Hi, Ghost Dad

I’m writing a lot about my family these days, and it’s tough to reckon all I think I know with what the actual facts are, once I dive in deep and really remember. I’ve been digging through photos and old diaries, and I also spoke with my older brother at length about what he remembers from his vantage point–growing up …

Vanessa McGradyHi, Ghost Dad

We Do Not Fail

When I used to work in offices, I had this inspirational quote hung over my desk. It reads, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” I’d look at it every now and then and think about my parallel universes a lot: The one in which I lived on a farm in Vermont and made pottery. The …

Vanessa McGradyWe Do Not Fail

Love and Entropy in Texas

I came here to visit my daughter’s birth parents and ask them about their history and their adoption experience. It’s been an intense journey. They have an angrysad hangover, four years later, about how they were treated by our agency. They became homeless a year or so after Grace was born, kicked around LA for a while (and also stayed with us) …

Vanessa McGradyLove and Entropy in Texas

A Manifesto on Egg Freezing and Work-Life Balance

It’s hard to be mad at a benefit that promotes a reproductive choice for women, but the context is infuriating. Here’s my Jezebel manifesto, of sorts, of why it’s just not enough.

Vanessa McGradyA Manifesto on Egg Freezing and Work-Life Balance

Letter to my favorite grad

Dear A, The second you were introduced to me as our new intern, I knew I liked you. You’re cheerful and cheeky without being sticky or cloying. You’re capable and ‘fessed up immediately when there was a mistake, and we could fix it together. I like your long ombre hair and I want to know what mascara you use. Most of all, …

Vanessa McGradyLetter to my favorite grad

Swerving for Peace: Why Miranda Bryant Chases Misery

I met Miranda Bryant when we were wayward, wild young reporters living on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. We reveled in the wacky Kinetic Sculpture Races, quaffed microbrews before even Seattleites became hip to them, and had our series of ill-advised, catastrophic romances with unsuitable suitors. I became committed: To a dog, first, then a series of office jobs, …

Vanessa McGradySwerving for Peace: Why Miranda Bryant Chases Misery

Don’t be too quick to ban ‘bossy’

Yesterday, Grace had been talking all morning about building sand castles, so we loaded up her various shovels, pails and tools and headed to the playground. When we got there, we left her equipment in a pile in the sand before we detoured to the swings. We got back about five minutes later, and some older girls — maybe 5 …

Vanessa McGradyDon’t be too quick to ban ‘bossy’