A “Dad-Shaped Hole” in My Heart

Father’s Day approaches, and although I rejoice in the wonderful Dad that my daughters have, I take no such joy in my own.

He was an unsolvable mystery to me. He married my mother when she was seventeen and they had me when she was nearly nineteen. My only impressions of him as I grew up came from family members who shared stories of his selfish, immature treatment of Mom during their short marriage. He seemed unable to connect emotionally with others, and from an adult perspective, I wonder if he may have been somewhere on the autism spectrum.

Soon after my birth, my mother divorced him and married her next husband. He was the one I would think of as “Dad” until that marriage dissolved when I was about six or seven years old.

My father checked back in briefly when I was fifteen; traveling from Memphis to Tulsa to sue for my custody when my mother temporarily gave my guardianship to my manager. I was a professional singer living in Oklahoma with my manager while my family stayed in Washington.

He strode into the courtroom, acting as his own attorney, and seemed totally oblivious to the realities of the situation (no, my mother was not giving me away) or any emotions I might have about meeting him for the first time. He lost his case, but my manager graciously invited him to her home to meet with me. I sang for him for the first and last time in my life, and tears came to his eyes.

Silly me; I thought we might have connected. Continue reading

The “Year of YES!”

Woman Says Yes

(c) Can Stock Photo /studiostoks

I recently wrote a piece for a women’s collective giving circle blog. It was an interview with one of its many interesting and philanthropic women. You can see it at Impact Austin if you are curious. There was something she said that caught my attention and wouldn’t let go. She said that she had decided this past year was the “Year of YES!”

In her case, what she had decided to say yes to was travel. If an opportunity came her way, she took it and found herself with family and friends in places all over the world, having a blast!

What would your “Year of YES!” focus on? We all know we can’t possibly say yes to everything, but what if we decided for a year, or even just a month, to say yes to a certain neglected interest area in our lives?

I think our world might change. Continue reading

After the Weddings…

_Ogg-Wedding-0253SmI wrote about Weddings, Finances and Your Kids not so long ago, and now that the second of our two daughters has concluded her nuptials (last night!), I thought I would check back in with some of the takeaways from these experiences.

As I mentioned in that post, we gave our daughters the money that we planned to spend on each of their weddings, and the choices that went along with that gift. No strings were attached, other than that we expected to be there to see them wed. Continue reading

Dementia Decisions

NYT Article Image - Evan McGlinnMore of us are living longer, and sometimes our bodies are in better shape than our minds as we hit 80-90 years and beyond of age. I am seeing this dynamic in my mother-in-law, who is 92 and can still walk a mile and a half around a mall with few breaks, but who experiences memory gaps that frighten her and challenge that brilliant mind that conquered crosswords in pen and dominated all of us in Scrabble not so long ago.

Seeing her change and decline has been a life lesson to all of us that this may be our future as well, and we need to think now about how we want our lives to be then. Continue reading

Want to Think Young? Mentor!

canstockphoto28358255I am sure I echo many members of my generation who express the feeling, “I don’t feel as old as I am!” 

We look in the mirror and see the inevitable downward slide of gravity’s toll, the wrinkles or fine lines that our frolics in the sun have left us as souvenirs, and sometimes we see the fatigue that lingers in eyes that have seen pain, sadness, and struggle. But when we look away from that mirror and assess ourselves, we are often shocked by the mismatch between the image we have seen and the way we feel inside. I don’t know about you, but I am enjoying that immensely!

I have found the secret to the fountain of youth and it may be available to you wherever you are and whatever you are doing. It is thinking young. Continue reading