Christmas Away from Home

Nothing brings home the significance of Christmas traditions like spending a Christmas away from home.

Glühwein at christmas

Glühwein or hot spiced (mulled) red wine is a wonderful German tradition.

My first Christmas away from home was spent with a family in southern Germany. There were many parts of their family traditions that I enjoyed enough to adopt later. I loved their beautiful advent wreaths and calendars. However, I missed the big Christmas tree going up early in the season. Even the wonderful chocolate and cookies didn’t quite make up for that.

To be honest, I found their Christmas tree erecting tradition somewhat scandalous. One parent took the children out for a very long walk on Christmas Eve day. They came back to find a fully decorated tree brought to their home by no other than the Christ child. Continue reading


Tweets from Beyond

Tweets from Heaven As I gaze at the photo taken of my parents the week of their deaths, I imagine they’re in a Harry-Potter-esque animated photo. They’re happy and waving from the bow of the whale-watching ship. “The weather is beautiful! I saw a humpback before you! See ya soon!” Continue reading

Text Conversation

I love being able to text my teenage sons.  I can’t even imagine how my mom got through life without that luxury (although it would actually explain some of the extreme worrying….).

But there’stext conversation a couple of disadvantages to texting.  When you text, what you said is there for you to see, in black and white (or green and grey–whatever, you get my drift.)

One night, I was missing my freshman and decided to look through at all our loving conversations.  (I delete all the ones that just say OK or Can you add money?)  When I found this one, I realized that not all conversations should be memorialized (or saved…. or mentioned).

Me: Can you eat at work?

Son: idk  why?

Me: Cause I grilled pork chops, but Tucker got 2 of them. Got one back. Dad’s eating half of that one. But now I don’t have enough.

Son: lmao

Tucker is our dog. Time to switch to Snap Chat?

© Laura Hedgecock 2013


Steep driveway One spring break I was getting ready to return to college. My mom and I had agreed that I would go back to school in my dad’s car. My dad didn’t get that memo.

Not having his car keys handy to put my belongings in his trunk, I staged them behind his car.

Daddy, believing his car was blocking the other car, decided to move it. As he backed down our steep driveway, he noticed my squashed duffle bag, etc., in the driveway in front of him. Slowly it dawned on him what was happening.

I don’t remember how I figured out what had happened, but I do remember walking out looking through my things with my dad. At first, things didn’t seem so bad. My tennis racket was wrecked, but it was replaceable. One shoe was ruined, but it wasn’t my favorite. However, as we inventoried the damage, we realized that my 12-string guitar was missing.

I remember walking hand in hand with dad to look for the remains of the guitar. My heart was in my throat. Unlike the tennis racket, my guitar couldn’t simply be replaced. I loved that guitar. I didn’t want another.

I was mad at myself for leaving my guitar behind the car and mad at Daddy for not looking there. He was holding my hand to help me through the loss of my beloved instrument. I was holding his to help him assuage his guilt. Looking back, that couple of minutes—that walk of dread—crystallized our adult father-daughter relationship.

We weren’t perfect; we had made mistakes. We’d get through them by holding hands—literally and figuratively. We’d find the pieces, pick them up, and move forward.

beat up guitar case As it turned out, my guitar was caught on the undercarriage of his car and dragged down the driveway. The cardboard case was much, much worse for wear, but the guitar was intact.

Decades later that guitar has a very sturdy protective case (as does its guitar siblings), but I haven’t been able to part with the cardboard case.  It’s really not good for anything, but I love its symbolism.

(c) Laura Hedgecock 2013

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Maternal Instinct goes AWOL

In my belief, a head cold can stop you from thinking straight. It can also undermine your parenting skills. At least, that’s my defense.

My nineteen-year-old was home from college and was couch-bound by flu. Before long, I also had a sore throat, congested sinuses, and a throbbing headache. When my son decided he needed to go to an urgent care and I gave him directions, cash, and, like a good mother, made sure he had his health insurance card.

SiriA few minutes later, he called to say the clinic was closed. “What should I do?” he asked. The good mothering left me. “Ask Siri,” I replied.

It wouldn’t be so bad if Siri hadn’t sent him to a sketchy clinic—“The Healthy Urgent Care Clinic.” If they don’t even have down the concept of {urgent care ≠ healthy}, how good can the medical care be?

© Laura Hedgecock 2013

Toy Longevity–Good or Bad?

Hat tip to Ned Hickson for inspiring this one…..

Before you pull out the consumer rating magazines to figure out if the toy you are about to buy your child will last , stop for a moment and consider if you want it to. In making that decision, you should also consider the form of the toy’s demise.

Electronic megaphone toy

A voice-changing megaphone is even worse than a normal megaphone.

This is an especially important consideration if the toy is electronic and makes electronic noises.We had more than one “talking” book, that instead of dying in the expected way—“reading” slower, softer, missing words or pages—just began to read incessantly.  Do you know how many couch cushions you have to put on top of a talking book in order not to hear it?  I do.  That’s my point. I shouldn’t.  But it could be worse; the talking book could still be talking. Continue reading

Teaching Golf

Bonding moments don’t have to go as planned. Sometimes you bond, just not in the way you intend.

Man in golf swing

Notice Daddy’s straight left arm

My dad, avid golfer, decided at some point in my sixteenth or seventeenth year to teach me how to play golf. Since he had a handicap of about seven, I was all for it. He planned to start with teaching me how to swing at the driving range. Excited about passing on his golf skills to his daughter, he bought me a golf glove and we practiced my hand-over-hand grip at home. Continue reading