About Me:

Aloha! I'm Wendy Kennar. I'm the mother of a seven-year-old son and a wife living in Los Angeles. I was a public school teacher for twelve years until a chronic medical condition made it necessary to leave my teaching career.

I've always been described as "quiet" - really, I'm just biting my tongue. I've got lots to say, and lots of thoughts to share, I just prefer to write them. That's the purpose of this blog. Each Wednesday, I post a personal essay offering my observations and thoughts.

A few fun facts about me: I've wanted to be a writer since second grade, when my teacher, Mrs. Jones, made me a "book" with a yellow construction paper cover. I have never learned to whistle, have always preferred sunflowers to roses, and have spent my life living within the same zip code.

Through the years, my writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, United Teacher, GreenPrints, L.A. Parent, DivineCaroline.com, and RoleReboot.org. Additionally, my personal essays have been included in several anthologies, including: The Barefoot Review, Beyond the Diaper Bag, Lessons From My Parents, Write for Light, Being a Grown-Up: A User's Manual for the Real World, Ka-Pow!, How Writing Can Get You Through Tough Times, Breath and Shadow, The Grey Wolfe Storybook, and Sisters Born, Sisters Found.
I am a regular contributor at MomsLA.com, and you can also find me at Goodreads.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Feel free to comment and share my blog with others!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Back-to-School Clothes Shopping

It's that time of year, and if you're wondering where to buy your child clothes and shoes for a new school year, check out this post at MomsLA.com.

http://momsla.com/10-places-back-school-clothes-shoes-shopping/


I Know It Could Be Worse, But Still ...





   I’ve got an autoimmune disease.  But, life could be worse.  Much worse.  In the year and four months it took to get a diagnosis, I saw a series of doctors:  a neurologist, a rheumatologist, a geneticist, an ophthalmologist, a vascular surgeon.  I endured a multitude of lab tests, ultrasounds, X-rays, MRIs, and CT Scans, while doctors tried to determine what was wrong with me.  One doctor went so far to tell me that all my test results showed something was not quite right but she just wasn’t sure what it was; the results weren’t “wrong enough.”  I was told I could be suffering from multiple sclerosis, cancer, leukemia.  

   My current doctor (the only one who could finally figure out my medical mystery) scheduled my appointment for one morning before school.  I figured that whatever he had to tell me couldn’t be too awful if he was planning on telling me less than an hour before I had to go teach fourth grade.  So when he told me I suffered from an autoimmune disease, I breathed a sigh of relief.  It wasn’t fatal.  I was going to be around to watch my son grow up. (At the time of my diagnosis, Ryan was 3 1/2 years old). 

   At first, I thought having this disorder would simply be something I’d learn to live with, much like my asthma. How wrong I was.  Less than two years after I was diagnosed, I had to give up teaching.  Two years after I left my classroom, I’m not quite as upset about not teaching.  In a way, I am still teaching.  I’m teaching Ryan.  I’m helping him write a letter to President Obama.  I’m watching caterpillars evolve into butterflies.  And I’m teaching him without having to worry about report cards, cumulative records, and Tuesday professional developments.

   But these last few weeks have been really hard for me.  Relatively simple, ordinary activities have been increasingly difficult for me.  My weekly trip to Ralphs has caused me a great deal of pain.  I had to move a few of my mixing bowls because standing on my tip-toes to reach them from a high shelf was proving to be too difficult for me.  And our yearly family trip to the Aquarium of the Pacific left me fatigued and in pain. 

   I’m increasingly worried about the regular things that I fear may be taken from me, that there is no real substitute for.  I may not be able to teach any more, but I can volunteer in Ryan’s classroom.  I can help him with his homework and grab a book I have from the closet to help reinforce a specific concept.  

   Because even though I still “can” go to the Aquarium, this year it wasn’t as pleasurable for me.  I bit my lip, trying to contain my discomfort, not wanting to put a damper on my family’s spirits as Ryan touched a stingray and a shark for the first time.  But if I can’t go to the Aquarium (like I have every year since the day in 2007when I found out I was pregnant), there’s no way for me to settle for something else.

   I have this internal struggle with myself because I feel as if I don’t have the right to complain about my pain, my discomfort, my frustrations.  Things could be worse.  In fact, things are much worse for many people.  

   Several weeks ago, I wrote about a sentence I had read in Chronic Resilience, one of the books I’m currently reading.  (Here’s the link in case you missed it:  http://wendykennar.blogspot.com/2015/07/hoping-to-become-more-kick-ass-me.html)

   But the truth is, instead of feeling more “kick ass,” I’m feeling as if I’m getting my ass kicked.  Day after day.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Birthday Party Post at MomsLA.com

If you're looking for inspiration for a child's birthday party, check out my latest post at MomsLA.com.  You'll find suggestions for book-themed birthday parties!  Here's the link:

http://momsla.com/5-book-themed-birthday-parties/


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Dive In Essay at Mamalode.com

Dear Readers,


I’m so happy to let you know that Mamalode.com has published another one of my personal essays.  This month’s theme is “Dive In.”  I hope you’ll take a look at my personal essay, “A Life of Passion” and remember to pass along the link to others.  As a reminder, this site pays based on the number of unique views my post attracts.  So please click on the link, read the essay, and share it with others.  And ask them to do the same.  The goal is at least 500 views in 30 days.

With much appreciation,

Wendy



Wednesday, July 22, 2015

MomsLA Post: Apps and Websites

Dear Readers, If you're a parent, take a look at this post at MomsLA.com.  I've compiled a list of 10 apps and websites that will make things easier for the new school year ahead.

Here's the link:  http://momsla.com/10-apps-websites-parents-need-new-school-year/

Doing It Right






   If you regularly read my blog, you know that I’m not a Facebook person.  (In fact, RoleReboot.org published one of my personal essays about that very phenomenon.  Here’s the link, in case you missed it:  http://www.rolereboot.org/life/details/2015-06-why-im-not-on-facebook/)  Which means I’m not regularly posting photos of my son, accompanied with cute little captions or anecdotes.   

   And, most parents, I think, tend to second-guess themselves, wondering if they’re “doing it right.”  And by “it,” I mean parenting.  Recently, my son showed me that my husband and I are, in fact, doing it really right.  

   Allow me to boast:

  • Last week, my son and I went on a date to the Page Museum, a place we’ve visited many times since Ryan was a baby.  On this trip, though, Ryan bought himself a souvenir with his own money.  And outside, as we marveled at the statues of mammoths seemingly trapped in tar, Ryan’s gaze fell on the “Banjo Man.”  (That’s our name for the gentleman who regularly stands outside the Page Museum, singing and playing instruments for those passing by.)  Ryan saw the open box and asked what it was for.  I told him it was where people could give the Banjo Man money, as a way of saying “thank you” and showing that they enjoyed his music.  And my son opened up his Elmo wallet, took out a dollar bill, and placed it in the Banjo Man’s box.
  • At our weekly shopping trip to the supermarket, my son and I were about to buy apple juice.  My son led the way, and called out the prices for different brands.  He compared a few, and then correctly identified the one that was cheapest, and thus, the one we would buy.
  • At that same trip to the supermarket, my son walked by a man who was intently looking at laundry detergent.  My seven-year-old son said “excuse me” as he passed in front of the man.  The man smiled at Ryan and at me.

And now, the best for last:

  • The other night, my son and I were having dinner.  We ate and talked about our day.  It was a comfortable, relaxed dinner.  And then my son turned to me and said, “I love you Mommy.”  At that moment, nothing else in the world mattered.

Monday, July 20, 2015