Questions without easy answers abound. But we humans hate that. Our brains like certainty. Tough, complex problems without clear solutions make us very unhappy indeed. In these situations, particularly where public pressure exists to find a fast and clean answer, we’re susceptible to a type of brain elf, Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, calls substitution. He writes, “If a satisfactory answer to a hard question is not found quickly, System 1 (our fast-thinking brain) will find a related question that is easier and will answer it.”
Lying close to my son as he slowly drifts into sleep is the most cost-effective therapy I know. But I know it can’t last.
Most nights, at least lately, after we snuggle and he reads a few pages from a chapter book, I say goodnight and exit his room. Then he reads a few pages of a comic book (Garfield or Calvin and Hobbs) on his own before flipping off his reading light and heading to snooze-town. But one night recently, we turned off the lights and I stayed a bit longer. He flung his arm around my neck and nuzzled a little closer. “Tonight,” he said, “you’re my stuffy.” Continue reading “Queen in the Quiet of My Child’s World”
In the months leading up to Cheryl’s death at thirty-seven from very aggressive breast cancer, I witnessed my friend’s short battle for life. We found ourselves in the tricky situation of being close friends with children who were best friends, but also my nurse to her patient. We talked and talked, and knew it was only a matter of time until she would need to come into the hospice. The night before she was due to go home I remember begging the night staff (also my friends) to take extra care of her. She wanted to be at home and had a day with her children before she drifted into unconsciousness. She died two days later.
I begin to feel the holiday spirit the first time I hear “The Little Drummer Boy” each year. This song, written by Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1941, helps me sight the essence of what I believe is my–maybe everyone’s–purpose here on this planet.
Becoming a grandfather is fairly easy, one just needs to have a child and for that child to also have a child. Lots of men become grandfathers, but becoming one is not the achievement that a man should be recognised for. No, being a good grandfather, is what a man should be commended on.
What qualifies a man as a good grandfather? Sure, being able to turn a blind eye when your grandchild has pilfered yet another Fox’s Glacier Mint from your tin that you kept hidden away, is definitely an essential quality, but making your grandchild feel your unconditional love is, as the kids say these days, “the one.” Continue reading “Love Letter: Memories of the Grandadest of Grandads”
To feel love and to express it boldly without expectation of return requires tremendous courage. The word courage originates from the Latin word for heart. Not the organ itself, but what it represents–the living room for our feelings. In my original I Want Your Love Letterspost I ask readers of my blog to pen a letter to anyone he or she loves or admires–friend, teacher, lover, mentor, parent, bus driver, coach, sibling–anyone. Each writer of a love letter demonstrates the essence of heart. Every one of the letters makes me smile and fills me with a kind of quiet inspiration. And I want more.
For this post, I’ve gathered these letters together to celebrate the writers and their loved ones. I also want to invite others, like you, to contribute your love letters to the collection.
There are a lot of different terms we use when experience significant changes in our lives: Starting over, Moving on, A new chapter, Begin again, Go back to the drawing board.
However, there is something about these terms that seems amiss. They suggest that all the experiences and interactions that I had before were insignificant. To me, “starting over” says that I just scrapped everything, as if somehow my past experiences didn’t bring me to the place where I stand today. But, that’s not what it really feels like to experience change.Continue reading “Why I Won’t Be Starting Over”
“Bye. I love you.” My stomach dropped. My brain didn’t consciously plan to say it, but there it was–Out there. These three little words, reserved for more than thirty years for only close family and romantic partners, had slipped through my lips. My friend Jenn laughed, “Ang, I love you too.”
Why did it take me decades to tell a dear friend I loved her? Short answer: I was afraid. I feared the vulnerability of such a declaration. I reserved I love you as if the words, and the emotions behind them, were rare gems, meant to be precious and few. But love, in its many forms, needn’t be scarce. Science and philosophy agree: love is a renewable resource with exponential return on investment. Continue reading “Share the Love: Write a Love Letter and I’ll Publish it”