September 2010

Flying High

Kudos to Lindsey Koehler, Tyler Stableford, and 5280 for the feature article and photographs on the brave men and women of the Colorado Air National Guard [“Wing Men,” July]. These people (and their families) are American heroes who put their lives in danger for our welfare and freedom. So little is known about this national treasure right in our own backyard. I very much appreciated the balanced and professional reporting on these brave Americans. We all owe the guardsmen a debt of gratitude for their sacrifices and bravery. Godspeed, Mile High Militia. And keep up those flyovers: They give me the chills and make me remember how lucky I am to be living in America.
Jory L. Laine

Biological Thought

I just read “A Baby Story” in the June issue of 5280. From the perspective of a 51-year-old mother of one grown child, I enjoyed reading Lindsey Koehler’s personal thoughts on having children. I don’t think enough women have the strength to follow their true gut feelings; they try to ignore them for what society expects. Follow your own true wisdom from within; your intuition will guide you if you allow it to. I would never trade having had my child for anything, but I would never try to convince another woman to have children unless she deeply feels the urge. All of the concerns and questions you raised in your story are valid. Don’t overthink them. There are compromises and trade-offs both careerwise and on a personal level. The old adage we women fell for was that we could have it all. We can have it all, just not all at the same time. If in the future you decide you want a child, and nature doesn’t allow for that to happen, then there are always other options. Please follow your inner voice—it is there for a reason. Thank you for your story and for having the courage to voice what so many women your age are feeling. I think it is more common than you know—you just had the courage to speak out loud what is inside so many women today.
Robin Bathke
Castle Pines North

What a thoughtful essay Lindsey Koehler has written. I understand her indecision, as I have had it in other areas of my life. However, I have to say (along with hundreds of others, I’m sure) that parenthood is the hardest and most wonderful thing I have ever experienced. Koehler is so right to say it is about selflessness. I never realized how very selfish I was until I became a mom. Learning to put others’ needs above your own is one of the most valuable lessons being a mom gives you. One wonderful moment erases 100 bad ones. Koehler is also right to realize that you can have it all, just not at the same time. But there is a whole community of moms supporting other moms, and keeping each other sane that Koehler knows little about. Motherhood is a journey so worth taking.
Tonya Motley
via e-mail

My girlfriend and I have been wrestling with the issue of kids recently—I don’t want them, she says she may “one day.” Whether or not I agree with some of Koehler’s reasoning, I appreciate the very fact that she is questioning a decision that is, for so many women, beyond question. Many of my girlfriend’s friends and family members never even questioned the issue of kids; when I asked her to do so, I don’t think she really knew where to start. Koehler’s article helped her organize her thoughts and verbalize her confusion and doubts.
Richard Gama
via e-mail

I wanted to say thank you for your recent article “A Baby Story.” Your article hit home for me like no other article has before. My decisions and life sound strikingly similar to yours in the sense that I also started telling my parents at the age of 13 (much to their chagrin) that I did not want kids. My husband and I are not sure that we see children in our future and would prefer to explore the world, retire abroad, and generally have the freedom that having children would not allow. That said, I have been struggling in the past few months with this decision and wondering if it is the right one. The pros and cons highlighted in your essay are my pros and cons as well. Part of me struggles with the decision because I dread the looks and awkward comments from family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers when I respond to their prying questions that we do not want kids. I usually receive a mixed response of sympathy, wonder, and shock. It is frustrating and creates feelings of doubt. It is a topic that seems to be extremely taboo in our culture and maybe for all human beings. Thank you again for writing this piece and for letting other women know that they are not alone in their decision to refrain from having children.
Erin Russell
via e-mail

I don’t buy magazines, and I have never in my life written in to one, but reading “A Baby Story” in line at the grocery store prompted me to do both. Thank you for your bold and well-written essay. You captured so much of what I am feeling as a 31-year-old, happily married female with a successful career. When you hit your 30s and have been married a while it is surprising how complete strangers feel perfectly comfortable asking if my husband and I are planning on having kids. I am grateful to know that I am not alone in my reservations about becoming a parent. We each get to choose our own path in life, and that is a beautiful thing. The keys are being satisfied with our own choices in life, especially something as monumental as having or not having a child, and shaking off any judgment or “supposed to” guilt that other people can make you feel.
Name Withheld

TV Timeout

I thought “The White Dot” [July] by Laura Pritchett was tremendous. I’ve been without TV for four years, and my life has never been better. More time. More money. More health. Thanks for sharing it.
Ryan D. Andrews
via e-mail

I feel like such a rare species to have a home (with a family, including kids!) that doesn’t have a TV. I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed your essay. I’ve been TV-less since 1996 and it’s always been with no regrets. Happily, when my fiancé moved in with me in 1998 he didn’t have a TV either, and so it’s been quite natural for us. I figured the kids would eventually start asking for one after visiting friends’ homes and seeing what they’re missing. But at five and eight years old, they’ve never asked once. I feel certain that I’m living a fuller life and that this is one of the best things I’m doing as a parent. When others ask me if I feel like I’m missing out, I feel like they should be the ones answering the question.
Becky O’Brien

Beer Man

I am a brewer at Rock Bottom Brewery in Westminster. As a brewer, beer lover, and long time firkin enthusiast, I was thrilled to see Jennie Dorris’ article [“Taste Tests,” July] about where to get fresh cask beer. Cask beer is wonderful when it is fresh, and that’s why it’s important for breweries to tap cask beer on regular nights. At Rock Bottom Westminster, I tap a fresh firkin every Wednesday at 6 p.m. Every cask is unique, and nobody ever knows for sure what it will taste like until it is tapped. That’s part of the fun. So, here’s to great beer—cheers!
Phil Phifer

Bike Backlash

Perhaps there would be fewer bike accidents if cyclists did not feel a sense of entitlement when riding on city streets. Sharing the road means that everyone (cyclists, too) must adhere to stop signs and traffic signals. I’ve lost track of how many times I have seen cyclists almost get hit because they run stop signs at high speeds. I wish the article [“Brake Out,” June] had been more balanced.
Ann Schafer
via e-mail

Last month, I was hit on my bike (in the bike lane) by a FedEx truck. I’m a mom of three small children, a wife, and a professor of geography. All of this ran through my mind when I was hit. I could have lost it all. Drivers: Kindly pay attention to your fellow Coloradans on the road. Look up! Respect the bike lane! Give three feet! It is such a small thing to do—with gigantic ramifications for the cyclist if you don’t.
Kami Holt
Highlands Ranch

Chaos Theory

I applaud Laura Pritchett’s May article “The Full Catastrophe,” and suggest she take her message on a road trip of Colorado colleges this spring. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree, investing thousands of dollars into flight training, and spending five years as a professional pilot, more than a hundred of my colleagues and I were abruptly sent to the unemployment line after an Indianapolis-based airline purchased ours. This was never the plan when I walked across the stage to accept my degree. Nor was the idea that as a professional pilot my earnings wouldn’t top $25,000 except for a brief moment before being laid off. Pritchett’s message is especially relevant today: Your life will not go as planned, and the old rules no longer apply. Degrees don’t guarantee jobs, and nothing guarantees heath, wealth, or success. Only your resolve, stubbornness, and choices will shape your future. I sincerely wish she had given my commencement address.
Jonathan Wojcik Denver