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Friday, October 31, 2014


It’s cider and donuts

It’s ghosts and it’s ghouls

It’s one day of the year

To be who you choose

It’s giving out candy

But snacking on more

It’s wondering who

You will find at your door

Be safe my dear friends

While you’re out trick or treating

One never knows just who

You’ll be meeting!

Happy Halloween!


It seems as if Halloween has become very popular, much more so than when I was a kid.  It could just be that when I was younger and when I had young children I didn’t think about how popular it was, it was just something everyone did October 31st—wear a costume, carve a pumpkin, stuff old clothes with leaves and sit it in a chair on your porch or hang it from a tree limb.  We used to put up paper decorations of witches and black cats and spooky ghosts.  My brothers and I went house to house in our neighborhood saying “trick or treat” and collecting candy from the neighbors.  It was fun, it was exciting and of course the candy was the best part!  When my girls were young there were school parades and parties, and the stress of knowing that while we were out walking the neighborhood there was nobody to give out the candy at home.  Somehow it all worked out, and we’d have cider and donuts after.  When I worked at the elementary school kitchen it was fun to stay after my work hours to see the kids parading in their costumes, and the costumes the teachers wore. I have a collection of tacky Halloween earrings from that time.  It’s not so easy to be in costume while you’re preparing and serving a hundred plus meals.  Our high school doesn’t allow the students to dress up for Halloween during school hours.  It seems sad somehow because in my high school yearbook there are pictures of the seniors wearing costumes to school and some of them were really great!  We don’t get many trick or treaters anymore. I guess our neighborhood doesn’t have that many young families anymore, and the town has started having a Halloween party in the evening for the kids.  I guess it keeps them safer and out of trouble but it seems odd without lots of kids knocking on the door seeking candy. Perhaps it has something to do with our area—steep hills, narrow roads and no sidewalks. Halloween is a strange holiday and the most frightening thing about it is that before we finish that candy we’ll be planning Thanksgiving dinner and thinking about Christmas!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Weight of What Isn't


         Sometimes I feel the weight of what isn’t.  It lies heavily on my heart. Mostly I focus on the positives about my life.  There are times, though, that it’s hard to find an uplifting view. Because the one thing I struggle with always is living a normal life; and my life isn’t.  Once a special needs child is born into your family your life may never feel normal. No matter how typical you try to be the fact is that things will always be different.  You’ll take vacations, attend family celebrations, go to school and sport activities, and attend town events. You’ll do all the things that families without special needs kids do, but it will be harder and it will feel abnormal.  We all experience things in unique ways, but your experience will be so unique as to be a completely different experience. Case in point: watching a parade. I constantly have to ask people not to stand in front of my daughter in her wheelchair thus blocking her view.  I used to enjoy a parade.  Now I dread attending a parade, which is a shame since my husband is a member of a pipes and drum band and marches numerous times a year. I see people all around me enjoying the spectacle, waving to friends and family marching, applauding and watching while I’m either trying to navigate my way through the crowd with the wheelchair or keeping my daughter’s line of sight clear. Perhaps what is most bothersome to me is how unlike everyone else I feel at those times.
         The weight of what isn’t is isolating if allowed to grow unchecked.  What helps me is regularly having some time to look forward to where I am not primarily known for being mother to a child with special needs.  A part time job, occasional visits with a lifelong friend, and joining a writers club are  ways I found to allow me to be Sue first, and that special needs mother second.  It’s important not to forget who we are, and who we were, to be the best parent possible.  Being known as a good worker, an aspiring writer, and a good friend ultimately help me to be the parent I need to be.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

PBJ & Comfort Reading

Sometimes you just need some comfort. There’s nothing like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a big glass of ice cold milk for lunch when you’re having one of those days.  For me the jelly must be grape, which some might find odd since I grew up on peanutbutter and strawberry jelly sandwiches in my lunch bag.  Some of my fondest memories of my high school friend Maureen involve that sandwich.  I didn’t eat lunch at lunch time; I was far too busy having fun laughing and talking to my friends to eat anything!  So as Maureen and I walked the mile home we split my sandwich; even if it was raining or snowing we usually walked home.  My mother never had grape jelly in the house.  I don’t know why, but my maternal grandmother, Mama, always had homemade grape jelly on her table.  I remember sneaking spoons of it when we were at her house and wishing I could have it at home.  I never asked why we didn’t have it at home as far as I remember.  I’m curious now as to what my mother’s aversion to grape jelly might have come from.  I’ll never know but it doesn’t stop me from enjoying it!  Sometimes on the weekend my husband and I have pbj for lunch and I always have a glass of ice cold milk with it.  Even just thinking about it makes me feel cozy and comforted somehow.

Sometimes I want something comforting but not food.  That’s when I turn to books.  Recently my adult daughter and I went to the library together.  I went to a club meeting there and she found solace from a stressful day at work in the quiet among the books.  I nearly stumbled over her as I browsed the fiction section after my meeting ended as she sat on the floor at the end of a row with a small stack of books next to her.  Feeling a little stressed myself I headed for my fall back authors.  I decided on two short books by Rosamund Pilcher and one by Janet Evanovich.  The short books I’ve read many times.  I find it comforting to reread books that I particularly enjoy and Ms. Pilcher’s books have an especially cozy appeal for me as they take place in Scotland and London and the characters drink tea and sit by fires in wool sweaters throughout the stories.  It’s hard to explain but I like it.  The Janet Evanovich I hadn’t read before but I enjoy her Stephanie Plum series as they take place in New Jersey and the characters and plots make me laugh out loud as I read. 

We all need to have food and activities that bring us comfort, even if we don’t realize that is why we enjoy them time and again.  I can hardly wait for the weekend so I can curl up in the couch corner with a pbj sandwich, a glass of milk and a comforting book.