Essay

Choosing Kindness in a Year of Living Angrily

November 20th marks Melrose’s fifth annual Random Acts of Kindness Day. It’s a day our community “took back” after an unfortunate incident at our local middle school. In 2015, a small cadre of kids, encouraged by a television program, decided to kick random red-headed classmates. The kicking crime is old news in our city, replaced by a joyful celebration of kindness. 

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Wishes for My Sons

Mother’s Day 2020 falls on what I’d expected to be a busy weekend of May festivities, including Friday’s Junior Prom and Saturday’s college graduation. I’d looked forward to the weekend for most of the year, eager to see my youngest son cleaned up, a bow tie at his neck, the curly mop on his head tamed, and then my oldest, crossing the stage,  passing celebratory cigars to friends and classmates. My middle son swirling around all of it, remembering his past, looking forward to his future. 

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First Steps

Buried within the correspondence from politicians seeking donations and stores celebrating Labor Day sales, I spot an email from a friend and open it eagerly, hopeful for a distraction from my loneliness. “Hey there,” begins the brief note. “Jack turns one in a couple of weeks and is almost walking. I can barely handle it. Are you OK with Russell starting college? xo Julie” 

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Peering Out

Mom lies dying. We sit with her, around her. She gasps for breath, her lips stretched tightly across her teeth. She has managed to wrap herself in a fetal position, which is surprising, as she lost control of her limbs sometime ago. She is thin, was always thin, but now skeletal. Her hair, blonde in her youth, and in my youth, appears translucent, without color. She is 81. 

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