Stories of a single mother raising four kids after her divorce while trying to reinvent herself, including dating again

Perfectly Imperfect

In 2004, pausing in the shade of an old oak tree while taking my daily walk, I peered through the chain-linked fence of the Los Altos Country Club to witness what I considered perfection: A relationship that stood the test of time.

“How precious,” I thought, viewing two aging souls enjoying a round of golf together. Once upon a childhood dream, this was supposed to be my future; growing old with the man I married, appreciating life as a couple after the kids were gone. […]

Like a Girl

Growing up surrounded by highly explosive XY chromosomes, the expectation was clear from an early age: learn sports, play sports, love sports – or die. I chose to live.

As a child, if I wanted a playmate, I had to become one with testosterone and their activities. Not only did I live with three brothers, but the entire neighborhood was dominated by the male beast.

While my siblings were ok with the fact I was of the female persuasion (perhaps because I proved to be just […]

Who Can You Trust?

With the fervor of a matador preparing to tease a raging bull, I waved my pink poodle skirt. “I’m ready!” I blinked with my twenty-year-old eyes and gave a come-hither look.

In 1972, I was spreading my theatrical wings in the musical Mame at the University of San Francisco. Wildly dancing the jitterbug under intense lighting, the routine was perfectly choreographed from the flip of my blonde curls to the syncopated tap in my toes. We’d practiced the number flawlessly over-and-over, and I had it […]

Photographs and Memories

Staring at the face tagged in a photo on my Facebook page, I bolted out of my chair like a missile exploding from an abandoned silo. I ran straight to the bathroom mirror, praying it wasn’t so. Pulling the folds and wrinkles back that had somehow magically appeared overnight, I shrieked horrified, “When did you become a crone?”

Not long ago, I was 55 and experiencing the prime of my life. All my body parts functioned, my hair cooperated after each cut, and my pants […]

Life as a Classroom

As Sister Mary Fidelis firmly pressed the edges of a gooey, 5-inch-long strip of electrical tape to my lips, she screamed, “Jackie, how are you ever going to learn anything if you’re constantly talking?”

It was 7th grade, and the Wicked Witch of the Convent had slapped her signature solution for excessive chattering across my 13-year-old mouth. Shortly after that, with a flick of her long black veil, she twirled and headed on to the next unsuspecting student, her mission to achieve total silence and […]

In Praise of Birthdays

 

On a cold, dreary December day seven years ago, I was having coffee with my dear friend Twinkie Lyman, at our local Starbucks. Letting out a long and disillusioned sigh, I began to cry the blues regarding my upcoming 50th birthday. Menopause had crept in years earlier, but I felt my youth truly slithering away with the onset of this momentous age.

It was becoming harder and harder to look at the image in the mirror. Where there was once smooth skin, fine lines, along with […]