For Here or To Go?


For Here or To Go?

The phrase for here or to go is uttered and I smile as mine is for here. School is back in session and as hectic as that is the familiar routine provides carved out blocks of time. Between drop off and pick up, my time is typically filled with commuting, getting ice tea, rehab, errands, talking, groceries, and writing.

My fiancé had a camping trip planned with old law school buddies and I saw my window open. I could not wait for my blocks of time to do things, nothing in particular. He would laugh now, of course I have thoughts on it. My first was my brother.

I have not hung out with just him in a very long time. One text later and lunch was planned. My fiancé had not even left his office yet, being type A he was working his way out the door. I was already out and on my way to Saratoga post track season. I drive through it every school day and yet rarely get to enjoy it. Today is that day.

My first thought was Mrs. London’s, at my big brothers suggestion, for a wonderful On The Half Shell and lovely unsweetened ice tea with a delicately placed lemon slice. Heaven, absolute heaven, I take a window seat and begin to take it all in. I see him, the man I saw in Geneva a month ago. My brother is early and taken up a spot on a bench across the street. Here we are about to have lunch and catch up in Saratoga not in Switzerland, I took a moment to cherish this. How long will it be before I can say that again.

I finish up my treat and head over to meet him. He does not see me until I cross the street and as I approach he looks up, “Hi, Chris.” This phrase is a familiar one and no one else calls me Chris, but my brother and no one says with his emphasis the, “Hi.”

He feels the same as we walk and talk about how long it’s really been since we had time like this. We were are old selves and grabbed lunch to sit outside and catch up. A bee stalked us and he battled it for his turkey sandwich which the bee clearly had eyes on as he caught me up on my nephews and life.

A man approached that knew him an old acquaintance and we enjoyed talking to him and I enjoyed being his sister as I was introduced. When you are young that is your identity, if your lucky to have one. I was. He always brought me with him and always included me. I may have had to ride on the handle bars of his ten speed down a major hill to our village, but I got to go, most little sisters do not.

I have written a lot about our father, yet my brother was the father figure and our dad was another child of my mothers. It was that dysfunctional dynamic that we did not know was upside down that kept us close. We thought everyone lived that way until we got older and went away to college.

With the bee attacking his sandwich, with him determined to unsuccessfully get rid of him it became part of the fun we were having catching up. I listened which I am working on and was proud of myself for doing so well. I thought how happy this lunch would make our mother and thought the bee was our father as usual being a burden as he was at times while we stayed on course in our own lives.

He took his life to go and many summer morning drives take me through his paper mill town. The days I go to rehab take me by another paper mill. When I see men standing on their break on hot summer days I realize the vice his mind was in. My brother spent one summer in my father’s mill. He knows what that hell is and was here to go through way more of the aftermath than me. He protected me and dealt with more than I will ever know.

A simple phrase, “For here or to go today?,” ask yourself? If it has been a while and connect with those who are close while they are here and forgive those who choose to take it to go. They have their reasons. Reaching out these days is simple, let go of what you think is going on with those you care about to listen and realize you mean to them exactly what they mean to you. How I feel about you my brother, that never is to go. Thank you for lunch and all the times you stayed even when you needed to go. You are the best big brother a little sister could ever have.

Over, Under, and Through, that is how we do!


Is There any Doubt?



Is there any doubt?

Is there any doubt I am a writer?

Or is it just me sometimes, some days, some hours?

Then you see something, read something or listen to other women writers you admire and see their vulnerability played out as well in their work. It is then I hear myself say, “OK, they doubt themselves at times as well.” I then see them with Oprah or their book launch on social media getting to express that doubt still lingering through their excitement, having made it. Validation now in hand as they continue to create while living through their complicated lives in the process. I take extreme solace in that and appreciate hearing more and more that when you are compelled to write, you are a writer.

When you know what is coming next and you are feeling anxious until it hits paper, afraid it will leave your mind. When you spend every waking hour thinking about it and not sleeping because of it, is that when you can say it?

My heart has given out. My brain has bled. I would be going back to campus myself to teach today as I did last year on my son’s first day of high school. He was proud of me and I was proud of myself, having had a stroke five months earlier. I loved teaching at SUNY Oneonta. I loved all of it. The two hour commute each way, three hours on my feet eventually having my heart attack. My heart broke today as I dropped my son at school and drove to rehab not back to campus. I have even finally changed my profiles.

I am a writer officially, as of today.

Thank you all for your continued support of my journey and continued inspiration. I would not be able to do it and believe in myself without it. Over, Under and Through, that is how we do!