The Breath of Mercy

A mother shouldn’t have favorites, but I have often observed that she inclines more to the child who is sick or more vulnerable than the rest. The more fragile the child, the fiercer the love of the mother. The strong and healthy ones outgrow her solicitous nurturing, and she can do no more for . . . . Continue Reading »

Five Grueling Days of Joy

When the woman came for our daughters, we were crowded around a small round metal table, eating damp French fries and day-old bagels. It was early evening, and we’d had a long day, and now another stranger was giving my wife a piece of paper. Was this yet another petition to sign? A cool Catholic . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters from Santa

It was the Christmas of 2013, and my 10-year-old twin sons were having a crisis of faith.Their elder brother had already settled into a comfortable skepticism about flying reindeer, toy-making elves, and Santa Claus. To their younger sister, the existence of such things was a matter of uncomplicated . . . . Continue Reading »

Unheard Voices

Jephthah’s Daughters: Innocent Casualties in the War for Family ‘Equality’ edited by robert oscar lópez and rivka edelman createspace, 484 pages, $19.99 I magine that an interrogator has imprisoned someone and binds his mouth shut with electrical tape. For hours the interrogator harangues . . . . Continue Reading »

Children of Desire

My sister and I were preschoolers in the 1980s. Once upon an afternoon, our mother instructed us: If ever she were unable to pick us up and had to send another grownup in her stead, she would impart to that grownup a “secret word.” If ever a grownup approached us, neighbor or stranger, claiming . . . . Continue Reading »

My Daughter's Body

It was a rainy Tuesday morning in June. I remember pounding rain on a copper roof outside my window; sheets of water splattering as a city darkened and pealing thunder brought with it the full force of a summer rainstorm; then fierce pain. Continue Reading »

Kids Today

Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids edited by meghan daum picador, 288 pages, $26 The Dadly Virtues: Adventures from the Worst Job You’ll Ever Love edited by jonathan v. last templeton, 192 pages, $24.95 These days it is widely assumed that a . . . . Continue Reading »

The Myth of Vampire Children

My university experience, like that of so many others, was rich. I was a college athlete and editor of a campus paper. I had discovered a love for philosophy, and I was thinking seriously about going to graduate school. Life was great, an ocean of potential. And then I got the phone call that . . . . Continue Reading »