September 11th—A day of hope and fear, as a mother and as an American.

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The kindergarten bus was late. I peered up at the clear blue sky and held my oldest daughter’s hand at the bus stop, trying not to appear anxious as I obsessively checked my watch. It was my turn to drive the preschool carpool and the timing couldn’t have been worse. I had an amniocentesis scheduled later that day, so I needed to move fast getting to and from the school across town. …

A love story.

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Marriage changes you. So does motherhood. Not necessarily in a bad way, but unexpectedly for sure.

Before I became somebody’s wife, then somebody else’s mother, there was just me. A grown-up version of a little girl who had been raised in a loving middle-class family and dreamt about “making it big” someday — whatever that meant.

I worked hard, got an education, and got busy making my mark on the professional world. Somewhere along the way I fell in love and got married. …

Why a strong work ethic is one of the best things you can give your children.

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The most important “work” I do is not the work itself, but the simple fact that I do it.

That’s an oversimplified response to a writing prompt that sparks a great deal of reflection. The more work experience you have, the more there is to think about. And since I got my first paying job over forty years ago, as a Burger King cashier working the late-night drive-thru, my mind wanders recklessly when I think about what work means to me.

When you’re a kid, work means freedom. I still remember the very first paycheck I received and how cool…

How my dreams have changed shape and size over the years.

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As a kid growing up, I didn’t have enough of it. We lived in a small house on a crowded block and I dreamed of moving on. I hoped for more than one bathroom, couldn’t wait to watch television without my parents and brothers close by, and envisioned myself living in a huge mansion on a sprawling piece of property.

But now that I’m an adult, with a house twice the size as my childhood home and an in-ground swimming pool in the backyard, I can see clearly how the lack of abundant space shaped me into who I am…

And what we gained by saying goodbye together.

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Last March, we had to put our 15-year-old Bichon Frise down. I knew it would be tough, but I never anticipated HOW tough. The circumstances were crazy enough, but when we started hearing about COVID-19 safety protocols, there was added pressure to make a quick decision on when to do it.

There’s no doubt she was suffering, but all three of our kids begged for one last goodbye. …

Navigating the evolution of sexual harassment claims.

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We are each a product of our own environment, and our early experiences play a big role in shaping who we become as adults.

  • If you were bitten by a dog when you were little, you may be afraid of dogs today.
  • If you were in a car accident as a new driver, you may be anxious behind the wheel of a car now.
  • And if you were abandoned as a child, it might explain your current-day commitment issues.

I tell you this because it’s important in talking about bias: the inclination to be for or against someone or something.

Origin of a Bias

Definitely, a meal to remember.

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A memorable meal?

Oh, Oh! Prompt #16 could not have come at a better time!

We just returned from a week in Cape Cod — my all-time favorite vacation destination. And boy did we have some memorable meals. One, in particular, stands out above the rest, and that’s because it caused so much laughter amongst my family members that my face hurts just thinking about it.

I need to back up for a second first. So, everyone has those stories that they repeat ad nauseum, right? The ones your kids roll their eyes at and say,

“We know, Mom. You’ve…

Embracing change can be hard, but focusing on the upside helps.

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Parenting is loaded with ups and downs. Ultimately, you hope the good outweighs the bad.

I feel lucky to have often said, “If I had a dollar for every instance I wished for a machine that could freeze this moment in time, I’d be a millionaire by now.”

When, in fact, those moments themselves made me rich a long time ago.

  • The warmth of your infant, wrapped in a blanket and snuggled to your chest.
  • The fresh smell of your toddler’s hair after a bath.
  • The smile your preschooler shines on you from the front row of a holiday concert.

Even when traveling together isn’t easy.

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The first summer after my oldest was born, we took a last-minute trip to Cape Cod with my parents, packing the car with all the “necessities,” including a stroller, a portable crib, a bouncy seat and a “compact” highchair. You can imagine how crowded our 4-door sedan was and why we bought a large SUV the following year.

Little did we know at the time, but that impromptu excursion marked the first of many memorable family vacations. …

An exercise in self-discovery

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Halfway through Year Two of running my own freelance writing and consulting business, I’ve already experienced a couple of significant epiphanies. I’ve still got plenty to learn, but these initial lessons have been extremely eye-opening.

Lesson One

If self-confidence is something you struggle with, it may be the only thing standing in your way of professional freedom. Try owning it and move forward.

For most people, self-awareness comes with age. Now that I’m in my mid-fifties, one thing I understand about myself is that I’m insecure. Not everyone can see that, but it’s true.

Why that’s important is that I’ve finally accepted…

Susan Poole

Mother, lawyer, nonprofit executive, breast cancer survivor, and aspiring author. Recently left her day-job to write about topics that she’s passionate about.

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