Friday, May 6, 2016

Back in the Saddle Again


Thought for the day: A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kickboxing.



Hi-ya! April sure did fly by, didn't it? For those of you who successfully completed the A-Z Challenge, congratulations! I hope you had a blast, and made a bunch of new friends along the way. I'll be looking forward to getting back in touch with you guys, and finding out what I missed while I was away from the blogosphere.

Me? I enjoyed my break, and actually did some writing on my next book. Not as much as I would have liked, but 20,000 words is 20,000 more than zero. (Profound, eh?) Now the trick will be to keep plugging away at it.



Some years back, while in the middle of writing my first book, a Chinese restaurant fortune cookie provided me with this message. It tickled me so much, that fortune is still pinned to my bulletin board.





Now, I don't believe in horoscopes, so don't ask me why I read the darn thing every day. Habit, I guess. Anyhow, in the middle of April, right about the time I was starting to doubt my sanity for attempting to write another book... let along THREE of them, because it's a trilogy... the newspaper delivered me this horoscope. In case you can't quite read it, it says, You've the courage to try for your exciting goal; then again, a  lot of people have that much courage. Do you also have the courage to try again? And then another time? That's the rare courage it will take to succeed. Cool, huh? I don't know if I have the courage (or longevity) to complete three more books, but I've at least found something to add to my bulletin board. Life is good.

The latest update on the case of the Affluenza kid: He has been sentenced to two years in prison. Not as much as he deserved, perhaps, but I suspect the smirk of entitlement has finally been wiped from his face.

Okay, in an attempt to ease back into the swing of things, and because this Sunday is Mothers' Day, I'm gonna re-run an appropriate post from a few years ago, entitled If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother. I hope you enjoy it.

*****************************

Thought for the day:  I want my children to have all the things I couldn't afford. Then I want to move in with them.  [Phyllis Diller]

Giving birth is easy. It's like pulling a watermelon out of your nose.
This coming Sunday is Mothers' Day, so what better time to write about mothers, right?

A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never cared for pie.  [Tenneva Jordan]


Far beyond the obvious physical changes, there's something about the miracle of having a child that changes a woman forever. Suddenly, a woman who used to be able to sleep through a sonic boom wakes up on full alert every time her baby rolls over or makes the tiniest sound. After having a baby, a woman who used to be a walking fashion plate doesn't think twice about wearing wrinkled clothes stained with spit-up. And holy moley, her capacity to love expands even more than her waistline did. (Good thing, too... if it didn't, no woman would ever have more than one child!)

Suddenly, nothing is quite as sweet as those tiny little baby feet. They're downright kissable, aren't they?

There is an instinct in a woman to love most her own child— and an instinct to make any child who needs love, her own. [Robert Brault]

Then, practically overnight, babies become teenagers, and all of a sudden the little kid who used to be afraid of the dark wants to stay out half the night with his friends. The princess who didn't take her first step until she was almost a year old wants to borrow the car. They will always be the children of her heart, but more and more, they also become children of the world.

The best way to keep children at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant — and let the air out of the tires.  [Dorothy Parker]

But the truth is, no matter how big her babies' feet get to be, they still belong to her babies. Doesn't matter if those feet belong to a teacher, a doctor, or are ensconced in a pair of combat boots. Babies, one and all.

Grown don't mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What's that supposed to mean? In my heart, it don't mean a thing. [Toni Morrison- Beloved]







Of all the things I've ever read about mothers, I think Erma Bombeck said it the absolute best in her essay, When God Created Mothers:

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of "overtime" when the angel appeared and said. "You're doing a lot of fiddling around on this one."

And God said, "Have you read the specs on this order? She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts...all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands."

The angel shook her head slowly and said. "Six pairs of hands.... no way."

"It's not the hands that are causing me problems," God remarked, "it's the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have."

"That's on the standard model?" asked the angel. God nodded.

"One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, 'What are you kids doing in there?' when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn't but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. 'I understand and I love you' without so much as uttering a word."

"God," said the angel touching his sleeve gently, "Get some rest tomorrow...."

"I can't," said God, "I'm so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick...can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger...and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower."

The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. "It's too soft," she sighed.

"But tough!" said God excitedly. "You can't  imagine what this mother can do or endure."

"Can it think?"

"Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise," said the Creator.

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.

"There's a leak," she pronounced. "I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model."

"It's not a leak," said the Lord, "It's a tear."

"What's it for?"

"It's for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride."

"You are a genius, " said the angel.

Somberly, God said, "I didn't put it there.”

****


And just as our mothers always look at us as their children, a certain part of us wants to hang onto them, too. We don't want things to change. We want them to always be there, our home plate in the game of life, our constant refuge. We don't want them to grow old; we don't want them to get sick, and God knows, we don't want them to die.  But even after they do, they live on forever in our hearts.

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.  [Honore de Balzac]

Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; a mother's secret love outlives them all. [Oliver Wendell Holmes]

To all of you mothers, I wish you a wonderful Mother's Day. To all of you whose mothers are still with you, cherish them, not just on Mothers' Day, but every day of the year. To those of you experiencing that heart-wrenching role reversal—  taking care of your mothers, essentially mothering your mothers, as they once took care of you, with them depending on you as you once depended on them— bless you. I know how hard it is. For those of you whose mothers are no longer with us, I know you'll be thinking of them. And as long as they live in our hearts, they're never entirely gone.




Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world, a mother's love is not. [James Joyce]

                             Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.






66 comments:

  1. How lovely to see you back.
    Even if you have made my eyes all sweaty.
    And yay for Mr Affluenza getting a smidgeon of what he deserves. I hope his mama does too. I suspect life has become a very different place...

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    1. Hi-ya, Sue. It's good to be back. Sorry I made your eyes leak.

      I hope Mr. Affluenza's mother has to serve some time, too. I haven't seen any updates on what's happened with her since she was put on house arrest.

      Have a super weekend!

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  2. Susan, I'm delighted that you're writing another book and heartily applaud your determination. 20,000 words is extremely impressive. Procrastination is always my biggest obstacle when it comes to writing, but once I get over that initial block things usually go well. You have a lot of fans eagerly waiting for another book.

    I haven't seen this delightful Mother's Day post, so I'm glad you've shared it again. Only someone who has experienced motherhood could have this insight.
    I admittedly never wanted to be a parent, and have minimal fondness for children - - but I greatly admire motherhood and profound respect for all they have to go through.

    Have a fantastic Mother's Day!

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    1. What a very apt fortune you got in your Chinese cookie!
      Last week I went to a Chinese restaurant with my cousin and this was the fortune in my cookie:

      "Instead of worrying and agonizing, move ahead constructively"

      I saved it because I thought it was so appropriate for me!

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    2. Thanks for the applause. Now let's hope I can earn it. We visited our friends in Tennessee for five days in April, and I got up early every morning while we were there, and wrote. Since we got back home, other things keep demanding my attention, and it's been more difficult to squeeze in writing time. But I'm gonna do better...

      That's a PERFECT cookie fortune for you! Now, just... do it.

      Thanks. I'm glad you liked the post, Jon.

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  3. Hi Susan - good to see you back ... that Affluenza kid will have a prison shock ... and has a police record attached to him forever. His parents have a kid that is in prison ...

    Mothers - I always remember my mother stuck in her stroked bed saying now she couldn't look after me - the tables had reversed, and I was looking after her ... she had a tear in her eye, but couldn't cry because of the strokes.

    Adapting to their needs is essential as they age - laughing with them (or at them gently and quietly if necessary) when things get a little 'tough' ... and taking care of them ... it rewards you, the child.

    Cheers and so good to see you around - enjoy Mother's Day weekend ... our is within the Church calendar: Mothering Sunday is the 4th Sunday in Lent ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi-ya, Hilary. It's good to be back.

      I can imagine how tough it was for you to see your mother like that, but you did a fantastic job looking after her. I think there's a special place in heaven for people who take care of their parents.

      You have a super weekend, too. Cheers!

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  4. Glad the Affluenza kid got at least some punishment, maybe he'll turn around and go straight.
    I remember reading Erma Bombeck's tale of God making a mother years ago when I had one of her books; I'd forgotten about it until just now.
    I hope you get spoiled rotten for Mother's day.

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    1. I'm glad the boy is paying a price, too. Hopefully, a couple of years behind bars will change his way of looking at the world and his place in it.

      Don't you just love Erma? I still have quite a few of her books.

      Thanks. You, too.

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  5. My, you have been busy, Susan. 20,000 words is quite a lot of writing. Here I am, proud of myself for penning a three sentence paragraph in a birthday card. You take on big things and I think that is what makes you such such an interesting and positive person.

    I loved your repeat Mother's Day post. It is so sweet and true. No matter how old our children get, they are always our kids and always who we think of first and foremost. Like most moms, I know that my greatest accomplishment is my family who make me proud everyday.

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    1. Well, not all that busy, considering my last book was over 100K. Now, I need to write three of 'em if I want to do this project justice. It took me "forever" to finish "Hot Flashes," and I may not have that much forever left now... :)

      Yes, our kids will forever be our kids. And more than anything else we may do in life, they remain our greatest accomplishment and legacy.

      Have a wonderful Mother's Day, Arlene.

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  6. Welcome back to the blog land shack, quite the fortune cookie too haha 20K words is nothing to sneeze at. Hope you have a grand mothers day at your bay.

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    1. Thanks! Good to be back.

      Yeah, that's still the best fortune cookie I ever got. Well, the fortune, that is. All fortune cookies taste like vanilla-flavored styrofoam to me.

      Somehow, I think 20K words is something YOU could sneeze at... you write that much before breakfast, don't ya?

      Thanks. Have a super weekend.

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  7. 20K is awesome! And I love Erma's take on mothers. I am also very fortunate that both my moms are still here with me. Happy mother's day to you and I hope you have a wonderful day with smarticus :)

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    1. Thanks! It feels like a START, but not terribly awesome. (Like what those NaNo stars do...)

      Both moms? Wow, you are doubly blessed. Enjoy your time with them.

      Delete
  8. welcome back!! Happy May. Congrats on all of those words - now, were they put in proper order? Aye, there's the rub. But it sounds like your fortune cookie,etc will spur you on to greatness. Keep typing.
    And Happy Mother's Day weekend - nice post and you just can't ever go wrong with Erma Bombeck. Take care.

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    1. Thanks! Happy May to you, too.

      Proper order??? Nah, they're just a bunch of random words strung together... goes much faster that way. :)

      And a very Happy Mother's Day weekend to you, too!

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  9. I still like that post. And your Thought for the Day.

    Welcome to Trilogy World! I'm at the halfway point of Book #3 now. You can do it, too. But it ain't for sissies, that's for sure. Especially the middle book.

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you liked it. :)

      Wow, good for you! For me, the middle book is going to be the most enjoyable to write, I think. We shall see. Gotta make it through the first one first.

      Delete
  10. The fortune cookie and the horoscope, both signs that the stars are aligned for your great success.

    Beautiful post and so glad that you're back. You have been missed.
    Have a wonderful weekend. :)

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    1. The stars may be aligned, but I still have to learn how to squeeze more hours out of a day so I can get 'er done.

      Thanks. Hey! You shouldn't have missed me... I visited you several times, girl. :)

      You have a wonderful weekend, too.

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  11. So glad you had an industrious and enjoyable break, and very pleased to see your happy post.

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    1. Thanks, Geo. I'm very pleased you're pleased. :)

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  12. There are a lot of sociopaths in this world, and the Affluenza kid qualifies. I doubt he will ever develop a conscience, but in prison he may realize he risks being held responsible for his actions—something he clearly didn't learn growing up.

    Welcome back and happy Mother’s Day!

    VR Barkowski

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    1. Hmmm, not sure if he qualifies as a sociopath or not. Could be. But let's hope he comes out of jail a changed (for the better) man.

      Thanks! It's good to be back. You have a super weekend, too.

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  13. I LOVED Bombeck's essay & sent it to all my Duckies!!

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    1. Cool! THIS duckie just received it...:) I'm glad you liked it. (What's NOT to like about Erma?)

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  14. I think 20,000 words is fantastic! Keep up the good work! :) Wonderful post, Susan. Happy Mother's Day to you too!

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    1. Thanks, Connie, but like I told Joanne, it's just a bunch of random words strung together... :)

      Happy Mother's Day weekend to you, too.

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  15. Loved Erma! Wishing you a happy Mother's Day.

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    1. Me, too! Erma was the BEST.

      And a very Happy Mother's Day to you, too.

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  16. You do have a way with words, and I'm glad you reprinted Erma Bombeck. I loved her.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Just wanted to add that Joe Kennedy (I think he's Joseph III) left a girl paralyzed when he drove recklessly as a young man. She was in his vehicle, and when the car finally stopped, she realized she couldn't feel anything. She accepted the money the insurance company offered her. She thought it would last forever. It didn't. The last I heard, she wanted help from him, and he said he wasn't going to support some cripple. I hope that's changed. He also managed to have his first marriage annulled for no reason and turned his children into bastards. He's the bastard. He's the oldest son of Bobby and Ethel Kennedy. Their sons were notorious for getting into trouble. Two have died, one overdosed and one skied into a tree. I think the tree skier was separated from his wife because he copulated with the baby sitter while driving her home. Some members of the Kennedy family have serious problems with affluenza.

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    2. He's Joe II (I checked). The annullment was overturned, but the former Mrs. Kennedy wasn't told about it for two years. Their children were still considered legitimate, but their mother didn't feel that way after she was cast aside.

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    3. I'm not at all surprised you're a fan of Erma, too. She DEFINITELY had a way with words.

      Yeah, you're right. Some of the Kennedys had a serious case of affluenza, too, and most of them treated their wives horribly. How about Ted and that young pregnant woman (Mary Jo Kopeckni, or something like that) who died when he drove his car off the bridge...?

      Delete
  17. Three books? I'm impressed! You've been busy. Since you know that it will be three books, I'm guessing you have an outline and a plan for all the books. So...do the characters ever gang up on you and change the story into something different from what you had in mind?

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    1. Hi-ya. Well, don't be impressed yet. You know what they say about talk being cheap. Just because I say I plan to write three books doesn't mean I'll make it across the finish line, but I hope to, anyway.

      HA! Well, I wouldn't quite put it that way, but yes, the characters do have a way of mutating from the way I visualize them initially. (They think THEY'RE boss...)

      Delete
  18. Every photo of baby feet or hands melted me. And itemizing what Moms have to multi-task would surely humble the dad. Maybe.

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    1. Yeah, what is it about those tiny little feet that turn us to mush? And don't forget those cute little butts. The sight of tiny little baby clothes and shoes even turns my insides to jelly. Somehow, I don't think men are affected the same way...

      Not sure if it would humble dads or not. Those who sit back and expect mama to do it all probably wouldn't be impressed, and wouldn't be humbled a bit. (It's her "job.") And the fathers who are deeply involved in the day-to-day duties of raising children, like my sons are, handle a lot of that multi-tasking, too.

      Delete
  19. Happy Mother's Day!
    I'm thrilled that you've made such progress on your next book. I hope I can get 20,000 words during my break this month.
    Wish me luck!

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    1. Thanks! The same to you.

      I wish you a LOT of luck getting a bunch of work done on your new book. The sooner you write it, the sooner I can read it.:)

      Delete
  20. Happy Mother's Susan... xox

    It's so good to see you back and wonderful that you were able to write 20,000 words, fabulous.. <3

    I love this post, I don't remember reading it before, it might be my age... lol... but it brought tears to my eyes.. it was awesome xox

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    1. Thanks, Launna. I hope you've enjoyed a wonderful Mother's Day, too.

      I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you. :)

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  21. What a beautiful post :)

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    1. Thank you, Me. Gee, we have a lot in common... I'm a me, too!:) Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

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  22. I never got that strange desire to kiss a baby's feet (gross) so I guess that while I appreciate my mother's efforts immensely I have no desire to replicate the male version of that.

    And hey, cheers to 20k words AND a 3 book series! We're about to release the first in a book series ourselves, and while daunting, it is pretty cool knowing that you have a story worth telling over multiple books.

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    1. HA! Maybe kissing a baby's feet is a female thing, but don't be too surprised if the urge strikes you when the baby in question is your own. :)

      Thanks. Yeah, the "idea" of a three-book series is kinda exciting, but the hurdle of actually executing it may be something else. I'd like to complete all three books before considering publication. I think...

      Good luck with yours! I'll look forward to reading it.

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  23. Welcome back! 20k words during a break is awesome. Well done!

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    1. Thanks! Yep, 20K down, only about 300K to go... (sigh)

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  24. Great to see you back in the saddle again! And 20k is totally awesome. Lovely post about mothers. :)

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    1. Thanks! It's good to be back, and I'm glad you liked the post.

      Delete
  25. Dear Susan: wow - writing a trilogy needs stamina - which you have, I think - and it is always good to get support from every medium one can find - why not such a very exact (three!!!) horoscope? My Daughter in Love is very well at demanding kindly and lovingly and with praise another two pages written by me -- for me that works fine. So: I am interested in your progress!

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    1. Dear Britta,

      Thanks for the vote of confidence. I hope I have the stamina... we shall see.

      Sounds like you have a built-in support system with you daughter-in-love. Something we ALL could use.

      Thanks. :)

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  26. Only two years? He deserves a lot more than that -- and so does his horrible mother.

    Did reading that horoscope give you a chill down your spine? It is so eerily perfect!

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    1. I agree. Two years is still letting him off easy, but it's better than the slap on the wrist he got earlier.

      HA! A teensy bit. It sure did fit the situation!

      Delete
  27. Welcome back. It's great you got some writing done. Beautiful piece by Bombeck. I'm also a Sagittarius.

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    1. Thanks! I don't think I've ever read a piece by Bombeck that I didn't love.

      Cool. We "Sags" have to stick together. :)

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  28. Great to see you back! I'm also a Sagittarius so I got all excited reading that horoscope. Hope it's true! And the fortune cookie is just awesome. I would keep that too.
    Hope you had a great Mother's Day, Susan.

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    1. Thanks! It's good to be back. Ah, yet another Sag. (I'm also a "sag"...) Anyhow, let's hope the horoscope comes true for both of us. :) That cookie's fortune was the best one EVER, at least for me.

      I did. Thank you.

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  29. Welcome back! I posted my return post last Wednesday and then hit as many blogs as humanly possible, which is never as many as I'd like. *sigh* Your break was better than mine.

    I adore that fortune. Every writer should find that in their fortune cookie!

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    1. Thanks. Welcome back to you, too!

      I KNOW. I couldn't believe that fortune. Way too cool.

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  30. Wow. I teared up several times. Thanks. It's so true that though your children grow up, they are always your babies.

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    1. They sure are. Our kids have towered over me for quite a few years now, but they are still my babies. And always will be.

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  31. I must have read this before, but it didn't keep me from tearing up again. Beautifully written, Susan! Something tells me that you and Erma Bombeck would've really hit it off. Good luck with your book, and 20,000 words is impressive.

    Julie

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