Trauma Resurfaces The Pain of Yesterday!


Many people go through life and are never held up at gunpoint, robbed or in situations of extreme fear with shooters on a rampage.

I’ve now gone through this twice in my lifetime, thus far. We recently visited Waco, Texas to see our daughter, son in law and two youngest grandchildren (ages 10 months and 3 years). My daughter works at Baylor University and had decided to take us all to the dining commons for dinner on our 2nd night in Texas, (10-2019). We arrived, when suddenly, an alert was texted to her husband’s and her phones. The alert told us to “take shelter immediately & await further instructions”. My daughter started to panic as any mother of two babies would! I was frightened but tried to stay calm for her and the babies. We had to be separated from our husbands. They were sent to the men’s restroom & my daughter, the 2 babies & I were sent to the women’s restroom.

We awaited instructions but we were huddled into the corner of a handicapped stall. Finally, an employee came & told us we were on “lockdown” and we were all moved into the basement of the dining commons. There was stagnant air & it was difficult to breathe. I was very frightened but just continued to keep my daughter & grand babies calm. An employee, the cashier who I’d met as I entered the building; came around looking for me! She said that she was “drawn to me” & felt the need to come and check on me. She was so kind & she brought water downstairs for everyone. The water helped a lot and my granddaughter calmed down. Once we were all together as a family; in the basement, my husband was so good with the kids. We all tried to help them to be unafraid as we waited for the “all clear” alert. After about 55 minutes, we were given that alert and we were free to eat our dinner and go back to their home. We found out that about a half block away from campus, someone was shot. There were 3 people with automatic rifles on the run. The University took great care to see that we were kept safe during this ordeal. The staff was outstanding and very courageous.

It all brought me back to the time when I was 11 years old, in 1973, February. My parents, older brother & I went out after dinner to get my brother some Confirmation shoes. I was over looking at girls shoes, when suddenly I heard my father’s voice. He told me to come over to him. But a man had a gun pointed at my dads head! I didn’t know if I should try to run out of the store to get help? Or if it was not real? I remember saying aloud,”his “Candid Camera”? If I don’t cry, I get a prize?” My dad told me “Suzanne if you ever listen to me, do as I say right this moment! Come here right now!”

So I meandered back to the store room of the shoe store; where my family was held captive; along with another family of 4, a sales clerk and a manager. I saw my mother crying as one of the two men had their guns pointed at her face. The other man had his gun pointed at my dads head. I started to cry when they told my dad to empty his pockets and they proceeded to take my mothers wedding rings.(she’d gotten that engagement ring at age 14).

My dad grabbed the mans arm & said “Don’t you take those rings”! My mom yelled at him to get down and just do whatever he was told. I was crying so hard because the man said to my dad ,”shut up or I’ll put a bullet through your head”! I was really scared and my 13 year old brother stared emotionless as he was gathering every detail.

My mom passed out and the men grabbed my arm as if to take me with them. My mother laid on top of me as I was vomiting by this time! They kept telling my parents to “shut her up – or they would!” Finally, they ripped the phones off of the wall and made us lay down face to the ground. They said that we should wait 20 minutes before getting up. The manager somehow called the police. After they arrived, we told them as many details as we could remember. My brother stayed calm and gave them lots of Information.

After that, my mother was so scared & she didn’t want to go home right away. My Uncle, her brother, lived nearby. We went to his families home so my mom could calm down and feel better. Finally, we went home but I’ve never forgotten that day in my life. I had nightmares for a very long time and never was given a chance to discuss my feelings or fears. Lastly, I was blamed for the robbers taking my mothers wedding rings. My mother told everyone that as she was covering my mouth (because I was afraid, crying & even vomited as they robbers were saying “shut her up, or we will!!”), the robbers saw her rings sparkling and so they stole her precious wedding rings. Even though the robbers took all of the people’s wallets & jewelry etc., somehow it was my fault that those rings were taken off of her finger.

I guess I just wanted to share this with you all because the ordeal in Texas brought back some of those memories. After the robbery when I was only 11 years old, there were many more traumatic events that I experienced. If you know me or if you’ve had the chance to read the early posts &/or password protected posts in this blog; you’d realize how true this is. I was later diagnosed with PTSD, in or around my late 30’s. I finally received the help that was much needed. The Domestic Violence shelter and therapy has helped me over the years, to get past some of my fears. I still suffer today, but not nearly as much as I had in the past. Thank you for letting me share my experiences here with you today.

Suzanne, age 11 years

Inhumane Treatment Of Pain Patients In USA


I opened up My friends blog today (“Pharmacist Steve”). It is Steve Ariens Blog; and I saw a story of torture. There is torture going on in America! I’m seeing it every day now on the Internet! More & more chronic pain patients are being treated like common criminals! This is despicable! My God, are we living in North Korea, Afghanistan or in some 3rd world country (whos people , by the way; don’t deserve this kind of treatment any more than we don’t!!)?

How can the news media @Foxnews.com, @CNN, @MSNBC and all of the rest, be so one sided? Please, I implore you @POTUS, @GovChristie @PetersforMichigan (Senator Gary Peters), @NYGovCuomo (Governor Andrew Cuomo), @onetoughnerd (Governor Rick Snyder of MI). I implore you to think of the forgotten legitimate chronic pain patients. People are now living with daily chronic pain and receiving no treatment at all. They being totally forgotten & considered collateral damage of this “fake war on drugs” ! It’s a war against the chronic pain community; because they’re the ones who are dying. The pain community is stuck with zero semblance of a life as all of this is crashing down around them/us! The posted video is not just sad, it’s torturous to listen to. It’s terrible to watch. But it’s true and it’s happening all over the United States Of America! This is a story about a young mother, wife and daughter; who’s going through sheer bloody hell in Albany New York Trauma Center!

“Amy” Amy’s story of Human Torture in a NY hospital! is a young woman who just went through a painful stomach surgery and her stomach ruptured as well! The contents are therefore spreading throughout her body inside and this causes not only sepsis, but horrible excruciating pain! My husband went through it years ago, but they gave him a Morphine pump while in the hospital for several days following surgery. He was given pain relief, as any HUMAN BEING or any living, breathing animal should have!!

This is torturous and despicable treatment of anyone in a hospital, or any patient care facility; let alone, following a stomach surgery! How can the Albany Medical Center in Albany, New York, allow their patient to be treated in such an inhumane manner??? The behavior of the nurses who pledge also, to “care for the sick” and to “do no harm”; is unforgivable! This sort of treatment to other human beings deserves termination. Those so called patient care employees need to be fired and they should never be allowed to not care for another patient! This woman, who has a name, a face, a husband & a family; is living through hell!

You know what though? This is entirely preventable! She is not a prisoner of War! This is a young woman who’d much prefer to have a “normal” life! This young woman has a name, and that name is “AMY”! She has a young child and a husband. I’m guessing that her husband had to leave her to go home and take care of their little one! He had to do that and he thought he’d left his wife in the care of a reputable hospital facility!! Obviously, he was mistaken and that’s really sad!

What if Amy was unable to show us this video? What if she was incapacitated and couldn’t tell anyone what’s happening to her? Please share this video and Amy’s story. Write to your legislators and put a name and a face to all of our stories. Nothing can change if we cannot be brave and do something to help ourselves and to help Amy!

Our government leaders, the news media agencies and society need to as many faces and hear as many stories as possible about us! The chronic pain community being left behind and treated as though we are just collateral damage in the war on drugs! This has taken a turn for the worse. It’s gone from a “war” against illicit drugs to a war against the legitimate chronic pain patients. We will lose & continue to lose if not for people being brave like “Amy”.

Please speak out and tell everyone your story and the stories like this one! Get the word out about how chronic pain patients are not drug addicts. We are not addicted at all! Ask them if they can remember a time when they had lived through their worst pain imaginable? Then ask them to think about that pain never ceasing! Tell them this is what it’s like for us, for you!

Please pass this story around. Know that I received Amy’s video & story from Pharmacist Steve Arians Blog, at: PharmacistSteve.com….. It is posted in several places on Facebook. He asked if we could “please make this video go viral”?

Thank you for your help! Please…. let’s all help Amy & all of the other “Amy’s”! Thank you Steve Ariens too!

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A Mother’s Love


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You know…I’ve been sitting here thinking about all of the dance competitions we went to and how much fun they were.  They were lots of work, loads of driving, packing, bun making etc….but very fun and so fulfilling to see my child gain so much  and learn a lot from the experience!  I’m also thinking about all of the swim meets.  They were twice weekly during swim season, for several years.  I was always sitting in the stands cheering her on.  I had to buy her the right warmup suit, swim suit and those T-shirts with the team name.  We were always there supporting our children!

I also have been thinking about all of the tea parties, sleepovers and birthday parties that I’ve put on.  I’m thinking about the nights that I was up rocking my sick babies. I’m reminiscing about the trips to my daughters’ school to take forgotten homework and lunches, after I’d already started work. I’m thinking of the annual “night before the first day of school” at home manicures and curlers in their hair.  I always  got them new outfits  & I paid for extra dance lessons  so that my older daughter could try out for Dance Team/Pom.

I’m daydreaming about First Communion prayers, parties and the way I taught them  certain special prayers.  I’m thinking about how I helped my girls with their homework.  I always got involved in their  projects and book reports without the use of the internet or a computer! I remember my 2 daughters at their different stages.    I spent many hours reading books aloud to them while at the same time teaching them values, and instilling good ethics and integrity.  I gave direction to their lives as opportunities arose and used everyday experiences to  instruct them in the ways of the world  and trying to do the right thing.

I found groups to join, such as the YMCA “Indian Guides”;  in order to give them  happy experiences and good memories.  Most of all to spend more time with them! I always put the beginning and final touches on their birthday cakes while sometimes arranging “picnics in the living room” on rainy days!  We would drive all the way to the Toledo zoo because it felt nicer than the zoo that is a bit closer to us and I wanted to give them the best experiences.   My daughters and even sometimes their BFF’s,  were dressed alike  in matching animal outfits with little hats and glasses.

I tried to work  a few less hours  so that I could visit my children’s  school and help out as a “room mother” and even pop popcorn with the PTA moms!!  We’ve driven over 1800 miles one way, to take my daughter to visit someone; when I didn’t have to…. and we did that more than once!  I was the one reading, singing and telling stories night after night! I enjoyed it and found such fulfillment in loving my girls more than anything or anyone else.  They were always my number one priority as was their happiness and safety.

Finally, I was beaming at being called “awesome” by my youngest and her fiance, this past Holiday Season. It was  because the grooms parents were not happy with switching the whole wedding to have it  6 months earlier than planned!! Suddenly I was rearranging everything so it could all happen in just 3 or 4 weeks time instead of the original 6 or 7 months! Speaking of the wedding, we drove around without even thinking anything of it; and we happily did much of the “legwork”.  I made the bridal party gifts; the Swarovski crystal heart earrings that the Maid of Honor and bridesmaid wore at the wedding. For the Bridal shower, I made all of the food, decorated the house and I ordered a beautiful photo cake. I had originally bought little gold bags to fill with 3 colors of M & M’s for wedding favors.  Then the wedding colors changed and so I bought two more colors of little mesh bags to fill with the colored M & M’s.  My husband and I filled and tied each little bag, while sitting on the floor the night prior to the wedding.  I had even bought some adorable personalized  mini tags that I had found online.  These tags had the bride and grooms names, wedding date, and the words “thank you for coming” printed on them!  I found and bought the Unity candle and arranged the Scottish Highland dancers to come and do the traditional dances;  welcoming the groom to our family.  I called around to find a florist that could get some Scottish Heather, the traditional flowers of Scotland.   We also spent a couple of hours with another florist, picking out flowers, arrangements, colors, ribbons and whether we wanted the Silver sparkle leaf or a green one? My daughter left the  important flower order decisions, regarding all of the wedding flowers in our hands. My BFF had offered to pay for them as her gift to the bride and groom, so she met us at the florist as well.

I set up the nail appointments, hair appointments and the professional make up artist appointments for my daughter and the girls in the wedding party, because she asked me to do it. I had more time because she was working. While I was with the girls the day of the wedding, my husband drove to get the wedding cake.  After picking up the wedding cake, he also drove to the hotel about 20-25 miles away and checked the Newlyweds into their room.  He did this so that later when they arrived exhausted; they could just go straight to their room!  They would not have to worry about going to the front desk and getting a key, checking in and all of that!  I  bought a 5 lb box of chocolates and some sparkling grape juice, which my husband put in a bucket with ice so that the newlyweds would be surprised as they entered their room and they could have a special toast to their awesome day! The toast was  to be made with a pair of special wine glasses that I painted the words “bride” and “groom” on!  The wedding was on January 11th, 2014!

This post started out by discussing my role or roles in making memories for my girls lives.  I discuss the time during the  lives of my two daughters, when they were young and growing up with a single mother, for the most part. Then I wrote about the time leading up to my younger daughters wedding in January 2014.  Now it is May 2014…..four months later, and “Mother’s Day” came and “Mothers Day” went.  I did not get a phone call.  I did not even receive a card this year.  I cried.  It is the one day we get honored annually, for giving birth to our children and for raising, loving, giving, teaching and sacrificing our lives for them . It’s not about the one day, it’s about an entire lifetime of giving and loving, and sacrificing etc.  I couldn’t  wish my mother a “Happy Mother’s Day” but it is because she past away in 2012 of colon cancer. Try to remember all that your mother has done for you.  It’s a cumulative thing, not just a short time period, or one day.  If you get upset with her about something, try to still let her know that you really do love and appreciate her and all that she’s done.  Because like I’ve said, Mothers’ Day is not about just that one day, it is thanking her for giving you life and all that she’s done for you and the love that she’s shown.

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Protected: Life Goes On *(email for PW at: Jewelrymkr@aol.com)


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The Short Version of “My RSD/CRPSII Journey”


Photo Sep 13, 6 45 57 PMHello Luvs, This is just an updated version of a Facebook note from about 5 or 6 years ago. I wanted to just update the info a little and my age etc.  I don’t think I’d ever written just a short and simple version of my RSD/CRPSII  journey. I’ve written about other things and ailments  and such….but this is just a re-copy of a simple note from an old Facebook page of mine. So here it is and I’m just sharing it with you. …Now, remember…it’s not a well written or even well planned out or well thought about “blog ” post, but just a Facebook note from ages ago. I only wanted to share because I just realized that some people don’t really know how I got the RSD/CRPSII.  So here you go…I hope it’s not too boring..

My name is Suzanne and I am 52 years old. I have written other “notes” before but they all included other things that have happened to me in my lifetime and not “just” the RSD/CRPS  journey. I thought I would just write a note about my journey with RSD/CRPS and not any of the other things going on medically or regarding the horrible car accident that I was in when a man ran a red light on August 11,2002. The accident changed my life completely so I do have to give an introduction about it and then I’ll stick to the RSD/CRPSII.                                                                                                                    I’ve had 12 surgeries & suffered an MTBI with brain injury rehab for 3 yrs, Worsened Dysautonomia/POTS/NCS with a pacemaker.  I’ve got:  nerve damage, degenerative disc disease, leg braces/AFO’s.  I was in wheelchair then walker and now I usually use a cane but still keep the wheelchair always with us in the car. I have a motorized scooter for long distances…Oh there is so much more..I just wanted to give you a little insight is to the things that were bad enough and then in 2007, April; I had surgery on my right foot. It was going to be my last surgery for awhile and then in June 2007 after it wouldn’t stop hurting, burning and burning and being “on fire” and being “purple” and “hot” etc…I got the “news” from the foot surgeon that did the surgery. She told me I had RSD/CRPS or “Reflex sympathetic dystrophy”. I hadn’t ever heard of it before. She offered me “lyrica” and some lidoderm patches. I couldn’t take the Lyrica but I did try the patches, they didn’t work at all. I was already on mega pain medication from the chronic pain from the car accident in 2002. The pain Dr already had tried everything on me BEFORE I even got the RSD! He wanted me to get an intrathecal pain pump. They set up an appointment with my husband and I and talked about all of it with us. I decided that although I didn’t really want another piece of metal (as big as a hockey puck and I’m only a tiny woman), bigger than my pacemaker and I had screws in my shoulder already also. I would let them set up the pump “trials” just to see if it would work. I am always willing to try things to make sure I’ve exhausted all options.

The night before the pump trials, the Insurace company called and ….well, no …wait…actually the pain Dr’s office called and told me the auto insurance company called them and denied the pump totally! They said they no longer could help me because they’ve tried everything they could. Now remember this was BEFORE I ever got the RSD! So the pain Dr did continue for awhile to call my GP and they’d discuss pain meds and what I should do and finally I just let my GP be the “eye in the middle of the storm” for me. He’s helped me so much and I owe him for that, he is a wonderful GP. Soooo…then came that day in June 2007 when I was given the diagnosis of “RSD” along with the lidoderm patch’s and sent on my way! I had no idea what RSD was and didnt have a clue at all and she didn’t tell me either. I decided NOT to look it up online because whenever I used to do that, I would get scared and make myself worry and so I just didnt do anything for awhile. The pain in my foot got worse and redder and more purple and it was as if someone poured gasoline on my foot and set me on fire! I put an ice pad, a soft pad that is cold from physical therapy on it and wrapped it in that sometimes. I swear I could almost hear a “ssssssstttttt”  or sizzling sound coming from the cold hitting the heat! It did help a bit and then I found out that you are not supposed to use “ice” for RSD or it can spread or make it worse. Well, I don’t consider this “ice” but just a cold pad, so I used it and I still do.

Then I went back a few months later crying to the GP and crying to the foot surgeon so they sent me to a foot/ankle orthopedic DR. He came into the room and I already had my socks and shoes off. He said first thing to me “This is classic RSD on your right foot”! Oh my gosh!!! How did he do that? So he also noticed that my foot drop was worse and I got ordered prescriptions for 2 foot/ankle orthotic braces or “AFO’s” to help my foot not drag. They also got me some different than the ones I wore the first few years after the car accident. These ones didn’t touch the top of my foot which was essential due to the pain!2012-12-19 00.40.32-1

I then had an appointment with a Neurologist and a Rheumatologist for other reasons and then they told me that I had “RSD or CRPS” also! So I had several Dr’s tell me that I have it and the foot/ankle orthopedic Dr did give me a brochure or a copy of some written material on RSD and it blew my mind! As time went on, I started noticing my other foot was turning purple, burning too. Not quite as bad as the other and not 100% of the time, but if I walked any amount of time, it would be so awful later on that day or evening. Then the left knee that I had surgery in prior to the diagnosis of RSD, but due to injuries from that car accident; then it started to burn and swell and turn purple! I didn’t know what was going on and at the same time, I had gotten somehow an infection of some sort in my mouth and then the RSD went to my mouth and now i have to be careful when it flares and I have prescription toothpaste and trays for my teeth made special for me . The dentist made these and i put flouride gel in them for 5 mins each time (supposed to be twice a day but I cant do that so i do it when i can) and it helps my teeth not decay b/c I have a hard time brushing even though I still do anyways. The RSD has since gone to my upper back and no one can rub it or when I shower it feels like bullets pelting my back and the nice,soft towel feels like sandpaper! Then the worst part besides the right foot being the worst part, was this past April 2009. One evening my head hit the desk soooo hard that it felt as if someone had come up behind me and pushed it down as hard as possible onto the desk. I didnt actually “feel” a person or a hand or anything, but my head just went “plunk” down onto the desk. I started to cry because it hurt more than anything. I was terribly bruised, black eye and huge bump. I am on Coumadin already (a blood thinner for a problem with my heart called “atrial fibrillation) so it bruised something awful and hurt even worse than it looked. Since that day things started a downward spiral again. My eye on the right side won’t blink but 20% and the left only 80%. MY eyes look very strange when looking at me when I’m talking now because one eye blinks and the other one doesn’t. I have certain days where the eye(s) flare up and get all swollen and red and hurt and burn and stab with pain. The pain in my eyes (right worse) is very strong and burns, burns, burns!! Guess what? I have been to an Opthymologist, neurologist again, my GP and now they’re sending me to a Neuro-Opthymologist next week. The first three Dr’s seem to agree with me ,that RSD has now spread to my eyes. Though the new neurologist told me that “RSD spreads very rarely..hmmm” ..I’m not sure where he got that from , but I’ve done my own research and it does spread 70% of the time according to the things that I have read and the people i know who have it! Now I’m getting sores on my lower legs that won’t heal and finding out that is also part of RSD. I have ulcers on my right foot that won’t heal and I have cream after cream to soothe it for 5 minutes,but that’s about it.

I have a great GP and I am on a moderately good pain regiment now. I have good days and bad days. I have lost so much I lost my cousin who used to go with me to breakfast and shopping and things. After the car accident she said to me :”I can’t see you anymore”….I asked her “why not? what did I do?”…she said “seeing you in pain like this makes me sad, when I’m sad it brings me down and when I’m down it brings my family down so I cant see you anymore”….I’ve run into her at a few family outings and funerals. I’ve tried to “apologize” for whatever I don’t even know what I did?? I tried to email and talk to her. She still won’t talk to me to this day and I never ever said or did anything to her ever that was not kind.

So there you have it..this is my journey with RSD/CRPS. I had to mention the car accident because it does have its place with all of this. I got a Traumatic brain injury and something called “Dysautonamia” from the car accident/brain injury. I also found out that a large percentage of people who have RSD , also have “Dysautonamia”. It is when your Autonamic nervous system shuts down and doesn’t work anymore. It includes : memory,vision, heart rate/blood pressure, gut, motility, many other bodily functions! I had to see a Neuro-Cardiologist, a world renowned Dr in Toledo,OH at the University of Toledo Medical Center and had to get a pacemaker etc…

I’m very lucky to have a wonderful team of Dr’s and a wonderful husband,Craig, of 17 years now.  It’s not the quantity of people in your life that matters, but the quality. I have a great GP and some others. But I have the kindest, most loving husband who is gentle and helpful and wonderful.  I am blessed to have him and some dear friends that are always as near as a phone call. We just had a beautiful wedding for my youngest daughter and I had a bridal shower for her and she married a really nice guy. They are so cute together. They are busy and live an hour and half away, but they have their young lives to live right now.. I pray for the day that my other daughter & I can be mended in our hearts and be even better than what we once had been!. She has never left my mind, my heart or my soul for a moment!

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Memories Are For Keeping….


The girls having a real Scottish TEA PARTY with their friends…at our house
My darling girls in matching outfits at the Toledo Zoo
Jessica, Goofy, Momma and Amy at Disneyworld Florida
Momma and her girls…Jessy 6 and Amy 4!!
Craig and Jessica Laughing with a goat at Disney Animal Kingdom!!

Craig doing the Pumpkin Carving with the girls! An Annual affair!!
My girls and me in Indian Guides at a Campout!! (My girls are on my lap!)
Amy and momma when Amy was on Jumprope team & Momma was coach!

 Hello Luvs,

   I’ve been sitting here today reminiscing about my “mommy days”.  I know that I’m still a “mommy” and that I’ll always be a “mommy”…but there were those “good old days” when I got to put my mommy-ing skills to work 24/7 and I loved every moment of it!! I loved it from the C-section (*well, OK maybe I didn’t really enjoy the surgical parts…LOL…but the outcome, I must say was pretty awesome)!

     I did so much with my girls and for them that I cannot even remember all of it to write it down here. I just did what any Momma who always wanted to be  “Momma” would have done! I really and truly tried to “make up” for the fact that their dad was in and out of their lives (mostly ‘Out’) and that he moved 1,000 miles away and told them the day before “Fathers day” at one of Jessica’s baseball games! OH Yes…I forgot…both girls played on T-ball, and girls softball at our church and/or at the Plymouth/Canton girls Softball league for several years running or about until the 3rd grade! After that it was dance lessons again and the other things I mentioned above. They always had CCD or “Religious Education Classes” on Tuesday nights! From Kindergarten through the 8th grade they did that and at the beginning I also taught Kindergarten CCD classes.  Tuesday nights or “CCD” nights were fun because we didn’t have much money and that was the night I got them at daycare as quick as I could (but I always did that!!!) and we popped over to Wendy’s, McDonalds’s or Taco Bell!! Then I’d take them over to their Religous Ed. classes where they stayed until about 8:00 pm or so. After that, we went home and got ready for bed, watched a bit of TV in my bed together and then I’d read to them each together or separately (whatever they wished) and I sat on their toybox and sang songs to them nightly. Some of the songs that I sang were: “You are My Sunshine”, “Mockingbird”, “Daddy’s Whiskers”, Adelweiss and a few others! I loved it and lived for it actually!

     After a long day working at the University of Michigan Hospitals in Ann Arbor, MI;*(about a 35 minute drive from our apartment in Canton, MI…) I would pick them up at day care and we would then go to our apartment just across the street. I would make dinner, eat dinner, clean up from dinner and never asked them to help really. I don’t know why? I should have taught them better and showed them how to be more helpful but I wanted them to be “kids” as long as possible. To me that meant having fun and doing their homework and not cleaning and/or helping me cook etc. They have plenty of time in their life for doing domestic services and I just wanted them to be happy and have a nice time after they finally did get to come “home”! I guess now I would do it differently if I had known then, what I know now! LOL….I should’ve taught them and showed them how much I had to do and that we were a “team” and we all should pitch in and help. I wish I’d done that and for that I admit that I was wrong! But still, that doesn’t make me a “bad” mother!! I tried to be the very best mother that I could be! I had to really be a mom and dad for many of those younger years.

   It’s funny because I never liked carving a pumpkin so much. I enjoyed the experience of baking the pumpkin seeds and watching my girls have fun with it. I loved helping to draw the faces  on the pumpkins, with the girls’ faces beaming!  To me, that was the fun part of it but the total experience was a Fall tradition. I just always thought it was more of a “dad job”. My girls wouldn’t have been able to have the experience during those several years when their dad was nowhere to be found. They wouldn’t have been able to have that one Fall tradition that I just didn’t have the strength in my arms/hands to do…the one “dad thing” or single parent thing that I just could not do by myself!  Luckily, I had a good friend, Jeff at the time.  He was so kind to come over and carve a pumpkin with the girls at Halloween time! I still remember those times and I appreciated his help so much. Another thing that I had a hard time with was teaching the girls to ride their “two wheeler” bike! I would grab anyone and everyone to help me run behind them and along side of them because I was so afraid of them falling and knocking their teeth out or something! But we got through all of those times!! We even got through a couple of Christmas’s when I had hardly any money to buy them gifts and I couldn’t let them down!

    What I did those years was really use my imagination; and it paid off in the end! They say those were some of their favorite Christmas childhood memories now! One year the church and the Domestic Violence Shelter gave me quite a few toys, dolls and games to give them under the tree. I was quite appreciative and tried to “pay back” the shelter especially, when I got re-married and re-established into a more normal lifestyle to where I could give back!  Another year that I remember was when they wanted all “baby stuff” for their dolls for Christmas! How was I going to afford real baby seats, clothing and diapers etc?? They each had their favorite dolls. Jessy had “baby dear” and Amy had her “blonde baby dear” or her “Mary” doll.  Here’s what I did: We came home from daycare/work one night in November and their favorite dolls were gone but a note from SANTA CLAUS was left for them! It said that He “had taken their dolls to the North Pole to fix them all up nicely and he would bring them back on Christmas eve”! They were filled with surprise and wild-eyed childlike excitement! It was spectacular! I was so hoping that they wouldn’t be upset or afraid that Santa had come into our home when it wasn’t Christmas eve. I had left such a *magical note with kind words from St. Nick telling them exactly what he was doing and that their baby dolls would be back, better than ever! They trusted Santa, of course. I made it a good thing and so they took it as just that!

   When Christmas morning came it was the best ever! I had gone to the resale shop and gotten: bibs, bottles, baby seats (one for each) and baby diapers, blankets, booties etc.!!! They were in awe when they woke up and saw THEIR own dolls back from the North Pole from Santa’s House and workshop. Their baby dolls had new clothes and bonnets on their heads. They had their ears pierced (I had put little earrings in the dolls ears), some baby items and they were sitting in REAL baby seats!! Oh it was really special to watch their excitement. I feel excited and so happy right now just thinking about these memories! Thank you for allowing me to share them with you!