Friday, May 22, 2015

Watching Her Grow

Why work, when you can play in the sandbox?

That's my girl, the one who has had a smile on her face from the moment that first real food - a Chicago, deep dish pizza crust - crossed her lips.  She wanted to join the party, and once she did, she's rarely found it wanting.

Not to say that there haven't been moguls along the way. Simply to say that we've found our way through, relatively unscathed, and still speaking to those we love.

That's the talent she has, my little girl. She's honest, and not shy about speaking her mind, but the words are so obviously true and from her heart and there's not an ounce of condescension or taunting to be found, so you are forced to listen and hear her and learn.

Say what you mean, woman! she would cry, and I'd stop dancing and start singing.

And then, when we'd said what needed to be said, she would move on.  Why wallow in the past when the future's so bright, you have to wear shades?

I admit that I have been slower to learn that particular lesson, but that's because I find that I spend some time marveling at the adult human giving instruction, instead of improving my behavior. There have always been Mom Improvement Projects (don't talk so loud, so much, so often....), but this is an Improved Child sharing her learned wisdom with a Mom still in need of Improvement.

And she does it with love.

She had always been a wonderful kid; now she is a wonderful grown up.

Remembering..... I stand in her kitchen, wondering where the splatter screen might be hiding, and she laughs, gently shaking her head, and, as she tells me it is no where because she doesn't have one I flash to G'ma wondering where my aprons were stored.... and to my own, gentle laughter, as I gave the same reply.

It's a memory from my adulthood, not a college apartment reminiscence.  And now I have the same memory from my daughter's adulthood.

And still, she's my little girl.  She's the one who read all the Babysitters Club books and those pink ones about the ponies and who listened to Rosalind-the-Bookseller's suggestions to expand her horizons, too.

She's the one who was surprised that everyone else hadn't figured out the simplest thing, Mom.  If you don't fight with anyone then you can sit anyplace at lunchtime.  

It's been a pleasure to be around you for the last three decades, Little Cuter.  Happy Happy Birthday to YOU!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

With Love

Today has gotten away from me, so I'm going to reprise, with some editing, an old post. 
The Hormonal Demons are attacking a formerly delightful 13 year old.  
I really hope this helps, MS.

Would You?

A question for my female readers over the age of 15:

Would you go back to being 12 again?

OK, you can stop screaming now. I am absolutely confident that the thought of living through that year or so makes you want to leave the room and begin drinking. Even if it is 6 am. And you're underage. Or your medicines contraindicate it.

I don't care how old you are, you still remember. It's a horrifying idea.

The year Little Cuter turned 12, I was sitting at the kitchen table writing the 10 or so holiday cards I'd send to my close but far-flung friends. "I'm doing...... TBG is....... The Big Cuter's so...... and The Little Cuter is trying to survive being a 12 year old girl."

TBG, reading over my shoulder, was appalled. How dare I? It was pure projection. Just because being 12 was a nightmare for me didn't mean the the same was true for our darling daughter. It was inappropriate and unsuitable and I should stop writing it.

I let him finish, which surprised him. I was calm, which really made him wonder. I just asked him to go to work the next day and pose the question to the first 5 women he encountered.

The phone rang before I had breakfast on the table. It was the phone call wives dream about but seldom receive.

"You were right. I was wrong. I'll never say it again."

It seems that he'd nearly caused a riot merely by asking the 30-something muffin seller if she would go back to being 12 again.  Women from the line converged around him to tell him their stories and to swear that it was the worst time of their lives.

And it certainly was in our house. One day, after we'd fought and argued and hugged and cried and screamed and were just at our wits end, I asked Little Cuter if it was as confusing inside her as it was for me out here.

"I'm just a confused youth,"  she sobbed back to me.

I remembered that I'd once been twelve and awful; if I had any doubt, G'ma proved it.

Her response to my email describing another filial outrage was one line:


As TBG explained it, the problem was that I was on the planet and breathing at the same time that she was. Since there was nothing to be done about the situation, I just had to tough it out.  Like Cary Grant in Holiday"Courage," was the best he could offer.

And it was enough, for the most part.

Because even when even my inhaling and exhaling drove her to distraction, she still liked me to give her a back rub to help her fall asleep at night. She always wanted me to drive for field trips and to away games. I knew she was proud of me and what I did because she told me - "I sooo love that you are President of the School Board!" 

And because Seret told me that I had an absolute right to expect politeness, I was able to hold on and hope that this was just another phase..... when she wouldn't wear anything that matched... or when she was Cinderella and I had the cleanest kitchen cabinets from 3' to the floor.. or blamed every misdeed on her imaginary friend, Toni Zickel?

And, like those phases, this, too, did pass.

By the time she was 14, watching the Women's World Cup together, 65 rows up behind the goal in the Rose Bowl, we were fine.

For the next few years we camped and took the Coast Starlight and went to Las Vegas and to Ukiah 2 weekends in a row so she could play soccer. The worst was over, but I wasn't ready to relax. Not quite yet.

Then, the summer after her sophomore year in college, she invited me to drive back from Indiana to California across Route 80. "We always said we were gonna do it and we never did and don't you want to do it with me??????????"

So we got in the Civic did it.  2358 miles. 7 states. 5 days. 0 arguments.

Not a raised voice or eyebrow. No huffing or sneering or snide comments. We listened to each other's music and I wasn't too much of a side-seat driver, and we had the most fun ever.

I missed taking pictures of more Welcome To Our State signs than I should have, but she laughed.We ate the world's worst club sandwich and drove through hours of snow in the mountains, even though it was May, and Little Cuter got locked in a hotel bathroom and had to be battering-rammed out, and we were just so glad to be with each other that none of it mattered.

No, I wouldn't go back to being 12, again. Nor, I'm sure, would she.

We're pretty happy where we are right now.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Snippet - Tom Brady, Re-Redux

I mailed Mr. 11 a hard copy of last week's post on his hero, Tom Brady.  Why That Tom Brady FatHead Has to Go was written as a letter to him, after all; a personal copy seemed only fair.

Amster says that he read the post half a dozen times, or more.  There has been a lot of head-shaking, a lot of shopping on the FatHead website for a replacement hero, and some consideration - by Mr. 11, if not his maternal unit - of repainting his entire bedroom to complement his Brady-less decor.

But, mostly, she says, there have been conversations about cheating, and honesty, and standing up for yourself.  Taking responsibility for your actions, admitting when you've strayed, knowing that those who love you will respect you even if you're not perfect.... these are the conversations they were having.

No one was arguing about The Ideal Gas Law.  They were talking about things much more important than soft footballs.

And that, denizens, is the silver lining in this otherwise sordid cloud.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Embrace

That's the name of the memorial designed by Chee Salette Architecture Office, and selected by the panel of artists and architects and philanthropists and survivors to commemorate and inspire our community when thoughts turn to January 8, 2011.  

The Embrace is a perfect name and a perfect image for how we felt after the shooting.  Random strangers hugging me in the produce aisle, sympathetic smiles from those who make the connection between my name or my face and January 8, but more important, and grander, and worthy of celebration, is the general embrace which Tucson gave itself after that awful Saturday morning.  

Although only 19 of us will be personally remembered, all of Tucson shares a piece of the memory and the memorial itself.  Chee Salette recognized that; there's a living wall with nooks and crevices into which visitors can place seeds.

I can't tell you how happy that makes me.  It's creating new life, moving on, bringing joy and energy to an aching memory. It's forward looking instead of dwelling in the past. 

Of course, there are pieces which tug at the heartstrings, too.  There's a Weeping Wall, with falling water coursing, at random intervals, over the sloping wall separating the memorial from the outside world.  It's right and appropriate for that to be a piece of it; it is, after all, at the very bottom, after all the kudos to first responders and citizen heroes, a monumentally sad event which is at the center of the memorial.  

It's good to be reminded of that, as well.

It's even better to see the splashing fountain jets right near by, with images of children laughing and jumping in puddles... just as I know CTG is doing, right now, in heaven.  The proximity of those two features speaks to the sensitivity of the design team.  

The memorial is one part of a re-envisioned courthouse plaza in downtown Tucson.  There are gardens (6, for the fallen) and specimen trees (13, for the survivors) and lots of shade and benches and low walls for sitting.  There's grass, too, which makes me wonder if the designers have ever spent a summer in the Old Pueblo.  

Inside the to-be-refurbished buildings will be a museum showcasing the spontaneous memorial tributes left at Gabby's office, UMC and the grocery store.  Many of the items have been repurposed by artists near and far, and their treasures will be on display as well.

The whole idea of a memorial was uncomfortable for me for a very long time.  The list of mass shootings is so long that ours is often left off the list.  I wanted to remember the love and the comfort and the healing vibes I felt all day, every day, and still feel, when I'm noticed, nearly 5 years later.  I didn't want the 30 seconds of chaos to be the focus; I didn't see how the warmth of Tucson's love could ever have been portrayed.

I'm glad to say that Chee Salette found a way.

I tried and I tried and ultimately I failed to download specific images from this video.  The images referenced above can be found here:

  • Weeping Wall at minute 2:00
  • Kids Splashing at minute 3:22
  • Refurbished Plaza at minute 3:30
  • 6 Gardens/13 Trees at minute 4:31
  • Living Wall at minute 5:00

Monday, May 18, 2015

Scary Stuff

That's what Everytown for Gun Safety is asking.

Orange is the color hunters wear to warn others with guns that they are not targets.

It's an idea originating with the friends of Hadiya Pendleton, the Chicago teenager who died -  a victim of random gun violence - just a week after meeting President Obama in the White House.
Her parents are sympathetic, the story is tragic, the idea is noble.

I'm just not sure I can do it.

I see a holstered pistol once or twice a week, here in Tucson..... and I'm not talking about those on the hips of law enforcement agents.  There is no hologram or license or plastic flag on those holsters, there's nothing to tell me whether the wearer is a good guy or a bad guy or a good guy having a bad day.  And then there are all those concealed weapons which are legal here in Arizona, too.  

At least those are not obviously in my face.
But I wonder, as I wait in line at the grocery store, or at a stop light, just what thoughts are going through the people around me.  I was blind sided once; I'm not anxious to repeat the experience.

And that's why the whole Wear Orange on June 2nd thing is scary.
I try to avoid drawing attention to myself on this issue.  I'm comfortable in large groups, as one of a supportive crowd delivering petitions or attending a press conference at my Senator's local office, but being front and center is not for me.

 My Gabby Giffords Continues to Inspire bumper sticker is now, nearly five years after the fact, less a political statement than a salute to a local icon.  I always hope, as I drive past an NRA-stickered vehicle, that the Ben's Bell's Be Kind flower on the other end of the bumper encourages a smile, rather than hostility towards a political position. 

I'm not proud of being scared.
I'm not ashamed of it, either.
I come by my fear honestly.

Still, I'd like to be leading the charge, using what happened to us as a stick to prod change in the political and social arena.  I'd like to make a big stink, a hullabaloo, a scene - because what happened to me and to Christina-Taylor and to Gabby and Judge Roll and and and and and... it's just wrong.

I'm just not sure that I'm brave enough to walk around town wearing one of these.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Tom Brady, Revisited

The New England Patriots have responded to Deflategate like true Bostonians, according to  They don't think their quarterback has done anything wrong, they think the punishment is undeserved and over-reaching, and they are defending Tom Brady to the moon and beyond.

That's fine.  They're fans. There's a certain amount of loyalty, even over-the-top loyalty, within that community.
Brady's agent's ad hominem attacks on Ted Wells were uncalled for, and spoke to me of desperation. If you can't attack the message, attack the messenger.... although that has never convinced me of anything except the hater's lack of imagination and the eventual veracity of the message.
Sporting News has the best reporting on the controversy.  There is a certain snide cynicism attached to the stories in USA Today and CBS Sports and the other websites which Google deemed worthy of my attention.

Sporting News was the only site to link to the actual report written for the Patriots.  After a while, I found myself screaming at Lenore the Laptop, begging for a reference to the original material.

All that time spent in The University of Chicago's Great Books program has made an indelible impact on me.  I need the source material, not the analysis.
The source material written for the Patriots has a lot of italics and bold print.  There are many links to experts and evidence.

It's fun to see the battle of the scientific minds - a Nobel Laureate in Chemistry (for the Patriots) versus the former chair of the physics department at Princeton (you remember, where Albert Einstein found a home).  Perhaps there's one little fan who's seeing a connection between his sport and his schooling.

One can only hope.
There are lengthy discussions of The Ideal Gas Law in both the Wells and Goldberg reports.

That's PV=nRT.

I know this because it was a clue in a crossword puzzle I was working the night before the Goldberg report was released.  I love the serendipitous overlapping of my passions.
Daniel L Goldberg, the author of The Wells Report in Context, sat in on the interviews held in Gillette Stadium.

I suppose that allows him to provide his version of context. He could set the scene, describe his impressions, talk about his own reactions.

But, as TBG has said over and over since we were in the midst of our own maelstrom,
The higher the amplitude of an event, the greater the individual differences.
We cannot choose to judge or interpret another's reaction.  
I'm guessing that this was pretty high on the Richter scale for the overweight game day locker room attendant, and for those higher on the totem pole, too.

We need context for our context, I guess.
Goldberg tells us that the attendant was called "the deflator" because he was trying to lose weight, not because he took the air out of the footballs.

I suppose it could be true.  I suppose the nickname could have a double meaning, too.

Context, it seems, is everything.
There are CAPITAL LETTERS THROUGHOUT THE GOLDBERG REPORT.  It's as irritating to read them there as it was to type them here.

Have we gotten to the point that a well crafted sentence is not enough to make a point?

It's another sign of the dumbing down of America.  And that's where I am leaving this issue, forever, I hope.

If Americans would pay attention to our crumbling infrastructure with the same intensity brought to grown men playing games for a living.......

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Why I Can't Write Today

I went outside, after being inside all day.
I saw this 
and this 
and this.
I leaned in to the gladiolus, because the colors could not be ignored.
I admired the new hibiscus .
I moved from container to container, 
and then I was done.

This is all that's filling my brain right now,
and that's why I can't write (any more) today.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Different Kind of Pleasure

Different books bring me different pleasures.

That innocuous sentence took a look of thinking before it ended up in pixels on your screen.  Not that the rest of my work is slipshod and fast off the fingertips, bypassing my brain entirely (this has been said, with much truth, about my speech, at times) but some sentences carry more import than others.

This is especially true of topic sentences, as my children's homework reminded me over and over again.  I want to capture you and state my thesis and move the story along apace.  I don't want you to read my opening offering and groan.  That's what stymied me this afternoon.  I know what I want to say, but it seems so obvious when I put it down for you here in The Burrow.

Of course, you're thinking, finishing Ulysses leaves you with a different feeling than putting down 50 Shades of Grey. Both stories revolve around sex; other than that, it's no contest.  Now, I never got past the first 30 or so pages of E. L. James's trilogy, but there was no doubt, even from that small selection, that literary allusion and intricate use of language were the least of that author's concerns.

They are of two different ilks, revealing two distinct types of pleasure.

I'm a big James Patterson fan.  I like to imagine which parts he writes and which parts are his co-author's.  I can buy one at one end of a plane ride and return it for 50% back when I land.  The stories are creative and fast and the characters are believable, even if the situations are not.

But the writing is always first rate.  It never bloviates or obfuscates or uses twelve words when four would do.  Not as spare as Robert Parker, perhaps, but no where near as overblown as Anne Perry's descriptions tend to tilt.

It was her writing which prompted this post.  I read A New York Christmas in an afternoon, and am now engrossed in The Angel Court Affair.  I've thought more about policing in early America and anarchism in turn-of-the-20th-century Europe in the last two weeks than I have in my entire life. That time period never seemed to appear on the curriculum when I was in school; perhaps because the people developing that curriculum didn't see it as history, but as part of their lives.

I wrote about this in 2012; I'll quote the relevant passage for you right here:
G'ma was appalled that I didn't know where Patton fought.  "My brother fought with him in Italy!  That's not history - that is my life!"   
The history is only part of what I'm trying to say as I muddle through this post.  It's the history mixed with less than stellar story telling that got me to the keyboard this afternoon.  The stories themselves are interesting and nuanced and, though often disturbingly predictable, are remarkably believable. It's just that the author feels the need to bludgeon me with facts and cultural and historical touchstones.

I love learning the information.  I'm annoyed that the presentation distracts from the literary merit. Were the characters less charming, the settings and time period less attractive, I'm not sure that I'd spend much time with Anne Perry.

Looking back over my reading lists, I see that I've read everything she's published.

Perhaps I am not as much of a literary snob as I like to imagine myself.

I lust for Dorothy Leigh Sayers; I like Agatha Christie; I'm delighted with Robert Crais and all the Kellermans and Dana Stabenow and Michael Connelly. None of these authors make me stop and wonder why I'm reading what I'm reading when I'm reading it.  Their exposition is more subtle; I never notice what I'm learning until I realize it's in my head the next morning.

Anne Perry demands that I pay attention - NOW.

It's okay... I put up with it... because I now know that there were anarchist bombings nearly every week in Europe during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  That's got me thinking about ISIS and Timothy McVeigh and my need to read more history on this time period.

That's why I put up with it.

It's a different kind of pleasure.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Why That Tom Brady Fathead Has to Go

Tom Brady - Quarterback Fathead Wall Decal
Dear Mr. 11,

I'm sorry, but your Tom Brady Fathead has got to go.

I know. I know. I know.  You love your Fathead.  It was a present. It completes your Patriot's Man Cave.  

It doesn't matter.  I am the self-appointed Keeper of Morality in Sports, Mr 9 & 11 Division.  Since the only thing I'd change about my Mom is if she knew more about sports defines your maternal unit's relationship to grown men playing games for profit, it has fallen to me, your faux-grandmother, to intervene.

We've already been through the Aaron Hernandez debacle; I remember your surprise when you learned that the first trial was for murdering the people who knew about the murder in the second trial.  TWO murders??? you gasped, and I had to tell you that, in fact, there were three dead people attached to this soon-to-be-former hero.  

There were no arguments; it was pretty obvious that a man who was going to spend the rest of his life in prison would not make for much football conversation over the rest of your lifetime. Unfortunately,  you and your brother latched on to Adrian Peterson.

That one started out okay; he seemed like a good guy, his teammates respected him, he had solid football skills.  But then his 4 year old son went back to his mother with slash marks across his back and scrotum.... yes, I did say scrotum, but only after Mr. 9 tried to justify the behavior by saying He was only spanking him.  Using part of a tree to leave welts on your testicles is a bit more than a spanking.... as all three of you boys, squirming in the back seat, agreed.

And now we are faced with the Patriots' quarterback, a man who is too handsome for his own good.  He must have gotten used to the smiles and adulation at a very early age; his kind of egocentrism is not lightly attained. 

What am I talking about?  Pretty people receive smiles and better evaluations than those deemed less attractive.  If you spend your whole life being a star athlete, with a face that could launch a thousand ships (The Iliad explains that... and so does Dr. Faustus), well, then, you are more than likely to think well of yourself.  

All that positive reinforcement, all those kudos, all those trophies, they are everywhere.  These reminders of how wonderful you are are on the television, in the newspaper, and on the faces of boys like you and your brother.  Imagine how hard it would be to avoid all that attention..... and then imagine if you would want to avoid it.

People shouting your name.  Fans roaring when you enter the field.  Life-size photo cut-outs of yourself on the wall of boys and girls across the country.  Money.  Prestige.  Influence.  

Would you want to give it up?  

Then, ask yourself what you'd do to keep it. 

An independent investigator said that it's more probable than not that Tom Brady not only knew that the footballs he was using in the AFC Championship game were under-inflated, but that he influenced the men who were in charge of those footballs to bring them to him in that condition.  

I know.  I know.  I know.  It didn't make any difference to the outcome of the game.  The Patriots trounced their opponents.  Please, though, don't ask me why it's such a big deal.

Okay, I'll answer it anyway, because you've said it to me before and, I fear, you are thinking it right now.  

It's such a big deal because it's cheating  He definitely knew that there was a rule about ball inflation, and it's more probable than not that he knew the balls he was using did not meet that standard.  

I know this is more probable than not because every football talking head on ESPN swore that he could tell, by touch alone, if the balls were a pound or two under weight.  None of them seemed to believe Tom Brady's supposed ignorance of the transgression.

Your mom is a lawyer.  Should she only care about the rules which fit the outcome she desires?  Can she feel free to flaunt the ones that don't seem to make much difference in the end?  Should she be aggravated if another lawyer does that?

The more egregious problem, at least as the Keeper of Morality sees it, is the fact that he did not cooperate with the investigation.  When the dogs eat the tacquitos because the treats weren't replaced in the refrigerator, is it okay for all the kids to refuse to tell Mom where they were when it happened? Better yet, why wouldn't they, if giving the information to the investigator (Mom) would clear themof any wrong doing?

I'm not talking about lying; that issue was covered above. I'm talking about taking responsibility for your actions.

I'm talking about cooperating with the investigators, not hiding your cell phone and refusing to share the information it contained.  I'm talking about the disconnect between not cooperating and then slamming the report because it was biased.  I'm talking about having someone else make (feeble) excuses rather than defending yourself.

Did you notice that his agent gave a long screed to the media, but Brady himself claimed not to have read the report.  He said he would do so once he had considered what was written.  Take a moment and think - if someone wrote a 240 page report discussing your behavior, would you do anything else from the moment it was released than read it?  Wouldn't you be curious?  Obviously, reading it in that amount of time was possible; his agent did it.

Tom Brady went to the University of Michigan.  He has to be able to read 240 pages in 36 hours or he would never have completed his freshman year.  

The only conclusions I can draw are less than flattering.  He's so in love with himself that he cannot bear to read anything which might diminish him.  He's so convinced that he did nothing wrong that he doesn't care what anyone else might think.  He cannot imagine a world in which he is not beloved, so he must be innocent of everything.  

MY PHONE? You want my phone? It's TOM BRADY's phone, man! NO WAY!

Can't you hear him saying that... thinking that.... doing that?  

Is that really the guy you want to emulate?

Think Andrew Luck or Peyton Manning or Steph Curry or Tim Howard ... you choose, I'll pay.

Just get that less than admirable cheater off your wall.

Your Suzi

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mothers (Mother's) (Mothers') Day Reflections

I was up and in the garden before breakfast.

The plants had been delivered earlier in the week; I spent time arranging and rearranging them until everything was just right.

Wearing my favorite new tank top, I spent the early hours of the day covering myself with soil and sweat.  I dug and I upgraded the irrigation and I set loosened root balls in holes twice as wide as themselves.

I found irrigation tubing hidden in the holes I was digging.  It was only that water which made it possible for me to dig holes in the caking-up-because-it's-almost-summertime ground which passes for a planting medium in Tucson.  They'd softened the soil enough so that, even in my weakened state, I was able to dig.  It wasn't easy, but I got it done.

There are times when I miss Marin... for its dirt.
I didn't spend too much time wallowing in self-pity, though.  I was having too much fun.  For the umpteenth year in a row, I was spending Mothers Day up to my elbows in gardening.

I put my phone in my bra and, in bending over, boob-dialed Big Cuter.  He was pleasantly surprised to hear from me, albeit inadvertently.  He was busy, "but when your mom calls you on Mother's Day, you answer the phone!"  

I knew I raised him right.
For him, it was Mother's Day.  He's not a parent; there's no mother-of-his-child requiring his attention.  His grandmothers are all dead.  He has one mother and that's where his thoughts go on this day.  His own, personal mother.

I like to think of all the great mothers I know; for me, it's the plural that resonates.

Mothers do it all, unheralded and uncompensated in a manner recognized by the workplace.

I can warm my heart by thinking of the women who have given up all-expense paid trips to Italy and Disney Land so they could tend to ailing children.

The joy of a mainstream classroom placement, after five years of kid-and-mommy-therapy, is announced with pride in the child's achievement, with no mention of the toll it's taken on her.... because it wasn't a problem, it's just what a mother does when her kid needs her.

I bask in the joy of a dance performance, a basketball game, an art project.  I watch the kids at Prince bring their moms to meet me, proud to share a friendship.  The love goes both ways - Look what I can do! Look what you can do!

It's as much fun to watch as it is to be a part of it myself.  Mothers are very special people.
But, does the day belong to each and every one of them?  Is it Mothers or Mothers' or Mother's Day? Were G'ma still here, I know we'd be having a spirited conversation about that S and that apostrophe. *****
There are some parts of this day which are very sad.  I was jealous of the women with their mothers having lunch at Feast, as Scarlet and I shared memories.  She was teary, I managed to restrain myself, but, for each of us, there was another present at the table.

Hers was the first voice I heard, and mine the last one she heard.  I'm going with the lovely symmetry of it all, rather than shedding a tear.  I am going to smile, as I know she would want me to smile, because not smiling won't bring her back and that's exactly what she'd say to me were she on the swivel chair in the living room, watching the Cavs and Bulls with TBG.
Mothers are usually right..... and they are ever present.... even when they are gone or far away or only visible on Skype, pretending to be mothers themselves when I know for a fact that she is just my Little Cuter.

Still, there is visual evidence for her change in status.
and this says it all.


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