Why I Never Wanted Pets but Got One Anyway

Before Christmas, we got our first dog. A dog that will live 14 years when we’ll have kids home for 3 ½ more years. I can’t tell you how many people tell me we’re crazy. I think we’re crazy. It’s been a moment of parental and marital madness.I am not a pet lover.   Admitting that feels almost as un-American as saying I don’t love apple pie. But I don’t prefer cooked fruits, I don’t prefer animal smells, and I’m allergic.I didn’t grow up with real pets even though Mama had multiple pets gr … [Read more...]

Stubborn Releasing: Walking with My Kid through the Desert

My daughter’s been going through terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days.Something I can’t write about because there are confidences involved and as Aslan would say, “other people’s stories” that can’t be revealed. Suffice it to say that she showed great courage, much more courage than I ever showed at her age, and now pays the price almost every day.Whew.It’s so much harder to walk with a child suffering than it is to walk through my own wilderness.I spent last week at my … [Read more...]

Wisdom through the Ages: Family Advice for the High School Grad

Last night our family celebrated Ling’s high school graduation with Peking Duck—a tradition my parents have instituted after big events.  I suggested we go around the table and give Ling a word of wisdom for college.  Here’s what folks said:Me (49):  My dissertation on “The Interracial Friendships of White and Asian College Students” found that friendships primarily form along proximity and shared activities.  In other words, the ability to spend a lot of time with folks is how you become fri … [Read more...]

Primping for Prom

“Henry, how long did it take for you to get ready today?” I asked Ling’s prom date last night as I drove them to the picture taking gathering.He snorted a little, “About 5 minutes.”“That’s what I thought.”Because as the mom of a senior girl, it didn’t take 5 minutes or even 5 hours, more like 5 days—5 full days of my life to get my girl ready for prom.Last September Ling announced that she was going to prom whether she had a date or not.  “If I don’t have a date, I’m going stag.” … [Read more...]

Last Wednesday Night: Parenting in Calculus, Crisis and Noxious Gas

Last Wednesday night, Kai woke me from an allergy/Benadryl induced deep sleep at 12:30 a.m.  “Ling’s wailing.  You better go check on her.”I dragged myself out of bed and Kai was right.  It was the week after Ling took 4 AP tests and 2 days from the last day of her high school career.  What could be so bad that my normally stoic child was reduced to sobs?3 take home on-line calculus tests.3 tests that students could use any books or online resources to solve--which means books and onl … [Read more...]

Kids & Core Sins

As my kids and I clustered around the kitchen, a child asked me what my core sin was.   Anyone who knows me knows I’m more than slightly addicted to personality tests—the Myers-Briggs, the DISC, and these days most of all, the Enneagram.  My kids have absorbed some of this language, including the Enneagram idea that each of the 9 types have a core sin—basically Dante’s 7 deadly sins:  Anger, Pride, Envy, Greed, Gluttony, Lust & Sloth plus Deceit and Fear.Before I could answer, the kids fi … [Read more...]

Put Down That Phone!

Last fall, Kai complained that all her friends had smartphones and she didn’t.  On one hand, she complained because she wanted one SO BAD.  On the other hand, she noticed that during lunch, rather than chatting or gossiping, laughing or telling stories—all the things one would hope to do with a gang of best buds—everyone was staring at their device.  She could only twiddle her thumbs in thin air.I suggested she say, “Hey guys, let’s put our phones down and talk.”  She looked at me like I was … [Read more...]

Snow Day Tale

Growing up in Hawaii, there are a bunch of activities I never anticipated my grown-up life would entail:Taking my own trash to the dump because our town doesn’t have trash pickup Skiing every winter Making sure all windshield wipers stick up before a snowstorm so they don’t freeze to the windshield Not being able to see as I drive in the dark to the gym because I’ve sprayed wiper fluid to clear all the snow/grime off the windshield only to form a sheet of ice so I can see even less … [Read more...]