WHO I AM
I am a mom of three boys and one girl. Erin, our oldest, has an autism spectrum disorder. I write often about the challenges and joys of raising a special needs child, as well as topics many mull over today: love, loss, the merits of hot yoga or flag football. My work has appeared in The Week, Grown&Flown, The Mighty and other publications.
I grew up in Forest Hills, Queens, New York, (Mets fan), graduated from the University of Virginia and worked at non profits in D.C. and New York before having kids, life took a detour and I started writing about that. I live with my family in Westchester, NY.
WHY I WRITE ABOUT IT
Parenting, with or without a special needs child, is not easy and certainly never dull. In writing about Erin, our boys and our family I have connected with so many who identify, commiserate, laugh and celebrate similar struggles and victories. I believe that sharing stories helps us to make sense of it all, to understand that it rarely all makes sense and to know we are not as alone as we sometimes feel.
School and Work
After college, I studied journalism at Columbia University and received an MA in English from University College London. For several years I worked as a writer at the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C. and later at The Doe Fund, a work training program for homeless men and women in New York. In each of these diverse and vibrant settings I gained a deep appreciation for the power of words and stories to inspire, to help and to heal.
As a college tennis player and daughter of a high school coach, I know that sports can serve a similar purpose, strengthening the body and mind while fostering community and bridging cultural, socio-economic, physical or cognitive differences. While my sons participate in a variety of competitive sports, Erin has gained tremendously from her participation in special needs athletic programs, particularly the Adaptive Sports Foundation in Windham, New York.
Going way back
My love of words and writing developed almost by osmosis. My mom, a high school English teacher, regularly recited poetry and literary passages, encouraged daily reading and journal writing and to this day readily corrects any and all grammatical errors. Meanwhile, my grandmother, who lived next door, published a newspaper,The Irish World, often from her kitchen table while Gaelic music and news streamed from a massive wooden radio on the counter. I can’t help but think of her as I watch Erin pore over her nursery rhymes while Disney music streams from her iPad. On some level we are all trying to connect and convey our story.