangs shut behind me, echoing in a house that only last week was filled with the last frantic scrabblings of summer vacation.

The school backpacks no longer hang on their hooks by the door; they are off for another tour of duty filled with new spiral notebooks, freshly sharpened pencils, pocket-sized tissue packs and re-charged cell phones.

I stand just inside the front door, unable to move.  Unwilling to hang up my keys.  Incapable of addressing this morning’s breakfast dishes, still in the sink.

I am paralyzed by the sudden realization that all too soon there will be no more first days of school. Read more

A Killer and the Bee

Filed Under All Posts, Parenting, Prudence Baird | 11 Comments

Portrait of Prudence by her son Casey

To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, you go bicycle riding with the family you have, not the family you want or wish to have at a later time.

For one thing, there is no later time. Having children at ages 38 and 40 IS later.

And for another…well, there is no other. Options are limited when you debut a husband, two infants and a mortgage early in the second act of your life. Read more