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, RoleReboot.org, XOJane, and Brain, Child Magazine. 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, September 28, 2011

Clogs in My Closet

   I’m not like a lot of women.  I am a girl who acknowledges the importance of comfort and practicality.  I don’t totter around on high heels.  I slip my feet in and out of clogs instead.
     I started wearing clogs during my last semester at city college - during the period of time I started dating the man who would become my husband.  At the time, I found some soft black clogs at Payless Shoes. They were black, and squishy, and instantly comfortable.   And, in the odd way life works, my now-husband was working for a family friend who sold authentic Swedish clogs.  The hard ones with wooden bottoms.  The ones you could only wear for a short time each day until you broke them in.  
   Now I wear clogs that are somewhere in between.  Clogs with a cushioned sole that come in patent leather blue or black embroidered with flowers.  Except for the one pair of lace-up tennis shoes that I keep for reserve purposes, open-backed shoes are my shoe of choice.  I wear them with skirts and slacks, and the only time I really run into some trouble is during rainy days.
    Limiting myself to clogs, does limit my shoe choices, especially since I wear a size ten.  But they’re comfy, and when so much of life isn’t comfortable, I do my best to make sure that my shoes and clothes are.
   I found out that clogs were originally “workers shoes” made popular in many countries throughout Europe.  And I know that presently clogs are especially popular with chefs and physicians.  
   Clogs or not, by the end of the day, my feet are tired.  But at least with my clogs on, my feet have gotten little breaks, little moments of freedom when I slip my feet out of my clogs, stretch, and tuck them back inside and gear up for the next part of my day.  My own worker’s shoe.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


   My son has two Mr. Tickle dolls.  He called them brothers.  He knows about brothers from some reliable sources.  His nephews are brothers.  Mario and Luigi are brothers.  And Elmo’s friend, Mr. Noodle, has a brother, conveniently also named Mr. Noodle.
   Ryan asked me who his brother was.  I told him he didn’t have a brother, but he did have lots of people who loved him.  And I started listing them.  But he interrupted me.  He said his brother was on Mommy’s computer, in PhotoBooth.  That’s where he sees “two Ryan’s.”
   There’s the part of me that recognizes this brief conversation as exactly what it is - an adorable interchange between a son and mother, a chance for my son to make connections with new words and familiar experiences in his life.  But, there’s the part of me that jumped ahead, and wondered if my son will ever present me with the real question, “Why doesn’t Ryan have a brother?”
   Before my husband and I decided to start our family we were constantly asked when we were having a baby.  Now that my son is 3 1/2 years old, the question has become, “When are you giving him a brother or a sister?”
   The answer is, “We’re not.”  
   I certainly don’t have all the answers about life, but I knew enough about myself to acknowledge that I wasn’t ready to be a mom for a while.  And now, I’m wise enough to admit that my marriage and our current family dynamic will not function successfully if we have another child.
   The older I’m getting, the more I’m realizing that I can make all the plans I want, but life is going to happen regardless of my plans.  So, ten years ago if you had asked me how many children I would have, I would have confidently answered, “Two.”  That was then.  
   Now, I am the mother of an only child.  An only child who has an endless supply of love surrounding him.  
   My son is an only child - just like Elmo.  And look how happy and loved Elmo is!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Nine Ways Fourth Graders Are Like Kindergartners

   I have recently begun my eleventh year as an elementary school teacher.  This year marks the shift - I had taught kindergarten for five years, and this begins my sixth year teaching fourth grade.  The curriculum is entirely different, but the longer I’m teaching, the more I realize that kids are kids, and many similarities exist between the grade levels.
  1. All children need to be reminded that scissors are for cutting paper.  And only paper.  
  2. Children are still largely afraid of the dark.  A recent hour-long power outage at school sent my fourth grade students into a bit of a panic worried about ghosts and other bad things.
  3. Children enjoy writing on the whiteboard - whether it’s the large class board or individual white boards.
  4. More children will participate during math if the lesson involves food.  With kindergarteners, we sorted and graphed M & M’s.  For the fourth graders, we estimated the number of Smarties in the jar.
  5. Any grade enjoys a “honeymoon period” - like the first few dates when you’re getting to know someone.  Everyone’s on their best behavior and haven’t revealed their “true selves.”  Yet.
  6. Children respond to hugs and stickers.
  7. Books in the library corner are even more enjoyable when read while snuggling with a stuffed animal.
  8. Children will tell you the truth, or at least their version of the truth.  I’m mean.  My shoes are cool.  Math is boring.  They’re more concerned about getting their point of view across than they are about protecting my feelings.
  9. Children are children.  They need love.  And the ones that are most difficult, are probably the ones needing the most love.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Mom, My Friend

      Growing up, I thought moms were just “moms” - telling you to check your homework, insisting you eat your spinach, making your dentist appointments.  I imagined my grown-up self as someone who would have a small, close-knit circle of female friends.  Women I would spend time with - laughing and crying, women who understood me and would love me anyway.  
   I do have that small circle of friends.  However, my closest friend is my mom.  She is the woman I turn to with parenting questions, career concerns, marital worries, and cooking challenges.  She is the woman who knows when to give me a push, when to give me a hug, and when just to be there and listen.
   I used to think moms weren’t supposed to be friends.  They’re moms; the two seemed mutually exclusive.   Moms set curfews and bedtimes.  Moms say “no” when you want them to say “yes.”  Moms appear to be this whole species that couldn’t possibly understand a teenage daughter’s embarrassments, worries, and fears.  Moms just don’t get it. 
   But now I’ve grown up.  I’m a married woman with a son.  And I see things differently.  My mom always got it; it was me that didn’t get it.
   My good friends are people I can trust, people I know wouldn’t hurt me.  People that share similar values.  People I enjoy spending time with.  My mom is one of those people.