Category Archives: Family

Thoughts while Shoveling

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers Thanks for stopping by!

Single mom, shoveling
sounds ominous
like “dead man, walking”
the men aren’t dead –
I see them throughout the neighborhood,
snow blowing

Glad I’m a feminist
who is used to shoveling anyway

The snow is light
easy does it
and the chiropractor won’t get mad
The snow is heavier
where the plow dropped extra
I should be making the boys help

What time is it?
Why isn’t this a two-hour delay?
I hope the boys are making breakfast
and eating it too

Glad I’m a single mom of older kids
who make their own breakfasts

The driveway is done
Thank goodness for 15 year olds who
suddenly appear
scare you half to death
and shovel the sidewalk

A slice of coffee

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers Thanks for stopping by!

Couch coffee used to be something to do together
And sometimes we still do, in these moments before he moves away
But soon I will be having couch coffee on my own
Well, with the cats

I walk downstairs in the morning
Happy that the Christmas lights are still shining
Cozy cheer to start the day
And end it

I fill the carafe with fresh water
He comes downstairs and finishes making the coffee
I’m still using my Christmas mug
The painted little mini Christmas lights match my tree

We sit on opposite ends of the couch
I remember we used to say we needed a love seat so we could sit closer together
We talk less and less each morning
Slowly ripping the bandaid

A slice of Goodbyes

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers Thanks for stopping by!

I’m terrible at goodbyes.
I’ve cried
I moved away from a best friend,
a best friend moved away from me,
I just missed my cats’ last few breaths, twice
I drove away from my dying friend – every time I drove away.

I’ve even cried
my plays were over
I said goodbye to my first class of second graders
The custodians threw away my classroom couch
movies end
grandparents leave family gatherings in dramatic commercials

Of course I cried
I dropped off my daughter at college.

I’m terrible at goodbyes.
I don’t like them.
I guess I’m
stuck – in the past

Somehow when my soon to be ex-husband
Took a couch, a chair,
a toaster oven
over to his new house
I didn’t cry.

Maybe I’ve gotten all the tears out over the last year, and I’m done.

Who am I kidding?
I’m terrible at goodbyes.

Breaking up

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers Thanks for stopping by!

When I was 18, or soon to be 18, I was at home with my young sister for a few days before Christmas.

The house must have already been decorated, my sister already asleep. (How did I get her to go to bed, but my own children never sleep?)

So, of course, I decided to make Chocolate Chip cookies.

I think cookies were a serious part of Christmas at that time in my family. We had an enclosed front porch that was freezing in the winter. That’s where we kept the Christmas cookies, frozen for weeks, ready to be made into platters to gift family, friends, neighbors, teachers…

I don’t remember much about decades ago, but I remember the house smelling like a chocolate chip cookie, my dining room table full of cookies. I was making so many cookies, they were spread like playing cards cooling on foil. For quite avwhile, baking chocolate chip cookies triggered sadness.

I don’t remember if Mr. Thought called, or came over.
He wasn’t Mr. Thought then, just a boyfriend.

Well, he was a boyfriend before I made the cookies, and maybe during a few batches.

But then — he wasn’t.

He wanted to see other people.
Explore. His. Options.

He was done with us.

I was devastated.
Christmas was ruined.
My parents came home the next day, we celebrated Christmas and my 18th birthday. They gave me a beautiful silver bracelet.
We went to my grandma’s, where I was a teenage zombie, with a broken heart.

I spent time with my blinds drawn, blasting PJ Harvey that winter break. “You’re not rid of me…”

Good grief
breakup grief
18-year old’s grief
Christmas grief
heartbreak grief

A Slice of Soon to Be

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers Thanks for stopping by!

STBXH” stands for “Soon To Be Ex-husband” in internet acronym language.

I’m thinking of that as I drive to my 9th grader’s choir concert.
The van is packed with my daughter’s college stuff.
Soon To Be, Soon To Be, Soon To Be . . .

Bins and boxes and bags are stuffed in the van.

We leave tomorrow.

But she was just a baby last week, I think.
And I was just in college, wasn’t I?

I’m Soon To Be Missing Her. STBMH

It’s a four hour drive
I bet it will go too fast though.

I’m Soon To Be Driving Home Alone. STBDHA

I’m feeling pretty dramatic about this.


I lock the van
packed with my daughter’s college stuff
and walk into the high school
for my middle son’s first high school concert
He was just a baby yesterday, I think.

I’m Soon To Be Watching Him Graduate. STBWHG

My youngest is in 6th grade.
I think you know how this goes.
He was just a baby this morning, I think.

I’m Soon To Be Watching His Freshman Concert. STBWHFC
Well, actually he doesn’t love to sing – But maybe he’ll change his mind

He’s Soon To Be More Confident. STBMC

I sit alone.
The concert is beautiful.
What is it about many voices singing?

Now I am Soon To Be Waking Up To Drive My Baby To College.

A Slice of ice

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers Thanks for stopping by!

My ice-maker — the one in the door of the freezer — It works now.
It makes ice.

We got the fridge a decade ago
Our old house didn’t have the hook-up for the ice
we were so excited when we moved
almost 6 years ago — to finally be able to have water and ice from door dispenser.
But the ice-maker wouldn’t make ice.
You could hear it try
And once, through some deceptive magic, one cube was born.
On that day we were so relieved! It was fixed!
But then water poured out
it wasn’t magic after all.

So we started filling the ice bin with ice from bags
at least we could dispense it
First World Problems
First World Solutions

Lately I’ve heard a whirling in the freezer
Sometimes a drop or a clink
And now the ice-maker works.
The bin is full of ice
(for now, I guess. I won’t count my chickens, or rather my cubes, just yet…)

I don’t know if it was just the ice-maker’s time
Or maybe it just needed the mentor of the bagged ice
But whatever the reason,
If this sort of miracle is possible …
Doesn’t it just give you hope?

A slice of School Shopping

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers Thanks for stopping by!

We went school shopping today.

When I was a student, I loved school shopping. Who am I kidding? I love school shopping and school supplies as a teacher too. Notebooks, pens, pencils, markers – all a blank slate for the year to come. Smooth, new, perfect.

Truth be told, we could probably gather enough supplies from around the house. I have a stash of new notebooks, a few places where there are dozens of pencils waiting to be sharpened. I might even have some folders somewhere. (And maybe I have some sticky notes to spare, but I don’t really want to give any of those to anybody.)

BUT…What’s the start of middle school, the start of high school, the start of college without a new notebook, a new planner, some brand new mechanical pencils, a binder, some new markers….

My boys don’t really love shopping. I found number and letter erasers to add to my make-writing supplies, L thoughtfully selected notebooks, a binder, paper, a planner, pencils, etc. for college. But, the boys? They threw a few things in the cart. I think they got some post-its and some pre-sharpened pencils. Maybe some colored pens and on-sale markers got thrown in there too.

I tried to interest them in a planner.

“There’s no way I’m going to use something like that.” My soon to be 6th-grader said.

I tried to interest them in folders.

“I just want to get out of here.” My soon to be 9th-grader said.

“Do you think you’ll want to keep your different class things in different folders?” I asked. “Or, maybe an accordion folder? See how it’s easy to slip papers in? If you get a regular 3 ring binder, it’s kind of annoying to put papers in all the time –” I said, calling on my years as a 6th grade teacher, my decades of loving school organization.

“Whatever you want. Whatever you think is best.” My 11 year old said, exasperated with my enthusiasm.

Probably when everyone gets to school they will realize the thing they need. When the time comes, we’ll figure it out. L can order what she needs while she’s away at college (SOB!) I’ll share my notebook stash, and I’ll try to find those pencils and folders for the boys. But, I am not planning on sharing my sticky notes. No thank you —

I mean, unless I can go buy myself new sticky note replacements. . .

I want to write you a poem: A slice

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers Thanks for stopping by!

I want to write you a poem
about how life changes
it’s dark outside before 9
It’s August
the great Sunday of the year for teachers

I want to write you a poem
so you understand what’s coming –
everyone is starting something new here
college, high school, middle school
Do you know about being left?
for minecraft
for something new
for something different
What do you know about being left?

I want to write you a poem
about Sundays
and still being here while life gets ready to change
In the pause of August-Sunday
my dog snores next to me, his head on my knee
we are in our favorite corner of the red couch
in the dark, with the sounds of laundry and bedtime