Articles


Lessons from mean girls

By Linda Lowen

That shelf of books on mean girls and childhood friendships? I read them all and still screwed up.

For years, I’d been poised to identify and caution my two daughters against the potential bad apple. Yet the real threat—the nice girl—I overlooked. These kids are disarmingly polite, dress neatly, and speak like a network anchor, but watch out. They’re proof of why we sometimes have to trust our kids’ judgment.

 

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Why Mom shouldn’t do all the packing


By Linda Lowen

Most families come home from a summer vacation relaxed and tanned, with souvenirs and seashells. We return with stories of neglect and near disaster, carrying more emotional baggage than we left with. Empty suitcases go to the basement, but the emotional baggage—the stuff I don’t want to deal with—hides in the upstairs hall closet behind the sheets and towels.

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I’ve learned birthdays can be fun for all

By Linda Lowen

I keenly remember the opening volley in the Birthday Party Battles in my town. It was years ago on a Friday when my older daughter, Jaye, then age 6, bounded off the school bus. “Jenna’s gonna have a bouncy castle at her party tomorrow!” All afternoon Jaye ricocheted off the furniture. Just watching her tired me out. It was just the beginning of more fatigue to come.

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Moms and dads enjoy a little friendly competition

By Linda Lowen

My husband likes to burst my balloon. This frustrates me to no end. If I don’t deflect him, he usually shoots me down. This happens so often I’d be totally demoralized if I hadn’t already come to terms with one simple fact: It’s good for our relationship.

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Learning to care for someone starts early

By Linda Lowen

When I was 3 years old, I learned my first lesson in caring for another person. I woke from an afternoon nap and found my mother sick in bed, eyes closed, face tight with pain.

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Giving’s meaning changes over time

By Linda Lowen

For me, the peak of Christmas giving is the heart-pounding moment when my children pick up that first wrapped package from the pile and tear away the paper, expectancy and excitement illuminating their faces.

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Years’ worth of notebooks and binders is quite a collection

By Linda Lowen

Identifying the age of ancient artifacts involves scientific methods and carbon dating. Frequently, these artifacts are everyday objects that have turned to stone from sitting around so long. The items in my school supply stash aren’t stone just yet—but some have been sitting around for 15 years or more. I know this without the aid of carbon dating because I remember the various styles and trends in back-to-school supplies throughout the years.

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Sort of outdoors, it’s a space made for magic

By Linda Lowen

When looking at a new home, most people focus on the kitchen. On HGTV, couples ooh and aah over granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Not us. My family would never make the cut for an HGTV show because we’re all about the back porch.

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Is motherhood a beauty contest or isn’t it?

By Linda Lowen

”You look hot!” a woman said as she passed me on the hiking trail at Chittenango Falls. She eyed my tight tank top and even tighter shorts as I sat on a park bench taking a breather. I nodded gamely.

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My daughters’ camp experience didn’t have to repeat my own

By Linda Lowen

What’s more terrifying than a scary summer camp story told to wide-eyed kids around a bonfire? The stinging memories of an adult who had a bad camp experience as a kid and fears the same thing will happen to her child.

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