I’ve been wanting to post for some time now.  A painful word that I struggle to type.   That word is suicide.   Painful as it is to type brings just as much pain to my heart.  Suicide in the United States is under the umbrella of being a major health issue.  I’ll not go into the rates or subgroups found under the percentages of people who commit suicide.    The word suicide was one of the most difficult words to speak.  And why?

Last week my husband mentioned to me that Anderson Cooper was having a special presentation on suicide.  We typically don’t watch his program [or should I say I stay clear of news programs all together] but for some reason this particular night it was clear to my husband we needed to watch it together.     I learned that I wasn’t the only person feeling the tight feeling in my stomach or anger or misunderstanding.  It became so clear to me that there is no closure when a loved one takes their own life.  No matter what the contents of their letter is.   If you get a letter.  I learned that keeping quiet only makes this silent illness even deadlier.    Even now typing this for you to read makes my fingers quiver and my stomach burn.   I sit here thinking back to a day I learned my friend took her life.   It hasn’t been two years since Machiella ended what I thought – what I felt was a “good life”, a “happy life”, a “content” person.   Machiella was as beautiful on the inside as the outside.   An artist.  A wife.  A young athletic woman who had the laugh of a little girl and the looks of a young Sophia Loren.   We spent almost two to three days a week in the mornings taking our pups to class and playdates.   We met for tea and coffee.   Our friendship blossomed as time went on.  So the day Machiella took her life why didn’t I see something.   Anything in her character saying to me she needed help.    I worked with at risk youth and adults for years.   Why wouldn’t I have seen a sign?

It’s been over twenty years now but I remember the day when I answered my phone and my niece was on the other end speaking through tears “he’s gone”.  My sister’s best friend.  Her husband.  Her soulmate.   A man of compassion.  Someone who would give you the shirt off his back.  Someone who pulled his truck off the road to help an injured animal.  Alan gave his everything to those who he knew and sometimes to those he just met.  My sister found him in their home.   Where were the signs?     Can a back injury spiral someone to the point of not wanting to live their life anymore?   Can a young woman who may have not felt her life was in order end it just because of something you or I would look at as just a bad day?

I never spoke of Alan’s death openly.   I was protecting my sister.   I probably was protecting myself as well.  Who wants to speak of suicide as the cause of death.  Who wants to speak of suicde and hear “oh, I’m so sorry”.   You receive a certain look.  As if the  one you loved was not worthy.    You receive the sympathy but without words – because lets face it – what do you say to someone who just said it was due to suicide.   The stigma that comes with suicide is enough to make the survivors mentally ill.  I have never felt the darkness where my life was about to end.   If I had a bad day it was over within hours.   So I can not say to someone who has been living in darkness I know how you feel.  I don’t.  I can’t say to them I can only imagine.  I can’t.   I can’t imagine how my sister was feeling – I only know of her pain and silent grieving she kept in the privacy of her own home.  Once the family and friends moved on and the months passed.  Then years.   After counseling and support groups.  But how was she to lift her head and know people on the outside weren’t judging Alan.

After Machiella took her life I began to seek support and ask questions.   Again, working in a facility that housed mental health clients, drug users and homeless doesn’t give you the tools to use when it hits you personally.   Because this was not suppose to happen to me!   It wasn’t until recent I opened up to my sister about Alan again.   After moving away from the same state my sister resides in – I packaged that part of my life away.  Not forgetting it – only keeping it safely stored where my own heart would be free of [that] pain.   And sparing me from speaking the word.   It wasn’t until sometime after my friends death – I was at a local cafe’ speaking to an acquaintance.  Machiella’s name came up – and I quietly explained what happened.   It took every ounce of my being to not throw my drink on her lap.  What I did expect is for a few sympthathetic words or head shakes with a painful expression.   Perhaps even the hand over heart.   But what I didn’t expect was the lack of compassion and respect for another being.  I didn’t expect to hear “some people” and “those people” in a sentence.   The how can they.  How dare they do that to their loved ones.   In defense of this persons reaction – I remember having the thoughts float around my mind.  How.  Why.  I have had the thoughts of only violent people or people who are isolated commit suicide.   But those thoughts were so very long ago – so long ago even before Alan took his life.    Mental Health has been placed on the back burner for as long as I can remember.   And because MH is such a complicated health issue – it’s not until something drastic occurs before mental health is discussed at the table.   It shouldn’t take Anderson Cooper, Glenn Close and Senator Deeds to speak out on mental health issues.  But since they are a source where America can tune in and listen – whether you agree with them or not – they are speaking.   We must speak.  We must admit it hurts.  We must allow the pain in our hearts to show.   Pretending isn’t the answer.  And turning our backs on those who are suffering can’t be the answer.  Depression just doesn’t go away.  And neither will suicide.   Not without speaking.

The week after Machiella ended her life I was taking Apple to school.   I was getting in my car to return home when a mom-friend stopped her car just to get out and hug me.  I remember Karen’s words like it was yesterday.   Cry she said.  Scream she said.  This is why I’m here to allow you to let it out.   I was so angry at Machiella.  I was so hurt that she didn’t trust me enough to say she needed help.   But mostly I was angry at myself because I didn’t “see” anything.   No signs.  Or was there a small, quiet indication that something was different.   Boxes of art supplies and photography books given to Apple within a span of two weeks.   Cleaning out closets she said.   Making room for a home office for her husband.

If only.

Speak up.  If you think someone is not themselves – speak to them.   Don’t just assume it’s an “off” day.   And don’t take no for an answer.    Make sure they know they matter.


National Suicide Prevention hotline:  1-800-273-8255


In memory of Alan and Machiella 

*Momma Daisy




baby it’s cold and I have one

Happy New Year!

I’ve been a true slacker with blogging.  Actually three weeks ago I had a notice informing me that I’m “overdue” to post.  something.  just post anything.   But honestly I have writer’s block (again) along with lack of writing in my journal before bed.

It’s pretty sad when your dog who just happens to have her own blog gets more attention and new followers and private messages than you do.  She earned it.

Our holiday season was wonderful.  Having the chance to spend the day with LeeAnn and her hubby was long overdue – but oh, so much fun!  Thanksgiving brought family and friends together along with a new neighbor and her family.  I’m learning more about the Ukraine and it’s traditions.  We are lucky to have such kind neighbors.

Lunches with Yvonne could have lasted the entire month of December if I had my way.   Branston on grilled cheese and tomato is the missing puzzle piece to your sandwich.  Top that off with a true cup of English tea and a few shortbreads and you are set for life!

Having College Daughter home meant something a little more than other holidays.  The time is coming when she graduates from VT.  In May we will watch our oldest daughter hold a diploma in her hand that she earned with every bead of sweat on her brow.  Sleepless nights and phone calls home when she was uncertain of what the future holds. Her future holds five more years of schooling.  Grad school location has yet to be determined.   This holiday season we watched this beautiful young lady complete applications, contact professors and review letters from NY, Ohio, California and the one I like the best…..DC.     Exciting times for the new year.


And sometimes a wrench is thrown towards you and when you try to duck….you have no choice but to get hit on the noggin.   During a dentist appointment for routine cleaning, my doctor found a tooth that was cracked.  No problem I’ll schedule an appointment in the new year which will give me time to forget about my cracked tooth which I never had any pain to begin with – so I it’s not an emergency. (!)    But the good doctor did not agree with my thought and felt I should have it done asap.  Like the next day after my cleaning.  (?!)   Tooth now has a crown.   (rolling eyes)   And I’m getting Invisalyn because my bite has shifted.    (rolling eyes again)   After surviving my second dentist visit I found myself coming down with a cold.  Cold turned into a nasty head cold and cough and fever.  This came two days after I was bragging to my dentist that I rarely get sick and when I do it’s just a common cold or seasonal allergies flare up.      (rolling eyes)

My diet went from some of the best truffles (thanks to College Daughters BF) and delicious cheeses, specialty breads, medovik, wine and grogg to vegetable broth and chamomile tea.   One would think I’d drop a few pounds but didn’t happen.   Maybe I need to drink tea and broth for an entire month!   (laughing loudly)

My cold is fading and my craving for truffles is coming back.  My taste buds are telling me give up the broth and open the package of Sartori black pepper cheese.

2018 ~ our new year that is unfolding.  Football Superstar reviewed his business career and I’m excited for his new plan of action.  Our kids are moving forward in school and we couldn’t be more proud, or prouder or the proudest –  no matter we are proud parents.   I’ll finish up my home design/staging course and be number six thousand two hundred fifty in the DC Metro area.   But who’s counting.      Oh, and we are adding to the family – another Golden.  Murphy will have her little brother next month.  We’re excited to be a two-dog family once again.   And no.  He will not have a blog and facebook page.  I can barely keep up with the popular one I live with now!


May you all have the best of 2018.  May you love more and forgive always.  May you find light no matter how dark the day gets.

Momma Daisy*



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A Mother’s Day Thank You

My mother at age 10.  Apple resembles her in this photo.

It has been five years since my mother passed away.    During her years in round-the-clock care, my conversations were limited with her.   Depending on the day, my visits were either gently telling my mother that I was not there to give her a pedicure.   Or take her to get her hair styled.   My mother always had beautiful manicured nails and her hair was never messy.  Unlike my mother – my hair is messy.

There were visits she would know exactly who I was.   My kids.   My husband.   But the majority of the time we were employees of the safe haven that was now her home.  Dementia was taking over her mind as Parkinson’s disease took over her frail body.    Recently I drove up to visit my father.  His home still feels as if my mother should walk out of the bathroom smelling of Clinic perfume.   And there are moments where I can smell her.   I hear her voice.   And I feel her hugs.

As a new mother – there is nothing like having your mother around to give support and her own motherly suggestions.   My oldest were in high school and my youngest was in Kindergarten when my mother passed away.      I think I had the mothering thing down pretty well.   But no doubt I would have been on the phone with her asking if one of the teens could be sent to Pennsylvania!   [insert a laugh]   I would have asked for her advice on career (change)  decisions and what to do with my messy hair.

I don’t have her to call or to ask what to do with my messy hair.   But I have a lot of suggestions and advice.  I have her experience and her motherly insight.  After all – she raised me.   I know her discipline and her facial expressions.  All of them!    My mother gave me the best tools that I could possibly ask for in raising children.  In being a woman.  In being a friend.   And those difficult decisions that come my way – I go back to her words of encouragement.

When I read other post or articles on women who lost their mothers – and they find it hard to celebrate Mother’s Day without their mother – I do understand the emptiness and sadness.     But I do have my mother with me.    She gave me the gift of life.   And so, I feel my mother in my heart, my soul, in the very core of who I am.     It took a lot of maturing for me to come to this stage in my life.   There were times my mother and I were two rams on a mountain going in for the hit.   But we came out even stronger.      As I experienced that mountain with my own teens – I felt her by my side.

I recently was given this quote from a friend.

“Mothers and Daughters are closest, when Daughters become Mothers”  ~unknown

Thank you to my mother.  

Happy Mother’s Day ~


It seems like whenever we take a vacation, my husband puts a plan in place and for the most part sticks to it.  That plan is to “unplug” from the rat race of work, commuter traffic and all that comes with living in a fast paced area.   As we planned our spring break/Easter vacation at Deep Creek Lake, we both made an agreement to unplug in order to get plugged in.   Plugged in.

Deep Creek Lake is filled with family fun yet peaceful tranquility.   I’ve never been a mountain girl – but I do love being by a body of water.   Preferably, the beach.   After our first trip to DCL -I was hooked like a fish! Several visits later – I’m still hooked.   Swim off your own private dock or enjoy alfresco dining from your deck – with a great view!


My mind, body and soul was rejuvenated.  Football Superstar and I have already decided this lake, this hidden gem of a lakefront home, this perfect fit for our family including the pup, will be our mountain lake getaway.   Looking forward to our next visit.




Football Superstar is known for his awesome roaring bonfires.  This happened every evening.   Warm sunny days.   Crisp cool evenings.


A man and his dog.   I’m not sure who enjoyed the dock diving more….my hubby or Murphy!   This pup spent hours swimming, dock diving and running along the shore with Apple.


Apple Cheeks agreed that lake life is fantastic!


Before we settled into our beds for the evening, we made a cozy fire in one – of the two large stone fireplaces.   Apple and Murphy share a secret.   ❤

The talk of Maryland Black Bear roaming around put a shadow of doubt in my mind -perhaps this isn’t the place for us.  I mean, after all….we are not mountaineers….we’ve never owned a bear or bear-like critter.   Large dogs don’t actually count.   But the shadow quickly disappeared after realizing the people of Garret County, and many other connecting counties of Maryland live with the black bear residents most of their lives.   We spoke with some of the locals (just to pick their brain) while shopping for groceries or souvenirs to get their input.   All but one told us not to worry.   They won’t bother you if you don’t bother them. Sows (a not so sweet way of saying “momma bear”) may get defensive over her cubs, so give them space.  Absolutely!  Space…she can have the whole dang mountain!   And if you’re out hiking with the dog….they will run up a tree to avoid you.   Wait, I’ll run up the tree, or the bear?

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And then this happened while hiking.            Don’t panic…this is the only bear we found!


And as requested….don’t wake me unless there’s a bear.  Ahh, the simple pleasure of taking a mid afternoon  nap lakeside.  And I NEVER nap!


I don’t even have the words to describe Easter morning and the gorgeous sunrise that greeted us on the deck while having coffee.   It was exactly 6:10am.   The lake was quiet.  The lake was always quiet early mornings, but on this particular morning the lake was silenced.   No geese honking their morning songs.  No fish jumping out of the water.   No fishermen trolling past our dock.   Only the still quietness of Easter morning.


As we officially welcomed and celebrated Spring at the lake, Apple found a new passion for the outdoors.  Photography.   I don’t think she put the camera down – maybe to eat – but honestly I think she was photographing as her daddy grilled, or chopped wood for the bonfire and maybe capturing the picture of her momma napping.

Apple captured beautiful photos of Swallow Falls…which I almost lost my cookies after reading the sign:  Hazzard: violent rapids, slippery rocks, underwater hydraulics have caused injuries and death.  Apple was glued to her daddy’s side.  I however enjoyed the rapid hazzard-like swift moving water from a distance with the pup.


Hiking around Swallow Falls and Tolliver Falls made me feel intimidated yet in awe.  The beauty that surrounded us (and many other hikers) was breathtaking.                                    And of course…we worked up an appetite!     As we drove back to our lakehouse from Swallow Falls State Park, we spotted so many deer.   We watched as they moved through the open fields or along a stream of water.   Among them were two fawns.   Watching the babes move swiftly beside their momma’s made my heart skip a beat.

I can’t think of a better vacation where we unplugged to plug in.  It was overdue for my husband.   And I can’t think of a better way to spend my vacation than to watch him plug into his family through plugging into nature.





Sharing a Conversation

When you least expect it…there is a conversation to be shared.



College Daughter – for the most part- lives and keeps a pretty calm and quiet life on and off campus.  If I were to compare her to other college students within our circle of friends….her life would seem rather dull and boring.   Yet it’s not.  Still, if you were to ask her….she would tell you her life is rather dull and boring filled with crammed studies and weekend work.  Her friends are made up of “nerdy” engineering  and biology  peeps who use their spare time to outreach, explore the environment  or volunteer their useful knowledge to those students who are falling behind with course studies – because those  students who need the extra help to achieve a better than average GPA – are more likely to have less dull and boring lives.


A conversation started [again] regarding her summer plans.  Mind you, I’m driving the pup to her training class.   Traffic is deadlocked and I’m hearing words like “study abroad” [which was my idea this past year], home, work for dad, North Carolina, then his name.

His name, which I will not release without his approval [laughing] is a very good friend who has become more like a person who is very well liked.   The word love was not used.  [sigh of relief]  I must admit, I do appreciate this friend because he has given our College Daughter a desire to explore her Asian customs and appreciate not only her own heritage but others.   She has been busy with the Korean Cultural club as well as the American Asian community at Virginia Tech.   College Daughter lost interest during a period of time when she softly refused anything remotely attached to China. There would be no more festivals where she dressed in a beautiful dragon embroidered Cheongsam.  Gone were the visits to China Towns custom and art district.  High School years there were late night visits to Pho Soup and Chung Express,  that was about as close to her roots as she wanted to embrace.

But interesting enough, the small historic town of Blacksburg is becoming more diverse every year.  Though it still fights a reputation of having a majority of a white student body, we have seen a great number of ethnicities emerging throughout its campus.

So he steps in again.

The night he came to pick up our daughter he greeted Football Superstar with a firm and genuine handshake with a formal “hello Mr….” .   As my husband towered over this young man with an intelligent smile….I find myself watching our nervous daughter.   She never quite knows what to say.   What did she tell this young man with the intelligent smile?  My dad will break you in two pieces first then ask questions?   My dad has hands the size of Godzilla?   And he blows fire from his mouth?!

Unlike her quivering silliness of a seventh grader….this young man with the intelligent smile and “Godzilla” stood in our driveway packing up the car with our puppy jumping at everyone’s feet.   Kisses goodbye, laughter and a few serious safe driving reminders they were on their way.

So, what exactly was this phone call about?

I really like him mom.

How did you know?


About dad?

You’re so lucky.

I know.


As I finally arrived to my destination, I had to cut this conversation we were sharing – short.  I hated to do this.  It’s always at these times when our children have something they want to share.  A conversation.

We continued our shared conversation the next day.

I’m her mother – she’ll listen hear me.


I’m thinking studying abroad wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

Godzilla, her father thinks so too.

















Anxiously waiting….and eating some chocolate.

I received two messages last week asking when our newest addition will be arriving.

If you haven’t already figured out…we are on the Golden Glory waiting list for a puppy!   {see post 6/19, 7/29 & 8/18)

My first e-mail was from one of my readers asking when he/she will be arriving?!   Honestly, it’s up to mother nature when he/she arrives, but it looks like sometime in December/January momma dog will have her litter of golden-locks.   As we anxiously wait – I’m glued to my group updates from “Momma Arlene” who keeps us waiting families in the loop with everything needed under the sun.   We are given daily updates regarding important information.  Information regarding health and nutrition, disease and dangers, as well as event invites to every GG gathering.    Information regarding cancer research for Golden’s,  along with a dash of GG family fun photos.  I’m always checking in with our GG family.  I’m convinced Arlene does not sleep.   She’s nocturnal no doubt!

My second message came via Momma Daisy Facebook page, asking the sweetest question…. “How is your family doing while waiting for your new addition to arrive?!”    First, I informed this sweet follower of Momma Daisy, I live on chocolate and nothing but the best chocolate.     But seriously, Apple Cheeks  has proven to her momma that patience is a wonderful thing to embrace.  I’ve never been patient – I’ve never been a good patient.  My dentist and family doctor will testify to that.   But my nine-year old completes her night before going to bed with a prayer for each momma dog.  (this includes all K-9 service dogs) Apple knows the word patience better than her momma and this is a lesson…learned.     However, her excitement for this future bundle of gold fur can be heard from the rooftops!    College Daughter is kept in the loop as well by her little sister.   I believe a Hokie bandanna will make its way home during Christmas break.

As  I  we patiently wait….listen for updates….watch the newsfeed….bite our nails, no that’s just me….we find ourselves planning his/her future.  I’ve been researching groomers, [Lisa Ackerman is the GG groomer in the Philadelphia area – I want to clone her]    reading up on K-9 therapy dog services, taking my class, completing the paperwork for service dog classes for the puppy, [geez, Louise there’s a waiting list for that too] , eating chocolate and being patient.   Football Superstar has not been much help in the patient department.   Coming from a pretty cool and patient man….he begins by asking “any news?”   He’s even insisted I go purchase a pair of new duck boots for those rainy days coming in March.    I shake my head wondering if we are going to experience a lot of rain come March.     So, I did go purchase a cute pair of blue Lands End duck boots. Also, a new rain coat because I know Golden’s.  I’ve been known to stand in the rain getting drenched as Samuel stood in the rain with a smile on his face thinking about nothing…..or maybe a squirrel.

Needless to say my family is ready.   We are ready to add to our family the putter patter of four feet.  September’s life will not be the same.  She may want to take as many cat naps as possible these next few months.   More pet hair will accumulate on Football Superstars suits, and no doubt you will leave my home with a few on your pants.  But I promise you, you will leave with a smile on your face and some joy in your heart.

Thanks for the questions and the love!

It’s time for me to go check my group updates from Momma Arlene….and eat some chocolate.

The Golden Touch  


It’s All About The Real Estate

This month marks my second year as a Marketing Director.  I’ve graduated from Special Education and Kindergarten instruction to Marketing and Farming.   Farming?   Yes, I never heard of this term used before – unless you were a farmer.

I’m learning all sorts of new terms and acronyms.  I  knew Football Superstar was good at his career of choice, but recently I’ve seen patience beyond patience.   I would be in a straight jacket if my career choices were Realtor or Farmer.  I can’t do either.  I couldn’t send my cattle off to become burger [with fries] and I couldn’t sell you the home of your dreams.  So needless to say – I would starve – and you we would be homeless.

But in the Real Estate world, Farming is targeting a subdivision/community and or new construction site for business.  Your “planting the seed” of business.  Keeping consistent and using the most rewarding techniques to develop your business.  So, I’ve been creating mailers, advertisement flyers for the Kohr Values Team.  [which I’m a key member]  as well as invitations to the business office events.  One Loudoun is a growing area – and their event calendar is most certainly another valuable tool for real estate.

I’m also learning about the unique style of each real estate developer.    Are you looking for the neo-classic structure, or the popular elevator urban townhouse?   Perhaps maybe the single family manor home?   Remember, not to call the Federal style the Craftsman.  Chef’s kitchen – no problem.   Peninsula – sure thing.  Open floor plan or closed foyer?   Apartment/Condo with rooftop patio?     And remember the key difference of each home builders unique style – Van Metre, Keswick, Toll Brothers, Miller&Smith, Arcadia, Pulte….the list goes on enough to make my eyes spin.    Then there are our military clients who come through USAA or our relocation company employees through Cartus.    All the legalities!    And numbers….I never liked math.

Perhaps I’m not cut out for this I ask?    “Nonsense” … he says.

I’m in the process of taking a course [now that I completed my human course study for pet therapy] to become a Stager.  I’m not a stranger to  Staging.  My realtor husband hires one when a client is no longer living in their current home that is on the market.   Maybe the client’s home is in need of a little tweaking before the photo shoot.  I love anything that involves decorating, revamping a room, or giving my two cents on what to add or subtract in a home.   I get to be the owner once more of that little shabby business that once was.  [sigh]

I kind of like working from home in my yoga pants.  They certainly aren’t being used for yoga right now, so why not make them my top attire in this new career of mine?!     I can drink coffee from my desk without a boss scouring about that.  Well, he sometimes may ask me what I’m doing and I say “um, what do you think I’m doing”?    You can’t say that to any ol’ boss.

I have flexibility to be part of the PTO, volunteer when needed, take a course study for the Kohr Values Team [how many more are there??!] and be available for Apple without having to plan my own lessons for the next day of school.

That’s just a fraction of the perks working for my husband the Realtor.  It’s all about the real estate – but one important fact is he takes this role as Realtor a notch above.  Success is easily gratifying, and we live in a society that eats and breaths success.  But Football Superstar isn’t out to cut throats with his competition.  He’s out to help you – the client – no matter what steps must be taken.   I’ve listened to him counsel the first time home buyer, the married couple unable to agree, the Corporate CEO who doesn’t exactly care for the layout of the million dollar listing [that one I’ll never understand] or the socialite wondering why the peninsula looks larger on realtor.com than in person.

I still struggle at times to understand the realtor lingo.  But I no longer have Abominable Snow Monster’s expression after his teeth were all pulled out by Hermey the elf.


All in a days work…..because it’s all about the real estate.

Sponsored by:

The Kohr Values Team

Brent Kohr      Realtor/Relocation Specialist

Century 21 New Millennium 

One Loudoun



Another Mother’s Story

I wanted to thank everyone for their beautiful comments and the supportive e-mail I received after posting “The Other Mother”. [blog post 9/14/15]

I recently received a writing from my “cousin-in-law” Barb.   Barb wrote from her heart, something that perhaps you have experienced.    Adoption is a wonderful experience.  And as Barb explains in her writing – not everyone can [or will] understand the deep raw emotion that comes with adoption.

Barb does not blog, so I promised that I would share her writing.

Love you Barb!

Before I close, I wanted to thank Sheryl for her e-mail, and how the “other Mother” has given her the opportunity to be a mommy to two wonderful children – both adopted here in the states through a foster program.   Congratulations Sheryl!

Adopted vs Biological

The Other Mother

I have her pictured petite with dark hair and fair skin.  Her hands are callous from working in a field or a factory.

I try to imagine her features.  Her age.   What type of home she [husband or family] lives in.

Does she smile?  Does she still cry?   Has she ever cried?

Are there any other children?

Almost twenty years ago a young woman had a baby girl.   This baby girl was placed in an area of  southeastern China where she would be found by government workers.  Which they would take this baby girl to a hospital for observation.  Later to be placed in an orphanage for adoption.

This woman has been on my mind and in my heart ever since I became the other mother.

I’ve always found myself defensive when engaging with others about her.  Who am I to judge her.

I can’t imagine being her.   I felt blessed that I wasn’t her.   And yet, I feel connected to her.

A few of my friends from the adoptive parenting group are indifferent.    We all agree that not having an open adoption within the states makes us feel secure.   But for me….. the mother who gave birth to the baby girl I’ve called my daughter for almost twenty years – never fades.

As the years go on with this baby girl…..

When we are butting heads one moment and laughing the next – there is no doubt we are a splitting image of my mother and I.  How I wish my mother were still here – at times to be the referee – but mostly to see her granddaughter – the little baby girl that she helped in so many ways come here to the United States.  ***   Children will begin to follow their parents behaviors and interest.   But who did the baby girl inherit her character from?  Who does she take after the most?    She’s beautiful.  Dark eyes and hair.   Her fair skin can quickly darken in the sun.   She’s petite.   She’s athletic.   She’s quiet.   She’s determined.    She’s silly.   She’s loving.   ***

Those milestone markers which Football Superstar and I set for our children are not easily achieved.  During those moments I caught myself yelling at her.   “You have NO idea how stubborn your our daughter is!”

“You are not here during the melt downs!”      “She cried at times wondering who you are”.   

I found myself thanking her more than anything.  You gave me a daughter.   You gave me the opportunity to be a mother.

God only knows how many times I’ve asked this question – does she ever wonder what happened to her little baby girl she gave birth to and held in her arms…..         Is that even a fair question for me to ask?

I would want her to know….

I fell in love with your baby girls picture from the moment it arrived in my mailbox.  Though she did not grow in my belly, she grew in my heart.  Though she wouldn’t have my fair hair and blue eyes, she would no doubt blend perfectly in my arms. 

Your baby girl was given a warm home and food.  Clothes and an education.  Family and friends who love her.   Plenty of puppies and a kitty to love. 

She attended homecoming dances and her senior prom.   She made friends no matter where we lived and continues to make friends. 

She’s in her second year of college.   She’s independent.     She can even cook!   

You gave her life.    And for that, I’m forever grateful.


The Other Mother  

Golden Glory’s Puppy Pawloosa!

We finally had the opportunity to meet our future pups breeder – in person – in the flesh!

Before actually meeting Arlene and Kevin, we have had endless communication for months now.  So meeting them, hugging them and becoming part of their [Philadelphia] GG family has put the exclamation point at the end of our excitement.  [!]

There were 24 dogs.  I lost count of the humans.  [Arlene probably knows!]

The meeting place was at Lloyd Dog Park in Downingtown.  There was water.  And where there is water – well – you’ll find a Golden Retriever!   Or 24 of them!

In the anticipation of waiting for our pup to enter this world….we had the opportunity to enjoy toddlers and youth in their finest!

There were pre-teens and teens.  And then we met Bella, the Matriarch of Golden Glory.   Needless to say our day was filled with fun, laughter and fabulous people and their dogs.   Maybe I should say fabulous dogs and their people.   Arlene and Kevin are like the Dogparent’s of this story – their love for what they do shines through with each kind word to their GG family members, or those who are on their GG waiting list.  It goes beyond kind words.  It’s genuine friendliness and support.  If you’re a newbie to the dog-owning world, or if you have been owned by dogs most of your life….there is still a network of support and guidance.  Love.  That’s the key here.  We may not agree on everything, but there is absolutely no doubt in my mind we are all on the same golden path when it comes to the love of our dogs.   Family just doesn’t come through marriage, or birth.  It comes with the thread of friendship and trust.  I believe the Quinn’s have given us all that thread.

I mentioned this to one of the mother’s in a Chinese adoption group I meet with each month.  What connects us as friends and brings strangers together?  In this particular group, it’s our children from Asia.  In Golden Glory’s group, it’s the dogs.  But after spending time with the group here in the DC metro area last month, and now with the largest part of GG’s family in the Philadelphia area this past weekend – it’s not just the dogs.  It’s really about the family.

Like most families, this story will continue to grow.     I just hope they go the Pollyanna route for Christmas!

Golden Glory's Golden Retrievers
Golden Glory’s Golden Retrievers August 16, 2015
The Dogparents - Arlene & Kevin with Bella & Bristol
The Dogparents – Arlene & Kevin with Bella & Bristol
There can never be a short supply of tennis balls…ever.









Enjoying a delicious meal with the humans & relaxation time with the dogs at Four Dogs Tavern ~






As with any family story……to be continued.