Me, as a Mom

     My first memory was falling out of bed.  The bed had a huge sunken spot in the middle, and apparently, my parents thought I wouldn’t roll out.  The first of many assumptions gone awry.  Without delay, my mom was scooping me up in her arms, asking over and over, “Are you okay?  Are you okay?”.   Of course, my mom was perfect, she was always there.  With memories such as these, how could she have been anything else?  Through all the bike crashes and bloody cuts, broken hearts and misunderstood boys, she was there, with concerned love, a gentle touch, and cooing assurances.

     Little did I realize during these days, she was training me to be a good mom; well, at least the best mom I could be.  Distracted by a divorce, a dysfunctional boyfriend, and way too many part-time jobs, I did do my best.  But as I look back, I realize I wasn’t the mom I thought I was.  Despite my participation, they turned out spectacularly.  I had little trouble with either of them, my oldest a kind and intelligent boy, and my second, a surprise of an adorable and independent baby girl. 

     Though I would love this collection of thoughts to be about my momma, it won’t be.  The wound is still too raw.  I lost her about 2 years ago, not realizing she was my cheerleader, my safety net, my best friend, and my confidant.  So many stories we’ve shared, and you may hear a few here, but this will be focused on my motherhood.  My path.  My cancer.  Please realize though, all of these words and events are based on the love, teaching, and caring I received from her.  I could never have handled the hurdles and challenges without her strength and guidance.  Perhaps that is why I feel so alone now.  Yup, you won’t be hearing too many stories focused on her.  My laptop would seize from the onset of a saline sea …

     Music was a large part of my growing up, and so, it became a huge part of my raising my kids.  I wasn’t aware of this at the time, again, but now that I hear them sing along to the music I play when they visit, I see they were more influenced than I thought possible.  They know all the lyrics and can actually tell me the words I think I’m singing, instead of just the sounds I thought they sang.  Perfect example …

      “with the birds, I’ll share this lonely view” 1

Instead of my version

     “widabur dal sherzee a lonely blue an”

     And the really funny thing is, they thought I knew the words and was singing them exactly as they were written.  Ha!  Proof being if you sing loud enough, you don’t need to know the words!

     The first 17 years of my life were protected; I was shielded from heartbreak, illness, and pain.  I never knew sadness beyond two weeks at Girl Scout Camp or my dad’s failed attempts to quit smoking.  I thought I was untouchable and resilient, but more than these things, I just didn’t know any other way.  Didn’t everyone have a life like mine?

     I married young, to a boy I hardly knew.  Married for 3 years; it was 4 years too long.  After the heartbreak of his 5th girlfriend, I relinquished my hold, realized I had failed, and moved on with courage and foresight.  As much as I could possess at the ripe old age of 22.

     Within a year, I met my children’s father, though it felt like an eternity until love-struck my heart.  We married quickly and lived a wonderful existence for 5 years.  Deciding to begin a family, we welcomed our sweet boy and stepped into adulthood with a convertible backpack, 3-position car seat, and an overpowering feeling of inadequacy. How could something so small demand so much responsibility? Because he looked so helpless, that’s how.  He consumed my every thought, when I was with him and when I was away.  I was incredibly fortunate to have a mom who offered to watch him while I was at work.  This is where I use ‘mom’ and ‘god-sent angel’ in the same sentence.  Which have the same meaning for me.

     When our little girl was born 3 years later, I quit work and stayed home with the kids.  These I believe, were the best years of my life.  I hesitate to say positively, as each year with them now proves to be incredible; I marvel at their intelligence, vision, and compassion each time we’re together.  Where in the world did these two amazing people come from, I’ll never know.  Because I certainly had nothing to do with it.

     Five years later and two years of counseling, my husband and I agreed to divorce.  Painful details and hearts are broken, so I won’t elaborate.  We are still good friends, and he comes over every Thanksgiving to drink all my scotch.  I do love a home full of happy and inebriated people!

     My two children and I moved into a small little cottage after a couple of years of condo life.  I found a full-time job at the local high school so I could still be on their schedule and have almost all summer off too. And pay the new mortgage.  After another year, I was able to go back to college and get my BS in Marketing.  Soon, we all found ourselves studying together.  My son and I raced to see if I could finish my degree before he graduated from high school.  Wow, don’t the years just speed by?

     Up to this point, everything progressed like a 1950’s sit-com.  Well, aside from the divorce.  We had bumps and such, but always talked and worked our ways through them.  Those two children helped me with lame boyfriends and horrid professors as much as I helped them through fractions and friends who ignored them in school.  

     One a brisk day at the end of summer, my son and I were gathering up junk to put on the curb for the dump pick-up.  I had begun a new job at the university and was struggling with the learning curve; as well as not getting along with the boss.  As I said, struggling.  Add to that, I had found a lump under one arm and was told I should have an ultra-sound done of the mass.  One thing led to another, and my flat-chested girls were scheduled to have a surgical biopsy done.

     I had received the results on the day my son and I were stacking the junk.  I finally got up the nerve to talk to him on one of our passing trips.

     “Ren, I got the results back from the biopsy today.  I have breast cancer.”

     He took me in a giant hug (he’s 6’4” tall, and I’m 5’6” – I hit him collar bone height) and said,

     “This isn’t what’s going to get you, mom.  You’ve been through lots worse than this.”

     I thought about it for a minute while standing there, covered with dirt, crying into my son’s belly button.

     “Yea, but who’s going to want a gal with only one boob?”

     “Well, maybe a guy with only one testicle?”

     Surely, I wouldn’t care if the man I loved only had one testicle.  Then why would a man care if I had only one boob?  Well, we don’t have to get into that one right now …

     So, life progressed from there.  I’ll save the second part of the story for another day.  You should know, though, I made it through two surgeries, 5 years of tamoxifen, lord knows how many mammograms and MRI’s, and am still here to tell the tale.  Me and both flat-chested girls.  And neither one is drooping … yet! Both my kids have been by my side through thick and thin, hot flashes, mood swings, insecurities, and all, and even now as I listen to the quiet in my little cottage, I wonder, how did I ever get so lucky?

     Kids are fine, one in college and the other rich as sin.  The days gently roll by as I write my way to my second million. Currently, I have three dogs who keep me occupied, entertained, and continually wondering how in Hades did I end up with 3 dogs?!  Yup, that will be in the next post also … and yes, they are much harder to ‘raise’ than my two children ever were!

     ‘Till next time, have a beautiful spring day!


1 Red Hot Chili Peppers ‘Scar Tissue’

My daughter

Independent & Astute Fine Artist

My son

Handsome & Sensitive Biochemist


We Just Added



Yea!  It’s taken me way too long to get a Pinterest account up, but I  hadn’t the time to grab some photos for a proper and welcoming attraction for you all.  Lo and Behold, I have finished off some great boards, stuffed them full of beautiful content, and have it ready for your browsing.

I particularly like the Places to Travel board, as I believe the four walls are closing in on me. There is also a board on Projects To Try, Garden Ideas, DIY Gift Giving and Kids Corner for projects to do with your grandkids. If you haven’t been bitten by the Pinterest bug, don’t feel left out.  Actually, it may be a godsend, as when you do begin, it is easy to get lost in its oblivion. All of the pictures, projects, file folders, and recipe cards can be ditched, as they can be ‘stored’ on Pinterest.  Well, maybe not the recipes, but there are plenty of new ones to collect, especially on healthy eating, something our doctors keep mentioning at routine visits!


There are also plenty of lists which have been gathered for those of us with good intentions, but little time to do anything more than writing a Post It note to ourselves.  Several are in the Travel folder for itinerary suggestions and packing hacks, as well as Events and Celebration organization ideas.

Check them out and please let me know how you like them.  If you have any additional boards you would like to see created, contact us below and we’ll get more content posted.  Pictures will be added daily (as I’m kind of a nut for Pinterest) and future board ideas include Wedding & Events, Retirement Abroad, and Entrepreneurs.   

Thanks as always, our readers are the best!!!


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Early Spring Flowers

The weather is easing up and the days are getting longer … yes, my faith in nature has been restored! The dogs are staying outside longer also, bringing in mud instead of snowballs.  It’s ok, I’ll do the trade-off.  Winter does not show my best side, not because of the snow so much as the short days. 

This year I did keep thistle seed outside my window for the Gold Finches. They have made a world of difference in my attitude and outlook.  Bright little streaks of yellow on the grey days can make a huge difference.  Their song in the winter seems a bit more bright, instead of the melancholy two-note trill.  Perhaps they brighten each other up!

As I was leaving my home yesterday, a neighbor was walking his sweet lab.  She is older and moves slow.  We were able to get in quite a few topics of discussion before she was ready to move on. Among solving all the worldly problems, he noticed a speck of color in my dull and rotted leaf yard – the tiniest of daffodils were up and were lifting their little heads to the sun!  Yea!  As I looked further, I found the bulbs were all poking up, not blooming, but defiantly making a stand in the rotten fall muck.  Imperial Crown, Grand Emperor Tulips, Angeliques, and Bright Spirit Daffodils, all about 2 to three inches high and looking as sturdy as can be.  I do love bulbs!

My eyes scanned quickly around, checking to see if my standbys were blooming, and sure enough, there they were – little violets on my cobblestone path – Early Spring Flowers!  I have three kinds now, the basic dark purple, some lighter pink, and a new one with purple speckles on white. 

My neighbor was a bit surprised and said he was immediately going to go check his yard for any signs of life.  We’ve swapped plants and cuttings through the years and have found our tastes are very similar.  In a neighborhood with its fair share of Yard Snobs, it’s nice to know someone else appreciates my common but faithful violets!

Happy Spring everyone!



Older Kids

March 12, 2018

I Miss Them Being Young…

As I move into my later years of my career and approaching retirement, I, like many of you, have a bit of time on my hands.  It gives me time to reflect, appreciate, and look forward to more time with the people I love.  At the top of that list are my children.

Consider the word … children … I smile and cock my head just a bit, as they aren’t ‘children’ at all.  My son is 29 and my daughter turned 26 today (perhaps the reason you are being subjected to this reflective writing!).  What used to be squeals and giggles from the back seat have turned into thoughtful errands and longer hugs.  Age does have its great advantages, and this is one of the top two!

I’ve been going through some hard times this past two weeks with my dogs, one in particular, which have tested my strength.  I’ve always been able to get through the emergencies and necessities with clear thinking and resolve, yet Monday, I could hardly move without feeling my stomach roll and my reflexes jolt.  Each time my ‘pup’ moved, my blood pressure would jump and my heart would stop.  I was paranoid, scared, and isolated.  Well, at least that’s how I felt Monday.

The next day, unexpectedly, my daughter came in my back door and took me from Panicsville to the Calm Isle of Nigh.  And it wasn’t even that she solved my problems, or that we took much time in talking about my fears.  She settled me by just being here. 

By listening, answering with care, and showing her love for me, gave me the strength of millions, just as I used to have consistently.  I wasn’t even aware this was happening. 

I was raised with this strength.  My momma had it, and so did her mom.  My aunt had it too.  They were a solid and self-sufficient group of Dutch women who were rarely defeated, moving forward with logic and intelligence with each challenge.

When I lost my momma in 2015, it was devastating; still is.  Now, though, I have accepted I won’t see her next week.  What I haven’t accepted is that my best cheerleader is gone.  I look for her support constantly.  My dad is still with me and I see him often, but he isn’t the unconditional support momma was. 

Now, is it fair that I am asking that of my daughter?  Because, I sure put her in that position on Monday.  She knew just what to say and how to say it, and I found myself falling into the part of the ‘cared for’ instead of the ‘caretaker’. 

It’s not hard to hide, I was raised with my parent’s protection.  The mom picks up the child from the bike crash, soothes the heart from a dashed love, and discredits an over-bearing boss.  Today I am that person and will continue to wear the hat for many years. I’m back on my horse, coming to the rescue when needed, make no mistake.  But after Monday, I realized, as I did when my ten-year-old son fixed my computer and humbled my intelligence, that perhaps I have lost some integrity with their admiration.  Check that, I have lost some integrity with my own persona and vision of who I am.  They would say I am still the strong and dependable ‘mom’ they have always known.  I hope.

On a foundational parental level, we instinctively know we have the right answer; we know our answer is the right one.  And we know we’ll always have time, patience, money, and most of all, experience to fall back on for all our children’s needs.

My son and I made a deal two years ago, before I went in for wrist surgery, his birthday present (s) to me would be the gift of me being able to call him, any time I need, for help around the house.  You know, hanging the panels for the barn doors, moving the bed set from the attic to the basement, and answering my questions about charging the battery and storing the convertible.

Where I used to be the captain of a well-run ship, I am now part of a supportive and smart team.  The summer after we lost my momma, I took the kids to Italy.  It was our first trek to Europe and I hadn’t traveled in over three years.  Needless to say, I was nervous and paranoid.  But, those kids took charge when we got there, and we had the time of our lives.  My son downloaded maps in the morning, and my daughter listed the sites.  We all had bucket list things to see and do and we accomplished them with smiles and laughter.  I even stepped up to the plate once or twice, saving an intensely searched out mask from loss and mastering the train schedule with ease.  Our transitional experience of mother to child, and I didn’t even realize it.  I just thought I was emotional and distracted and they were learning how to navigate in a foreign country.  The surety of it continuing is inevitable.

How naïve can one mom be?  But also, how lucky?!!!


Lifestyle Management

Do You Have a Routine?

More and more women are devising ways to get more organized, manage their homes more efficiently, and become better time managers.  Women seem to have a knack at improving what is already being done.  We realize the benefits and strive for more time in just about everything.  And what do we plan on doing with this extra time?  Dominant preferences would be to spend more time with family, catch up on our chores, and maybe even get a bit of shopping done.  

Have you realized in and out of each day though, being ‘Wonder Woman’ has taken a toll on your well-being and your sanity?  If we analyze our accomplishments, we can fall short, judging and over-thinking ourselves. Several tools have risen to the surface and become popular for our salvation, one of them being meditation.

Meditation – In earlier life-stages, meditating before taking the kids to school was laughable.  You would have considered yourself lucky to get everyone’s homework in backpacks before heading out the door.  As our schedules change, however, disruption can throw us off, even so far as making us feel out of control. 

Take 5 minutes out of your day to stop, center on your own feelings and emotions, and get in tune with the good things in your life.  In time, meditation will become easier, allowing you to focus on the meaningful things in your life, and not judge yourself on the ones out of your reach. 

Simple 5 Minute Meditation for Beginners

  1. Sit or lie comfortably. You may even want to invest in a meditation chair or cushion.
  2. Close your eyes. …
  3. Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.
  4. Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation.
  5. Relax, think only of the moment,; its solitude, its peace, and the calm surrounding you.
  6. Gently bring yourself back to this place if your mind wanders.  Be kind to yourself.
  7. Keep it short, 5 minutes will do.  If you want, you can increase your time as you master your thoughts.


If you would like to read more about meditation, please click the link below.

          Meditation 101 …