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Jackson starts preschool the week after next, and his new school requested a headshot of him that they could put on his cubbyhole where he’ll store his belongings. Even though I still take a ton of photos of him, it’s hard — and very rare — to get a good one of him being still and smiling at the camera. It took me a couple of hours of trying this morning at various locations and with various kinds of bribery to finally get a picture I could imagine taped to a cubbyhole at school for the next year.

And now I have this image of him seeing his own photo among the other smiling faces of his classmates and reaching for his monkey backpack where I will have packed a change of clothes, extra pull-ups (and hopefully underwear soon…), his lunch, a snack, and some water. Maybe among these things, I will tuck a picture of us, his family, and something from home to remind him that there is a place where he is always safe and always loved no matter what.

It’s just a couple mornings a week he’ll be away from me and away from his babysitter who’s known him since he was four months old. It’s just a few hours a week. But it’s a start. There will be lessons and joy and hurt feelings I can’t help him process in the moment. And it’s exciting and bittersweet. It’s just one more step for him, among many, into the world. I hope it’s good to him.

And just so we don’t end on a bittersweet note: here’s a simply sweet story: A few weeks ago Jackson started asking me what kind of work I do (he knows when he goes out with his babysitter, I stay home and work). I told him I’m a writer and I started showing him this site and I explained how people ask me questions and I give them advice. I told him I write about him sometimes and occasionally post his picture. I showed him some of the pictures I’d shared and asked if he was ok with it and he said yes (I plan to continue asking him this question in the months and years to come). Anyway, the next week after his nap one afternoon, he climbed up on my desk chair, pulled himself up to my laptop and said, “Mommy! I’m a writer! Like you!” And I said, “Oh, do you want to be a writer when you grow up?” And he climbed down, went to his “writing board,” wrote his name in his big toddler handwriting and said, “I’m a writer NOW! I’m a writer like you.”

And on that note, happy holiday weekend to all those who observe and celebrate Labor Day, especially those who get a big fat 3-day weekend to bookend the summer of 2014. Hope you all have a great one. See you back here on Tuesday.

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Here are a few things from around the web that may interest you:

26WELL-tmagArticle

New research shows that how thoughtfully couples make decisions can have a lasting effect on the quality of their romantic relationships. Couples who are decisive before marriage — intentionally defining their relationships, living together and planning a wedding — appear to have better marriages than couples who simply let inertia carry them through major transitions.

From: “The Decisive Marriage” [via NYTimes]

“The one that got away: David Sedaris” [via The Guardian]

Check out the three harsh truths about love in: “Love is Not Enough” [via Mark Manson]

“Short Men 32% Less Likely to Divorce Than Tall Men” [via HuffPost]

I was just complaining about digital cruelty the other day and then the NYTimes posted this article over the weekend. Something I just did to minimize online abuse was delete my Twitter account. Of all the social networking platforms, Twitter is BY FAR the cruelest. I am also not shy about deleting nasty comments and banning commenters here. When you write online, digital cruelty is just part of the job, unfortunately, but there are definitely ways people can — and should — minimize that abuse as much as possible. Here are some other tips: “Dealing With Digital Cruelty” [via NYTimes]

I read this over the weekend and found the story fascinating. A young man wanders off into the woods in Maine and lives there for 27 years, surviving off things he steals from people’s nearby cabins until he’s finally caught mid-break-in. “The Strange & Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit” [via GQ]

“Being Objectified May Be Linked To Sexual Coercion In Romantic Relationships, Study Says” [via HuffPost]

And self-promotion:

“How to Get Unstuck in an Unhappy Marriage in 10 Steps (Or: A Guide to Happiness)” [via HuffPost]

“20 Wedding “Must-Haves” You DON’T Need” [via HuffPost]

Korean translation of “49 Skills a Modern Woman Should Have” [via HuffPost Korea]

“My boyfriend wants to quit his job and live off my income” [via Philly.com and PopSugar Love]

[image by Stuart Bradford for the NYTimes]

Thank you to those who submitted links for me to include. If you see something around the web you think DW readers would appreciate, please send me a link to wendy@dearwendy.com and if it’s a fit, I’ll include it in Friday’s round-up. Thanks!

Follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great that being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go. Today we discuss being ready or not for marriage, a long distance online boyfriend whose phone always goes to VM, and a woman catching her boyfriend “in the act.”
 
wedding proposal

I am a 23-year-old lady. My boyfriend, 25, wants to marry me in December 2014. My mother and step-father said I should wait until I finish college, which is four years from now. I am afraid that, if I wait that long, I will lose my boyfriend to someone who is ready for marriage. — Only 23

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CIRCLE ICON DW 0127145For new readers and for longtime readers who don’t always read every single thing written on this site — what? I know! — it occurred to me recently that it might be helpful to have a DW glossary of terms with all the words and phrases we use a lot, either for shorthand or insider-y jokes, that people can easily and quickly reference. So, last week I posted a call in the forums for a list of words, posted below. In the comments, please feel free to add to this list and/or write a quick definition or explanation for a term(s). If you’re compelled (and have time on your hands), you can even include a link to the relevant post or thread.

I’ll use this thread and your comments to create the Official DW Glossary. Thanks for your help!

Glossary Terms (so far):

DW: Dear Wendy
MOA: Move on already
LW: Letter Writer
OP: Original Poster
TF/The Frisky
City Wendy
Enjoy Sweden
Aim Higher
Ramona (as in, “I miss Ramona.” or “What would Ramona do?”)
Copper pots
Deleted Thread
WWS and W_S
Forever Train
Spring in your hot pocket

Plus: Nicknames of prolific commenters
AP
BGM
LBH
etc.

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Amos SmudgeDear Wendy readers are some of the most intelligent, stylish, super cool people around (it’s a proven fact), so, when a commenter suggested I create a regular feature for them to recommend some of their favorite products, it was a no-brainer and Reader Recs was born. Today’s recommendations come from Cassie, who is a teacher who lives in Minnesota with her husband. Her hobbies include taking care of her new kitten Amos (pictured), kettlebell, traveling, and pottery. She also enjoys having a sense of humor and conversing with people who laugh at her lame jokes. Keep reading for some of her favorite product recommendations.

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