Letter from the Editor

Jane Hawes

Dear Columbus Parents,

That's right. I get paid to play with Legos. I figure it puts a small dent in the debt that society owes me for 17 years of stay-at-home momming. Of course without those 17 years of experience, I would not be able to do what I do now. So maybe it all balances out in the end.

I never know exactly what a day will bring me now. It could be playing with Lego bricks at COSI (while setting up for this issue's cover shoot). The day prior to that, it was attending an event at the Ronald McDonald House, over near Nationwide Children's Hospital, where a dad made me leak tears as he recounted his family's story of the time they spent at this magnificent facility. Laughter and tears - yup, that pretty much sums up parenting, if not a parenting magazine, too.

And I feel fortunate to have by now assembled a crew of writing colleagues who also know how to find the fun and maintain the sanity. Every month we send Melissa Kossler Dutton, one of our regular freelancers, out to visit neighborhoods and towns in the surrounding area. As a mother of two rambunctious boys, she knows what's to look for: food and places to play! All our regular columnists bring a parenting perspective to their work and I love their insights, whether it's Joe Blundo's hawk eye for humor, Kristy Eckert's joie de vivre, Tracy Townsend's tough mother love or Joel Oliphint's ability to make that connection between how the kid and the parent inside him thinks. And I love how our family finance expert, Denise Trowbridge, lends both dignity and whimsy to the mission of making the most out of our families' budgets.

I also rely on a few non-parents to fill in the blanks that a couple of decades of parenthood have left in my brain. Our editorial assistant Heather Weekley is not so far removed from her school years that she can't on occasion provide a gut check about what's in and what's out with kids. And this month we also welcome a new writer, Jill Moorhead, who has embraced her friends' parenthood with gusto: As she told me, she realized pretty quickly that if she was going to ever see her friends, she'd have to find ways to hang out with them and their kids. We debut her bimonthly "Adventures with Aunt Jill" feature this month and she's going to make you wish you had a non-parent friend like her!

Enjoy this holiday season with your families and if that means taking the time to put the potholders down and build a Lego fort with your kids, do it! You never know when or how you'll need those Lego skills.