Family vacation stress

I read an Associated Press article on Monday, July 16, 2007, which reports that vacations are becoming less pervasive in American life, primarily because of lack of money and too few vacation days being offered by most employers. Orbitz, the online travel company, reports that people are “busier than ever with their lives, family activities, and kids… and they find it difficult to take an extended vacation…”

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Coming Home to the Bridge

“Let’s just stop for dinner,” I begged from the back seat.

Our son was driving—we were headed home from our family canoe trip in the Boundary Waters Wilderness. We had dropped off one of our daughters at camp and now we needed to get back to the cities.

We had a great trip. We were still getting used to pavement, cars, trucks zooming by us and superstores on the horizon. We were relieved to be in clean clothes with washed hair, but reluctant to depart from the tall pines and loon calls we had known so recently.

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Writing about motherhood

I have heard and read many essays and short stories about the days and hours we all spend trying to make sense of this work of mothering. I have written many essays and radio commentaries about the ups and downs and the intricacies of this work. I have wept or chortled when I have heard some of these pieces, and I have inwardly rolled my eyes when I have read some story that, though well meaning, came out sounding trite, cliche or just plain too cute.

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Summer stress

“Summer Stress” is a term we’re hearing these days, referring to the idyllic version of summer that we have in our heads and how it contrasts with the busy, expectation filled, expensive, scheduled lives we often end up leading in the summer.

For most parents, the kids are home from school for three whole months. At the beginning of the summer, a parent might find himself already tired from all the end of the school year activities and struggling to get in synch with new schedules.

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My Graduation Party–1977

It was almost one o’ clock in the afternoon on a Sunday thirty years ago about now.

I was supposed to go pick up my little sister from a birthday party. I backed the Oldsmobile out of the garage and was shocked to hear a crashing sound. I remember my mother coming out of the back door of our house, screaming “ WHAT was that?”

I remember walking in slow motion around to the back of the idling car to look at the panel of wood that used to divide the garage doors, lying half on the back of the car, half on the driveway. I remember thinking “oh my god.” I remember calling my boyfriend Jack and asking if he could hurry over. I don’t remember how my sister got home from her birthday party. I think my mom had a lot to say, a torrential series of sentences about disaster and inconvenience and emergency.
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The Roots of Mother’s Day

As we prepare for Mother’s Day, here’s my message: the origins of Mother’s Day are not with breakfast in bed or a corsage or a greeting card. Mother’s Day began as a political cry for peace.

In 1870, Julia Ward Howe, mother of six, wrote “The Mother’s Day Proclamation for Peace.”

Howe had recently walked the battlefields of the Civil War with her husband and with Abraham Lincoln. She had just written “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. But now, as the Franco Prussian War was beginning, she felt that she could not bear any more violence. She called for a congress of women to gather immediately to promote PEACE: A Mother’s Day for Peace.
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Big Conflicted Life

My big conflicted life goes on again today. Just like every morning I’m up and yoga’ed, showered, granolaed, coffeeed, and here I am at work.

On the drive I wanted to find out how my sister is doing. She needs attention every day now because she’s sick and she has little kids and I wish I could just sit by her or show up at her house to help. So I dial her up on my cell phone. And we have a sweet, short conversation. I remember something I need to tell my mom so I call her too, leaving a message. I’m just about to dial up my friend Kris when I realize that I have once again scooted past my own personal boundaries and I am one of those women you see on the freeway, zooming from lane to lane, slowing irritably to punch numbers into a cell phone and then careening around in a half trance, talking on the phone.
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