Is Your Car Childproof?

My newborn son asleep in the car

Parents are busy. New parents especially are stressed and exhausted. It takes its toll. You must understand how ridiculous it sounds to the parents when they have to answer to the authorities. They had just made the ultimate mistake, and all they could come up with is the horrific utterance, “I forgot.”



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Abortion and the Catholic Currency of Shame

“Though I appreciated that particular priest, I no longer consider myself Catholic. The recent meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is a great example as to why. The bishops voted to draft guidelines for receiving the Eucharist with the goal of ultimately preventing lawmakers, including President Joe Biden, from receiving Communion if they supported a woman’s right to choose. Catholic leaders are exerting their power through public shame, hoping to influence decisions of our supposedly secular legislature.

“It is the same powerplay that Catholic bishops in New York state exhibited in1967 that resulted in something unexpected from their religious peers. It’s a nugget of little-known history that would serve Catholics a great reminder.”

Read the full column at the link below

Read more from Bonnie Jean HERE and HERE

Love, Loss and Pandemic Puppies

Bella in 2019

My daughter got Bella at her dad’s house shortly after the divorce. My ex even called the sweet yellow lab “the divorce dog.” Visits with dad also meant time with Bella, which was great when my daughter was 8 years old, but the teen years brought work, band practice and a social life. Visitation with dad became more sporadic. Then, my ex asked if we would dog sit. Bella was a senior dog by then, and we were all smitten. We asked if we could just keep her. He said yes.

Bella and I bonded in a way I hadn’t anticipated. I worked from home, and she was my constant companion. My daughter grew up and moved to an apartment of her own, but Bella stayed with me.

COVID-19 brought with it a puppy boom as people sought comfort and companionship during quarantine and isolation — but for me, Bella was there. We took walks in the woods and played in the yard with my son. Our circle got smaller as the pandemic began to rage. Schools closed, my husband was furloughed, and then, just as everything shut down, we had to say goodbye to Bella. That stacking of hardships is known as collective — or cumulative — grief, and I wasn’t sure I could take it.

Read the full column at the link below


Read more from Bonnie Jean HERE and HERE.

For Father’s Day, I Wish I Could Tell Grandpa He Was Right

Grandpa Lou retired in 1990 at the age of 70. That same year, he tried to impart some wisdom on his rebellious granddaughter who was begrudgingly headed into a typing class.

My Grandpa Lou was my dad’s stepdad and the only grandpa on my father’s side I ever knew. Once, on a visit with him, I lamented that I would have to take a typing class in the fall. I was 15 and entering my sophomore year of high school. We sat at a picnic table in a park and watched my younger cousins run and play. Grandpa assured me that learning how to type would be a vital skill for me as I entered the job market. I was offended. It was 1990 and I was certain he meant that I was destined to be someone’s secretary. Had he not seen me playing my guitar on his front porch that very morning? I was to be a musician. I loved to write, too, and I would surely journal about his expectations of me later. It would seem we were both full of assumptions.

I would learn way too late to tell him that I was wrong. 

Read the whole column by clicking below.


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Every Path Is Valid

“I did not attend my high school graduation. My family had a lot on its shoulders. My dad and stepmom were going through a divorce. I was told the Friday before my senior prom that it was over.

Graduation photos are all over my social media feed, and even The New York Times featured prom photos on their front page. High school graduation is no doubt a rite of passage and a major transition in life. But there was no point in pomp and circumstance for me. It would seem my future was not so bright anyways. I was a horrible student. Don’t get me wrong, I loved to learn, I just didn’t learn well in a classroom. For others, college would be the next logical step, but I barely had the grades to graduate high school.

I clung to the words of Chuck Keller, my junior year English teacher. He had told me, “Your success in high school does not determine your success in life.”

Read the full column by clicking below


The Privilege to Push Against Progress

Two supporters help up a banner at the back of the auditorium to show their support for the proposed social equity course.

critical race theory

“I recently moved back to my hometown of Fort Thomas, Kentucky, located just across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio. I promised my husband, who’s Hispanic, that it is more progressive and more diverse than when I was growing up. I also sold him on the fact that it is one of the top school districts in the state. But, as I sat in a community meeting in our local high school auditorium and listened to my fellow community members make public statements about a proposed elective course on social equity, I worried that I was wrong.

Many of the comments at the microphone were in favor of teaching social equity. Some shared a personal story to illustrate why it’s important to them. But those who spoke out against the course hammered home the same sound bite that’s been echoing across the country as states seek to ban critical race theory (CRT) from public education.”

Read the full column at the link below.

Read More of Bonnie’s work HERE and HERE.

What’d I Miss?

Where Chronic Illness and Mental Health Intersect

Life doesn’t happen inside neat little schedules. Plus, my zest for life doesn’t quite match the illness’s demand that I slow down.

Click Below to Read the Full Column

Read More From Bonnie HERE and HERE

Mother’s Day. It’s Not for Everyone.

This year, Mother’s Day is especially painful. Thanks to COVID-19, we have lost loved ones at an alarming rate. So, if this Mother’s Day is hard for you for the first time, I’m here to tell you it’s OK to sit this one out. It’s OK to say no to this holiday that feels like everyone is celebrating “at” you.

Read full column by clicking below

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Interview With Biographer David Maraniss

I had the absolute honor of interviewing David Maraniss the two-time Pulitzer Prize Winner and award-winning biographer about his writing process.

You can watch the 30-second end clip before you commit to watching the whole hour-long video (posted at the end of this blog).

David shared his writing experiences for writing his most recent book, A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father (2019). For this book he researched his own father with a biographer’s eye. David’s father Elliott Maraniss was a WWII veteran who had commanded an all-Black company in the Pacific. He was spied on by the FBI, named as a Communist by an informant, called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952, fired from his newspaper job, and blacklisted for five years. Yet his father never lost faith in America and emerged on the other side with his family and optimism intact. 

In our conversation, David gives great writing and research advice when dealing with personal and painful memories, especially when it focuses on family. Watch the full hour interview at the link below:

For upcoming interviews and workshops visit my Events Page.

If you like this interview you may also like my interview with John Avlon and Mary C. Curtis on the Art of the Interview:

When Teens Question Their Parents It’s All Part of Growing Up

“They’ll understand when they’re older.” It’s meant to be comforting: When our kids are parents struggling to do the right thing, they’ll realize how tough it all is. But the part no one tells you is that just because they may one day understand that you did the best you could, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll agree with your decisions. 

A lot of recent conversations with my 19-year-old daughter have revolved around parenting decisions I made in her childhood that she disagrees with. She feels some have even caused lasting damage. Ouch. That hurts. I love my children, but love doesn’t make anyone a perfect parent. We’re all still human, just doing the best we can. I know my intentions, but I also know that I still don’t agree with every parenting decision my parents made. My goal was to be better than my parents, but I’m not any better—I’m just different. 

Read what learned from the experts in my latest column below:


Read more of my work on child development and parenting