The Plagued Parent

posts about surviving our children, the Baby Boomers who raised us, and everyone else with an opinion...

Category: LinkUps

Golden Repairs

Habit demands discarding the broken vase, or bowl or coffee mug; toss its ceramic fragments deep into the plastic trash bags that line the kitchens and the workshops of our lives. Rare occasions exist, the time and place are just so, when we stand in stillness holding the crushed pieces of fragile ceramic glass in raw and bloody palms […]

Me and Emily at the Stardust, 1958

He insisted they move his room so the moonrise and the evening sky would be more visible, pointing out that Johnson across the hall made it easier for them to comply with his request since Johnson died last week and the room was empty. The staff could not come up with a reason to say no, so they carted his […]

Rough Sketch

She draws self-portraits with over-sharpened pencils that often break under the pressure behind them and the paper tears after being subjected to ferocious tirades erasing lines deemed unsuitable and ugly, lines that failed to match the purity of her “vision”. The result becomes these angry sketches that — while mysterious, dark and brooding — seem more contrived and more fragmented […]

Snack Time

Along with the leaves, innumerable acorns have been raked to the corner of the yard where other dead and dying things rest and compost. Several chipmunks dart beneath the leaves thrashing about uncovering the acorns only to be usurped by a couple gray squirrels. Seemingly the five work as a group, a unit, plucking acorns from the […]


“It goes where it wants, water does,” he said. “It seeks the lowest of points and once there things will settle.” I just nod, hands in my pockets overseeing his crouching beneath the porch. “Yep,” he breathes heavy and mutters speaking through cobwebs. “Here’s the sag.” I just nod some more. “And.. here’s the rot.” Ok. Slipping […]

Our Only Option is to Hide

The scenarios played through his head like grey-toned filmstrip stills, most often before dawn when sleep eluded him and the night drained from the sky he’d think about it at length, wondering how he might address her should they ever meet on the street. Once upon a time she lit his life, shining, guiding him brightly through the darkness inhabiting […]

No Bad Luck

“Dad,” she screams. “Get up here now.” What now, I thought and flew up the stairs. She stood outside her bedroom dripping in her towel, head wrapped up like some ancient fortune teller. “Problem,” I ask as she points. “There,” she says fidgeting. “Gross. Eww, so gross.” In the shadow of the room’s corner a […]


  Midway up the hill, I meet the voice of another runner: end-of-season me. End-of-season me had some sharp words for my negative rantings expressed while trudging up the gravel road adjacent to the river. I pushed his voice back, trying to ignore it so I could focus on potholes and fissures cutting through the packed […]

The Don

Over my desk at work I have several family photographs pinned to the wall and a photocopy of Picasso’s 1955 work Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. What many recall of Miguel Cervantes’s 17th century Spanish novel is the windmills. In that episode of the book, The Don, believing himself to be a medieval knight errant complete with a […]


This morning I dropped my daughter off at school. In and of itself this is not unusual but the reason for taking her in this morning is — she may have a broken tibial bone in her ankle. I know, sucks right. When I returned home my wife and I had a discussion about how […]

Breaking News at 10

He went before the cameras as the triple decker burned in the background. He was studying in his bedroom in the third floor apartment. He smelled smoke and woke up the second floor, then went into the smoke filled first floor. A baby cried, someone coughed; he found them, carried them to safety. He even saved the […]

Metro Desk

“Some kind of warning would have been nice,” Ed thought as he sat in the conference room receiving the news, along with several other editors at the paper, that their divisions would be phased out after the deal with a Texas based broadcast group was finalized in a week or so. The suits left them in the conference […]

Halloween Leftovers

He held his daughter’s hair while she vomited into the toilet. An array of undigested colors and shapes propelled themselves from deep within her seven-year-old body. She convulsed and moaned slightly. “What did you eat,” he asked. “Candy,” she muttered as he wiped her face with a cold face cloth. “I know that,” he said. […]

Roller Coaster Coffee

Sitting in the coffee shop, near the painted window overlooking the sidewalk and the chalkboard marquis advertising a pomegranate iced chai latte special (is that even a thing?) his stomach contracted at the thought that she might back out at the last minute. They had not sat, quietly and alone for some time but he […]

Cover and Hide

She could feel briars dig into exposed skin on her arms and thighs; she pressed herself deeper into the leaves. Just play dead, she thought. Play dead or be dead.  She tried to regulate her breathing just like yoga class, but she worried about rustling leaves covering her face. If he hears, she thought. Focus, Marine. Focus. On […]


Take a second, he thought to himself, take a second and breathe. Suspended, hanging up-ended in the driver’s seat snugged in tight by the seat belt, eyes blurred, glasses lost, windshield fragments littering the too-close roof grazing his hair. Breathe and slow it down, he said again eyes closing trying to handle his already risky […]


Marta sat in the great hall studying Physiology with Marcus and two girls whose names she could not remember. They considered moving to the lounge because chairs and podiums were being set up for a mock presidential debate. Marcus, a basketball player, nixed the move saying, “Everything in that room is too small for me.” The girls laughed. Marta […]

Hanging On

Pebbles fell from the summit top above, grazing him and he knew she must have made it to the top. Free climbing he hung by his fingertips, the rough cliff face digging deeply against his limbs and he questioned their decision to do this without setting ropes; he had insisted, we can. Arms tired, shaky and weary, fingers […]

She was the stuff of legend

Dennis said, “The boy needs a dog.” I was almost two. My parents had their hands full and were not so convinced. Being ex-Navy, strong willed and forceful my uncle insisted, “A boy needs a dog.” She was a Shepard-Collie mix and I named her Tinker. We were inseparable. Our yard was fenced and I […]

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