birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


What is a resolution?

In Ames, Iowa, we banged on pots and pans for New Year's and cried out our resolutions. We were ten, eight, four, three-years-old.

We were kids.

No adults rang in the New Year with us.

What is a resolution?

We drank Cold Duck at seventeen and vowed to live our lives with 'more' something and 'more' everything back in high school at Knoxville Catholic - more courage, more kindness - something like that.

Then we drank more Cold Duck.

What is a resolution?

When our kids were babies we took them out for New Years in infant seats or porta-cribs, and they slept through midnight but as they grew they stayed awake and pulled confetti poppers, while we adults ate oysters and drank champagne and we made more resolutions to live with more focus and concentration and get things done and yes, yes, act with more courage and kindness too, all of which would lead to success and happiness and maybe THIS would be our year and all that...

What do I resolve? What are resolutions?

I resolve to let my children go and live their lives (as painful as it is to let them go - especially the youngest.)

I resolve to not to try to fix them or change them.

I had a fight with my youngest tonight. It was a disagreement. We rarely, if ever, fought while she was growing up. She had to grow up before she was ready to grow, but being the younger sister of an older sibling who refuses to grow up may turn the baby into an old soul.

But this fight was this...She wants to get an MRI and be paid $400 for the MRI to measure her neurotypical brain against that of schizophrenic.

She would be required to take four MRIs.

I do not want her to do this test.

She would like the $400.00.

A visiting friend also listed several reasons why she should not do it.

Of course, my daughter felt ganged up on - these older women expressing their concern but not in a hysterical way but definitely in a worried, judgmental way.

Back in college, I gave plasma in college for $15.00.

Was that more dangerous than an MRI today?

Should I resolve to just drop it?

Sometimes I wonder why I had kids? I love them beyond belief but sometimes I wonder why I had them?

Did I resolve to have them?

What the hell was I thinking?

Would I do it all over again?

Would I change a thing?

Probably not, but sometimes, when the wound cuts deep from not knowing where they are or the drip-drip of worry or when they are suddenly and unexpectedly cruel, I swirl back through the years way before they were born and try to remember what it was like, so I don't judge them too harshly.

Or I just drive for miles like I did tonight and resolve to breathe - in and out - yoga breaths - Ujjayi breathing - (I looked it up) - because in the middle of thinking about resolutions (and hurtful remarks), I resolve to stay calm and not sob (or maybe sob).

And I try to remember to breathe. I resolve to remember - in and out and in and out - and hold three seconds - and I resolve to forgive them, of course, attempt to forgive myself.

I resolve not to take things personally, because shockingly, things do pass even when it seems impossible.

I resolve to remember that things (coldness, cruelty) pass and in a few hours, the sun will rise and maybe I'll make oatmeal or take a walk or call my mother and father, and things won't seem so hateful and cold.

For tonight I have hurt feelings that I could nurse or let go, so maybe just for now, I'll let them hang around and then I'll let them go.


That's my resolution to myself tonight.

Recall the words, the stiffness, the coldness, the walking away...and biting back the words I wanted to say.

HEY HEY HEY!!! Did I not just feed you? Did I not let you borrow the car? Did I not give you money for the concert? Did I not drive you back to your dorm after the concert?

Blah blah blah.

Martyrs are boring.

Courage and kindness and Ujjayi breathing.

And maybe sleep too.


Let's all make a resolution to get more sleep.

Maybe a resolution is so many things.

Maybe it's just a vow to stay alive a little longer and kiss the sun on quilts in the grass,

I resolve to quit trying to find the perfect last sentence and go to sleep.

In Ames, Iowa, we banged on pots and pans for New Year's and cried out our resolutions. We were ten, eight, four, three-years-old.

We were kids.

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