Family

In Tenderly. More on Medium.

Every day brings a struggle to preserve the light in my children’s eyes from a growing awareness that dims it

3 young Black children seen from behind, looking out the window at grass and a road.
3 young Black children seen from behind, looking out the window at grass and a road.
Photo: Dara T. Mathis

Like a mother bird tending her chicks in spring, I have largely occupied myself during the Covid-19 pandemic with caring for my three small children. I am thankful my husband can work from home as I write freelance and manage the kids’ homeschooling. We began to notice the birds trilling amid the tree blossoms as April gave way to May.

Our feathered friends are a delight. When we observe them, we forget why we are cooped up in the house. Watching birds with my children gives me respite from the anxiety of being Black during a pandemic that has disproportionately…


She wasn’t sure if she had done the right thing, but her choice became one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received

Photo: ESB Professional/Shutterstock

“Mom, can I go vegetarian?”

My latest out-of-the-blue request was instigated by a squid dissection in our sixth-grade science class.

Appreciation for animals had been with me since I was a toddler. From the books our parents read us, to watching wildlife documentaries, to playing fetch-the-orange with Maxwell, our yellow Labrador.

It wasn’t until that lifeless squid stared up at me from atop the creaky school desk that I saw things in a new way. Science education mattered, but I sure wouldn’t want my life to be taken for it. What other unchosen sacrifices were animals making for me?

We…


When I first went vegan, my mom didn’t make the connection between her religious beliefs and animals — but since, her kitchen has changed

Photo: Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash

You can learn a lot about a person by the way they manage their kitchen. By the way they keep the dining table, by why they cook, and who they cook for. For many years, my parents cooked because they loved it. My father would glow with new energy when he was able to push away from his desk and don his favorite apron. My mother’s eyes would light up any time a child got sick and before long the kitchen would buzz and hum with the sound and smells that would make any flu tremble.

But there was always…


All pets deserve to be loved, and cherished

My four-legged baby, back when he was 14 years old. Photo: Ilene Kuehl

Lately I’ve been thinking about how difficult the lives of animals are.

They could be euthanized just for coming into existence and roaming around in nature, dropped off at a shelter, where they’re picked up by a family that they don’t even know (who may or may not return them, depending on how well they “blend” in with their new pack.)

Animals don’t get to choose their family or even when they get to eat or go to the bathroom. Their owners decide everything for them. …


You can discover incredible things when you explore the tiny worlds contained in rock pools

Photo: dumotim/Pixabay

The seaside town of Rhyl in North Wales doesn’t have many claims to fame. Once a popular tourist destination, it has experienced a steep decline in recent years, with holidaymakers opting for cheap trips abroad and numerous businesses moving away. Many of the main attractions have closed down, with high levels of deprivation particularly in the west end. Rhyl is frequently described as grim, miserable, and stuck in the past, becoming a regular feature on the list of worst places to live in the UK. …


I’m 27 and dogs are always on my mind, while babies are on my mind only when I think about how I never want one

Photo: Matt Nelson/Unsplash

I wrote this article when I recognized a sudden rise in interest in my plans for motherhood as I entered my late twenties, mostly from friends and family. I guess you reach a certain age, perhaps you pass a milestone in your romantic relationship, and the questions begin.

If you’re in a relationship, they like to ask, “So are you planning on having kids?” For the single ladies, the questions sound more like, “¿Y el novio?” “What about your boyfriend?”

Why do other people seem to be so preoccupied with the boxes you haven’t checked off on a to-do list…


Growing up, I dreaded Sundays — chore day. Lately, I’m starting to pick up what my mom was teaching me.

The record collection. Photos provided by Alyson Lewis

My mom has always been an organized person. It’s practically her religion. When she made grocery lists, she would write them in order of where the food was in the store. She’d zip up and down aisle after aisle, picking up things in an orderly fashion, putting them in the cart. Her coupons were always ready and she knew exactly what her savings would be. She made sure each meal during the week had variety. We never had the same food too often or too little. There was some kind of running calendar in her mind of what we’d eaten…


And maybe become a better person

All drawings: Liza Donnelly

I love drawing dogs. When drawing any character, it’s inevitable that one momentarily embodies the creature you are drawing.

There have been dogs in my life as long as I can remember, and for as long as I’ve been drawing. First there was Sassy. A springer spaniel, she was a bright light, consistently greeting me with intense wiggling when I came home from school. Sassy went with us when we skated on the canal in winter, walked the streets on Halloween, joined us as kids when we played “Beatles” in the grassy field (otherwise known as “dog doo alley”). Sassy…


The life and times of my black-and-white guardian angel

Tommy, 2009. All photos: a grain of infinity

It’s been ten years, and, as always in December, Tommy’s been on my mind. I thought about him as we trimmed the tree with the pictures and dog tags of the six dogs we’ve lived with over the past 22 years. I thought about him as we ate a tuna casserole one Sunday in December because tuna was his very favorite food, so much so that when we visit his grave we bring a can of tuna instead of flowers.

I thought about Tommy when I saw another split-face Border Collie galloping exuberantly down the street, panting human in tow…


It’s basically the same thing. Right?

Photo: Kate Stone Matheson/Unsplash

Conway Kitty puked on my brand new sheets this morning.

They’ve been on my bed less than three days. I’ve only slept in them twice. And that’s what hurts the most.

I finally upgraded from the thin, cheap big-box retailer sheets that remind me of college to a complete set of luxury sheets. OK, they’re not really luxury sheets because your girl is operating on a budget, but they feel luxurious to me and that’s what matters.

But I’ll tell you what isn’t luxurious.

Grabbing a warm pile of mixed-consistency cat vomit in a paper towel as fast as you…

Tenderly

good living for every being

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store