I'm an huge fan of Anna Quindlen who writes a bi-weekly column for Newsweek. When the magazine arrives, I immediately turn to last page (and am always disappointed on the weeks it's George Will writing and not her) and as I walk into the house, balancing the mail, my purse, and all the stuff I grabbed from the back seat of the car, I start reading. She's a mom first and always, and gets right to the heart of whatever's going on in our world or hers.
So, I thought I'd share a handful of my favorites -
Sending the kids off to college is one rite of passage. But it's when they finally leave for real that the biggest breach begins.
First paragraph: The other day my son cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner, all in a single frying pan. Scrambled eggs, grilled cheese, shell steak. That last required my assistance, a shorthand recipe typed into my handheld in the middle of a drowsy late-day meeting. "High heat," it began. An hour later the meeting was still going on and a return message arrived: "Thanks for the help."
Good Boy, Beau. Stay.
Put a pork roast in the oven, and the guy still breathes as audibly as an obscene caller. The eyes and ears are gone, but the nose is eternal.
First paragraph: I am that most pathetic of human creatures, a human who walks into a veterinarian's office without an animal. "Beau?" the woman behind the desk calls, and I rise. Dr. Brown ushers me back into an examining room kitted out with a bottle of preserved heartworms, and sends me off with a prescription refill and the promise of a house call when necessary. The house call will be for the purpose of euthanasia, but neither of us says the word.
Each of us rose on the shoulders of women who had come before us. Move up, reach down: that was the motto of those worth knowing.
First paragraphs: I came to feminism the way some people come to social movements in their early years: out of self-interest. As a teenager, I was outspoken and outraged, which paired with a skirt was once considered arrogance. When I was expelled from convent school I was furious. Now I am more understanding. Would you have wanted to be the nun teaching me typing?
I got on the equality bandwagon because I was a young woman with a streak of ambition a mile wide, and without a change in the atmosphere I thought I was going to wind up living a life that would make me crazy. As my father said not long ago, "Can you imagine what it would have been like if you had been born 50 years earlier? Your life would have been miserable."
THE GOOD ENOUGH MOTHER
Forget about day camp of mandatory gymboree. What's the point of raising kids if we don't have a good time and a few laughs?
First paragraphs: There was a kind of carelessness to my childhood. I wandered away from time to time, rode my bike too far from home, took the trolley to nowhere in particular and back again. If you had asked my mother at any given time where I was, she would likely have paused from spooning Gerber's peas into a baby's mouth or ironing our school uniforms and replied, "She's around here somewhere."
By the new standards of mothering, my mother was a bust. Given the number of times I got lost when I was young, she might even be termed neglectful. There's only one problem with that conclusion. It's dead wrong. My mother was great at what she did. Don't misunderstand: she didn't sit on the floor and help us build with our Erector sets, didn't haul us from skating rink to piano lessons. She couldn't even drive. But where she was always felt like a safe place.
I'll Never Stop Saying Maria
Swimming underwater at 2, jumping off the diving board at 3, barreling off a cliff into the Caribbean at 5 -- that's my wild, brave girl
First paragraph: Sixteen years ago something unexpected happened: I became the mother of a daughter. Our assumptions about the unlikelihood of this had a weird logic, my husband the eldest in a family of six boys, our first two children sons. Third time around I looked exactly the same (enormous), and my habitual nausea had given way to my habitual urge to eat anything with salt or sugar and most of what lay in between. Which explains why, when our doctor said, "A little girl," I upended that newborn right there in the birthing bed and double-checked.
And this week's piece - a must-read:
This Is Important
The country is in a mess. Do not be distracted by the gossip, nonsense or lies. The time to really focus on the facts is now.
First paragraph: Today is the first day of the rest of this presidential election. Pay close attention. Do not get sidetracked. This is a message to myself. I, too, got snookered by small-bore bickering and secondary ephemera. I sat in front of the television and listened as so-called surrogates for the candidates played gotcha with obfuscation, misdirection and outright lies. A presidential election is a game now, and we're not playing, we're getting played. With very few exceptions—hats off to you, David Gergen—nothing being said has much to do with the future of this country or the well-being of its citizens. As a wise woman said to me the other day, talking points and talking are two very different things.