To be a tía — an aunt — is a singular honor. On the bittersweet truth of choosing not to have children, and the gift of deeply loving a child who isn’t one’s own.
At a certain point, we come to the realization that our mothers have interior lives entirely separate from us. On the conceptual challenge of seeing our mothers as whole human beings.
In her cohousing community in Oakland, our columnist is experiencing something all-too-rare: deep friendships across generations. What if we turned more actively to the wisdom — and plain old good company — of our neighbors, older and younger?
Our columnist gets honest about missing true solitude as a mother of young girls, and reflects on how crucial it is for women to carve out space to nurture no one but themselves.
Learning of the great ethnomusicologist’s death, our columnist offers an “ocean of remembrance” in return for the Turkish Sufi master who embodied the poetry of Islam in both his music and his being.
Parenting is a joy and a gift — but we should also give parents space to acknowledge the lost freedoms of youth that they miss. Courtney looks wistfully back to what life was like before her daughters, alongside the huge love and gratitude she feels for motherhood.
There may not be one magic key to successful relationships. But it helps for us to share this goal: to have our partners’ back, no matter what chaos life throws our way.
The elemental closeness of a mother to her children, and to her own body.
Monotasking as a social skill? Discovering new truths in our winter years? Essential readings on new approaches to life with each other, and with our ever-evolving selves.
A tribute to a beloved singer’s challenging life; escaping the rage cycle in this global moment; and our columnists on uprooting our assumptions about life’s most essential questions, from parenting to the nature of our relationships.
Courtney offers up a fear- and judgment-free space, and draws forth the perspectives of women who don’t have kids, by choice or otherwise.
Whether to have children is one of the most life-defining decisions we will make. And there is joy and meaning to be found on either path — as well as endless challenges and frustration. Courtney Martin on why the best place to turn for guidance is inward.
In the light of a New Year’s sparkler, a metaphor for the illuminating capacity we hold within, despite our fleeting existence.
The twilight season of Advent reveals a quiet source of hope — in the rhythms of the earth and the instinctual embrace of darkness by our animal bodies.
When going about our business, could we pay more attention to what we’re leaving behind for others in our wake?
Real love for our nation calls us to look at ourselves, as citizens, whole. A long view on the future of a beloved and broken America, and our potential to shape it moving forward.
Like all of us, Courtney Martin wants the best for her family, and rightly so. But from education to strollers, the best is often only accessible to a certain group. She reimagines responsible parenting as embodied care for one’s own, as well as for the families of strangers.
Growth comes from bearing witness to our own stories and to the experiences of others. A digest of reads that challenge us to strengthen our inner and outer lives.
The challenges we fret over as adults are often simple in the eyes of our children. Sarah Smarsh offers an antidote to the vitriol of our politics — through viral videos that illustrate the wisdom of children.
The final days of expectation can bring surprising clarity. Courtney Martin pauses in this suspended space, and marvels at the end of the wait for new life, in all its gritty wonder.
Reckoning with the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling by the police, Courtney Martin pens an impassioned missive to her white children: to understand their privilege, redistribute power, ask questions, and always to hold each other accountable.
Often the most valuable lessons are fathers’ teach us are the ones we didn’t realize we were learning. A son of Korean immigrants expresses gratitude for a lifetime of tough-love education from his wartime father.
Entering the home stretch of her pregnancy, Courtney Martin takes a closer look at the bizarre phenomenon from which we are all brought forth into the world.
Even with years of experience, the parenting journey is one of constant learning — about a budding life, and about oneself. Courtney Martin gives thanks for the grit and grace of new motherhood.
The daughter of refugees pens an open letter to her mother. She reflects on the inheritance of suffering, offering this ode to the resilience of the human spirit and gratitude for the opportunity to flourish.
We’re confronted with choices of wanting to do what’s best for our children and our communities. But sometimes they come into conflict with each other. What do we do then? Courtney Martin on the intersections of public and personal life as she makes school choices for her daughter.
To put the children first is a parent’s most basic instinct. But when does self-sacrifice become self-destruction? Omid Safi offers a new understanding of the importance of self-care.
Paul Kalanithi’s latest book spurs a pregnant mother to recognize the myth of meaning-making. Our columnist on reckoning with ambiguous endings, and the spectrum of imperfection on which we must all live and thrive.
The clock presses upon us and our families every day. A reminder that it’s not the roses we should stop to smell, but the most tender gestures written in the morning’s light.
Our names are rife with meaning, stories we claim and others we discard. Listen to this group of “audio selfies,” including one with Parker Palmer, exploring how our identity is formed by the names we’re given, the ones we take, and the ones we long for but never quite materialize.
What gets lost when we erect a fortress around our children? A mother glimpses the beauty of trusting strangers around her daughter, and discovers the risk of losing the village to our own fears.
There is no norm when it comes to the prototypical family unit. And, family as we all know is at once our breaking point and our healing refuge. With the holiday season behind us, Courtney Martin asks us to embrace the family we have and resist the idealized version that never existed.
A poem for the permeable quiet of a December evening, weaving together the lonesome sounds of a home.
A young mother of twins returns to the comfort of the kitchen and cooking rice as she remembers learning from her own mother as a child, and revels in the unique tension between her desire for order and the joyful chaos that her children bring.
With the gift of a poem, a father marvels at the infinities embodied by his young son in this lyrical moment of parental reverence.
Being a mother is an act of transformation and discovery. Courtney Martin examines the gifts of obliteration of motherhood, and the maternal love that rushes in as responsibility beckons.
What makes each child unique cannot be measured or scored. A nourishing story from a school principal on the “many ways of being smart” and testing children.
A physician takes refuge in the wavelike nature of the inbreath and outbreath, and the soft beauty of a newborn child.
A home can be a sacred space for children if adults give it the attention necessary. A mother’s essay on modeling devoted action, fostering a healthy will, and creating structure through chores as a powerful, stabilizing force in the household.
How do we come to truly “know” ourselves? Through a host of childhood memories, and using a George Oppen poem as her guide, a health practitioner suggests a starting place: “Become intimate with discomfort. Pull it closer. Mend nothing first.”
To trust our children requires allowing them the room to act differently that we might expect. A mother’s argument for placing trust in our children’s expansive imaginations and empathic potential.
What training did we give to our fathers? A reflection on inventing, rather than inheriting, the type of father a man wants to be — for himself and his children.
A collection of what we’re reading and publishing — from Lord of the Rings and love to Springsteen’s tribute to Townsend!
A mother reflects on curating an updated library of children’s literature for her daughter to read — one that speaks to “the full spectrum of brown and black folks to mitigate the future onslaught of ubiquitous whiteness” and people she could imagine being.
An unexpected moment on the Katie Couric show instills an awareness of the fruits of mindfulness, a deep sense of lineage, and an inexpressible peace for our columnist.
An immigrant child from Iran who transitioned to several high schools, Omid Safi shares the story of a Chemistry teacher who saw the potential in him. A quest to find her and thank her for forever changing his life — and that of generations to come.
A tribute to the children and adults who died in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School honored with a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye. A list we must return to and remember out of love and hope for a safer world.
On the anniversary of Mr. Rogers’ passing, a conversation about unconditional love, community, and the gentle way we learned how to be human from a quiet man in a reliable sweater.
“How can I catch my angry self before it catches me!?” This is one of many anonymous questions posed by…