Sarah Smiley

Week alone means kids are growing up

I knew this would happen. Indeed, I told you that it would happen. My youngest son, Lindell, went into kindergarten in September as a baby, and he came out in June a little boy.

Sarah Smiley: It costs nothing to make someone’s day

I was genuinely surprised. Last week, at a party for my new book, “Got Here As Soon As I Could,” more people than we expected showed up.

Sarah Smiley: Manual transmissions: Bringing out the best in everyone

The learning-to-drive thing was going well for my 15-year-old son, Ford. He only had one close call with a lamp post and he had quit stopping at green lights. He did still pray out loud for little children walking on the sidewalk — “Please don’t step off the curb, kid. Please just stay on the safety of that sidewalk” — but for the most part, driving with Ford had become routine.

Sarah Smiley: Parenthood challenges and what we don’t tell new moms

Last week I shared with you my newest parenting adventure: riding in the backseat for my 15-year-old son Ford’s driver’s education check-ride. What I didn’t tell you is that before being a passenger to the most terrifying drive of my life, I spent the morning at a baby shower. The mother-to-be’s husband used to babysit my three boys. This spring, he and his wife will be first-time parents to a baby boy.

Sarah Smiley: First ride-along a dangerous rite of passage

What’s the scariest thing you did last week? Here’s mine: I voluntarily got into a “two-ton killing machine,” according to the driving instructor, and let my child take me for a drive — a drive that included two rotaries.

Sarah Smiley: Mixed feelings about online grocery shopping

I am at a crucial point in my life, a moment when I know, with absolute clarity, that things will never be the same again: Our local Hannaford supermarket just debuted online shopping and curbside pick-up. I might never go inside a grocery store again.

Citizens’ Police Academy educates, inspires

A few weeks ago, I went to jail. A few weeks after that, I graduated from the Police Academy.

Sarah Smiley: The draft for women just became more likely

On Dec. 3, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced that the Pentagon will open all military combat roles to women. Finally, women are eligible to do any job a man can do in the military. Young girls, their mothers and Women’s Rights advocates cheered.

Sarah Smiley: On being grateful for the ordinary

Our family's road trip to Virginia began the way these things normally do: We planned to be on the road by 7 a.m., but we were actually packed and in the car by 3. We had forgotten socks for Ford and pajamas for Owen, and no one remembered to fill the car with gas the night before.

Participation trophies: good or bad?

James Harrison, a Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker, last week sent back his sons' trophies because they were the dreaded kind, received only for participating in a sport.

Sarah Smiley: What the books don’t tell you about teenage boys

There isn’t much cuter than a small boy with pudgy hands and wispy hair. One of motherhood’s greatest rewards is the love of a little boy. And then they become teenagers.

Navy Wise: Son’s Alice in Wonderland Syndrome brings fear, then knowledge

The first time it happened, our son was 5-years old. It was the middle of the night, and we were sound asleep. I woke to the sound of our front door creaking open. I elbowed Dustin to wake him up. “I think someone just broke in,” I whispered. That’s when the security alarm went off.

When I was cool I didn’t ask for directions

I am not going to say this is a male trait, because between me and my husband, I am the one who doesn’t like to ask for directions. Maybe it is an introverted thing. I’d rather wander aimlessly through the hardware store aisles than ask for help, because then I might have to make conversation. Worse, I might get an overly helpful employee who wants to hand-deliver me to the correct place. Both instances strike fear and awkwardness in my heart.

Why we chose small town life

Prior to 2008, we had always lived in a metropolitan area. By “metropolitan area,” I mean somewhere with a Cheesecake Factory within driving distance.

My husband doesn’t let anyone win … including me

My husband, Dustin, is one of the most competitive people I know. We’ve known each other since I was first born, but I only really came to understand Dustin’s competitive nature when we were newlyweds. We were living in a small, one-bedroom apartment, and because we did not have children yet, we spent our evenings doing whatever we wanted.

Things I learned at my 20th high school reunion

1. Men really do age. Flip through any family photo album in our house, and I’m willing to bet money you’d find my husband, Dustin, looking exactly the same: khaki pants, striped shirt, same haircut, unintentional 5 o’clock shadow. He does not change.

A boy’s familiar voice emerges from the past

Lindell and I were driving to and from errands, me lost in my thoughts about the day, and Lindell playing with my phone in the backseat. The car streamed music over Bluetooth, but because Lindell had the phone and it was on shuffle, I had no control over which tracks would come on next. The smartphone was shuffling through all 300-something songs in my library, many of them I hadn’t heard in years.

“8th and I” is an unforgettable experience

Columnist Sarah Smiley shares her experience of attending the Commandant of the Marine Corps General Amos’s house to welcome the First Sea Lord, Sir George Zambellas, from the UK and to watch an evening parade at “8th and I,” the “Oldest Post of the Corps.”

Answering readers’ burning questions

Columnist Sarah Smiley answers reader questions about her column, life and boys.

In case you still believe kids can’t handle competition

Sarah Smiley shares lessons learned from her sons about competition