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, November 4, 2015

Apollo 13 Still Inspires

   My son and I have been watching the Ron Howard film Apollo 13 quite a lot lately.  Ryan is very interested in spaceflight.  Originally I showed him the same scene I used to show my fourth-grade students -- a scene that showed the 3 “astronauts” as they demonstrated weightlessness in a broadcast for the audience back on Earth.  But my son was curious and wanted to watch more of the movie.

   It’s got a PG rating (the same as Frozen; a movie that his kindergarten teacher showed his class two years ago).  

   I am a big Apollo 13 fan.  Twenty years ago, my dad and I saw the movie in the theater.  I owned the soundtrack on cassette and read the James Lovell book that inspired the movie.  I was the girl who had wanted to be an astronaut, and I reveled in watching the movie.  

   So I’m more than happy to watch the movie with Ryan.  We talk about why the movie is important.  How it shows teamwork, determination, and creative problem solving (remember the guys who figured out how to put a square cartridge into a round hole?)  

   Ryan now wants to meet Tom Hanks. 

      But that’s not all.  He tells me he wants to walk on the moon.  I told him when he’s up there he can actually moonwalk on the moon.  (After all, Alan Shepherd, Commander of the Apollo 14, hit a golf ball on the moon.  Take a look at this website that includes a video of this incredible feat:  www.pga.com/news/golf-buzz/feb-6-1971-alan-shepard-plays-golf-moon)

   If you haven’t watched Apollo 13 in a while, I highly recommend it.  The story is incredible -- because it’s mostly true.  (Like all movies based on a true story, some things have been changed.)  But the essential elements are in place.  There are relationships and connections that move you.  Each time I see it, I cry along with the wives as the Saturn V rocket launches.  My son and I embrace when Apollo 13 successfully splashes down into the South Pacific.  And you gotta respect Gene Kranz with his passionate declaration, “Failure is not an option.”   

   It makes me proud to say that my son and I watch this movie together and then later re-enact lines of dialogue.  And when Ryan gets to the moon, he has promised to blow a kiss down to me on Earth.


  1. Honey,
    This is a wonderful post! I love hearing you and Ryan recite lines from the movie!
    I Love You!
    Love, me

  2. I am so sorry it didn't work out for you to go to Space Camp when you were younger.I know you are thrilled that Ryan is so interested in Space.I like how he said he will blow you a kiss from the Moon.I love you and I am proud of you.

  3. I remember when we went to see the movie, and I really enjoyed it also. Your mother & I are proud of you.
    Love, dad

  4. Dear Wendy, I am not commenting on this post but on your article 'The 'A' word'. I am a 43 yo woman with a 23 yo son. When he was 6 I retired due to disability. Originally it was labelled polymyalgia, eventually fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome but some of my medical issues do not fit this diagnosis. The doctors just don't have a better name for it. Like your doctor's 'Kennar' comment, I have often said it doesn't really matter to me what it is called; there is no really useful treatment, no cure, no explanation and very little predictability about my condition.

    I wanted to tell you, as an older mother of a young adult, that some of the most wonderful things about parenting and about my son have come about because of my retirement due to disability. I was always there to pick him up or when he came home from school, something I never would have been able to do if I was working. He has more life skills than many of his friends because I was there (with the time and focus) to show him how to do these things. I may not have been able to continue the long walks, hikes and bike rides of his earliest years (and he doesn't remember them), but I was available for homework, reading, games, movies, and sitting in the park while he played. Yes, my heart bled for what I couldn't do with him. Not only for his sake but also for mine - I still yearn for a forest or mountain climb off of the smooth, cleared paths I can manage with my scooter(mobility aid/wheelchair). And this yearning was why I conceded to use the scooter. I had not been in a forest at all for years when I realized the scooter would give me the freedom to do so without requiring a manual wheelchair to be pushed over uneven ground under someone else's power.
    Parenting and our children are not the types of things we will ever stop worrying over, fretting over what we can not give. But you can still give more than many people just by being there, even if it is at a slower pace or for less time at a difficult activity. Your son will not miss out. Different people in a child's life contribute different things; your husband, extended family, friends bring different temperments, aptitudes and interests into your son's life. You don't have to be everything.
    One way of thinking about disability that I use in my own mind is equating it to a full time job. The rest I need, the speed i move at, the things that are more difficult of impossible for me, added up they easily take up a huge part of the day, often as much as a full time job. And like a full time job, I'm tired after it's all done!
    Don't be so hard on yourself. Don't worry about what other people are thinking (you are lazy or don't need whatever accommodation). Use the resources available to you to compensate as much as you can.
    You sound like you are a great mom already and your son and husband are lucky to have you in their lives. Good luck with your parenting, health and journey.

    1. Dear Jacqueline, I cannot thank you enough for writing! I have tears in my eyes after reading your comments. Your thoughtfulness and understanding mean a great deal to me. You "get it" -- which is something that people without a disability really struggle with. I think I need to print out your words and keep them nearby when I need a reminder to stop being so hard on myself. Thank you for sharing with me.
      All the best to you! Sincerely, Wendy