aging, broken hearts, parenting your parents, Enlighten Me, Hard to Label, parenting

Smile though your heart is breaking…

My sister and I have spent the last week thinking that my mother was going to transition to the next life. Right now, it looks like she’s going to stick around for a little bit though we don’t really know how long.

I’ve had some issues with my mom in the past because we both thought we were in charge of MY life. Then we worked those out; I learned to listen and quietly do what I wanted to take care of my own needs and wants. And now we have occasional issues again and I realized that it’s because we both think we are in charge of HER life.

Funny…not in a haha sort of way because neither of us is in charge right now. Byron Katie says there are three types of business: your business, God’s business, my business. Clearly, my mom’s health is God’s business.

My mom worked as a banquet waitress until she was 82 years old.  Her mind was sharp and clear, but now she thinks it’s still clear and everyone else is confused…that the hospital stole her home, moved it, and reproduced all her furniture, pictures, and possessions in an attempt to fool her into believing that she was living at home.

She sometimes thinks she’s in her childhood home in West Virginia with a big Blue Ridge foothill in the backyard that housed wild cats and black bears and copperhead snakes. These things were true once upon a time, but not now.

She sometimes thinks my father sold their home to pay off some kind of debt to some nefarious individual and she sometimes thinks that my sister and I are plotting against her.

She spent days in the hospital promising to go home and bake raisin-filled cookies.

She told one of the nursing home residents that at the last hotel she was at they had put a bomb under her bed.

I think at one time in my life, when I was four or five and still believed in magic, in Santa, in ghosts and goblins, she dealt with my delusions and now we’re dealing with hers.

It’s fair, I suppose.

What isn’t fair is that my parents tried to maintain solid finances and a nice home so they could pass something on to us and they probably won’t be able to keep those things because getting old is very, very expensive.

My father blames the Republicans for that but I heard a report on NPR about a month ago that causes me to believe it’s a worldwide issue. In Japan, the report said, the prisons are becoming overcrowded with the elderly who can no longer afford to live at home or in a nursing home. One man in his late 70’s tried to get arrested for stealing bicycles but couldn’t get more than a lecture so he took a kitchen knife to a nearby park and threatened young women. He said he had to threaten quite a few with the knife, and beg a few more before one of the women finally called the police.

It’s a sad business, but if you’re smiling right now imagining a small-framed Japanese septuagenarian with a butter knife begging women in the park to be frightened and call the police, know that I am also.

If we don’t continue to smile, our smile muscles will atrophy.

If we don’t continue to find the humanity, our empathy muscles will disintegrate.

If we don’t continue to see the humor, we will totally lose our way.


Enlighten Me, parenting, The Write Life, Write Your Life, Writing Business, Writing life

Who is Julie Marie Wade?



Brief Bio:

Funny you should ask…I just finished a book written by Dr. Julie Marie Wade…yes, Dr. She earned a PhD, teaches at Florida International University, is widely published, and took the time to attend the virtual book club of which I am a member. I feel like I’ve actually met her.

About her writing:

She is a poet, and so uses that language, word-play, imagery that the poet uses so well to write about abstractions and also the universal human experience…really, who hasn’t squeezed a zit? But who among us has equated our zits with semiotics?

Take that, multiply it by five thousand, add your mother to the equation and voila…you have a lyrical essay about Skin which grossed me out, brought tears to my eyes, made me think about symbolism, and filled me with compassion for the author and for all teenagers everywhere!

What is important about this? 

When you read the book…if you read the book…Small Fires, you will understand that it’s about parent-child relationships. In this case, tragic relationships because Julie no longer has one with her parents and I’m sad for them. Yes, for them.

As a parent, I can’t imagine my child doing anything that would cause me to abandon our relationship which isn’t to say there isn’t something out there somewhere, but I can’t conjure up that scenario. I’m not, nor have I ever been a perfect parent. There have been times that I’ve been so livid with my children that I could hardly be in the same room with them…I won’t go into the horrific details, but suffice it to say, the details that made me that angry probably would have been mildly annoying to someone else, and ignored by someone else…which is why I’m trying to stay open-minded about Julie’s parents.

It’s difficult.

So, help me out…

tell me what your child could do that would cause you to cut them out of your life completely. And help me understand how and why.

I really would like to know.

Add your comments and/or share this question with someone else who might be able to expand my consciousness.



Enlighten Me, parenting

Three Things I want to say to parents…

  1. God runs the world with 10 RULES…you don’t need more than FOUR to run your 4-year-old. Pick four values that are so critically important to you that you wouldn’t ever in a million years even contemplate de-valuing… or at least 4 values that are important in your life… whichever seems more realistic to you…those are the things to emphasize with your 4-year-old. If you think they’re going to tell the truth, share with their sister, say thank you 100% of the time, then you need to make an appointment with a therapist because that’s YOUR issue, not your child’s.
  2. Somewhere between 6 months and a year old, your baby thinks you’re PERFECT, GORGEOUS, BRILLIANT. Enjoy those five minutes. Write about it in your journal. Make a voice memo of how you felt, what you smelled, saw, heard…never, ever delete it because this is a once in a lifetime occurrence.  Then get over it because unless you’re Amal Clooney, you aren’t all those things. Don’t expect your child to be either. Your child is Perfectly Imperfect; Gorgeously Flawed; Smart Enough to push all your buttons.
  3. There is Faith, Charity, and Love but the Greatest of these is LOVE. That is still the truest thing in the world. Have faith that you will make mistakes and your child will still turn out fine as long as you love them unconditionally with all your heart. Be charitable with your encouragement, forgiveness, attention, guidance, love and your child will grow up confident, compassionate and productive. AND Love them for who they are even though they aren’t mini-you, for what they bring to the world and your life.

May you know and share love.

May you have and teach peace.

May you laugh well, eat well and sleep well.

May you make the most of each moment with your child.

May you love, love, and most importantly, love your children. 

That is my blessing on each of you.