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…


You know I’m talking about Shannon Ashley, because she’s inspired you too.

Mixed media art of a person reaching out from under a wave and another hand reaching out to save them
Mixed media art of a person reaching out from under a wave and another hand reaching out to save them
Photo by Sue Carroll on Unsplash

I wanna pop in to urge you to donate to (or share) Shannon Ashley’s GoFundMe, to help her pay for her very-much-needed lipedema surgery. What’s lipedema? Well, if you’re not familiar with it, you might be surprised that an estimated 11% of women have it. Shannon’s GoFundMe explains what lipedema is, how bad hers has gotten, how it’s severely impacting her day-to-day life, and how surgery will make things so, so much better for her.

Shannon tweeting about her lipedema surgery GoFundMe

Shannon’s honesty, empathy, writing talent, parenting style, and work ethic have inspired the fuck out of me (c’mon…


Yes, you can care about Jews and Palestinians at the same time.

“Path to Peace” wall art painting in English, Arabic, and Hebrew with a dov e— in Netiv HaAsara facing the Gaza border
“Path to Peace” wall art painting in English, Arabic, and Hebrew with a dov e— in Netiv HaAsara facing the Gaza border
“Path to Peace” Photo by Cole Keister on Unsplash

I’m losing sleep over rockets and airstrikes and war crimes in Israel and Palestine. And also about the widespread mentality that this is a story where one ethnicity is a hero and another is a villain.

Today I breathed a small sigh of relief to see The New York Times’ morning newsletter acknowledge the situation in Israel/Palestine without the short-sighted, one-sided meme format I’ve seen most everywhere else. Before laying out some of the basics of the Israel/Palestine sitch, Times writer David Leonhardt wrote,

“I recognize that some readers are deeply versed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with strong views about…


“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”…


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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