The Best Stage of Parenting

There’s a scene in Father of the Bride that I relate to these days, as a parent of two young adult daughters. In the scene, Steve Martin’s character gapes as his grown daughter morphs into a tiny girl in braids who pipes up at the dinner table to announce her upcoming nuptials. My girls aren’t getting married yet, I’m happy to say. But I get the spirit of the movie scene when I watch all the little ways my daughters behave like grownups when I clearly remember bringing them home as helpless infants and then muddling through years of thwarted attempts to train them in basic responsibility and focus. It has dawned on me that somewhere in the last few years, something took, and now I can only drink in each delicious moment as these kids confidently lead their lives and reveal their depth.

Several little ways they have of showing ownership and wisdom have me not gaping, but wondering warmly at where my reluctant, fairy-obsessed, teacher-vexing progeny of lax parentage went, and who replaced them with these delightful grownups. Moms and dads struggling through the frustration and fog of various childhood stages, take hope:... [Read More]


A Virtual World of Possibilities

My husband and daughter have been playing the video game “Elder Scrolls” for a few years now (yes, they take breaks to eat, go to school, go to work, etc.) This virtual world is stunning in its detail and sprawl. When the weather is bleak outdoors, the digital forests with sun filtering through trees, birds singing, and wildflowers blooming give me a lift. Sometimes–although I would never publicize this on an online forum–when weather doesn’t permit walking, I jog in place in front of the screen, pretending to “run with” my daughter’s screen character. It is cheering, if there are no nightmarish beings attacking, to imagine I’m taking some air on cobbled paths winding through woods, or on a beach, or over a boardwalk. As my daughter works her way through the game, with its stiff storylines and stilted dialogue, we are building our own family lore around it, which to me is more amusing than what the Tolkien wannabe script writers offer. Here are some absurdities you can only get from the blending of real and programmed worlds:

Virtual Clutter: In Elder Scrolls, players constantly acquire objects and carry them around in their packs or whatever their digital conveyance is. If I understand it right, these items come in handy later, or give the player an edge in fighting, or extra food for recipes, or clothes. At times, it gets to be too much, so you can sell off items to people in the game, or you can dump them somewhere. Apparently, my husband has taken to dumping. My daughter discovered this after she spent some time buying herself a house and furnishing it how she liked. It was tidy and cozy, a calm retreat from battling mutants. One day, unsuspecting, she selected that area on the map to visit her home. My husband had been there before her. He had been busy cleaning out his gear, leaving items strewn around the medieval dwelling. And in the middle of the floor was a sacrificial heart.... [Read More]


Segregation Now

You’re white, in your early 30s and you have a 6-year-old child. For ten years you and your wife (you got married four years ago) have been living in a “rehabbing” neighborhood close to the downtown of a large American city. You pioneered this area (along with other couples, singles and homosexuals) when it was heavily inner-city poor and have been a part of the revitalization — bars, boutiques, coffee houses, museums, new residential construction — that turned it into an attractive venue for new migrants and visitors.

But your child is now school age and therein lies a problem. The local elementary school is three blocks away. It is an old building staffed by the typical collection of unionized, mediocre teachers. The school has no academic distinction at all. Test scores are pitiful. It has been labeled a failing school by the State Board of Ed. There have been some “incidents” that your wife has heard about, not in the local newspaper, but at the organic food store and at the farm-to-table restaurant where she sometimes meets friends for lunch. The elementary school student body is overwhelmingly black. ... [Read More]


TOTD 12/18: Forging Our Future

Progressives around the world are bound and determined to destroy the family as the core of society.  What they haven’t factored into their plans is that the future belongs to those who show up, and that means families.

The Next Generation

This photo from July includes my daughter-in-law, who was carrying my grandson at the time.  And recently arrived:... [Read More]