These pages have been strangely silent. For many reasons. I’m tired, for one. Tired of the despair following the election. Tired of the underlying sorrow no matter how happy the upper levels. I’m just…tired.

But the better reason is that Scottie was home for a week. I have no words sufficient to express that joy. We spent a lot of time together. I taught him how to make sauce. We played games, chatted. Thanksgiving down in NJ with my entire family, always fun. Noisy, but fun. And I remembered why it was a really good thing he was a country away during the election. Whew!

And yet the whole time he was here, I knew my hourglass was losing sand, and he’d be gone again, back to his life. Where he belongs. Where he is happy. I might see him next summer, or maybe next holiday season. Until then, there are texts and phone calls and the occasional Facetime chat. It’s hardest when first he leaves, but I’ll be fine, really. Knowing he’s happy, out in the world and doing his thing, is what I want most for him. And for me. It’s a good feeling. A proud one. I don’t want my kids bound to my side any more than I want to be bound to my own mother’s. I’ll still miss him so much, it’ll hurt sometimes.

Scott misses his brother out there in Portland, but he misses him more when he’s here and expecting him to be sitting on the couch with his vape and a grin, or coming in the door, sweaty from the gym. I know how he feels. After a year and a half, I still watch for Chris’ car to turn into the driveway sometimes.

And even as I write this, the joys of my life tap my shoulder. “Don’t forget us.” A week with my son. Thanksgiving with my family. Christmas and New Year’s to come. My amazing daughters. My adorable grands. In a couple of weeks, I have a friend coming from KC for a Christmas visit. We’re meeting a few other friends in NYC to see the tree and have some fun. My day-to-day life is good, full. A fabulous chat with Beloved Agent Janna about Entangled (formerly known as Undeclared) not only pulled the elements of that story together, but gave me insight into Heroically Lost. I’m ridiculously thrilled to start revisions on Entangled–as soon as I have Heroically Lost in a place I feel comfortable leaving it for a couple weeks.

And then there’s Europe in March. Virginia Beach in May. The Jersey Shore with the kids and grands in August; September, too, with friends. Myrtle Beach in October. Maybe I’ll even squeak in a trip out to Portland in April.

I feel like a jerk for being sad when I have it so good. Yet, sometimes happiness feels so horribly wrong. I miss my son. Difficult as Chris’ life was, as his life was for all of us, I just want him back, and that feels wrong too. Wishing him back wishes back his pain, his struggles he’s now free from. But should I be glad he’s gone and free, after all? How wrong is that? I want Scottie to stay in Portland where he’s happy. And I want him closer by. But I don’t! Because…because…because–egads, it keeps going around and around. All the conflict constantly churning in me is what has me so exhausted.

As Jamie said to me this morning: God mom, you and all your stupid and totally valid complex emotions! SO ANNOYING (with a smiley face, because this is how we best relate in my family, with playful derision that dulls the sharp edges.)

I responded: Simple has never been my forte.

For now, I got these things out of my head and onto a page, where they do me the most good. Now, an hour later than usual, it’s time to get to writing.




Filed under Life's honest moments

15 responses to “Meandering

  1. Diana Munoz Stewart

    If you were a simple person, you probably wouldn’t be able to relate so well to others or to write complex and real characters. Love you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is what I love about your posts–you share and name it all. And I truly feel that is what being fully human is about. Feeling everything deeply and letting it flow as it does. It’s not either/or–our experience keeps showing us differently. Pain and joy, grief and happiness–we feel all of it. And how amazing is that!
    As always, thank you for sharing your heart with us. And I sure do hope you make it to Portland…I would so love to meet up with you if you do. Coffee at Powell’s? πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lise-Marie

    hugs and peace to your tired heart


  4. Your words are a force. Keep on writing! I appreciate so much what you say and how you think. If you come to Portland (if you mean the Oregon one) please let me know. Would love to see you. As an enticement, we are near Powell’s Bookstore.


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      Thank you, Mary. And I absolutely will! When I get out to Portland, I won’t lack for ways to spend my hours while my son works. I have four friends (that I know of) out there hoping I make the trip. And two of you have suggested Powell’s! (Lorraine, above. I bet you’re kind of neighbors.)


  5. I’m so happy you had such a wonderful visit with Scottie! I think if might be a law of physics that the depth of our sorrow is determined by the height of our joy. Can’t wait to see you again – just two more weeks. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚


  6. Allison MacInnes

    Tee~~I have struggled for some time now because my life feels so empty. Out of work for the better part of the last four years = failure. No tangible friends to have “memories” with. No relationsip to come home to and to share my day with. No family vacations ever. Wondering how I am going to pay my ridiculously high rent in CA when I have no money. Not the plans I had made for my life at 52 years old, that is for sure. Your words made me cry both happy and sad tears. Sad, because I can relate to your thoughts and feelings regarding Kris and Scottie – totally! And, happy because for the brief time I read your words, I felt relief- and this is the part that again made me sad- that even having all you have (and teuthfully) all I wish I had; doesn’t make the awful things any better. So what does one do??? I wish I knew. Please promise me that if you figure that out, I will be the first person you share the secret with, okay? Give your loud and crazy family a hug from me this’s Christmas and enjoy all of your upcoming escapades and, most of all, write about them ~~~so I can go too! Love you tons Tee❀️❀️❀️❀️ Allie


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      I wish I had answers, love. A friend commented on this post that it seems the depth of our sorrow is measured by the height of our joys. In my case, it’s true. My joys have always been great, and my sorrows harder than most. I don’t wish that on anyone, but what is the alternative? Is it better to suffer those sorrows to have such tremendous joy? Or better to never know those heights? I really can’t say. All I can do is my best to endure the lows and not let them diminish the highs.
      From the time we were kids, I’ve always known you wished for what I had, and have. If I could give you even some without visiting on you the sorrows, I’d share in an instant! All I can actually give you Is my love, and tell you that I’m here.


  7. altaredspaces

    “I knew my hourglass was losing sand,” can I just say…gorgeous words. Sigh. You describe the lusciousness of joy and sorrow side by side so eloquently. It lifts me up. Just like your glad thoughts tap you on the shoulder. Is it wrong that hearing you suss out this tightrope of emotional tangle makes me happy? How messed up is that??

    “All the conflict constantly churning in me is what has me so exhausted.”

    Simple is not my forte either, Sweetheart.


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      I think “simple isn’t a forte” is an unspoken prerequisite to being a Dollbaby, I really do.

      Being happy reading my sussing (love that word!) isn’t messed up. It’s part of why I splat my heart on the page the way I do. It’s in the hope that it resounds with others, and touches them in some way, whether it be happy, sad, or bittersweet.


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