, Newburyport, MA

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June 15, 2011

The Mother Load: A farewell to columns

About 14 years ago, I wrote about how the trash I left on the curb for pickup kept mysteriously finding its way back into my house.

My children — then ages 5 and 9 — had trouble letting go of anything, whether it was a broken laundry basket ("we can use it for forts"), a tattered one-eared stuffed rabbit ("she's disabled — she needs us"), or a ratty old dish towel ("that was my favorite dish towel!"... as if either of them had ever used a dish towel).

That article, titled "Let's Talk Trash," was printed in The Daily News and became the first of many columns that I wrote as my girls grew. As they moved from playing with Glitter Hair Barbies to scoring soccer goals, from learning to drive to tossing their mortarboards, my husband and I spent those same years stepping on tiny pink high-heeled pumps; freezing our behinds on metal soccer bleachers; putting claw-marks in the car upholstery as they braked for fuzzy caterpillars; and helping them choose a college by keeping our mouths shut.

Over the years, my columns chronicled typical family experiences:

"Just Desserts" was the confessions of a guilty grocery shopper who sneaked a grape to her toddler, only to have the child gag and throw up all over the produce.

"What to Expect When You're Long Past Expecting" listed things no one told me before becoming a parent. For example, that projectile vomit can go that far; that with both arms full of children, you can still open milk cartons with your teeth; and that you will someday cheat at Chutes & Ladders — in order to lose — just to end the torture.

"Bake-off Bub!" detailed the cake-baking disaster that occurred when my 11-year-old daughter and her friend entered a bake-off competition, mistakenly believing that I — a woman famous for serving mac & cheese out of a box — could help them win.

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