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, April 29, 2015

I'm Still Learning

   It’s been a hard few weeks.  I know I can’t work as a teacher any more.  I’ve made that lifestyle change.  (In fact, it was just two years ago that I left my teaching career).  But what I haven’t done is change most of the other parts of my life.

   Call it denial.  Call it stubbornness.  Call it stupidity.  It’s probably all of those things.

   A little more than two weeks ago, I accompanied my son and his class on a walking field trip from his school to the Page Museum (located on Wilshire Boulevard).  Back in the days when my son relied on his stroller for his prime mode of transportation and my legs weren’t under daily attack, I used to walk my son there all the time.  We’d marvel at the Tar Pits and explore the “Fossil Museum,” his nickname for the Page Museum.

   I knew the field trip would be challenging for me.  My husband couldn’t attend because of work.  And although both my parents offered to take my place and chaperone the field trip, I wouldn’t take them up on their generous offer.  This was my son.  I was his mother.  The field trip was my responsibility.

   Thankfully the pain didn’t set in until after my son was safely back at school.  Then it was as if my brain gave my body permission to feel awful.  (The same thing happened on our one and only trip to Disneyland, the summer before my son started preschool.  I was fine the whole day until I parked the car at home.)

   But no matter how awful I felt immediately after the field trip, the day still goes on.  I still had to pick up my son from school and help him with homework.  And the days after that kept going.  Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.  School and homework.  Errands and chores around the house. 

   Then there’s the after-school time.  The time when my son wants to go outside and play basketball.  I’m his playmate-of-choice (and by default since I’m the only one around).  And although I could put my foot down and say no, I don’t.  All my child wants to do is play outside with his Mommy.  How could I say no to that?  So I played.  

   And I hurt.  And then it’s a vicious cycle of more pain, less sleep.  More medications, less energy.  More discomfort, less confidence.

   And the knowledge that my current situation sucks.  (I know I’m a writer and should be able to think of a fancier word, but in certain situations, basic is better).  And this sucks.  It isn’t fair.  It isn’t easy.

   And eventually, it’ll get better.  It’s hard now.  But it’s been better.  And I have to trust that the better times will return.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Pretty Piggies

   I read somewhere that when dealing with a chronic medical condition, one should re-phrase “I can’t” statements into “I don’t” statements.  This word-change is supposed to give a person an additional sense of power; as if there is some choice involved in the situation.  It’s really hard for me to apply this train of thought to my own life, however, because most of what I can’t do isn’t something I chose not to do.

   With one exception.

   I don’t cut my own toenails anymore.  Every three to four weeks, I treat myself to a pedicure (nail polish optional).  

   Truth be told, it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to maneuver my legs so that I could cut my toenails.  Applying and removing nail polish was a whole other awkward task.  At my mom’s urging, I’ve begun treating myself to pedicures.  And now instead of saying “I can’t cut my own toenails” (technically I can, but it’s really difficult), I can re-phrase that as “I don’t cut my own toenails.”

   Now you should know that I am not a woman who is used to receiving regular pedicures.  Simply because my feet are so ticklish.  Just watching someone else’s feet being rubbed with a pumice stone, can set me off and get me squirming and giggling.  (During my pedicures, I ask that only my heels be rubbed.)

   Sometimes, getting a pedicure isn’t an easy thing for me to do.  It can be  difficult for me to sit in one position and keep my legs still for a period of time.  So I shift when I need to.  And I make sure that my legs are rubbed extremely gently.

   But when I’m as comfortable as I can be, I’m a happy multi-tasker.  For while my toenails are being taken care of, I get to enjoy some bonus reading time.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hurray for Hummingbirds

   The bottlebrush tree outside our dining room window is blooming which means:  

a).  more bumblebees are around
b).  I’m sweeping our front steps more often because the tree sheds
c).  we’re enjoying more frequent visits from hummingbirds

   Needless to say, reason “c” is my favorite!  There’s something about the sight of a hummingbird that always surprises me.  Part of it is their small size and their amazingly fast speed.  Because they do move so quickly, it can be difficult to catch a glimpse, which makes a hummingbird sighting all the more special.  

   There’s almost something incongruous about these very small creatures (their weight is measured in ounces) and their flying abilities.  They can fly in all directions (including backwards), and the sound of their wings is reminiscent of a helicopter’s propellers.

   The hummingbird is also the symbol associated with Papyrus Greeting Cards.  In fact, every greeting card includes a protective paper which explains the legends involving hummingbirds.

Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration.  The hummingbird’s delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life’s sweetest creation.

   I like the fact that these hummingbirds are visiting our home during our meal time.  I like to think that they keep returning because they see our family sitting together and sharing a meal, all the while talking and laughing, and enjoying each other’s company.  For our life is rich, beauty does surround us, and my son is certainly my sweetest creation.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Advice from Dr. Seuss

Be who you are and say what you feel,
because those who mind don’t matter
and those who matter don’t mind.
- Dr. Seuss

   It’s not the type of quote that is usually associated with Dr. Seuss, or at the least the type of quote I’m more familiar with.  You know, quotes that are cute and/or silly and/or encouraging.  I’m thinking of the quote seen in the picture below that used to hang in my classroom.  

   The quote at the top of this post could almost be described as snarky.  Yet, the more I think about it, the truer it seems to be -- at least in regards to the people in my life.

   It’s an accurate observation to share that as I’m getting older, my circle (of friends and family) has gotten smaller.  And when I think about why, it all comes down to this quote.  Because I had assumed that those who matter (certain members of my family and closest friends) wouldn’t mind my choices, my opinions, my decisions.  Turns out I was wrong.

   You know who I’m talking about.  Those people that can see me with my hair in a bun, wearing my “comfy clothes” around the house.  The people you don’t have to dress for.  You let your guard down around these people.  And then, when you’re at your most vulnerable, a judgment is made, a rift comes between you and these people, and then they’re gone.

   It used to make me sad.  If I fixate on it for too long, it still does.  But then I think about my current circle.  And I think of this Dr. Seuss quote:

When you think things are bad,
when you feel sour and blue,
when you start to get mad...
you should do what I do!
Just tell yourself, Duckie,
you’re really quite lucky!
Some people are much more...
oh, ever so much more...
oh, muchly much-much more
unlucky than you!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

March Madness

   It’s April 1st, which means my family has completed our own version of March madness.  Our celebratory streak is finished, for now.  

   The celebrations started back in February when both my dad and my husband celebrated birthdays (my dad turned 69, my husband 39).  My husband and I also celebrated our wedding anniversary (our 16th) on Valentine’s Day.  

   But it’s March, that’s really the heavy-duty month for our family.  We began the month with my husband and I celebrating the 18 year anniversary of  our first date on the same day that served as the two-year mark for when I left my teaching career.  (Here’s a link to a blog post I wrote shortly after I left teaching:  http://wendykennar.blogspot.com/2013/03/march-1st.html)  We’ve celebrated my birthday (my39th), and three days later, my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary.  

   And then there’s the end of the month, March 30th.  On that same day, my mom celebrated her 70th birthday while my son celebrated his 7th!  It was magical and miraculous.  Exhilarating and exhausting.  

   It was a momentous March!