Author: Sarah Herrick

The Art of the Unplanned Birthday Party

The birthday parties we planned were on an epic scale, and because we didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a birthday party, they involved a lot of party preparation, time, and creativity. I had a great time doing it but by the end, I was exhausted.

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Mother’s Day Is Not a Tradition

Mother’s Day is not a tradition in my life. Mother’s Day a living, evolving event that ties the years together with the various mother figures in my life. It’s a dance, a celebration, and at times, an apology. When I was a child, Mother’s Day meant making a card for my mother and grandmothers — and until I was 10, my great-grandmother, who lived with one of my grandmas and taught me how to cheat at solitaire. The cards started with crayon squiggles and eventually turned into little poems and drawings in my childish scrawl, all funky letters and elaborate curlicues. Gifts of sparkly rocks and flowers from the yard turned into macaroni necklaces made at school and then into earnest craft projects that, bless my heart, I was convinced were High Art. My mother was very kind about my efforts. My dad would help my sister and me put together bouquets of flowers from my mother’s garden and we’d bring them to the grandmas, and my parents would give their mothers gifts and cards and flowers, too. As a teen, Mother’s Day started to mean saving up my allowance for a little something from the local gardening store, store bought cards, and remembering to write MOTHER’S DAY on my calendar so I wouldn’t get the date wrong. I got busy with my own life, but we still celebrated...

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the unnecessary essentials

I don’t think we ever outgrow having pacifiers. They change shape, but we all have that one thing that we feel most comfortable having with us. Might be wearing makeup. Or having a cell phone in your pocket. A certain necklace. A photo of your family tucked in your wallet. I can’t leave home without a book. I know perfectly well that I will not shrivel up and die if I don’t have a book with me. I will, in fact, still be able to function just fine and get everything done that I need to do, and go where I need to go. But, darn it, I won’t be as comfortable as I am when I have a book with me. A book in my purse means I will never be bored. No matter how my plans change, how long I end up stuck in that waiting room, how long the start of a meeting is delayed, how many minutes it takes that tow truck to reach me, how many eons it takes my kids’ activities to wrap up while I sit in the parking lot, I will always have something entertaining to do. It’s my alone time even when I’m in a crowd of people. I’ll just read. I was that kid, back when it was okay to call a kid with glasses “four-eyes” and a kid...

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The DITL Challenge

I’ve done this before. The Day In the Life Of a Working Mom challenge. You take pictures or write down everything you do in a single day. If you’re a new family, this often leads to revelations about the balance you and your partner have in household chores and a new appreciation for the wild ride parenting has sent you on. Cuteness of the newest family member is also a factor, and pets may come into play. The DITL challenge with older kids holds fewer revelations, but is still fun for me. It’s a snapshot into a busy time in our lives, with kids who are going to be going off and doing their own things sooner than I’m ready for. I imagine that this picture of our lives will ring true with many of our readers, as there are some things about this working parent life that are universal. Like multitasking. Case in point, I’m crowded on the couch with both girls while I write this because they’re feeling cuddly, Jurassic Park on in the background, one kid on her phone, another on her laptop, and I’m bouncing back and forth between typing and making dinner for five (our neighbor might be coming over). Folded laundry is piled next to me because I got it clean and sorted, but haven’t put it away yet. My husband is finishing...

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The Most Dangerous Month

December is known as a dangerous month. Around the holidays, sometimes just dealing with family is enough to send a person over the edge. We’ve also become aware that folks who are alone, who have suffered losses, who are struggling are at risk of suicide during the holidays. That feeling of loss and separation set against the backdrop of celebration and family time can be insurmountable. Now there are public service announcements, suicide prevention lines, and community events set up to prevent the worst of the December damage. January is known as a dark winter month. I know I put in extra effort to spend time with family and friends in the month of January to combat the winter blues and the impact of those holiday bills rolling in. After New Year’s, we always make a point of hosting some kind of quirky, community focused party at our house. One year it was a mass Capricorn birthday party for ourselves and all our friends born under the hybrid zodiac sign. Another year it was a potluck sandwich party themed after the comic strip character Dagwood and his insane, five foot tall sandwiches. But February — February sneaks in under my radar every year and throws me for a loop. February is still dark and cold, with teasing glimpses of the spring to come. Not enough to lift me into...

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