Teary-Mom Time of Year

I’ve been reading a lot of posts on FaceBook from my friends about kids going off to school. Some are going for the first time, some are returning in the middle of completing steps to graduating from high school and then some are moving on to college which might be hours or days away from home.

My kids are not kids anymore. They are in their forties and I am no longer a young mom, teary -eyed at watching them go through childhood. I am an older and wiser teary-eyed mom watching them go through life’s trials and heartaches. One has a medical disability and the other is looking for a fresh start in a new state.

I wrote these two poems during my younger-mom years. The first was in 1981 when my youngest started Kindergarten.

 The Quiet

The day has come, it’s finally here
They’re gone all day, there’s no one near.
There seems to be one sound I hear,
The quiet; how it hurts my ears.


The second poem is when my first-born son went off to college.

First Son

Why didn’t anyone tell me how I’d feel
when I walked into his room to raise the blinds
and faded squares and rectangles glared from the walls
once covered in posters of fast cars and pretty women?

Why didn’t anyone tell me how I’d feel
when I looked into his closet that used to be
packed with jeans and tee shirts and sneakers
and now holds only empty tangled hangers?

Why didn’t anyone tell me how I’d feel
when I answered the phone on the first ring
and it wasn’t one of his buddies calling
and more importantly, it wasn’t him?

Why didn’t anyone tell me how I’d feel
when I realized this was the end of his
childhood, the beginning of his future
and a new beginning for me?

Did anyone tell him how I’d feel?

Children growing older and doing what we’ve raise them to do is heart-wrenching sometimes. It’s a time of growth for kids and for parents. It can be survived, and looking back, the memories are sweet and real.

These tears will become cherished memories.

I promise.


I’ve Been Committed



I woke up around 5:30 this morning thinking about the commitment I made two days ago. Bossman was with me, so he’s a witness. We talked about this commitment yesterday and in celebration of my commitment, he committed by making a tee time for himself for 9am today .

So, I’m laying, or lying in bed, thinking about what I’ve sworn to do. Seriously? Again? Good gravy, Marie!  All the decisions that go with signing on that damn dotted line have just hit me between the eyes. My intentions were sincere and I was even excited when I signed and handed over my credit card.

I joined a gym. Planet Fitness. Like I need another planet. I have a hard enough time balancing the two I’m trying to function on now. Earth and the one people think I’m originally from. Probably Mars, or maybe Neptune. Mars is pretty and I can see it at night, I think I’d like to be… . Squirrel!

The clock next to the bed is glowing at me. I’m wide awake. Last night, I told Bossman I was going to get to the gym three days a week and Friday was going to be my first day. Today is Friday. My problem is making decisions. Now I have to decide what to wear and what time to go.

Clothing: Definitely not the skin tight workout bottoms I see women wearing at Kroger. (I’m envious knowing they made decisions and have already been to the gym) Not the baggy pair of knit black pants I wear around the house with the stains on them. Not the knit knee-length pants I only wear in the house that are semi-loose, lightweight and need to be worn with a long, sturdy tee shirt to cover the tummy area because that’s where they aren’t loose. I settle on a pair of knit crop pants that miraculously aren’t skin tight. I’ll top them off with a t-shirt of some sort with a neck that won’t choke me when I’m gasping for air on the elliptical machine.

Shoes: I have sturdy sneakers that pinch my toes a little bit, and I have neon nylon Nikes. So, the Nikes have it for today.

Time: It’s 6:30am. People will be hitting the gym before work. I’m avoiding the gym when it’s at its busiest.  There is absolutely no reason for me to be there during rush hour with women having to shower and get ready for work. The fewer naked women I see at the gym, the better. I’m modest, self-conscious and have a problem dialoging in my head about details. I’m detailed oriented and I don’t need any naked information scurrying around me that might end up in a blog or story. Well, maybe… . No! No rush hour gym time!

Now, another decision. Shower before the gym or after? I’m exhausted just thinking about going. I won’t shower or maybe I will shower. I feel better after a shower. So maybe I will. Yes! I’m going to shower!!!

Gosh. I’m ready for a nap and I’m not even out of bed yet.


A note from Susie:

I’m glad I wrote about this decision making issue I have as I laid in bed this morning. The whole reason I joined the gym in the first place is to increase my stamina for walking. You may have heard that I’m going on a trip to Europe (still can’t believe this) in October. Paris, Lausanne and Florence. Journey Church Arts Collective is taking about 15 of us over to share the love of Christ, our artistic gifts and our hope for a better and kinder world. My personal plan is to represent my faith and my country, and the expectation I have that Americans will pull our country together and become united–to where we are blind in judgment when we see the color of people’s skin and  we’ll be wise in choosing a new leader; and to travel to Paris, take Parisian’s hands in mine and tell them “I’m sincerely sorry for your enormous loss.”

I am not afraid to travel but I will be observant. God has made it clear that I’m supposed to be on this trip. There is a reason. I’m not sure what it is, but I’m praying that I will make Him, and all my supporters, smile at  my efforts while I’m abroad.

As always ~ Thanks for reading me.



Hope is like peace. It is not a gift from God.
It is a gift only we can give one another.

Elie Wiesel

Every Evening Wonders

A few hours ago, I walked out my backdoor into the day’s twilight and my focus instantly shot up into the dusky sky and stuck on the glittering  red planet directly in front of me.  I was filled with awe at Mars and its backdrop of a fading blue sky, with cotton-candy-spun dirty white clouds. My eyes shifted to the right where a brilliant white star  or possibly, Saturn, stole my attention. Shifting back and forth between the only two lights in the sky, I was filled with innocent wonder as the fireflies, far beneath them, flitted through the trees, mimicking the two brilliant lights and begging for my attention.

How clever for our Creator to mimic His stars, planets and tiny little flying bugs. From the astounding mammoth creation of the Universe to the tiny, short termed lifespan of our fireflies.

I am awed and child-like.


Photo by Matt Poll, upstate New York, May 29, 2016

Overwelming to Overwhelmed


o-ver-whelm-ing adj. 1. So great as to render resistance or opposition useless; overpowering.

o-ver-whelm v.t. 1. to overpower in mind or feeling; overwhelmed by remorse. 2. to overpower with superior force or numbers. 3. to cover or bury beneath a mass of something. 4. to burden excessively.



Where do I start? I like to think that I roll with the punches, so they say, when challenged with hurdles thrown in front of me. I think I handle them pretty well when they’re my hurdles.

In January, I had a medical problem that my regular doctor couldn’t quite fit into a category. After having a physical exam and a CAT scan that showed no abnormalities he diagnosed a pulled groin muscle and told me to rest, don’t lift, apply heat and take ibuprofen. (I rarely do anything strenuous enough to pull a groin muscle. Honestly.) Three months went by and I still had terrible pain in my lower abdomen and both groin areas. So, I went to see a young woman from church who is doctor of kinesiology and chiropractic. She helped me with, what I called her ‘voodoo’, aromatherapy, and weird and wonderfully painful pressure-point torture procedures. Today, I am pain-free and I thank God for her. Hurdle cleared.

A large basal cell carcinoma on my nose was my hurdle in February. My left nostril was rebuilt by my surgeon, Dr. William Stebbins at Vanderbilt Dermotology. I had eleven shots in my nose, was at the surgery center for six hours, had three biopsies and a partridge in a pear tree. It was overwhelming for a day or so when I’d see the quilting job he did on my nose,but I moved on. Those stitches were a hurdle I had to reckon with, and I did it. I reckoned that the surgery probably saved my nose and maybe my life. Hurdle cleared!

On March 23rd I had my two upper wisdom teeth out at the age of 63. They weren’t doing me any good, wisdom was fleeting and they were harassing the teeth in front of them, so I figured, “What the Hell. Get rid of them!” Dentists had been after me for at least three decades to get them out, so I finally gave in. It was a no brainer and I recovered quickly and completely. Hurdle cleared!

April was a reprieve for me, but Bossman had basal cell cancer surgery on his neck. He’s joined the Skin Cancer Survivor Club with The Queen of English (our daughter who has a Masters degree in creative writing), and me.

May was my birthday month, so Bossman gifted me his cold that had staked a claim in his chest producing a barking cough. My present just made me feel lousy. We missed church for the first time in forever. Then all Hell broke loose.

On Wednesday, the 18th of May, I woke up, rolled over to look at the time and couldn’t open my eyes. Damn that Sandman. I felt my way to the bathroom, turned on the faucet and prayed I didn’t have pinkeye. The soaked heavy warmth of the washcloth felt good on my now scratchy eyes. One was pink. Thinking I could catch it early, I treated each eye as an individual. Each one had its own fresh washcloth for its warm water compress and individual towel. I researched which Essential Oils I could use and placed them in odd reflex spots on my toes to help my eyes. (I don’t get it either) I was going to tough this out. Hell, I was turning 64 in less than a week and this childish pinkeye hurdle was not going to get the best of me.

So, later that evening it was close to 10:30 when the ER doctor, Dr. Handsome, ordered a shot of antibiotics in my hip, put antibiotic drops in my eyes and handed me two scripts for drops and 1,000 milligram capsules for a week by mouth. My painful eyes, almost swollen shut, and the disgusting goop being manufactured at a pace that would rival China’s iPad production were a challenge for the medical staff to contain their “Oh, that’s really gross” face. Zombie PinkEye. I looked as if I did a few rounds with Mohammad Ali and lost. But, I was much better by my birthday on the 24th. Bossman and my semi-pink eyes and I went to lunch and picked up Gigi’s Gluten Free Cupcakes to share with the Queen of English. Then I took a nap. Hurdle cleared!

Little did I know that those hurdles were nothing compared to what lay ahead for our adult kid.

Our medically disabled daughter was diagnosed with POTS [postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome] a few years ago and falls down frequently because of low blood pressure. That’s a twenty-seven foot tall hurdle in itself. She has also been suffering from vertigo over the last few months – a double-whammy if I’ve ever seen one. With her POTS falls, she’ll yell, “I’m fine!” when she goes down like a pile of bricks and we’ll continue to watch TV or eat our dinner as we reply with a mouthful of mashed potatoes, “Okay. Thanks.” If we don’t hear the “I’m fine”, we yell, “You okay?” and she might eke out a weak “yes” and one of us will run or hobble up the stairs anyway. Hurdles everywhere.

During all my temporary medical drama this past year, we’d hear her POTSie falls, later mixed in with the Vertigo crashes, coming from the second floor where she lives. SuperDad/Bossman/ManNurse would fly up the stairs to check on her. I’d cover my head with my soft blanket and pray.

We need a better system.

Lately, her vertigo has become violent. Tests start on Monday with an MRI of her brain and we’ll go from there. Her saving grace has been the nurturing and photographing of our abundant, civil war battlefield/ backyard birds, ducks, turkeys and squirrels. As she pushes her walker to the back door to feed the yard birds, all too often it looks like some ghost of a Yankee or Rebel soldier is pushing her sideways or backwards. She’ll slam onto the hardwood floor, and while I move to help her I yell, “You bastards!!! Leave her alone!!! Sons of Bitches!!!” It feels good to be able to blame someone for this stuff.

Vertigo is an evil hurdle to tackle. The attacks come as if they are set up on her old high school track where she ran miles and miles for years. One after another after another… . When an episode happens, it’s as if she’s being slapped on the forehead. Her head jerks back, she loses her balance and down she goes. Again. She recalls her college days occasionally while she’s on her knees hanging over her fuchsia walker. “I used to enjoy feeling this way once in a while.”

It’s overwhelming.

I am useless. I freak out. In my rush to get to her I might trip and fall on the bed or bang up against the wall. She smiles and shakes her head. When she has an attack in front of me, I automatically turn into Kramer from Seinfeld. That makes her laugh. I try to help her get up and either tickle her by mistake or grab her somewhere inappropriate. We laugh again. “Just helping…” I mutter.

The Queen of English says we’re a sitcom.

We are.

I’d call it, Overwhelmed.

Everyone Has One

I’m talking about a nose.

I’m also talking about a quirk with some bodily task, function, obsession that might partner with that nose or your choice of body part. You might have the desire that your fingernails be trimmed to a certain length. All the time. Or maybe it’s your toenails. What if that big toe catches on your sock and tries to push through to freedom? Does it make you crazy enough to throw your shoes and socks off, race to get the clippers and take care of the little bugger? Not that that’s ever happened to me, mind you. But does that bother you?

Ears. Do you need to inspect your ears and Q-Tip them until they’re pink? Or could it be the eyebrows with the willy-nilly antennae reaching for Mars? Do you snag the strays and release a relaxing breath?

My personal quirk is that I enjoy a clean nose. It drives me crazy to feel any material in my nostrils. I have issues, so I have tissues with me at all times. I try to be discreet in public and will excuse myself to take care of any debris I’m suddenly aware of. I will drill to China for a clean nose. It’s become an art.

But, I’ve been challenged for almost a week now. I had surgery on my nose to remove a be-damned basal cell cancer. A tumor was hiding down where that cute little bump connects the nose to the face. It was large enough that the surgeon had to rebuild my little bump and nostril. I’ve endured swelling, many stitches, of which Doc would win a blue ribbon in a quilting competition, and a closed nostril due to said swelling. No clean nose for days. Now, almost a week later, there is still a partial blockage to access material. I’ve devised a plan so I don’t hurt my nose and still get some satisfaction of clearing the material, which we all know are boogers. I hate boogers in my nose.

So, there you have it. My confession given under extreme circumstances of not being able to take care of a personal hygienic issue, of which I’m handling, not so much with grace but with humor and extreme stress of not being able to let go and blow this nose to kingdom come. Soon. Soon enough. The stitches come out tomorrow.

Snow Spirits

Second Autumn Tree

Deep sighs from the spirits of the trees are masked within the autumn commotion.

Their tired solar panels, homes for critters and pleasing primary pennants,


to the ground,


and worn out.

Spirit’s Winter Sabbath commences.

Beaches lounge waiting for the weary wanderers

to soak up the rays of the Always Summer Sun

until their Boss calls them back for their seasonal jobs.

Thurman Munson Woke Me Up

I’m at my computer at six o’clock on a Saturday morning because former New York Yankee’s catcher, Thurman Munson woke me up. It’s 2015 and Thurman Munson died in 1975-ish. I’ll have to look that up when I’m fully awake.[edit: August 2, 1979]

This was all in a dream. I have no clue why Thurman Munson was in my dream because I haven’t watched a baseball game on television since I left Detroit in 1994.

Thurman, in his words, has some tips for young men and women:

Go to baseball games. If you can’t afford a ticket, don’t worry about it. Go anyway and bring my picture with you. Tell the ushers that you’re a fan and will stand through the whole game. When they see that you just love the game they’ll sneak you in. Then go to another usher and show’m my picture and ask if they have any empty seats in their section. You don’t care where you sit, you just wanna watch the game. In person. There’s nothing like hearing the crack of the bat from a hitter who loves the game like you do. Go high if you have to. Be discrete and use your manners. Don’t forget to take me with you.

Why Thurman Munson visited my rare-as-hens-teeth dream is beyond me. In 1979 my son was in the hospital having surgery when Thurman, a favorite player on the Yankees, died on August 2nd, in a plane crash. Our son would be going into first grade a month later. We were devastated when we watched the news from Chris’ hospital room. We wept.

My best guess is that I had this dream because I wore my nightgown inside out two nights in a row. If I notice I put my nightgown on inside out, I immediately whip it off and put it on the correct way. Last night I was consciously trying not to be so OCD about that. Who cares if you wear your bedclothes inside out? Right? Well, dead baseball players obviously have some kind of issue with it.


Thurman, I loved you then and I love you now. Thanks for giving me this interesting information. I’m going to go back to bed, but first I’m going to take this nightgown off and put it on right-side out. I don’t even watch baseball anymore. I’d appreciate it if you let me go back to sleep.

After sleeping a little more, I’ve edited this sleepy piece and will now post it to the world for Thurmon. I don’t know why, but the dream was so odd, I can’t not post it. Happy dreams everyone.