The Worralls on Whole30

Here I am, sitting on a pile of pillows in a bathtub at The DeSoto House Hotel, Galena, Illinois (circa. 1855). We’re in room 203, with its soaring ceiling and grand windows and slanted floors. It is 4:30 a.m. I’m sipping black decaf coffee that I made in the little hotel pot. And the rest of my precious family is […]

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In the Waiting Room

  This past month things have been quiet here at This Odd House while I’ve been readjusting to the teaching life after a luxurious sabbatical year. It didn’t necessarily feel luxurious at the time. But now that I am back in the thick of academic life, I have an even greater appreciation for that gift of space. For that extra […]

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The Making of a Hero

  Last September 11, I wrote here about safety and danger and 9/11, etc. Then a little while later I went upstairs to tuck Daryl into bed. “I love you, Mama,” he said. “Can I have a cuddle?” He still asks this every night. And my answer is typically the same. “Of course you can.” I’ll take these cuddles as […]

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What We Learned in Kindergarten

Thursday morning was Daryl’s final day of Kindergarten. Thursday night was the Kindergarten graduation ceremony. And in the middle, his Momma had a mini-meltdown. It didn’t obviously have anything to do with Daryl and the fact that he’s growing up so fast, as they all do. Oh, I’m sure the emotions surrounding the day primed the pump. But the actual […]

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A Sticky Little Gift

Last Tuesday I was a bit strung out. I had to make an unexpected trip into the city to help direct a rehearsal for the Christmas production I had written. Opening night was Friday, and the final scene wasn’t coming together. The pressure was on to sort it out. To make it meaningful. To pierce twelve thousand hearts with the […]

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Becoming Sibs

My mom loved to tell the story of when I was almost three and her belly was bulging with my brother and we were doing the laundry in the basement. Evidently, I climbed to the top of a mountain of dirty clothes and issued a decree. “Mommy, let’s name our baby Kenny.” Undoubtedly, it wasn’t my first bossy proclamation. But […]

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Some Kind of Happy

Yesterday was a good day. Daryl stayed on green at Kindergarten. A friend blessed me by bringing him home from school, so I could get some things done and Amelia could take an early nap. She’s not been well. In the afternoon, both kids were angels at the doctor’s office. Sitting side-by-side, arms around one another, as I read books to them. Amelia cooperated with the nurse and doesn’t have an ear infection. We treated ourselves to frozen yogurt on the way home. Then the kids played nicely together in the fall sunshine until it was time to pick up Daddy from the train. The three of us sat in anticipation at the station. “Yay! Daddy’s coming!” Amelia cried. Big grin. Hands thrown in the air. “Whoever sees Daddy first gets to go home and practice piano and then watch Curious George!” Daryl shouted. “Okay. Deal,” I said. Then, of course, Daryl spotted him first, crossing the road, all smiles. Daddy circled the car, poking his head into each window, giving each of us a kiss. Then he climbed in next to me, and we drove off into the sunset. We were so Happy! The take-our-picture-and-post-it-on-facebook kind of Happy. The film-us-for-the-closing-shot-of-your-movie kind of Happy. But then…the Love of My Life went off script and said this: “I have a meeting tonight, remember?” What? No. I did not remember. So I said so. Then he said. Then I said. Then he […]

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