Illustration by Dori Hartley "We don't have to add more bling to the tree," says my mother. "Uh, yes, we do," I say. "God gave the world Christmas trees for the express purpose of blinging. It's in Genesis. I'm sure of it." ...Once, before the divorce, there was a papa bear here, decorating with us. Now, decorating the tree is a girls-only activity.
Illustration by Dori Hartley "Are you poor?" One of my daughter's schoolmates recently asked her this question. Still thwacking about in my brain, the question is doing collateral damage, as I scurry around the supermarket. ...I believe poverty is the last great American taboo. It sure isn't the sort of thing one tweets about to friends, or "Likes" on Facebook. We use euphemisms consistently: A little strapped. Need to tighten our belts. Here in the U.S., our culture is still churning out lyrics from the classic American dream: You can be a success if you just want it badly enough! Pull yourself up by your bootstraps! Go back to school! Take any job! Get on TV! Write a children's book!
From left, Alivia, Jenna, Marla and Jessica Miller. Courtesy of Marla Miller It is Christmas morning and the kids are bundling up to head out into the swirl of snowflakes and into your ex-spouse's new family fold. You exchange holiday...Welcome to the world of divorced parenting at the holidays. It's confusing and lonely and even Santa gets tripped up trying to figure out where to deliver the presents.
Illustration by Dori HartleyMy 12-year-old daughter is finally at the age where, if I have to make a quick run to the store, I can leave her alone in the apartment with a modicum of confidence. She's got her phone, her common sense and...When I leave, I say my "Single Parent Prayer," which sounds something like, "Please don't let me get killed while I'm outside. Or, at least, if I do get killed, let me come back from the dead to protect my child. Thanks."