Henrico County VA
Henrico County Opinions

Of character and parenting


My daughters and I grew up in vastly different families, so it's not surprising that we hold differing opinions about family dynamics. One of the areas in which we part ways dramatically is the value we place on good parenting.

If there is one fundamental belief that I developed as a result of my upbringing, it is that parenting is the most important role anyone plays in life.

I don't care how accomplished or otherwise wonderful a man or woman is when it comes to career, athletics, academics, or social relationships – if that person doesn't strive to give his or her children the time, attention and love that children need, then that person lacks character in my book.

My oldest daughter, on the other hand, told me recently that she thinks a person can be a lousy parent – yet still be a good person.

Modern parents have it soft (or do they?)


By the time my first child was born, I assumed parenthood couldn’t hold too many surprises. Between caring for three younger siblings, monopolizing my neighborhood babysitting market, and coaching youth sports for the previous two decades, I had more experience with children at age 28 than some adults accumulate in a lifetime.

But I was still in for a shock when my daughter arrived.

I never anticipated the bone-deep, sapped-of-all-life weariness I would feel after a day of being home with her (and later her two sisters).

I never dreamed how mentally cruel motherhood could be: how my children would not only dominate my every waking thought, but seize my subconscious and induce crazy, irrational nightmares about them as I slept.
}

Cemeteries: for reverence or recreation?


When the story broke recently about an uproar over an Easter egg hunt in a Norfolk cemetery, I took more than a passing interest.

You see, I spend a lot of time in a cemetery these days. My daughter Lanie is buried at Hollywood, and I visit her grave and walk the cemetery at least three times a week.

I am partial to the place -- you might even say possessive. I think of it as my cemetery, while realizing that I actually share ownership with thousands of area residents, tourists, and descendants and relatives of the interred.}

Cooking for a vegetarian wanna-be

You know your 13-year-old child is truly growing up when he announces his plan to become a vegetarian, effective immediately.

“But you like meat,” I pointed out.

“True. But I don’t like the idea of eating animals.” He rubbed his belly sentimentally. “It doesn’t make me feel good.”

Apparently, meat of the porcine and bovine variety particularly bothers him. And poultry doesn’t sound too appetizing to him either. (Fish we can slaughter at will.)}

Cross-country walker hits the lucky seven

During Memorial Day weekend, I imagine that many of you went to cookouts, ate hotdogs, visited the beach, boated on The River, attended memorial services and rode or walked in parades.

If not for a broken vase and a laceration requiring seven stitches, I might have done the same.

Instead, I spent part of my weekend involved in a personal memorial observance, and in a small, ragtag, but meaningful parade along the streets of Henrico.

My Memorial Day journey began when George Throop of Vancouver, Wash. – nearing the end of his own 4,500 mile, three-year walk across America – crossed the Huguenot Bridge into Henrico County and headed for Richmond along River Road.}

‘Cromagnon Mom’ pleads for higher driving age


Among some of my parenting peers, I am sure I was considered overly permissive in my child-rearing.

I was not strict on bedtimes; I let my girls get crazy dirty, wear jeans and t-shirts and do other 'unfeminine' things. On occasion I even let them listen to rap music, or join me at Legend Brewing for movie night.

But to my own three kids, I was always Cromagnon Mom – especially on the topic of teen-age driving.}

Coming to grips with postpartum depression

Sleep-deprived and overwhelmed, I warmed up a bottle and sat down to feed my son. At just four weeks old, my first-born had proven to be worth the wait. I glanced at the clock - it was 3 a.m. – and as I started to drift off, my eyes focused on the closet door.

I wonder what sound his head would make if I slammed him against the door?

I needed help.}

End-of-day rituals create comfort, sense of belonging


If your New Year’s resolution is to slow down the pace of your family life, find some quiet moments and make more good memories, you may be in the market for some ideas about creating after-school and bedtime rituals.

In a back-to-school Family Forum column, we examined some ways that parents can build little rituals into the morning send-off routines, and suggested a couple of rituals to make the homecoming hours nicer as well, such as teatime and old-fashioned popcorn popping.}

A time to give thanks – no joke

There is no good way to get the news that your daughter has died.

But looking back, I have to say I learned about Lanie’s accident in the best possible way.

I went to bed that Sunday evening around 10 p.m., and after trying unsuccessfully for an hour to drop off, I moved to the sunroom sofa to read. Although I can usually attribute trouble sleeping to late-afternoon caffeine, I was puzzled because I’d had none. }

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