Chapter One

When I started writing about bringing my father into my home, I didn’t realize how stagnant some of the days would be. Most days are filled with (him) watching television right now. I keep asking him everyday to go on walks with me, but he won’t. He says his hip hurts, so I am going to make sure that gets brought up to his doctor. I’m trying to decide if it’s an excuse.

He did go with us to the zoo two weekends ago. Albeit a small zoo, but he walked the zoo. Then this past weekend, my beautiful daughter graduated from high school. He got a haircut and a beard trim the day before. He took a shower the day of! Yes for small triumphs!

Now on to my life…

What can I say? I’ve worried over the past 8 months that I wouldn’t be available enough for my teens. There have been times I’ve felt bad. Literally, I’ve felt bad because I’m pretty sure when my father was in his catatonic depression that I was going down that path as well. I’m good now. At least I think. I’m learning that my teens don’t need me as much as I’d like them to. I’m also learning that allowing my apron strings to fall to the floor is a healthy process that we must go and charge forth with. 

The day of graduation I was my usual unorganized self running around and finding that I only had 30 minutes to get ready all of a sudden. Happens every damn time I have something important to do. I spent most of my afternoon trying to get my son to sign his sister’s card, which he did in his dark humor of ‘Rest in peace, you were a cool sister.’ Ugh. 

It was time for Rowan to drive off ahead of us to the school; and as she was flying out the door and I was trying to get a hug that I never got, she handed me several cards. She asked me to give them to the people they were addressed to.

The door slammed and I looked down to see these tiny little thank you cards. One for her best friend’s mother, her boyfriend’s parents, my father, my mother, my step-father, her brother, my husband and myself. 

I haven’t spontaneously cried at the first sentence of written words in years. The affirmation that I’m doing it right, I’m doing it right for her. It may not be perfect and it may not be the best mothering a mother can do, but I’ll be damn… she thinks so and that’s all that matters. 


My beautiful children I am so blessed to have in my life. Seth and Rowan 

The Way You Talk To Me

Do you ever listen intently to someone as they’re telling you a story? If you’re really listening, feeling the emotions of the journey they are telling you, you’re being spoken to by someone who is empathic. Not only that, you’re becoming someone who is listening with the intent to respond. Pay attention. 

My best friend was telling me how on Mother’s Day she tried to take a nap. She wasn’t able to because her neighbor’s girlfriend recently broke up with her, so her neighbor took up drumming as a hobby. Most people would stop there.  Crista on the other hand began to explain to me the beat and she played it out for a good 15 seconds. Enough for it to be in my mind still. Enough for me to have actually thought about her neighbor today. I wonder if she’s playing the drums right now? I wonder if she’s crying or if she’s playing with anger?

I now have empathy for a stranger, because I listened to my friend with the intent to respond. 

This is something I am currently trying to work on with my spouse. We have completely different ways of thinking. I’m always dying for him to be lyrical and romantic and he’s just not going to be… to my definition. If I listen to him however, truly listen, his compassion, love and empathy is there. It just doesn’t cross my paths, but if we both take a different way every so often, we’ve got miles and miles left to explore.

Intense Discomfort


It’s been 7 months since my father was moved into our home. I can’t stop thinking lately about how I feel that now is the most awkward part of this yet. 

One might think that having your father outside your home dancing in Native American Pow Wow fashion would be uncomfortable. Or perhaps begging your father to eat. The reality for me is that right now is boring. It’s uncomfortable. 

My father does the exact same routine everyday. 

E .V. E. R. Y. 

D. A. M. N.

D. A. Y.

This means I get to live through the same day everyday. 

He mutters perhaps two or three sentences each day that aren’t coaxed out of him. That’s it. Every other minute is watching T.V. or eating. I can’t get him to do anything unless we have to go out for an appointment. He did ride with me today to Petco. He stayed in the car. It’s a start.

I feel like I’m just complaining, but please note that I am not. I’m fascinated by this and albeit sad and sometimes mind blowing irritating, I’m not complaining.

I’m fascinated by the fact that for three weeks straight my father will eat waffles for breakfast. Then for another few weeks he’ll switch it up to scrambled eggs and a piece of toast. Same for lunch and same for television. It’s all or nothing with him. Routine, routine, routine. 

It’s really rather boring. I made a choice to leave this past Saturday and take my daughter shopping. I left him home alone. He called me once to see if he could let my dogs outside and one other time to tell me he can’t find the spaghetti I put in the fridge. He actually said, “Well I see spaghetti, but it’s not on a plate.” Okay dad, really. That’s your spaghetti and I’m sorry I didn’t do the entire process of food on plate for you. 

This is why I decided to leave and spend time with my daughter. 

Filling in the rest of the day is shame. Lots and lots of shame. For some reason I’ve been thinking about a situation I was in when I was 14. I was on vacation in Florida. I got inside the elevator to go up to our condo. There was myself, two guys probably in their 30’s and two other young girls my age. The elevator broke down. I can’t remember just exactly how long we were in there, but I can tell you that it was a long time and something horrifying happened in there. 

One of the young girls started crying and long story short, it turns out she was going up to her room because she had to poop. Yep, I just said that. This was like 30 years ago, so no one was in a damn hurry to get us out of there. It got to the point that we were all consoling her and telling her we understood. I mean, she really had to go. So she did. Literally.

I’ve been thinking about this lately because it’s one of those awkward moments in life that just by weird chance I was part of. I don’t know that girl, couldn’t tell you what she looked like, but I can remember what happened. I wonder if she remembers us… I would be willing to bet she remembers all of our faces. It’s probably one of the most vivid, horrid, embarrassing memories this person has of her adolescence. 

What a strange thing to compare my father with, but that’s how my brain works. I feel like when I look at my father holding his hand over his forehead, he’s thinking about all the times he’s shit in his pants. Figuratively. 

My Son, Part 3 of Gratefulness 


Where do I begin, Seth. You’re a hard one. Even finding a photo of you is next to impossible, my secretive son. I’d give anything to be inside your head for a day. 

As a small boy, you’d walk around the house creating stories. Dressed to the nines with matching pajamas, slippers and the toys to go with their theme for the day. Neat. Clean eating. Bedtime regime, without parental guidance. 

It’s like you knew who you were already. Sitting in the recliner watching television upside down. Drawing, upside down. Crowds made you scream. Water frightened you. You were and are eccentric. A spy maybe? Or maybe someone who just likes to view the world a little differently. From within.

You lost a friend when you were young. His death was tragic and even more so since it was by his father’s hand. I felt a piece of you leave Earth after that. I’m so sorry. 

Your talent in art is nothing short of incredible and I hope someday you will let the world see it. 

Your mind is photogenic and always learning. Without you, I’d never know Mike the Headless Chicken ever existed.

I remember a day that I was snuggling with my soon to be husband, Joe… the one you called Joe Mama. We were in our own little heaven and you walked by us and said quietly something I won’t share. I’m keeping it. It was then however, that I discovered your talent for dark humor and I got you. I get you. I love you. 

My Daughter, Part 2 of Gratefulness 


It’s been at least a decade since I’ve held you in my arms, perhaps even longer.

The moment you were placed into my cradling arms, is a time in my history that I shall never forget. It’s the very moment in my life that I realized I wasn’t alone anymore. I won’t lie, it frightened me to the very core of my being. 

I have moments in time that I wish I could go back to visit. I would give anything to read to you again. To be able to bathe you. If I could just go back to holding you while you slept so peacefully against my neck. To feel you breathing against my skin. 

I received a card when you were born from my Uncle Richard. Over the years, for reasons here and there, I have dragged that card out and read it’s perfect story. Inside the card Uncle Richard wrote an excerpt from Khalil Gibran On Children. It has stayed with me my entire path of motherhood. We aren’t given direction on how to be a mother. A mother should know. It’s not always true. I’ve often thought that I was just one of those rare lucky mothers who happened to bare an old soul. 

You have the wit and beauty of someone who has seen centuries. My lovely, Rowan. The little red one. Thank you for this adventure you’ve brought me into. I’m already dreaming of where it will take me.

“You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,

which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.”

-Khalil Gibran