Tag Archives: family

Band-Aides For The Heart-An Essay

Over Sixty Years Of Life

In 2010 our three daughters threw us a surprise 40th anniversary. Our oldest made this collage to show our lives before, during and after children.

Band-Aides For The Heart-An Essay

By Donna Jean McDunn Author

Do you have children? My husband, Pat and I raised three daughters. Talk about drama. It began almost from the first moment of birth, right up until they moved out of the house… Oh, wait, it didn’t stop there. Maybe it lasted until the second time they moved out or was it the third. No, that wasn’t it either. Could it have been when they each were married? Nope. So when does it stop? The truth is, I don’t have a clue.

During their growing up years I had almost completely stopped writing. Life had just gotten so over whelming. The only writing I managed to do was to scribble out some of the funny things they did or said to put in their baby books.

When our youngest was a teenager, the desire to write began to grow again, but I could still only manage a few words now and then. And usually when I would pull out paper and pen too write, it was because something had upset me.

From birth on, seeing one of my daughters in pain for any reason was enough to make me write. I wanted their lives to be free of physical and mental hurts. Unrealistic, I know, but that desire is still a big part of me and will be until the day I die. Below is a short essay I wrote many years ago when my youngest was sixteen; she will be thirty-five next month.

Band-Aids For The Heart

From a very young age, I always knew I wanted to be a mother. I loved my baby dolls, and treated them as if they were real babies. I was seven when my baby brother was born. I had wanted a baby sister, but he was so cute, it soon didn’t matter. I couldn’t wait to hold my nieces and nephews when they were born. I baby-sat a lot. I just knew that being a mom was going to be easy.

Here I am as a teenager with my favorite people and animals. My little brother, Mike is on the far left, my nephew Tommy is next to him and I’m holding Tommy’s little brother, Danny. The two dogs belong to them. Duchess is on the left and that’s Duke on the right.

Then reality struck.

Pat and I were married at nineteen and hadn’t quite reached our twenty-first birthdays, when Patty was born. Jodi followed three years later and Jamie three years after her. No one had warned me about the mountains of diapers, bottles and the tons of clothes that were necessary incase of accidents…and there were always accidents.

I soon learned that being a mom was a lot different than being a big sister, aunt or a baby sitter. I couldn’t just hand them over to my mom or my sister like I had my little brother and nieces and nephews or go home to my own house like I could when I used to baby-sit. I was stuck with them twenty-four seven.

But the joy of all those first smiles, first steps and first words made all the sleepless nights and the worry worth every minute. The milestones soon began to add up and before I knew it, those years of babyhood were slipping away.

Instead of dirty diapers, I now had to deal with bumps and bruises, scraped knees and cut fingers and toes.  Most boo-boos could be healed by Mommy’s kiss. For other ouches, a band-aid and a kiss could stop the hurt. I thought I would always be able to take away their pain. No one warned me about the boo-boos we had no control over.

Like the disappointment Patty experienced when she didn’t win the Science Fair in the fifth grade or the surgery when Jodi was five. The learning disability that still haunts Jamie today. Each time and for each daughter, I wanted desperately to take the pain away and make it my pain. Isn’t that what I’d been doing since infancy? “Let Mommy kiss it and make it all better.” And sometimes I still could, but that wasn’t going to last for much longer.

The teenage years were filled with drama in the form of laugher and tears. The laughter came with each new budding romance and the tears came when it ended. By the time my youngest daughter became a teenager, I had gotten quite good at spotting the first signs of a failing romance. Unfortunately, they didn’t make band-aids big enough for broken hearts.

It didn’t come as a complete surprise the day I came home from my aerobics class to find my sixteen-year-old daughter sitting at the dining room table, her schoolbooks spread out before her. She looked up at me and with a shaking hand, brushed blond hair from flushed cheeks and red puffy eyes.

My stomach did a somersault. I took a deep breath and silently prayed for the right words. “What’s wrong?” I asked, even though I thought I already knew the answer.

Her eyes filled with tears. “Matt,” she said, her voice cracking. “We…” Her face crumbled and she buried it into her hands.

“I’m so sorry.” I put my arm around her shoulders. “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine,” she whispered.

I knew that wasn’t true because my own heart felt ready to burst. “Do you want to talk about it?”

She shook her head no without looking at me. “Not yet, maybe later.”

What do you say to someone who is in this kind of pain? Is there anything that will take it away? If there is, I hadn’t found it yet. I stood there with one arm around my little girl’s shoulders and couldn’t think of one single thing that would ease her pain or my own. “How about a hug?” It was the best I could come up with.

Jamie stood and wrapped her arms around my neck. I wanted to ask her when she got so tall, but instead I said, “Anytime you feel like talking, I’m here to listen.” I rubbed her back, like I did when she was tiny and needed comforting.

She nodded, sucked in a deep breath and straightened her shoulders. “I’m going to lay down for a while.”

“Okay, I’ll let you know when dinner is ready.”

She seemed…different. A tiny smile played on her lips. “Thanks Mom,” she said.

Somehow that one little hug had made a difference. Maybe, I’d found a band-aid after all.

As always, I love comments and appreciate your opinions or questions.

My short story Trapped, included in the anthology Mystery Times Nine 2012 will be released November 19, 2012. It can be pre-ordered on Amazon now. 

My young adult paranormal/mystery will be released in May 2013, but can be viewed on Muse It Up Publishing’s website: Nightmares

Other places I can be found:

Facebook Author Page  

Facebook Profile Page 

LinkedIn

MusePub_Readers : MuseItUp Publishing Readers Group

I’m also on Twitter.

Other Places to view my short stories:

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

A Reason To Live

Saving Katie 

Pack Leader 

The Golden Stallion

Gus’ Big Adventure

A Short Story: I Couldn’t Help It

Life Is Fun!

A Short Story: I Couldn’t Help It

By Author Donna Jean McDunn

For all of you out there who have been around children, I have decided to introduce you to a little boy I created. My question for you though: Is he really only fiction? You read the story and then decide for yourself.

****

He looked up and saw Mommy coming toward him. “Oh, oh,” He looked down at the mud puddle he was sitting in.

Oops!

“Shawn Francis Quinn. What are you doing? I told you not to get dirty while I dressed for work.”

She sounded really mad. “I’m just playing.” He wiped his hands on the front of his shirt. It left streaks of mud behind. He gazed up at her. “I couldn’t help it.”

Mommy’s face turned a pretty shade of red. “Shawn, go inside the porch and wait for me there. I’ll run in and get your bath water ready. I’ll be right back to help you—so just wait there and try not to touch anything.”

Shawn watched her go inside the house, but he didn’t want another bath and he didn’t want Mommy to go to work anyway. He kicked the muddy water.

Walking slowly toward the house and stepping in as much of the soft sticky mud as he could while he listened to the neat squish-squish sound of his shoes. He liked squishy mud and he liked that sound, it made him giggle and he almost forgot why he was going inside, but then he remembered and scowled.

He opened the door, leaving a cool mud handprint on the handle. He plopped down on the rug and pulled one shoe off, tossing it to the side. Chunks of wet mud and dirty water splattered on the floor and wall. He watched, fascinated as the icky stuff slid down the yellow wall.

He stood up, leaving the other shoe on and pulled his shirt over his head and yanked. The muddy shirt came off suddenly and he stumbled against the windowsill, knocking Mommy’s flowerpot onto the floor, all of its contents spilled out.

Shawn picked up the cracked pot and stuffed the plant back inside of it with as much dirt as he could. It looked a little funny when he held it up, but he put it back on the windowsill anyway. He tried sweeping the rest of the dirt under the rug with his wet shirt, but it just smeared it around and then everywhere he stepped, he saw his foot print of his toes and the bumpy bottom of his one remaining shoe.

Mommy would be returning soon to take him to his bath. He plunked down on the floor again and tried pulling his shoe off. It was stuck, so he kicked with all his might—the shoe flew into the air just as Mommy stood in the doorway. It bounced off the ceiling, flinging mud and dirty water everywhere and landed with a thud on her chest.

Her eyes were wide with surprise and she just stood there looking down at the muddy goop on her white shirt.

Shawn tried not to laugh, but she looked so funny all covered with mud—he couldn’t help it. The laughter started in his tummy and bubbled up into his mouth. It burst out onto his lips.

Mommy glared at him, but then her face changed. The corners of her eyes crinkled up and her lips began to twitch. She laughed so hard she had to sit down on the floor. Shawn had never seen her laugh so much. She pulled him onto her lap for a hug.

Shawn looked up into her laughing face. “I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it.”

“I know buddy.” Mommy kissed the end of his muddy nose. “I couldn’t help it either.”

It doesn’t taste as good as it I thought!

So what do you think? Is this fiction?

Well yes, but I couldn’t find the picture I wanted of my grandsons after they “accidentally” played in the mud.

As always, I love comments and appreciate your opinions or questions. If you leave your blog or website address, I’ll visit and comment. If you’d rather be found on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, I will like, be friends, follow, or Tweet.

My facebook author page is: http://www.facebook.com/donnajeanmcdunn

My facebook profile page is http://www.facebook.com/mcdunndonnajean

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/donna-mcdunn/42/819/423

It’s been said that writing is a lonely business and that’s true, but if we writers and readers continue to support one another, then we are no longer alone.

It’s The Little Things That Matter The Most

Our lives jumbled together promises that we’ll both live forever in our daughters and grandchildren’s hearts.

It’s The Little Things That Matter The Most
By Author Donna Jean McDunn

Tomorrow is our 42nd wedding anniversary. Yep, that’s right, forty-two years of wedded…life. Were you perhaps expecting I would say “bliss”?

Marriage isn’t all happiness and flowers and I would never describe it as blissful. Marriage is work, more work than any teenager could ever have imagined. The only thing harder is “raising teenagers”, but of course we didn’t know that, not then anyway. We were two teenagers in love and didn’t know or care how hard life would get.

It didn’t matter to us that Pat had just received his draft notice and he would be leaving in three weeks. It didn’t matter that I would be left alone for the better part of two years worrying that he might have to go to Viet Nam and maybe never come back. We had a friend who died over there. He’d only been there a few months.

But we were lucky, Pat never left the States, and I went with him whenever I could. I’d never been away from our small town or my family and we had no idea how homesick we, okay I, would become and how quick our lives would change. Our first baby girl was born a year later in August of 1971, but within the next six years there would be two more. We had to grow up fast.

Aren’t they beautiful?They are all grown up now.  Where did the days go?

There were so many ups and downs in our marriage just as there are in every marriage. The birth of our three daughters was the ups, but the bills that accompanied each one were the downs. According to statistics the hardest thing on a marriage is money or I should say the lack of money.

We had plenty of that all right, the lack of money that is, but over the years it has gotten better. However, until our daughters finally graduated and stopped moving back home every few months, it seemed impossible to see ourselves ever living debt free. Then miraculously we paid off our credit cards and in four years our house will really belong to us instead of to the bank.

Looking back over the years, I can honestly say, money never played a role in making or breaking our marriage. For me, it was the little things that most often threatened our life together. A careless comment or the lack of an encouraging comment at an appropriate time, were for me the hardest things to ignore and forget. I’m not saying I never made the same mistakes. I’m sure I did, I’m human too, but if our marriage was doomed to fail and I was the one to call it quits, those comments or lack of, would have been the reason.

It still is.

I don’t know if anyone else feels the same as I do, but I need to know I am appreciated and loved and I shouldn’t have to ask if it’s true. Without those two things, I wouldn’t have a reason to stay, not even for my daughters. In the long haul of things, Pat has always managed to come through and give me what I needed.

Have I done the same for him? I’d like to think so, but to be honest, I’ve never asked him if he has ever wanted to leave our marriage and I don’t want to know now if he ever did. There are some things better left unsaid, even in a marriage or maybe especially in a marriage and maybe that’s why it’s worked for us for forty-two years.

Our eight grandchildren are now what holds us together as a family and for them we would both walk through fire, just the same as we did when our daughters lived at home. I just hope the grandkids never ask us to co-sign a loan, because that will never happen. We had to learn the hard way: Fire can be put out with water, but a co-sign could last forever, especially at our age.

These guys are why grandma and grandpa stay young at heart

As always, I appreciate your opinions or questions. Please, leave a comment. If you leave your blog or website address or where you can be found on Facebook or Twitter I will follow you, leave a comment, like, or Tweet in return.

It’s been said that writing is a lonely business and that’s true, but if we writers and readers continue to support one another, then we are no longer alone.

My Young Adult short story “Trapped” was recently chosen as one of nine winners in The Young Adult Mystery Times Nine 2012 Short Story Competition. The list of winning authors and their story titles may be viewed at:
(13) Buddhapuss Ink LLC   Click on “see more” to view the entire list. The winning stories will be published together sometime in September or October. I will update you then.

My first adult short story, “Saving Katie” has been published at: http://www.thepinkchameleon.com. Once on the site, scroll down the page until you see Short Stories. Click on that and the list of short stories will appear. Find “Saving Katie”.

Some of my work can be found online: My children’s story “Pack Leader” can be found at: http://www.knowonder.com.

I also have a children’s story, “The Golden Stallion” online at: http://www.storiesthatlift.com. Once on the site click on the Story Library and then Children’s Stories.

In May 2012, my children’s story, “Gus’ Big Adventure” was published at: Bumples Magazine. http://www.bumples.com/