If you read nothing else today, read this!

I haven’t been blogging for a while because I have been going through some very trying times with one of my sons.

It has been heart wrenching, draining and all-consuming.

A mother’s love NEVER gives up.

I wanted to share a passage with my boys from one of my favorite books, The Greatest Miracle in the World by Og Mandino. I feel the message is something that every teenager needs to hear. I knew that it would be difficult for them to read and understand, so I rewrote the passage as an act of love.

The truth is that the message below is for all of us.

Please share it with your loved ones and your children… with anyone who is struggling with depression, loneliness, being bullied, feeling worthless or having thoughts of suicide.

This will always be, in my opinion, one of the most life changing messages you will ever read.

Much love,





To: You

From: God (Your higher power, the universe or however you perceive God)


Know this, I hear your cry.


It passes through the darkness, filters through the clouds, mingles with starlight, and finds its way to my heart on the path of a sunbeam.


I have anguished over your pain and your cry.


Know that I hear you.


Be at peace.

Be calm.


I bring relief to your sorrow for I know its cause… and its cure.


The passing years have filled your mind with fear and doubt and anxiety and remorse and hate. There is little room for joyful memories where these beasts habitate.


Cry no more.


I am with you.


Let me share with you, again, the secret you heard at birth and forgot.


You are my greatest miracle.

You are the greatest miracle in the world.


Those were the first words you ever heard. Then you cried. They all cry.


You did not believe me then… and you do not believe me now.


How could you be a miracle when you have made mistakes, when you have lacked confidence and when you have failed?



I still love you.


You have been told that you are special, that you have infinite possibilities and gifts… like an angel in action, you are divinity in disguise.


You have been told that you are the salt of the earth.


You were given the secret to move mountains, to perform the impossible.


You didn’t believe me.


The consequences of your own thoughts and deeds lead you to look for a scapegoat on which to blame your failure.


You blamed me.

You were wrong.


Let us take inventory of your blessings.


Are you blind?

No. You can see… and the hundred million receptors I have placed in your eyes enable you to enjoy the magic of a leaf, a snowflake, a pond, an eagle, a child, a cloud, a star, a rose, a rainbow… and the look of love.

Count one blessing.


Are you deaf?


No. You can hear… and the twenty-four thousand fibers I have built in each of your ears vibrate to the wind in the trees, the tides on the rocks, the majesty of music, a robin’s song, children at play… and the words I love you.

Count another blessing.


Are you mute?


No. You can speak… as can no other of my creatures and your words can calm the angry, uplift the despondent, inspire the quitter, cheer the unhappy, warm the lonely, praise the worthy, encourage the defeated, teach the struggling student… and say I love you.

Count another blessing.


Are you paralyzed?


No. You can move. You can stretch and run and dance and work, for within you I have designed five hundred muscles, two hundred bones, and seven miles of nerve fiber all synchronized by me so you can move.

Count another blessing.


Are you unloved and unloving?


No. No more. Love’s greatest secret is, to receive love it must be given with no thought of its return. To love for fulfillment, satisfaction, or pride is not love. Love is a gift on which no return is demanded. Now you know that to love unselfishly is its own reward. And even if love is not returned it is not lost, for love not reciprocated will flow back to you and soften and purify your heart.

Count another blessing.

Count twice.


Is your heart weak?


No. Your heart is strong. Touch your chest and feel its rhythm, pulsating, hour after hour, day and night, thirty-six million beats each year, asleep or awake, pumping blood through more than sixty thousand miles of veins, arteries, and tubing… pumping more than six hundred thousand gallons each year. Man has never created such a machine.

Count another blessing.


Do you have a skin disease?


No. Your skin is a marvel of creation, you need only wash it with soap and water. In time all steels tarnish and rust, but not your skin. Eventually the strongest of metals will wear, with use, but not the layer of skin that I have constructed around you. Constantly it renews itself, old cells replaced by new, just as the old you, replaced by the new. Everyday a new day to reinvent yourself.

Count another blessing.


Are you unable to breathe?


No. Your lungs are the portholes to life. They support you even in the vilest environments and they labor always to filter life-giving oxygen through six hundred million pockets of folded flesh while they rid your body of gaseous wastes.

Count another blessing.


Do you have blood poisoning?


No. Within your five quarts of blood are twenty-two trillion blood cells and within each cell are millions of molecules and within each molecule is an atom oscillating at more than ten million times each second. Each second, two million of your blood cells die to be replaced by two million more in a resurrection that has continued since your birth.

Count another blessing.


Are you feeble of mind?


No. You can think for yourself. Your brain is the most complex structure in the universe. I know. Within its three pounds are thirteen billion nerve cells, more than three times as many as there are people on earth. To help you file every perception, every sound, every taste, every smell, every action you have experienced since the day of your birth, I have implanted, within your cells, more than one thousand billion protein molecules. Every incident in your life is there waiting only your recall. And, to assist your brain in the control of your body I have dispersed, throughout your form, four million pain-sensitive structures, five hundred thousand touch detectors, and more than two hundred thousand temperature detectors. You are my finest creation.

Count your blessings.


Are you poor?


No. You are rich! Together we have just counted your wealth. Study the list. Count your blessings again and tally your assets!

If you have answered yes to any of the above questions, know that I have given you countless more blessings for the above blessings that you lack.

You have talent, abilities, pleasures, instincts, sensations, pride and hope.

You have the power to change your life.

You have so much. Your blessings overflow from your cup for I have bestowed them upon you with much generosity and regularity.


What rich man, old and sick, feeble and helpless, would not exchange all the gold in his vault for the blessings you take so lightly?


Never in all the seventy billion humans who have walked this planet since the beginning of time has there been another exactly like you.

Never, until the end of time, will there be another such as you.

You don’t understand or appreciate your uniqueness.

Yet, you are the rarest thing in the world.


From your father, in his moment of supreme love, flowed countless seeds of love, more than four hundred million in number. All of them swam within your mother, gave up the chase and died.

All except one. You!

You alone persevered within the loving warmth of your mother’s body, searching for your other half, a single cell from your mother so small that more than two million would be necessary to fill an acorn shell. Yet, despite impossible odds, in that vast ocean of darkness, you persevered, found the minuscule cell, joined with it, and began a new life.


YOUR life.

Two cells now united in a miracle.

Two cells, each containing twenty-three chromosomes and within each chromosome hundreds of genes, which would govern every characteristic about you, from the color of your eyes to the charm of your manner, to the size of your brain.

With all the combinations at my command, beginning with that single sperm from your father’s four hundred million, through the hundreds of genes in each of the chromosomes from your mother and father, I could have created three hundred thousand billion humans, each different from the other.


But who did I bring forth?




One of a kind.

Rarest of rare.

A priceless treasure, possessed of qualities in mind and speech and movement and appearance and actions as no other who has ever lived, lives, or shall live.


Why do you value yourself in pennies when you are worth a fortune?


Why do you listen to others who bully you and put you down, and why do you believe them?


No longer hide your rarity in the dark.

Bring it forth.

Show the world.


Don’t strive to be like your friends. Never imitate others. Be yourself. Show your rarity to the world and they will shower you with gold.


For all the rules and speeches and scriptures on success and how to attain it, only one method has never failed… Go the extra mile.


The only certain means of success is to render more and better service than is expected of you, no matter what the task may be. This is a habit that has been followed by all successful people since the beginning of time. The surest way to doom yourself to mediocrity is to perform only the work for which you are paid.


Go the extra mile.


Don’t think you are being cheated if you deliver more than the small portion you receive. There is a pendulum to all of life and the sweat you deliver, if not rewarded today, the pendulum will swing back tomorrow and deliver tenfold.

The mediocre never go the extra mile. If you only do as little as others, the responsibility for your failure is yours alone.

Do not be concerned if you serve an ungrateful boss. Serve him more. Go the extra mile.

You cannot command success, you can only deserve it.



To count your blessings with gratitude, to proclaim your rarity with pride, to go the extra mile and then another, these acts are not accomplished in the blink of an eye.

Be patient with yourself and your progress.

Things that you acquire with the most difficulty you retain the longest; just as those who have worked to earn a fortune are more careful with it than those whom inherit one.


Be proud. You are not the momentary whim of a careless creator. You are a manifestation of no force but mine, of no love but mine.

You were made for a purpose.

I have never lost faith in you and I made no further effort to improve on you.


For how could I improve on a miracle?


You were a marvel to behold and I was pleased. I gave you this world and dominion over it. Then, to enable you to reach your full potential I placed my hand upon you and endowed you with powers unknown to any other creature in the universe, even unto this day.


I gave you the power to think.

I gave you the power to love.

I gave you the power to will.

I gave you the power to laugh.

I gave you the power to imagine.

I gave you the power to create.

I gave you the power to plan.

I gave you the power to speak.

I gave you the power to pray.


My pride in you knows no bounds. You are my ultimate creation.

My greatest miracle.

A complete living being.

One who can adjust to any climate, any hardship, any challenge. One who can manage his own destiny without any interference from me. One who can translate a sensation or perception, not by instinct, but by thought and deliberation into whatever action is best for himself and all humanity.


I gave you one more power.

A power so great that not even my angels possess it.


I gave you the power to choose.


With this gift, I placed you even above my angels… for angels are not free to choose sin.


I gave you complete control over your destiny. I asked you to determine for yourself, your own nature by exerting your own free will. You are free to fashion yourself in whatever form you prefer. You have the power to choose to degenerate into the lowest forms of life, and also the power, out of your soul’s judgement, to evolve into your highest form, which is divine.


What have you done with this tremendous force?


Look at yourself.


Think of the choices you have made in your life and recall, now, those bitter moments you would have fallen to your knees if only you had the opportunity to choose again.


Use wisely your power of choice.


Choose to love… rather than hate.

Choose to laugh… rather than cry.

Choose to create… rather than destroy.

Choose to persevere… rather than quit.

Choose to praise… rather than gossip.

Choose to heal… rather than wound.

Choose to give… rather than steal.

Choose to act… rather than procrastinate.

Choose to grow… rather than stagnate.

Choose to pray… rather than curse.

Choose to live… rather than die.


Now you know that your misfortunes were not my will, the power of your actions and thoughts, and their outcomes were your doing, not mine. My gifts of power were too great for your small nature. Now you have grown both taller and wiser and the fruits of all your positive efforts will be yours.

You are more than a human being.

You are a human becoming.


You are capable of great wonders.

Your potential is unlimited.


Who else, among my creatures, has mastered fire?

Who else, among my creatures, has conquered gravity, has traveled through space, overcome disease, famine, floods, hurricanes and droughts?


Never demean yourself again!


Never settle for the crumbs of life!


Never hide your talents, from this day forward.


Remember, a child says, “When I am big.”

A teenager says, “When I grow up.”

A grownup says, “When I get married.”

An adult says, “When I retire.”

And then, retirement comes and you look back over your life and somehow it seems you have missed it and its gone.


Enjoy this day, today… and tomorrow, tomorrow.


But just as before… you can choose failure and despair or success and happiness.


The choice is yours. The choice is exclusively yours. I can only watch, as before… in pride… or sorrow.


Remember to always count your blessings, proclaim your rarity, go the extra mile and use wisely your power of choice.


And one more thing… do all things with love… love for yourself, love for all others, and love for me.


Now wipe away your tears.

Reach out, grasp my hand and stand straight.


And always remember…


















Part 2: (Of My Newest 6 Part Series) A Good Sense Of Humor Is Hereditary… And That’s A Fact.

True to form, Ed was late picking Jean up for their first date to the movies.

The lights were low and the movie had already started, as Jean and Ed made their way, taking small sideways steps past the knees of the seated patrons.

Self-conscious about blocking the view of everyone seated, who were already watching the movie, Jean nervously glanced back to see what was taking Ed so long to make his way down the dimly lit aisle.

Ed seemed to be moving at a slow pace, as the woman’s head in the row in front of him jerked to the right.

Jean heard a gasp escape from the woman’s throat.

Ed stopped in his tracks, trying to figure out why the woman had groaned.

Moviegoers in the seats behind expressed their disdain by yelling, “sit down.”

The woman’s long hair was caught in the fly of Ed’s pants.

Ed fumbled to release her hair.

“Oh God, Is this really happening!” thought all of the parties involved.

But it was happening.

Ed struggled to free the entwined hair from his fly as the movie played on.

Finally, he managed to free himself (and the woman’s hair) from the grip of the zipper on his pants and take his seat next to his date.

For most people this would have been the first, and last date, not to mention a story that would live on in infamy.

For my mother and father, it was the beginning of many embarrassing, funny, unbelievable stories that they wholeheartedly embraced as part of the love story that was unique to them… and one that they would tell for years to come.

Join me for Part 3: My parent’s first Christmas together.



Part 4: The Power Of Generosity – The Nun

John and I met her while taking our dog, Max for a walk in our neighborhood.

It was the flourishing gardens, and their vast contrast to her small, ramshackle house that originally caught our eye.

We often saw her out in the yard, digging, planting and watering at all hours of the day.

She was a short, robust, elderly woman, probably around seventy years old.

We would wave as we passed her house and she would wave back to us.

The first time we spoke to her, John had stopped to comment on all of her beautiful flowers and thriving vegetable gardens.

She told us her name was Cristiana, as she smiled with not only her mouth, but also with her sparkling blue eyes.

John and I both liked her immediately.

As the months passed, our dog walks led to personal tours of Cristiana’s garden, laughter and many conversations.

“Cristiana likes me, Erin, but she really seems to have an affinity towards you.” John said one day as we passed her house on the way to take Max to the park.

“Do you think so?” I replied, “Because, I think there’s something really special about her, it’s like we have a connection.”

“Well, it shows.” John stated, and I smiled at his comment.

We didn’t know much about Cristiana, other than she was single, Polish and could uproot a rhododendron with an ax like no one you’ve ever seen.

Cristiana, was funny, caring, soft-spoken and for the most part, a pretty private person.

By the time our friendship had reached the one year mark, we though it strange that she would invite us into her yard and share her passion for gardening with us, but never once invited us into her home.

There was a lot we didn’t know about Cristiana, but as with any friendship, we accepted it for what it was and carried on.

Eventually things in our life began to take another direction.

Our neighbor across the street, Madlyn, had an ailing husband.

Then we learned my mother’s cancer had returned.

Life became quite hectic, as we spread ourselves thinly between my mother’s and Madlyn’s home.

Max’s long walks to the park became a thing of the past and our visits with Cristiana ceased.

I felt bad. I worried about Cristiana living alone. I also worried about how she felt about us no longer stopping by to see her.

The seasons changed and we still hadn’t stopped over to visit Cristiana.

It was a hot summer day when we decided to walk Max to the park. Probably not the best decision when it’s over 90 degrees, but for some reason we went anyway.

I felt a twinge of guilt and as we passed Cristiana’s house and headed down the hill to the park.

Thankfully, she isn’t outside. I thought, feeling both embarrassed and as if I had abandoned a friend.

On, the way back up the hill, John, Max and I were panting from the heat and dying to get back home for a cold drink.

I glanced up when we reached the top of the hill and stopped in my tracks.

There was Cristiana standing at the end of the driveway wearing an old house dress and eating a handful of cheese bobka.

Max began running towards her, dragging John behind on the leash.

Before we knew it,  we were standing right in front of Cristiana, while Max jumped and yelped his greeting. She patted Max on the head as she tore off a piece of cheese bobka and tossed it on the ground, to Max’s delight.

“It’s so good to see you!” I said, as she gave me a hug. “I’m sorry we haven’t been around, but life has been hard.”

“I know it has,” she replied. “Please come here, there’s something I want to give you.”

We followed Cristiana up the driveway and into her backyard, as Max happily lapped up the trail of crumbs from the cheese bobka.

On a table near the house laid a pile of beautiful, freshly cut flowers from Cristiana’s garden. Her hands worked quickly as she formed them into a bouquet.

“This is for you, Erin.” She said, as she placed the most enormous bouquet I had ever seen into my arms.

“Thank you Cristiana.” I replied, shocked by what just transpired.

“Those flowers are absolutely gorgeous!” John added. “Thank you so much.”

“Cristiana, do you have something cold to drink?” John asked. “Maybe a bottle of water? I think Max could use a drink too, especially after that cheese bobka.”

“I don’t have anything cold.” Cristiana replied, “My refrigerator died, well, it was old and I just have some stuff in a cooler on the porch.”

We talked for a few minutes, but we all knew that it was too hot of a day to stand in the sun.

As John and I made the long walk back home we became fixated on the fact that Cristiana didn’t have a working refrigerator.

“John, she can’t survive without a working refrigerator.” I said with concern, “There has to be something we can do.”

“We certainly can’t afford to buy her a refrigerator,” John said. “But I agree, we have to do something.”

“Well, maybe somehow we can… we have to find a way.” I stated.

Once back at our house, and after having a cold drink, John got on the computer and searched for a refrigerator.

“Erin, come here and look at this!” He yelled.

I ran to see what he was so excited about.

“Here’s a 4.3 cubic foot, dorm room refrigerator. Perfect condition. Five minutes away. Fifty bucks.”

“How big is that?” I asked.

“It’s one of those tall college refrigerators.” John replied, “We can fit it in my car and have it at Cristiana’s in twenty minutes!”

“Oh, please call!” I told John. “I hope that they still have it… I hope they’re home.”

Someone answered on the second ring.

They were at home and would be waiting for us.

We could pick up the refrigerator immediately.

I let out a squeal of delight!

“Let’s go!” John said, grabbing his car keys.

We got to the house in no time, it was literally five minutes away.

The refrigerator was in perfect condition and John and I were beyond thrilled.

“So, you have a kid in college?” The seller asked.

“No, we’re buying it for a neighbor up the street…” I began, as I explained the story.

We removed the accessories from the fridge and the seller helped John get it into the back seat of our car.

I turned to pay the seller for the refrigerator.

“Forty bucks will do.” He said, as he gave me a hug.

“Thank you.” I replied, “I really appreciate it.”

We arrived at Cristiana’s and carried the college refrigerator up the driveway and into the screened in porch.

“What’s this?” Cristiana asked with tears in her eyes.

“We got you a refrigerator,” John and I replied.

“Thank you,” Cristiana managed to say. I’m not sure if she looked more shocked or relieved, maybe it was a mixture of both.

Together we began moving food and beverages from the cooler as well as from the broken refrigerator in her small house.

“Are you sure you want this refrigerator out on the porch?” John asked.

“It’s better here.” Cristian replied, “There isn’t much room in the house.”

When the job was complete, Cristiana took me by both hands.

“Erin, I have something to tell you, that I haven’t told anyone since I moved here.” She said.

“You can tell me anything, Cristiana.” I replied.

“I’m a retired nun. I prayed for you, for this. I asked God for help and I wasn’t sure how it was going to happen, but I trusted him.”

I stood looking at her in disbelief.

“And there’s one more thing, you and John are the angels I prayed for. Thank you.”


I have thought about Cristiana’s words many times since that day. I’ve also thought of all of the coincidences, all of the things that so easily fell into place, and then I remind myself that there are no coincidences.

What I’ve learned about generosity, I learned through practicing it. I have been fortunate enough to be on both the giving and receiving end, many times.

True generosity comes from following your heart, giving outside of your comfort zone, even and sometimes beyond your means, logic or reasoning.

And I know this: don’t be afraid to follow the direction of your heart, it will never lead you wrong.

Much love and good thoughts,

Erin Cooper Reed


















The Angel Without A Face


Late one night, not too long after my father had passed away, I was driving home while praying and talking to my dad… suddenly out of the corner of my eye I saw what I thought were angel wings.

I felt compelled to turn the car around while I questioned my own sanity. Was I just seeing things?

There at the curb sat a large, yet beautiful, faceless angel someone had put out for the trash collection.

I was taken aback by the timing of it all and by the expanse of the angel’s wings that curved in around the front of her knees.

I lifted the heavy angel and placed her lovingly into the passenger seat for the long ride home.

It was dark that night and it wasn’t until the following day, in the sunlight, that I realized just how damaged, and even eerie, the angel’s face was.

Convinced this find was a gift from my dad, I ran to the nearest store to grab some cheap putty and some white spray paint.

I placed the angel on the wooden steps in front of our house and began to use the putty to build up what once had been, eyes, a nose and cheekbones.

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “Only God can make a tree.” Let me tell you, I say, only God can make a human face.

The difficulty lies in the expression.

This angel’s face could surely come out strange-looking, creepy or just plain scary… I thought, as my fingers maneuvered the putty.

My son, Rocky had just gotten off the school bus and walked up the driveway.

“Mom, what are you doing?” He asked.

“I’m trying to make a face for this angel I found. I want to put it in our yard as a tribute to Grandpa Ed.” I replied.

The next thing I knew, Rocky had dropped his book bag and had both of his hands on the angel’s face, right next to my hands.

Together both of our fingers built up the cheek bones and smoothed over the lips until she was finished.

I let the angel’s new face dry in the sun, as Rocky and I stood staring at her and our work.

“It looks great mom!” Rocky said.

“It does!” I replied with a tear in my eye.

I sprayed the angel with several coats of spray paint. Then I placed her gently in the yard and sprinkled fresh wood chips at her feet.

My father always loved to feed the birds, so for the finishing touch, I filled the material she was holding with birdseed.

Here’s the photo of our finished angel smiling up toward the heavens

Image may contain: people standing and outdoor

I think my dad would be proud.

I will always cherish the time Rocky and I spent, working in silence, to restore this beautiful angel…

And every time I look at her it reminds me that although my dad is no longer here, he’s always watching over us.


Part 4: Tales From The Mall Kiosk, The Psychic

I just kept working at the kiosk even though some unsettling and unexplained things happened.

I wasn’t sure why all of these thing were happening to me or what they meant… they were all just becoming part of my story.

The story of why a woman in a wheelchair would grab my arm in the line at Walmart and say, “I love you” to me.

I was with John that day.

I looked at the woman and said, “I love you too.”

John asked me, “What was that all about?”

“I have no idea,” I said. “That kind of stuff happens to me all of the time.”

“Seriously?” he asked.

“Yes… and strangers open up to me and tell me the most personal details and stories about their life. I don’t know why it happens, but you’ll get used to it. I am.”

One busy Saturday while working at the kiosk, a woman approached me.

“Would you like a water massage?” I asked.

“No, I want to read you.” She replied, “I have to read you.”

“Read me?” I asked.

“I’m a psychic. I was drawn to you. I’ll read you for free. You have a rainbow aura.” She said.

“I don’t know what a rainbow aura is,” I stated, “but if you want to read me, I’d like to pay you for it.”

“Okay, ” She said sounding excited. “I usually charge eighty dollars, but I’ll charge you twenty. Here’s my card.”

That was weird, I thought… but no weirder than anything else that happens to me.

I gave her a call and set up an appointment at her house.

“You see, you have a rainbow aura,” she began. “It’s good because it’s rare. It’s bad because you are open to everyone. You let everyone in – mostly good but with that you let in some bad. You are too trusting and always see the good in people.”

“I love people.” I replied.

“You let someone in… he had a hat.” She said.

My stomach turned and I confirmed what she had said. “That was Harry.”

“There was also a kid that came to the kiosk that was very claustrophobic.” I added.

“He has a gift. He is a Medium.” She stated.

“And what about the guy with the clear eyes?” I asked, seeing that she seemed to know what she was talking about.

“Were they transparent?” She asked matter-of-factly.

“Yes,” I said, they were. I was calling them clear but transparent is a much better way to describe them. I will never forget those eyes.”

“He is an Angel,” she said.

My head was spinning and my thoughts were confirmed.

“How can this all be true?” I asked.

“Erin, you possess so many qualities and attributes defining a rainbow aura. You need to be aware of this and be very careful who you let in. The good will seek you out. I’m sure that you have had experiences where this happens… maybe even on a daily basis, but you have to be careful to keep the bad out because you are an easy target. Do you understand what I’m saying to you?”

“I think so,” I replied. “I can reflect on my life and find concrete experiences for both.”

“You have many gifts,” she said, “Put them to good use.”

“I want to write,” I explained.

“You will write,” she replied.

“Well, how long before it becomes something?” I asked.

“It will be a very long time, but keep writing and always protect yourself from the evil.”

That sounded like an unwanted warning, I thought.

“What’s a long time?” I asked. “Two years, three years?”

“Even more.” She replied, “You’re not ready yet, but it will happen.”

That was almost five years ago.

Am I ready yet? I don’t know.

I do know that I am forever cautious when letting strangers in, and my intuition hasn’t failed me since Harry with the straw hat.

I do know I love to write, and I will continue to document my life and my experiences on this blog to share with the world…

And maybe for right now, that’s more than enough.

Much love to all,

Erin Cooper Reed

My life, I swear…








I Must Be Living Under A Rock: The Cost Of Prom Season

Well, it’s official!

Kevin is taking his girlfriend to her prom in Long Island.

I think that I’m more excited about it than he is. Kevin always keeps a calm, low-key demeanor about most anything exciting that is happening in his life… that’s just how he is and where I pick up the slack.

He is also the king of leaving everything for the last-minute, which always seems to include a lot of running around for all of us.

After a long weekend of doubles,which also included driving around with an 80 pound pig, (see that post for details) I found myself driving Kevin to Men’s Wearhouse to pick out a tux, with only days to spare before the prom.

I was shocked to discover that renting a tuxedo starts at two hundred and fifty dollars. Holy shit! Have I been living under a rock?

Maybe I have or I just haven’t ever had the need to rent a tuxedo or to date a man who wears one, for that matter…

Anyway, after style, color selections and much measuring, we had finally narrowed it down to a black tux with a single button jacket and pink accents to match Kevin’s girlfriend Anna’s pink gown.

“Do you want to wear a cummerbund?” Devin (our sales clerk asked).

“What’s a cummerbund?” Kevin asked, as if he had never heard the word before, while confirming that he most definitely hadn’t.

“A cummerbund goes around your waist.” I stated, “Why don’t you just go with the vest?”

“They call it a crumb catcher.” Devin added.

“I won’t need that.” Kevin replied, with a serious expression.

Devin and I both laughed. I admit I was feeling quite giddy about the whole prom thing and seeing my son in his first tux.

“Mom, can you calm it down a bit.” Kevin suggested, as if my excited mood was embarrassing him.

“Would you like argyle socks?” The sales clerk inquired, “They’re twenty dollars extra.”

“Twenty dollars for a pair of socks?” I laughed, “You’ve got to be kidding me! No, No…we don’t need argyle socks.”

The clerk handed Kevin a shirt, stock tuxedo and a pair of shoes to try on as he pointed him towards the dressing room.

Devin and I talked, joked and exchanged stories while we waited for Kevin to get changed.

Devin walked to the dressing room door and passed something over to Kevin.

“What’s this for?” Kevin shouted out.

“It’s to put on when you try on the dress shoes.” Devin replied.

“What?” Kevin said.

“Kevin, it’s a ped. You know, what you put on your foot to try on shoes… remember you and your brothers pulled them over your faces in Payless Shoes when you were little… you looked like you were going to rob the place…”

Devin was cracking up.

“Mom, can you take it down a notch, please.” Kevin yelled from the dressing room.

When the door finally opened and I saw Kevin in his tux, I couldn’t believe the handsome man who stood before me.

“Kevin, you look gorgeous!” I said with tears in my eyes, “The next time we’ll be doing this there’ll be wedding bells.”

“Mom, please don’t start crying.” Kevin pleaded.

Before finalizing our transaction Devin gave us a thirty dollar discount on the rental.

I paid for the tux (minus the argyle socks). Devin printed our receipt and explained the pick up and return instructions.

We had just enough time to get Kevin to work and I was quite pleased with all we had manged to accomplish in a short time.

As I pulled up in front of Kevin’s place of employment and put the car into park, Kevin leaned over and gave me a tight hug.

“Thank you Mom for paying for my tux. I love you so much.”

“I love you too Kevin. It was my pleasure. You and Anna are going to look beautiful!”

As, I watched Kevin walk into work, I thought, two hundred and fifty dollars isn’t expensive for a tux… in fact, it’s worth every penny.






On The Island of Misfit Toys

How else can you describe a situation, a house hold full of everything that is so far from traditional that you find that you can only express it with a photo from a kids holiday movie?

I guess that the facts are the facts.

And that’s okay.

Whatever you define as family., two dads, two moms, divorced parents, step parents, or the people who you meet and embrace as family, it’s all okay.

So many people use the label, “My dysfunctional family.”


Show me one that isn’t.

Show me your perfection and I’ll call it a lie.

There is no perfect.

There is only love and really, what else matters?

Nothing as far as I’m concerned.

Tonight my 21-year-old son, Kevin, said, “Mom, your blog is great! You just have to be edgier. No one really cares anymore. The man we elected president was talking about grabbing women’s vaginas. Just speak your truth.”

Ah, millennials.

Maybe they’re right.

I’m writing about having a ghost over my shoulder and my son is saying I’m old school.

My thoughts.

My feelings.

My opinions.

Maybe I shouldn’t curb them ever.

There is only one me experiencing my own life.

And maybe my island of misfit toys is an experience of things that others could judge and degrade and comment on in a way that would drag me down.

But, guess what, I won’t let it.

And maybe I should just put it all out there…and maybe I will.

Or maybe, I will just embrace every idiosyncrasy that makes each of the imperfect, funny, loving people in my household so extraordinary, and go with that.

Actually, I think that I will choose authenticity, over falseness, anytime.

And I’ll choose unconditional love any day of the week.

So here is to being your authentic self, no matter what!

If that leaves’s me on an island, don’t bother to send out the rescue party.

I’m okay.

I promise.




“Johnny, Johnny, Johnny…My Heart is Broken”

I can’t say that I expected to be writing this tonight, but unfortunately, I am.

I just got the news today that my Uncle Jack, my dad’s best friend, and a dear friend of ours, has passed away. Jack was the man who said, “Johnny,  Johnny, Johnny, you’ll never be bored.” and also my inspiration for a series of blog posts, and for that matter, my blog.

But Jack was so much more than that.

Jack was there for me since I was a baby, then a child and forever more. Our relationship evolved over my lifetime but especially grew during my adulthood. Jack was a kind and gentle spirit.

He was my strength when I left my marriage in 2010, while living alone in North Carolina, where I had no other family.

He was a supportive note in the mail…an encouraging word.

He was also the reason that I got custody of my three boys, after four long months of being alienated and estranged from them by my ex-husband.

One day I went out to my mailbox and found an envelope from Jack. I opened the card to find a crisp one hundred-dollar bill and a note that said, “Use this money to find yourself a new husband. Love, Jack.”

I laughed.

Jack always made me laugh.

I couldn’t believe that he sent me one hundred dollars. I spent a lot of time contemplating the best way to use it to do Jack’s generous gift justice.

I was depressed, broke and longing for my children.

I thought about his words…there was no way that one hundred dollars was going to get me a new husband or get my kids back. (I wasn’t sure that I wanted a new husband anyway, but I knew that Jack wanted me to be happy)

After much introspection, I decided that the best thing to do with Jack’s money was to be practical. I had a court date coming up and I was in desperate need of a haircut. I had left my ex-husband with a half a trash bag of clothes and had nothing decent to wear to court the following week.

I headed to Great Clips, got my hair cut and made a stop at the mall and bought a sexy, new pair of heels.

A short shopping trip at Goodwill, finished the clothing aspect of my outfit and I was relieved that I had something decent to wear to court. Thank you Jack. I was grateful.

The day of my court hearing was finally here. I showered, dressed and arrived on time. The judge extended my current ten-day restraining order and put a new, year-long restraining order in place that included no contact of any kind, in person, by phone or by text, all of which were enforceable by law.

After returning from court, I laid on my living room couch, emotionally and physically exhausted. I missed me kids. I was losing the steam to keep up the fight but I knew that somehow I would never give up.

Thank God for my dear friend Sue who came over to console me and cook dinner to make sure that I ate.

My cell phone rang and I reluctantly answered it.

“Hello.” I said in a whisper.

“You looked so good at court today. I loved your haircut and your shoes.” I heard my ex-husband say into the phone.

“Who is it Sue asked?”

I was too shocked to reply.

I couldn’t believe that my ex-husband had broken the restraining order within hours of it being put into place.

Jack’s card and generous gesture ultimately resulted in me gaining custody of my three boys.

Who would have thought?

Not Jack, and certainly not me.

Soon afterward, I returned to Connecticut.

Jack and I made it a point to see each other and speak on the phone often.

Over the years, we shared many confidences. He was always there for me and we leaned on each other when my father died.

He encouraged my writing and shared it with the people that he cared about.

Jack called me weekly and would say, “Erin Cooper Reed, are you writing?”

Uncle Jack, I am and I’m doing it right now with a broken heart to try to cope with living without you in my life.

I know that you loved people, you loved cats, volunteered at the church, attended daily mass and opened the church doors every morning with the keys that you were entrusted with.

I know that you prayed to the Blessed Mother and took walks where you found money and sent it to people in need. (One of which was me.)

I know that you never thought that you did anything important with your life because you told me this yourself and I told you that you were wrong…

And you are.

Jack, you are an angel and I, as well as others, will miss you from the depths of our souls.

You touched my life.

You made a difference.

I’m crying, yet I know that you are with God, the Blessed Mother (Who you loved so) your parents, your son and your family.

I have reached the end of this post and the end of a box of tissues.

My heart is broken and all I can do is write…I think you’d be proud, even in my grief.

Thank you from the depth of my heart. Heaven has gained an angel. Say hi to my dad for me. and know that I miss you already.

I love you Uncle Jack.

I only wish that a got to kiss your head, hold your hand and tell you that I love you just one more time.

I hope that you know, and I hope that I continue to make you proud.

Erin Cooper Reed

All That Matters

Sometimes I feel happy and empowered.

Sometimes I’m sad and insecure.

Occasionally I’m angry and defeated.

And sometimes I just feel lost.

Or like giving up.


We have all been there.

All of these feelings, good and bad, are part of the human experience.

All of these feelings exist for a reason.


Yet, we often blame ourselves for our shortcomings and setbacks.

We blame others for what we can’t deal with or can’t control.


And just when things are at their worst,

Something happens.

However seemingly small.

And changes everything.


This pattern continues throughout our lives,

Yet we are surprised

Each and every time.


Funny how a kind word or gesture,

Can set us back on course.

A little encouragement

Or validation

Can upend us

And we find ourselves

Back on our feet.


That is what love does.


Love of a friend.

A family member.

A stranger.


The driving force

That sets us

Back on track,

Or on a new path.


Love has the power

To console,

To heal,

To change everything.


Love is all that matters.


by Erin Cooper Reed