After a year of pandemic, my family reunites in a place of healing

Pulverized seashells crackle under my tires as I pull up to the cottage. I have arrived well before the 2 p.m. check-in time, having left New York at dawn to beat the swarm of summer traffic. My husband is driving up separately so he can swing by the airport in Hyannis to pick up our son and daughter, who are flying in from different cities. Our family reunion in Wellfleet marks the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold that the four of us will be…

Being an unemployed Boomer in a Millennial job market

Her skin was creamy and taught with no wrinkles, laugh lines, or crow’s feet around her eyes. Her makeup: a minimal sweep of eye shadow and mascara, a sheen of glossy red across her lips. Her hair: brown and fashionably mussed with no hint of gray. As our faces came into focus over Zoom, I sensed in her constant throat clearing, smiling, and nodding, mild shock at my white hair. Meanwhile, I was shocked to see someone who looked like a kid. …

I want my kids to see self-awareness and acceptance as the up sides of aging

A jar of quinoa nearly pushed me over the edge. There I stood, twisting the screw top with all my might, my face reddening, my cheeks puffed out as I took deep heaving breaths and emitted groans of strain. Harder and harder I gripped and twisted, twisted and gripped, at one point bracing the plastic jar between my knees. I yelled. I cursed. I banged it on the counter as tears welled. Finally, I used an old-fashioned can opener to pry the top away from…

The urge to say a daily prayer of gratitude is the one thing I don’t want to lose

When I fantasized about what I would do once the pandemic ends, I remembered the old TV commercial where NFL players who were asked what they’d do after wining the Super Bowl said, “I’m going to Disneyland!”

No, I will not go to Disneyland. Like most people, however, I will throw away my mask, surgical gloves, and hand sanitizer. I’ll lose (hopefully) my fear of travel so I can visit my grown daughter and son, and the rest of my family and…

Better to encourage him to tolerate — and learn from — painful moments

“Imagine you’ve bought a piece of farmland,” I say to my son. We are having one of our long, catch-up phone calls, which have become extra precious since he moved to San Francisco for a job promotion a couple of months ago. The thrill of the move has mellowed, and he is missing his New York friends and haunts, so much so that he questions whether he made the right choice in leaving.

At 24, my young man hasn’t lived long enough to see life as a…

The sound of a human voice is what I need most during this pandemic

The woman’s husband was dead. She’d found him lying on the sofa, colorless and cold. Instantly, she called 911. Then she texted friends, pleading for help. “It made no sense to call,” she said. “My friends never answer their phones.”

No one answered her text either — at least not as immediately as she’d hoped they would. Some never checked their phones during the workday or kept them on ‘silent.’ Others saw her message and intended — but forgot — to read it later. …

But scheduling a swim during pandemic is making me a nervous wreck

My index finger is poised in the middle of my computer’s mouse pad, my eyes glued to its clock. It is 7:59 a.m. and I have carefully positioned the cursor over the words ‘sign up.’ For the next 60 seconds, I hold my breath and fight the urge to blink, my eyes toggling between the clock and the cursor, which I will click right on the hour, in a desperate attempt to claim a lap lane for the next day’s 8 a.m. swim.

It didn’t use to be…

Risking another heartbreak is the price I’m willing to pay for true love

“Be careful,” Viola warned. “Remember what happened last time.”

“I know,” I said. “But this guy’s the real deal, I know it,” I said.

“You ‘knew’ it before and look what happened.”

“I thought I knew. I wanted it to be right and talked myself into it. This one is different.”

“They’re all different,” Viola said, sarcastically.

“You could at least be happy for me.”

“I want to be happy for you. I want you to be happy. But as your best friend I feel bound to…

My young adult son’s cross-country move gives me a new perspective on what being a ‘good mom’ means.

“I’m gonna do it.”

The text from San Francisco reaches me in New York on a bright September morning. After months of agonizing, our son has decided to move there.

I’m not surprised. I’d counseled Ben on the decision. I’d even cheered him on. After all, helping to launch her young adult is what a good mom does. Yet now, standing in the warm autumn sunshine, I am shivering, my guts are twisting, and my eyes, filling. Messages come rapid-fire, and I try focusing on the words — job promotion, the chance of a lifetime, so excited — but my…

I wanted love so much that I missed the warning signs staring me in the face

“You still haven’t met him in person?” my friend Carol asked about the mysterious man with whom I’d been having a phone relationship.

Ron (not the creep’s real name) first called one night in 1984 in response to an ad I’d placed to form a writers’ group. I was 26 and single. He was 42, with a velvety voice and charming wit. We talked about writing briefly before our conversation took a dozen turns, lasting until 2 a.m. …

Andrea Kott

Public health writer/editor and author of the memoir, “Salt on a Robin’s Tail: An Unlikely Jewish Journey Through Childhood, Forgiveness, and Hope.”

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