A Christmas Story
Making Lemonade from Lemons
I love Christmas. But I knew Christmas 2009 wasn’t going to be great for me. Daughter Amie would be in Chicago with husband Todd, spending Christmas with his family. I don’t begrudge the Wesleys—it’s only fair that our kids alternate their holiday destinations. Amie and Todd being there isn’t the problem. Their not being here is, though. Our small family’s Christmas has such a hole in it when half of our kids aren’t here. Sure, younger daughter Sarah tries to be everything to us at Christmas to fill the void (I know what she’s up to), but I still need to put a brave face on things.

Empty Nesting, Luo Style
It Takes a Village
“I am looking for school fees for so and so,” my mother says to me on a regular basis. Another favorite of hers is, “I am thinking of sending so and so for a course in nursing or computers (or cooking, or) . . .” I also hear this one a lot: “So and so has finished his or her course and needs a job. Your father can help, or I can talk to so and so.” The regularity with which these comments are uttered would make you think that my parents have an army of children. And indeed they do. My parents are, in fact, surrogate caretakers of a never-ending brood of children, and so to them, the concept of an empty nest is a moot point. You see, my parents are members of the Luo tribe in Kenya, and in our tribe, that is how it is done.

Big Birthday Blast
Ladies Bonding in Hawaii
I love Italy and all it has to offer. Every day, some memory of my visits to that magnificent country, large or small, stirs within me. However, my heart and soul long to cross a different ocean, to the island of Maui. With a very significant birthday on the horizon, I know I have to make peace with this half-century situation. How should I mourn/celebrate the occasion? It does not take long to figure this out. I want to be in Maui, with my girlfriends. And, what a coincidence—Hawaii is also celebrating its 50th anniversary of statehood!

Real People Empty Nesting
Linda C. Wisniewski: It’s All About the Journey
Linda Wisniewski has traveled a long and winding road since her childhood growing up in a Polish Catholic community in upstate New York. She’s weathered an abusive father, an emotionally distant mother, a diagnosis of scoliosis at age 13, and a lifetime of getting to know, love, and accept the true “Linda.” Today, her success as a librarian, writer, and teacher proves that the journey has been worthwhile. Linda’s first book, Off Kilter (Pearlsong Press, 2008), tells of that winding path—and finding of Self—that strikes a chord in all of us.

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