children Posts

Other People’s Children

Dollies

She started coming around the house when she was an itty-bitty thing, knee-high to a water-bug or thereabouts. She’d come to play dollies with the girls in the “museum” room. That’s what everyone called the formal living room back in the day because nobody ever really used the room. When they grew tired of dressing dollies, she and the girls would explore the backyard, or sled the hill by her house. In other words, she’s been a part of our family nearly as long as her own family. She even calls me “Mama.”

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Gold Star Families: Making a President Look More Presidential

Owens

There are these documents most every Gold Star family has stashed somewhere. The signatures on those documents change from era to era, but the White House seal, it stays the same. The ones I have are over 50 years old now. They belonged to my mother but she passed them on to me – the document keeper of the family.

There’s the Regret-to-Inform telegram confirming that Staff Sgt. David P. Spears was KIA on July 24, 1966.

There’s the Letter of Sympathy sent from the United States president.

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A Fortunate Girl

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The roads are slick with snow and ice.

The sky is grey and foreboding.

Holed up here in my office, thinking of Karly Sheehan.

Today is her birthday.

Or the day that marks what is her 15th birthday, although Karly died at age 3.

Tortured, the jury declared, by a monster so much bigger than her that it’s inconceivable the wrongs he inflicted upon Karly.

I hear from people almost weekly, people around the world who have read or are reading Karly’s story. They always tell me that meeting Karly that way – through a story that chronicles her life and her death – makes them weep. They tell me stories of the abuses they, too, suffered, and how thankful they are to have survived child abuse.

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That God and Gay Thingy

Orlando

 

Maybe it’s the Orlando shooting.

Maybe it’s the access to military-style weapons.

Maybe it’s 13 months of temperatures rising.

Maybe it’s Donald Trump.

I’ve been torn from pillar to post over one thing over another lately. I find myself discombobulated much of the time. You feeling that way, too? Maybe we need a collective day at the spa, or a night around the campfire roasting marshmallows?

Years ago, when I wrote that memoir about my father, I encountered many Gold Star families. Sometimes, albeit infrequently, I would hear stories of estrangement. Death does that to families, causes sore feelings over one thing or another. Sometimes these are major offenses. Sometimes these are offenses that seem major because of the rawness that comes with death. Whatever the cause, it usually resulted in one thing – children being used as a bartering chip.

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The Children Who Heal Us

Hippie

Last night I started randomly receiving a series of text messages from daughter Ashley. At first, I thought she was sending me silly things my grandsons say. Just recently she sent me a note saying that Sullivan had asked if she could go get his “Granny baby” for him. Sullivan comes up with the most outrageous sayings. I think he’s in training for Comedy Central, but these texts were sent well past Sullivan’s bedtime.

I realized it was poetry Ashley was sending. Ridiculously bad poetry: “You are the bubble in my bath. The plush in my towel. The vanilla in my candle.”

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