m wood pen


  As I round the corner to my oldest child’s birthday, 27 years of indelible, magic moments crush to the front of my mind. Saving the soliloquy which will cite my total adoration of him for the actual day, my attention is aimed first to a creative, colorful bent. Long gone are the days of baby …

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The life of a freelance illustrator is akin to being on a permanent job hunt. My cottage industry, started on a whim, is a proverbial revolving door, with projects and new clients flying in and out, delivering a query, a challenge, some inspiration, plenty of enthusiasm and eventually, a check in the mail. Whimsy, luck, …

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Who knew that staring at a backlit screen, late into the night, as I wrapped up the day that counted my time here, so far, in Fifty-Five years, could be so darn satisfying, warming, comforting, hilarious and loving? Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In, Instagram and even old-fashioned email found sentiments leaping right into my heart. The miracle …

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 here we go again. with my two oldest children settled into their college world, the caboose has pulled up to the station and i’m caught a bit unawares.

last night was college night at the high school, and my youngest set off, friend in tow, to scour the eager college admissions reps for information.  like a mini-convention, these crazy kids filled a great big bags with attractive brochures and free pens.  ah, if only the decision was that easy. like a good little offspring, she visited my cute alma mater, and had a captivating chat with the rep….my heart fluttering a bit, wondering….is she at all intrigued?

i’d be lying if i said it wouldn’t be cool to have one of my children spend their college years where i had such an idyllic time ages ago, and still carouse a few times a year.

but, since it’s not about me, i will just sit back and see what sort of a list she comes up with.

i know for a fact that my car will be headed south this june: nashville and the south in general, with it’s pulled pork, country music and easy ways pulls my gal. dotting a map, i’ll have her choose a few schools to loop through as we gaily road trip from one academic playground to the next, ready to peek into worlds unknown, which at some point, might become a part of her story.

if i had it all to do over again, what would i have chosen?

back in the ice age, my list was small, the internet was a jetson-like fantasy, and my worldliness was nil.  zip. de nada. de rien.

i’m sure i’d have done what i did, nestle into a little mini-world of an iowa hilltop, still stretching my wobbly legs, still not quite ready for the big, scary grown up life that was just around the corner…one shaky step after another, i cautiously inched towards that thing called ‘adulthood’ with trepidation and absolutely no compass whatsoever!

i play that game every now and then: the ‘what if’ mind-confusing path evoked in robert frost’s well known poem, “the road not taken”.  the game hurts, makes me almost crazy, as once i’ve gone back a bit in my very own jagged timeline, i alternately veer off at a specific point, ages ago, and imagine where that path would have taken me.  it’s a tempting one to play, initially. it always is. but then i get all clogged up for one reason or another, look back at the real life that i’ve actually lived, and figure: it’s all for the best that i did what i did, so that i could say at this point, i know what i know and am grateful for it.

regardless, the game itself conjures up all that was or could have been, and i understand, with a thunderous clap, that we really do only have one life to live, only one gut to listen to, one chance to taste and experience each glorious step in the road.

my kids are way more ‘with it’ than i was at this age, probably a combination of a nonstop gust of information, experience and awareness that didn’t seem to be on the menu in the 60s and 70s, and also the luck of the draw: their dna and sensibilities have filled them with a high-frequency antenna that just ‘gets’ more than i ever hoped to at a similar age.

it’s a fascination thing: watching life anew from this vantage point.

the plot thickens as each of my tots stretches forward well into their own stories, and i am riveted. the best movie around is the one you star, or co-star, in, yourself.

stay tuned: it’s sure to be a happy ride.

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