Posts Tagged: family

Who We Tell When We Watch Our Parents Die

I’ve spoken to very few people about what it was like to be in a room watching my mother take her last gulps of air. It was dinnertime, dark. We’d just had pizza. We’d been taking turns sitting by her side when there was a change in her breathing. All the oxygen drained from the room. When my mother died, it was just my family in a semicircle, alone together with what moments ago had been “her,” but in the span of seconds had become “her body.” She was 63.

When I read that comedian Laurie Kilmartin was live-tweeting her father’s dying days, I recoiled as though from an uppercut [...]


Maria Bello: "My feelings about attachment and partnership have always been that they are fluid and evolving"

And I have never understood the distinction of “primary” partner. Does that imply we have secondary and tertiary partners, too? Can my primary partner be my sister or child or best friend, or does it have to be someone I am having sex with? I have two friends who are sisters who have lived together for 15 years and raised a daughter. Are they not partners because they don’t have sex? And many married couples I know haven’t had sex for years. Are they any less partners?

Maria Bello for all the marbles! "I would like to consider myself a 'whatever,'" she writes at the end of this Modern Love [...]


Why Climb?: My Cardio Apostasy

I wake to the familiar smell of yak dung. It's day 20 of a month-long hike through the Nepalese Himalayas. Bhimsem, my guide, is slurping dahl bat in the teahouse kitchen. He's anxious to get going, even though we have 14 hours of daylight to trek three miles; the same three miles local children hike twice a day just to get to school. He fidgets with his backpack straps as I eat a chocolate pancake. Then, the speech.

Today we will see many mountains. We will go up. And we will go down. There will be many sights. You will take pictures. Yes? Bhimsem is frustrated when I take pictures [...]


Interview with a Woman Who Had Two Kids by Anonymous Sperm Donor

Maggie is a 44-year-old woman who lives in London.

Let’s start from the beginning—what was your life like growing up?

So, I was born in 1968 in London, the oldest of three sisters. Our dad left us when I was about six or seven, and our mom had a hard time of it. No one was getting divorced yet, so she was a bit alone in that—and she had elderly parents, plus us, plus she worked, plus it was the mid-seventies in England. Everything was just grim!

Grim like?

Like, on Saturday mornings we’d have to do the cleaning and there’d always be a row. My sisters [...]


Daikon Cakes, Our Mom's Way

I am the eldest of four sisters. In private, we compare ourselves to the only large, sprawling group of sisterdom represented in pop culture: the Kardashians. There are three of them, and four of us, so someone has to be Rob. That honor goes to Shaina, due to her predilection towards Thrasher shirts and street wear, and the fact that she has somehow transcended the prickly personality and tough exterior that is our inheritance, and is a sweet and self-sufficient person. Sometimes, she is the favorite. The rest of us fit into our categories. I am Kourtney, sensible, frowny, perpetually exhausted by the antics of my sisters. Jenny is Khloe, [...]


What My Grandfather Taught Me About Being Born on Halloween

I met this world while my mother was watching Vincent Price in House of Wax, and made my debut “covered in gore,” according to my father.

There are five percent fewer babies spontaneously born on Halloween than on any other day of the year, according to a 2011 Yale study; researchers postulated that superstitious women must either clench their uteri tight to keep their babies in until All Saints’ Day on November 1, or exert and expel more righteous babes on October 30.

My own mother was super-relaxed and ready to push on Halloween because her own father, known as the Warlock, was also born on Halloween, 56 [...]


"Beautiful Day, Happy to Have Been Here."

The New York Times today recaps a story that got shared quite a bit last week: Jane Lotter, who died after a long battle with endometrial cancer on July 18, elected to write her own obituary as she prepared to "[take] advantage of Washington state's compassionate Death with Dignity Act." The 60-year-old Seattle native wrote "in classic obituary style" for much of the piece, but there are also moments like this:

I met Bob Marts at the Central Tavern in Pioneer Square on November 22, 1975, which was the luckiest night of my life. We were married on April 7, 1984. Bobby M, I love you up to the sky. [...]


How the Nutcracker Wrecked My Christmas


The year that four of us were a family in the Nutcracker, night after night pretending to have Christmas on stage, we stopped putting the Christmas tree up. We rehearsed instead of decorating. Then my mom had my little brother and retired from the Nutcracker for a second time in her life. The Christmas tree went back up, but this time, its branches drooped with pink. We'd retired the normal Christmas ornaments and hung every last ornament that one of us had received as a Nutcracker gift. Ballerinas and pointe shoes and so many Nutcrackers and mice and soldiers and Claras: characters and shoes enough for fifteen productions danced [...]


Interview with Filmmaker Izzy Chan: "Have we adjusted our expectations of what a man needs to bring to the table?"

Documentary filmmaker Izzy Chan has spent the last year following eight families in Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles and Nashville to document what she calls the "Big Flip": the increasingly common switch from "traditional" family life to a setup in which the wife is the breadwinner and the husband stays at home. The recent gender shifts in education and the workforce have been well-documented for years now, but our wider social expectations haven't changed as quickly. Chan pointed me to these statistics:

  • Husbands whose wives make more money are 61% less happy (University of Virginia, 2010).
  • Wives who are primary breadwinners are also significantly less [...]

Is Great-Grandma R. Kelly?!

“Rest in peace, Gram. So happy you’re finally home. We love you!” read my Aunt Patty’s Facebook post. I was sitting in LaGuardia airport with my cousin, Shauna. I read it aloud to her.

We were confused. We had buried “Gram,” my great-grandmother, in 1987. I remember all the funerals I went to as a kid because Gram was on the Irish side of my family, and at Irish funerals I made approximately zero dollars simply for showing up. This was in direct contrast to funerals I attended for the Italian side of my family. At those, every relative I said hello to told me what a beautiful young woman [...]