Hadley and I named my future book tonight. It’s called …

Please take your heathens and go

(and I did)

Running for those fabulous countries

“George Orwell once said something about how childhood necessarily creates a false map of the world but it’s the only map we’ve got … and no matter how old we are, at the first sign of trouble, we take off running for those fabulous countries. It’s like that for me.”

Preface to The Middle Place, Kelly Corrigan

Four Families

Growing up, Labor Day was always about the Four Families. Before we moved to Marion, our family had a house on Point Connett in Mattapoisett that we shared with the Young family (Maja, blonde, and Nella, bride, above). For at least a week at the end of August the other members of the Four Family tribe would arrive and we’d pile into bedrooms and spend our days together. There were Ethan and Tyler Vogt (Ethan the token male above, my oldest friend, one of Whit’s godfathers) and Ann and Matt Moss (Ann in black and white dress). We windsurfed and swam and went for walks and created elaborate song-and-dance shows for our parents. We slept wall-to-wall in the back part of the house and snoozed in the big hammock in the front yard during the day.
These other six children were the extended family of my childhood. They have remained dear to me, though we’ve scattered to the winds as we grew up. The picture above was taken at Nella’s wedding in late June this year. We have seven children of our own now (Andrew, Oliver, and Emma Vogt, Hannah Mead Gilheany, Eden Young, and Gracie and Whit) and the weddings come fast and furious. We grew up in the loose embrace of communal parenting, shared responsibility, and vast and varied experiences.


That’s my baby sister, Hilary – we are going to attend the blessing of her daughter, Hannah, this weekend. A friend told me something recently that I was astonished I didn’t already know: Hannah means Grace in Hebrew. How extraordinary that we were drawn to the same idea in naming our daughters. It is so powerful to me that my sister and I both have daughters. It has been such a joy to watch her come into her own as a mother; she’s (obviously) such a natural and her little girl is just delicious. My children are both wildly in love with Hannah (see below). This weekend will be terrific fun. I’m also very impressed by Hilary’s delivery of Hannah in a birthing center in Delaware, and her return home with an hours-old newborn. I really do think it says something about our mother that both her daughters chose to have drug-free childbirths. It tells me a lot about the role model she was; clearly we both picked up great confidence in our own strength, physical and otherwise. I am deeply indebted to this example, and think on a daily basis about how to replicate it for my own daughter. I want to raise a girl who feels powerful, brave, comfortable with her place in the world. I want Gracie to be unwilling to settle for grey but to seek out a life of color, challenge, excitement, contribution.