Finding happy moments in this never-ending game of whack-a-mole

Person — probably a young woman — rests their head on an arcade game while wearing eyeliner and a yellow crop-top blouse.
Person — probably a young woman — rests their head on an arcade game while wearing eyeliner and a yellow crop-top blouse.
Photo by fung lam on Unsplash

I’m a child in my sunny Florida backyard, devouring a popsicle, as the sweet red juice melts down my chin onto my one-piece swimsuit. I don’t have a care in the world. If I get hot, I’ll jump in the pool. If I want a playmate, I’ll run to the neighbors’ house.

Life used to be simple, right?

I measure my daughter’s childhood against that happy memory. Every moment she’s not eating a popsicle in a swimsuit, I’ve failed her. (I fail her a lot.)

I know that image is bullshit. I mean, it’s real. It happened. And it was…


An epic book list to teach empathy, anti-racism, feminism, and diversity

Digital art by Supriya Bhonsle of a dad reading to two young kids, snuggled on a couch with a blanket
Digital art by Supriya Bhonsle of a dad reading to two young kids, snuggled on a couch with a blanket
Art by Supriya Bhonsle from Mixkit

Children’s books have the power to change the world.

As a Parent Education college instructor who leads storytimes for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, I often get asked for children’s book recommendations.

Specifically, parents want book recommendations about kindness, empathy, sharing, and how to talk with young children about hard topics like race. And parents want to know, “How do I get my kids to love books?”

I’ve written before about the benefits of reading to kids and how to make books a bigger part of your lives. …


They’re seeking connection through domination, at the expense of gender equality.

Fake Smile Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

My husband and I are in bed at the end of what felt like a very long day.

We aim for equality every day: equal time working, equal time parenting. Time together. Time apart.

But today it felt like I was holding the world together by myself.

I’m trying to tell him how hard it was, looking for appreciation, looking for a promise that he’ll help me get more me time tomorrow.

He’s not hearing me: He’s defending. He’s explaining. He’s excusing. He’s rationalizing.

I take a deep breath, measure my words, make sure this comes out as an “I statement”:

“I feel unappreciated and alone.”

“Well, you’re choosing to feel those things.”

Clearly, we need some help…


I’m confident in my sexuality, but my husband’s makes no sense to me

Photo: Xiaoyi Cheng Xiao Yicheng/EyeEm/Getty Images

“Sometimes I feel like I’ll never be enough for you,” my husband says, “because I’m just a man.”

“You know I’m happy with monogamy,” I tell him. “You’re enough. You’re the person I chose.”

“But how can I be enough?” We’re spooning under the covers.

“With me, you can’t do everything.”

“Who needs to do everything?”

“I want to do everything.”

“Well, not everything,” I say, pulling his hand to my lips and nibbling his fingers.

“I want to do everything with you.”

I’m pansexual: I’m sexually attracted to people of all sexes and genders. Sometimes I use the word…


To my shock, he actually responded

Credit: ti-ja/iStock/Getty Images Plus

A few years back, I read a children’s book about the moon landing to my then-3-year-old daughter. It’s a great book in so many ways. But one thing stood out to me: Men.

Men, men, men. The word men over and over, in glowing terms, and nowhere a mention of anybody else.

The book, Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, written and illustrated by Brian Floca, is a gorgeous, informative read, made to inspire another generation of stargazers. Unlike many dry books on the topic, this one has a gripping narrative. It managed to keep even my 3-year-old engaged.

Still…


“Black is a Rainbow Color” is my favorite this year!

Excited adorable kid, with brown skin and black braids in a striped headband, in a “Future Leader” shirt, on a little bridge
Excited adorable kid, with brown skin and black braids in a striped headband, in a “Future Leader” shirt, on a little bridge
Awesome Kid! — Photo by Kiana Bosman on Unsplash

It’s time for Black History Month 2021! Let’s aim to teach and celebrate Black history every month, but February is a great reminder to check in.

I read a lot of children’s picture books, because I’m the mom of a 6-year-old, and because I lead weekly storytimes for kids 0–6. Also, I just love children’s books.

Books are inspiration, education, and often conversation starters. It’s tough to talk to little kids about the hard parts of history; like slavery, Jim Crow, and ongoing racism. It’s so tough that many parents attempt to avoid those conversations altogether. …


“You’re the real people,” he said, just before his fans stormed the U.S. Capitol.

A photo of US President Donald Trump looking like it’s in a funhouse mirror
A photo of US President Donald Trump looking like it’s in a funhouse mirror
Distorted Trump Photo by Pau Casals on Unsplash

“But just remember this, you’re stronger, you’re smarter. You’ve got more going than anybody and they try and demean everybody having to do with us and you’re the real people. You’re the people that built this nation.”

That’s a snippet from Donald Trump’s Insurrection Day speech that I haven’t seen others talking about. I mean, yeah, he says harmful stuff all the time, including lots of other impeachable stuff in that particular January 6 speech outside the U.S. Capitol, so it’s hard to let any one line stand out.

“You’re the real people.”

But to me, “You’re the real people”…


Battle through that election anxiety and make your voice heard!

Bright colored geometric mural of the word VOTE with VO at the top and TE at the bottom
Bright colored geometric mural of the word VOTE with VO at the top and TE at the bottom
Photo by Jennifer Griffin of Chicago artist Mac Blackout’s new VOTE mural

Have you voted yet?

The chances are good that you’ve already voted. Turnout is epic this election. In my Washington State county, a whopping 78% of registered voters have already voted by mail and dropbox return. And that’s just as of Friday!

Washington State auto-registers eligible adults, so around here, registered voters is really almost the same thing as voting-eligible adults. Wow!

Here’s how to check if your ballot was counted

If you voted by mail or drop-box, in any state in the US, check your ballot status here: Check Your Ballot.

Mine’s marked as received! How about yours?

If you still need to vote

If you’re still planning to vote by mail, consider sticking that ballot in an…


I’m writing letters for Sierra Club, and you can too!

Movie theatre marquee with the word “VOTE” and a tree, at night
Movie theatre marquee with the word “VOTE” and a tree, at night
Cropped Photo by Noah Pederson on Unsplash

Want to get Trump out of office, but not sure what you can do besides vote?

Here’s something tangible you can do with the time you usually spend panic-scrolling social media, weighing the probabilities of various civil war scenarios (hey, I do it too).

Write letters to like-minded people in swing states, urging them to vote!

Yes, talk to your friends and family. But right now, I’m talking about writing letters to strangers.

I don’t know about you, but the Electoral College makes my presidential vote pretty worthless. Because I live in a reliably blue state, it doesn’t really matter what I do with my vote. …


I love you, dear friend, even if there’s a screen between us.

Digital drawing of a smiling person with flowing black hair, a corona of sun behind her head, and a red heart in front of her
Digital drawing of a smiling person with flowing black hair, a corona of sun behind her head, and a red heart in front of her
Art by Alejandro Guipzot from Mixkit (cropped)

Lately, I’m saying, “I love you,” a lot. To my husband, yes, and my daughter of course. But also to friends, including people I’ve never said it to before.

Technically, I’m saying “I love you” to my germ-covered laptop screen, hoping the connection is clear enough for my words to reach you. And I’m pounding it out with my thumbs, wondering why it’s 2020, and my phone’s autocorrect still won’t change “I love tou” to “I love you.”

We are social beings, desperately desiring to love and to be loved. Through social distancing and stay-at-home orders, so many of the…

Darcy Reeder

Empathy for the win! Published in Gen, Human Parts, Heated, Tenderly —Feminism, Sexuality, Veganism, Anti-Racism, Parenting. She/They darcyreeder.substack.com

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