Once Upon a Time – I Wrote a Short Story. And It Was Amazing.

By way of background – I have kind of an obsession with the musical Wicked.  Love, love, love it. I have the soundtrack, and know most of the songs by heart – and when I go see it, it’s very hard for me to not sing along.  This story came about one day after watching the musical yet again (I think – it may have just been in my brain. Which is scary…And this might have been right after Prince passed away…). Thing 2 had to write a fairy tale, and he said it should be about “unicorns.” And this was born.

Where Did All the Unicorns Go?

Once upon a time, Unicorns roamed the earth. (Notice, they are Unicorns, not unicorns, because Unicorns can talk and unicorns cannot).  There were so many Unicorns that humans were their servants.  Unicorns lived in golden palaces and had vast amounts of money.  Every four years, the Unicorns had a big party and watched their humans play lots of different sports.  Today, we know these games as the Olympics, but back when Unicorns roamed the earth, these games were called the Unilympics.  But as everyone knows, all good things must come to an end.

The most famous Unicorn of all was named UniLicious.  He was the Unicorn with the shiniest horn.  It was so shiny some said it was as bright as the sun.  When the Unilympics would occur, UniLicious would light up the stadium so that everyone could see the humans as they competed against each other.

One year, there was a great debate about which Unicorn family would win the Unilympics.  While UniLicious was known far and wide for his shiny horn, he didn’t really have very many human servants in his household.  But he really wanted to be known for more than just his shiny horn.  A friend of UniLicious, UniMazing, had great wealth and as a result, he could afford to pay many humans to compete for him.  UniLicious decided to talk to UniMazing to see if they could combine their wealth and talents and become even more famous.

The other Unicorns discovered that UniLicious and UniMazing were working together, and they became jealous.  Several Unicorn families got together and decided to talk to the Great Unicorn, UniTastic, who oversaw the rules of the Unilympics.  Their main complaint was that if UniLicious and UniMazing were to work together, they would have an unfair advantage.  Not only could UniLicious light up the stadium in his favor, UniMazing could afford to pay as many humans as he needed in order to win.  So UniTastic decided to create some new ground rules, and he called together UniLicious, Unimazing, and all the other Unicorn families.

“Dearest friends.  We are gathered here today to discuss what has become a very worrisome problem.  Very worrisome, indeed,” he said to the Unicorns.  “It has come to my attention that UniLicious and UniMazing are working together so that they can win the Unilympics.  Other Unicorns are worried that this alliance will create an unfair advantage.  I am open to hearing proposals about how we can make this fair.”

Several Unicorns began talking at once, and UniTastic has to quiet everyone down.  “I have an idea,” he said.  “If UniLicious and UniMazing win the Unilympics, as a united force, they will be required to cut off their horns.  If they decide that they will compete the same as everyone else, they may keep their horns.  It will be up to them to decide.”  And everyone agreed.

The big day came – and the Unilympics were held in the United Stadium.  UniLicious and UniMazing could not control their egos, and as a result, won the Unilympics.  And UniTastic made them cut off their horns.  But – the story does not end there.  UniLicious and UniMazing were so popular and so well known, that it became “the cool thing” to cut off one’s horn – because it then looked like you had won the Unilympics.  And so as time went by, all the Unicorns slowly cut off their horns, until there were no Unicorns left.

And that is where the Unicorns went.

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Opinions Are Like …. 

You know the rest. We all have them, and they can be uniquely ours. And we should rejoice if we live in a society that allows us to share them with others. 

Lots of time, people will fall back on “that’s my opinion and I’m entitled to it.”  Yes. Yes you are. And so are others. Sometimes it seems that those most inclined to fall back on having to say that, are those who are quicker to discount others’ opinions when they don’t match what they want to hear. 

To say that someone can’t relate because they’re not in a particular situation at a certain time isn’t being very open minded. Life experience happens throughout – you know – life. Just because I’m not in it at the moment doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced it.  

Another favorite saying of mine is that you can catch more flies with honey instead of vinegar. The squeeky wheel does get the grease – but that grease can either open up a door and help you – or close a door to helping others. We should all consider which way the door is moving before we take a solid stance on how we want to present our squeeky wheel. 

I’m going to fall back on my favorite saying of all time lately. “It’s what I do. I drink, and I know things” 😁

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On Community. And Faith

Not that kind of faith. Faith in our children. 

This morning, I had plans to go watch my nephew play what could possibly be his last soccer game of his high school career. I can’t believe our Mikey is a senior and will graduate in May and head off to college. But he is. And what an awesome young man he is turning out to be. 

For a lot of different, unexplainable reasons, I haven’t been around Mikey very much as he’s grown up. But I do keep tabs on him and I know some of the things he has done in his life. He’s played soccer quite a bit – probably since he was about four, maybe five. His dad (my “little” brother) enjoyed soccer when he was younger and he passed that on to all of his children, the boys especially. 

In his senior year, Mikey is one of the captains on his schools’ varsity soccer team. They made it to the playoffs, rounding out this season in 3rd place. Tonight was the first game of the playoffs, to be played in Greenville, Tx, against a team just down the road (as we say in Texan) – Mt. Pleasant. 

This morning, before we all got to work and to school, we learned that the Mt. Pleasant track team had an accident the night before on the way home from a meet, and they lost one of their coaches. In total, 19 student athletes were sent to three different hospitals in various conditions. Additionally, the driver of the 18-wheeler that hit them passed away as well. 

Lots of times, these horrific events go unnoticed by teenagers. Unless it happens to someone they know, they may pause, but they generally move on. And when it’s not someone they know, they usually don’t even register it. 

But not Mikey. When Mikey learned that it was the Mt. Pleasant track team – the very same school they were playing against in playoffs in less than a day after the accident, he did something that not many teenagers think to do. He called his mom.

Mikey and others on his team wanted to let the Mt. Pleasant team know that they had their support. That even though they were competing against each other, they stood with them in their sorrow for their fellow students with the loss of their coach. Mikey asked his mom to help him find black armbands to wear during the game. And not just for his team – he made sure that the Mt. Pleasant team had them also.

The team rally cry this year is “We Are One.” Usually, that kind of saying is something that looks good on tshirts and works to bring a group of athletes together as a team. Something coaches say in a pep talk. 

This time, it meant so much more than that. “We Are One” went beyond a group of high school teenagers hoping to make it to the next round of playoffs. Those teenagers came together, as one team, to let a rival community know that they weren’t alone in their grief. That they “see.”

This, is what we hope for our children. That they can “see.” We ARE One, and getting to see that from young men is a great thing. 

It was a great season, Mikey. I am so very proud of you, and I told many people this story today, always ending with “that’s MY nephew.” You done good. ❤️❤️❤️

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On Blessings

I finished the tree skirt. Finally, after a month, it is done. And I love it. Cardinals are a thing with our family and this just … fits. And as I look at it, I know I want to write. About Christmas and family, and friends, and blessings. 

The more I thought about what to write, I casually cruised thru Facebook. And I realized. 

It’s not my blessings that need to be shared. I have many and I am so very happy with my life. But there are some blessings that are just magical this year. 

There’s this guy and this girl that I know. They’re pretty cool, as guys and girls go. They have a very unique story. Maybe not so unique anymore, in this day and age, but unique to me. And hey, it’s my story. 😂

They met online. And from what I understand, the girl kicked the boys’ behind several times. Something about castles and hoards and trolls and things that I’m too old to totally understand anymore. And over time, they fell in love. 

They lived in different states. And there was a little bit of an age difference. After some time, she arranged to risk everything, and left home to be with him. 

The odds were stacked against them. But the stars were aligned just right, I think. There were many people who didn’t think they would make it. I think they may have even been told that by some, but if you knew them, you could see it. They were absolutely meant for each other. 

Now, she’s working on her masters in accounting. He has a pretty good job. They have two beautiful girls. I got to be there when the first was born and I’ve never witnessed anything more beautiful. And this weekend – they closed on their first house. 

For Christmas, y’all!  They bought a house for Christmas!

When I was think about that – it makes my heart smile. ❤️

I have my own blessings that are uniquely mine. And I am so grateful. But one of those blessings has been being able to watch Ryan and Ashley do the whole life thing and get it right. 

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Dust in the Air

Sitting in the silence

Watching her sleep

Her hair, not yet white


Memories all around me

That chair, this table

Pictures on the wall


The silence is comfortable


No need to pretend

Because it is home 

I feel too big now

Like I’m wrong somehow

But it’s not that

It’s just the passage of time 

As I watch

I see the dust 

Floating all around me

Never still

And I have to wonder

Is it the dust that is new

Or is it us

It reminds me that

Even though we move

From here to there 

We can always come back 

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The Hardest Things

At some point in your life, you come to understand that there will be things that you learn are necessary but hurtful 

Watching your children hurt, and knowing you have to let them, is one of those things. 

As a parent, this is hard. We want to protect them at all costs. Not just from physical threats, but from the world at large. We want them to grow up and learn to be good people who help others and who can move through life on their own and make a difference in the world around them. 

But no one tells us that part of their learning process will include grief. Sure, we know loss will happen, but we protect them from that as long as we can. We can give them the tools on how to be –how to think of others and how to do the right thing when no one is looking. And we can try and project how to abehave in all kinds of situations. They watch us, you know, and learn how to react to the world by observing how we do. 

But grief, it turns out, is something that they must work through on their own. 

I have never held back emotions from my boys. Happy, sad, angry – they’ve seen meat my best and worst. Of course I try to stay in check, but I have tried to teach them that emotion is ok. And there is no shame in being sad. And there is absolutely everything ok with letting others know you love them. Love is the best emotion and sharing it is the best feeling in the world. 

The hardest thing that I have experienced as a parent is watching my boys hurt so deeply that they weep with the pain of it – and knowing they have to feel that pain before it can get better. They have to come to terms with it on their own and in their own way. I can be there for hugs and words and just presence. But the processing of grief is intensely personal. 

We can’t tell someone how they should feel. I quoted part of a poem that was given to me quite a few times today. The first time, it was just words.but it developed more and more meaning over the day. 

“Just stop thinking….and let it happen.”

It – was not just the letting go. But the letting in. Letting in all the emotions and feeling them with all your heart. And letting in the pain and sadness so it could be released. And letting others work through their own emotions on their own and in their own way. And letting in the knowledge that it is ok to feel relieved that it is over, because you know it was the right thing to do. 

The hardest thing – is to stop thinking…and let it happen. 

But when you can – it does. And it brings peace. 

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On Thanksgiving and Puppies and Old Age

I have so many things in my life to be thankful for.  There’s the easy stuff – my family, my health, my friends.  There’s the stuff that’s harder to define – the things that you have to work for but in the end, were either blessings in disguise, or lessons that needed to be learned.

I watch my friends post various things about Thanksgiving, from how blessed they are for their family, how much they love the things around them.  And all the pictures of their happyness.  And I know mine is coming, building up somewhere inside me, but it hasn’t quite materialized until today.

The easy stuff is, well, easy.  I love my family so much it hurts sometimes.  I can’t imagine what my life would be without them.  I had a thought the other day, wondering if my life was what I imagined it to be, “back when I was younger.”  Which led to some serious cookie-eating, because “back when I was younger” isn’t supposed to have happened yet.  I’m still young – in my mind anyway.  But the body lets me know that time is moving on, quietly, and quickly.  There’s not a thing I can do about it, but learn to appreciate the people in my life, and my life for what it is in this moment. And the hope that I have loved others as much as they have loved me.

And that is the lead-in that I needed.

We will be saying goodbye to our Buddy-dog this week.  This last August, he celebrated what we believe to be his 16th birthday.  When we adopted him from the SPCA, the vet estimated that he was about 18 months old.  He was scrawny and ugly, and had been on the streets for quite a while.  His SPCA name was “Atropolis.”  Horrible name.  I lobbied for “Dee-Oh-Gee” (Dog, just spelled out), but the boys had the final say. He was a rescue dog – but I would argue that he rescued me.  He came to me at a time in my life when I needed unconditional love – and that’s exactly what he gave me.

“Buddy,” said Matthew (who was almost 5 at the time).  “He’s going to be my Buddy, so that’s his name.” And that was that.

In the beginning, he was just a mess.  I trained him to a degree – he could sit, and lay down, and jump up.  He ran all over the backyard, and would chase the lawnmower, barking and trying to bite the tires.  He is a shepherd/collie/mutt mix, and he liked to herd his little humans.  If they were in the backyard playing with him, you could watch, and see him trying to take them places.  He’d nip at Steven’s pants – I don’t believe he ever actually nipped him – but he was trying to push him to where he wanted him to go.  At 3, it was fairly easy.  And Steven was just about the same size.  Matt was a little bigger, so Buddy wasn’t quite as “in his face.”  But he was right there with him.

We have a lot of Buddy stories.  He would chew on everything.  EVERY thing.  I think he chewed through at least 3 wiring harnesses to Larry’s trailer.  And probably 5 garden hoses.  At least.  And Larry would be so mad – he’d chase Buddy around the yard with the remaining ends of the garden hose, or with a spatula – whatever he had in his hand at the time.  Buddy would run – but just fast enough to be out of range.  It was quite the scene in the back yard, let me tell you.  We ended up putting in an electric fence with a shock collar.  Buddy would stay in the back, until we called him, and then he’d make a mad sprint across the line, because he knew he had so many seconds (10) before he’d get shocked.  So many times, it would start to rain, and we’d stand on the back porch and call him in.  And he would just fly across the yard.

Buddy was the one who taught the other two dogs how to roll around on the floor.  I haven’t seen other dogs do this, but Buddy was the master.  He’d push his chest down on the floor, with his rear up in the air, and just roll his head around.  All over the floor.  Now that he can’t support himself very well with his back legs, he’ll lay down on the floor, with his nose stuck out and his chest on the floor, and do the same thing – roll his head back and forth across the floor.  And the other two do it with him.

Buddy is my snuggle puppy.  Bear sleeps with us, and is right on top of me most of the time (he’s six pounds), and Daisy would love to snuggle, but her breath stinks. Buddy was my cuddler.  He’d lay down on the floor with me and just be with me.  He was such a fluffy dog that he was like a big pillow. The boys would lay all over him when they were little.

Over the last few years, Buddy has lost his hearing.  His humans have all adapted – instead of calling for him when he’s in the house, we stomp on the floor so he can feel the vibrations.  He can still hear high-pitched whistles, but not very well.  His sight is still good.  He had an episode last year with vestibular disease – doggie vertigo.  He couldn’t walk and he wouldn’t eat, he was so dizzy, and we thought we were going to lose him.  He probably lost 10-15 pounds and was on an IV.  After a week in the hospital, the vet was ready to let him go, but we took him outside to try to get him to walk. He wouldn’t walk or eat or drink for any of the doctors or nurses.  But he walked for me.  I overheard the vet tell Larry, “Well I’ll be damned.  Mom has the power.”  I asked if I could spend the day with him the following day, and then maybe take him home to family.  I took him a cheeseburger, and took him outside of the vets’ office and sat with him for two hours.  And he walked for me.  Bless him, he tried and tried, and he did it for mom.  I took him home that day, and he’s been with us for more than a year.

But it’s time.  I don’t think he’s in pain. Yet.  But his back legs are too week to hold him up for very long.  He struggles to stand up after laying down.  He struggles to lay down.  He will only eat soft food.  And he’s slowing becoming incontinent, although only when he sleeps.  This morning, he couldn’t get up without help, and after the last fall, his back legs spasmed, and he wet himself.  It’s time.  It’s probably past time, and I worry that we’ve waited too long because we were being selfish.

And it hurts SO much.  He’s loved us so much, and we have loved him, but we have taken him for granted. I only hope that he knows how much he has meant to us all these years, and how much we will miss him.

I will miss you every day, Buddy. I have loved you so much.

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