Jen Millard


Yesterday I texted my daughter’s teacher the word pancakes.

Because, you know, we’re living in a pandemic and it’s back to work and trying to keep things ‘normal’ and not panic our faces off and do all the things while worrying about our jobs and waiting on the vaccine / worrying it will give us rickets (it won’t, don’t @ me) and not letting our eyes roll right out of our heads when someone says they’re doing ‘dry January’  and constantly answering questions like ‘hey mom, is a hot dog a sandwich?’ or ‘hey mom, would you rather fight a bear-sized duck or a duck-sized bear?’

Last month, I snapped.

Like so many people, I was outraged to learn that the parents of more than 500 children separated from their families at the US border in 2017 and 2018 could not be found. That’s more than 500 families torn apart by cruel, “zero tolerance” government policies. I couldn’t stop thinking: who’s comforting these children? Who’s in charge of reuniting these families? What’s being done?


To say I’ve ever had a parenting ‘strategy’ is a bit of a stretch but if I did it would probably be best described as ‘free range’ or, ‘hope for the best.’ I’m not a helicopter parent and I don’t see danger everywhere. Each of my daughters ziplined across a Mexican jungle and cliff-jumped into the ocean before her eighth birthday. (Please don’t judge me for any of this, we have enough problems right now!)

Ten years ago, I was facing a major challenge to my fertility. During a procedure to remove what we thought was a cancerous mass on my left ovary, the surgeons removed the entire ovary and part of my Fallopian tube. The very good news was that I had endometriosis, not cancer. The bad news was the surgery would make it very difficult for me to get pregnant the old-fashioned way.