Popsicles and Playdates

We’ve only been here for forty minutes, but I’m wondering if it’s time to go. I’ve already met a dozen other parents, wearing a name tag bearing both mine and my daughter’s name on it. I’ve squinted across the top of my mask at half-familiar faces, a couple I recognize from college and a woman…

Small Prints

“Life right now, it’s a very small pattern. If you look closely, you can see something. Flowers, plaid, dots. But from a distance it all just sort of… blends.” I once described being home full time with small children in terms of a textile print. I suppose I felt then that the tiny design was…

So, About That Christmas Card Photo

At the beginning of Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy writes that “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” At the risk of my English Major card being revoked, I admit I haven’t read this particular masterpiece, though I hope to someday. Until then, however, I’m not sure I agree…

Chasing {LEGO} Joy

Rest in my arms. Sleep in my bed. There’s a design to what I did and said. Sufjan Stevens, “Vito’s Ordination Song” “So, how are you chasing joy or nourishing your soul in this season?” I’ve been staring at the question in the little chat box for a few minutes by the time my co-leader…

Of New Tents and Old Adventures

It was my brother’s fault. How many times have I invoked this big-sister refrain in the slightly-more-than-thirty years we’ve shared together? Plenty. But this time it’s actually true: Without my brother, we would never have gone camping this summer. We loved camping as kids; Dahlstroms went camping more often than any other kind of vacation….

Preschool

I have a complicated relationship with preschool. Complicated because, as an educator, I know it’s important. I’ve read the articles, seen the case studies, have a passing knowledge of the demographics suggesting that early childhood education is a strong indicator for later academic success. I want everyone to go to preschool, and I want it to…

Open Letter To My Children on the Fourth of July, 2020

I’ll have to do this work someday, too, and I hope I handle it with the grace of my parents, for whom exposing me to brutal stories was an act of love. Brit Bennet, from “Addy Walker, American Girl” 4 July 2020 Dear Daughters, 364 days ago one of you—the only one who was speaking…

Of Braiding Hair and the Privilege of Worry

It is what would have been Breonna Taylor‘s 27th birthday, and I am braiding my daughter’s hair when I am struck for a moment with the desire to write a poem about braiding hair. I think about braids around the world, braids throughout history, different colors and textures of hair plaited together in different sizes…

All These Treasures

We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it, if it were not the earth where the same flowers come up again every spring that we used to gather with our tiny fingers as we sat lisping to ourselves on the grass, the same hips and haws…

Bones

“Mom… when are we going to get a book about the body?” It’s a frequent refrain these days, a question that has blossomed into our lives like the pink flowers on the tree outside our bedroom window. What we need, Luci decided some weeks or maybe a month ago, is a book. A book that explains,…