From Gratitude

What Sustains Us

Our family had an incredible loss a week ago when my son and his wife experienced a failed adoption, six weeks after a beautiful baby boy was placed in their arms, given their last name and told he would be theirs from that day forward. What transpired since that first life-changing day resulted in the awakening of such love for this sweet boy and full-on immersive 24/7 parenting until they received word this past Tuesday that they would have to surrender their son to his birth parents. The details are not mine to share other than to say this has…

We Want to Know We Mattered

My mother’s day was made over the weekend by a visit from an old friend of my brother’s and his wife. While my brother hasn’t seen this friend in decades, my mom had seen the couple off and on through the years about town – or stopping by in her car to say ‘hello’ if she saw either of them in their yard. She thought the world of them but didn’t necessarily expect they felt even remotely the same. When Christmas rolled around this past December, and they didn’t receive a card from my mom, it made them consider the…

A Wild Ride Through 2017

As 2017 winds down its final week, I find myself – like so many of you – reflecting on the year we experienced and thinking about what’s ahead. We can never be fully prepared for the inevitable changes, even those that are a part of the ever-moving circle of life, and 2017 really drove that…

Unpacking the Past

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not much of a singer, but if you get me in a car all on my own then I can belt out a tune like nobody’s business and with such gusto that you’d think I was singing to save my own life. Thank god no one can…

What No One Tells You About Aging

With November as the month of my birth, before long my age will have a new designation, which in general means I’m another year older. The truth is we’re all another year older, every single day from the year prior. The only difference on our birthday is the number changes. For many, especially as the years begin to climb, this becomes a dreaded occasion. People tend to put a premium on youth and forget the importance of each subsequent year. For a while, I may have bought into that mindset. Not anymore. Here’s why; with every year I have more…

Reunion: You Can Go Home Again

Lyrics and literature have told us throughout the years that you can’t go home again, but this past Friday night I did. In a year when the childhood house I’ve known since I was barely six was sold, changing so much about what now feels like home, it was a welcome respite to go to…

What We Never Leave Behind

This past weekend, we did the final cleanout of my parents’ house – my childhood home – and while I knew it would be emotional, I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I would be. What was toughest to deal with was seeing my dad’s garage empty, devoid of personal items. Funny, it’s been 16 years that he’s been gone, but I still think of the garage as his – and for a man of few words, someone rather hard to know actually, that garage provided a glimpse into who he was and what mattered to him. And as my…

To Mikey, on His Wedding Day

From the moment you were born, you became our Mikey. While it took a bit of convincing for your father to agree if we had a second son, we’d name him Michael, he finally acquiesced. We kicked around nicknames during the decision process, and when I said Mikey, he said no way; he’d never call…

Indisputable Proof

I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning and reorganizing lately, some of it because I have a little bit of extra time on my hands and even more, because it’s way overdue. It’s easy to get in a rut maintaining a household, not making too many changes and yet as time goes by, there’s so much less that I need. What’s most amazing is no matter how much I clean and discard, there is still so much more to deal with – it’s incredible how much one accumulates over 30+ years with a family. As part of the process, I’ve…

Feeding Our Souls

While staying at a charming bed and breakfast this weekend, the owner and I got to talking about the work-work-work mentality so prevalent in the U.S. Originally from the U.K., she went from working tolerable hours, with five weeks vacation, to typical 70-hour work weeks when she transferred to the U.S. – and just two weeks vacation. She said in Europe, people work hard, but they understand the value of time off and recharging one’s batteries. Working in the software industry, she was surprised by the differences she encountered here – and while away from it now for nearly 15…