Tag Archives: Family

There comes a time in every life when cold steely eyes, at the end of a tunnel you never thought you’d have to walk through, are winking at you, and you’re speechless- unless you’re like me, then you write a blog post, because you can, because you need to.   I mentioned, only briefly, and […]

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  • Chris Carter - Oh Cheryl… this is just so powerful, heartbreaking and raw. Bless your precious heart as you navigate your way through this very difficult time. Your words will resonate with many…

    Praying for peace for you, as you grapple with it all.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Grapple is an excellent word Chris. Because it is a grapple, a tussle, a wrestling match between her and her body, me and her body, her and her mind, me and her mind…… see where I’m going with this? Jesus. I’m nearly spent.ReplyCancel

  • William Kendall - Having had been there with my mother, seeing her near the end, I remember not wanting her to suffer. However much time you have with her, tell her you love her, say the things you need to say.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I will William. I am. But it’s long-distance which SUCKS. Thank you for support my friend. XXOOOReplyCancel

  • Lynda@fitnessmomwinecountry - Cheryl, so beautiful in your words, and yet I feel for you. The photo of your mom …she is just stunning. Sending you hugsReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you Lynda. Yes she was- IS. A REAL beauty, and such a class act. I pale by comparison.ReplyCancel

  • Kimba - My heart aches for you. You have a very special soul with you every day.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you Kimba. Special souls are welcome any day.ReplyCancel

  • Cathy Chester - My heart is breaking for you because no matter how old we are we never want to let our parents go. It’s never enough, never the right time. I love that photo; it says it all. All I can offer you is a virtual hug and a lot of prayers. So poignant, Cheryl. You did your feelings for your mom justice.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you my dear friend. Aren’t we cute kids with a classy momma? I love that photo.ReplyCancel

  • Jackie - Oh, Carol, it must be so hard for you. I am so sorry.

    Your mother gave you many gifts, though… that is obvious. What a lovely tribute you have given her here.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you Jackie. This is hard. If Iv’e learned anything it’s that I need to better plan for my own end-days- and never leave a word of love unspoken.ReplyCancel

  • Jenny Lynn - I can relate. Things are changing with my mom right now. I can’t be there to give any kind of comfort.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Oh God. -head shaking- what do we do? Tell me.ReplyCancel

  • Cary Vaughn - Oh, hon. My heart breaks for you. You are in my thoughts! I wish there was more I could do or say.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - You just did Cary. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.ReplyCancel

  • Roshni - {{{hugs}}} Cheryl.
    This is my dread too…to not be there when they need me. I’m so very optimistic that your mom will turn around and slap the bitch!!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - She’s never slapped anyone- that’s a problem. But my sister’s there and she’s a great slapper. hahahaaaaaReplyCancel

  • Alyson Shitastrophy Herzig - Cheryl my heart breaks for you just reading this. I understand being too far from home and the obligations to be there. I’m sure your mother does too. Hugs friend, you will all be in my thoughts.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - My physical distance brings it’s own challenges- to everyone involved. Saying goodbye is just so damn hard.ReplyCancel

  • Laura Lee Carter - WOW! Can I ever relate and I’m crying now…ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - This post was a hard one to write- not because I had nothing to say but because the keyboard was wet- with tears. Dear God. How will I survive?ReplyCancel

  • Sheryl Kraft - Beautiful, sad, poignant…this says it all. So sorry you are dealing with this heartbreak.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I know it’s the Circle of Life, but it’s still a shock. Somehow we always assumed our mother was immortal. Saying goodbye is so hard.ReplyCancel

  • barb barton dlugosz - Dearest Cheryl,

    Please know your mom, you and Melissa are in my thoughts and prayers. I love your mom, as if she were my own. Know that if there is anything I can do, i will do it! You know your mom loves you with all of her heart. She is and always will be much loved.

    i love you

    • Cheryl - I’m so happy to hear from you! This sucks doesn’t it? I heard from BIll. WE LOVE you all. I’ll be in private contact. Peace OutReplyCancel

  • Shannon Bradley-Colleary - Ah Cheryl this was so gorgeous. And I love seeing your mom. Funny how that photo looks like it could have been taken yesterday. That she might still be that young, sloe-eyed, beautiful mother. And the truth is, she still is.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Aaahhh Shannon. So nice to hear from you. Thank you. She was (is) a Vixen. The men STILL love her! What’s up with that? Does she have a scent? Love you girl. XXOOReplyCancel

  • Diane Tolley - Cheryl, everyone needs to read this post. Too many of us appreciate after it’s too late to do anything about it. Long distance or across the street. Bless you, my friend. Thinking of your mother as she was. As, according to my beliefs, she will be again . . .ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - That really means a lot Diane. I believe the same, in fact, I’m taking comfort in the fact that WHEN she passes, she’ll be waiting for me, which will make my transition all the more enjoyable. ANd I’ll need her diplomatic skills when I’m bargaining with God. Hahahaaa (feels so good to laugh). Thanks again. XXOOReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - I can’t even tell you how much of this I relate to. Beautifully written from the heart.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I’ve got a bag full of heartfelt posts coming up. Get out the hanky Carol.ReplyCancel

  • Elin Stebbins Waldal - This is so difficult. All the emotions… Your mom sounds like a wonderful woman and how wonderful to have a history rich with love, support and direction because of her.
    As best you can I hope you will be kind with yourself, it’s a lot to absorb. Wishing you love and great strength as you navigate the days, weeks, months and even years ahead.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you so much Elin for your words of support and wisdom. I really can not read much more without tearing-up, so just a [[[hug]]] between us. XXOOReplyCancel

  • Carpool Goddess - Thinking of you Cheryl. Beautiful photo and beautiful thoughts from your heart.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Isn’t it? I have a million of them, and if my broken heart continues to lead me to write and post about this- you may see them all. Thank you Linda. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Lois Alter Mark - I’m so sorry, Cheryl, and am sending you lots of love.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It just sucks and thank you Lois.ReplyCancel

  • Shelley Whaley-Meacham - Writing this to you thru tears of love & understanding … She knows , she knows how much she means to you & how much LOVE is there. I am sending you more love & prayers than you can imagine … I have loved you & your mama nearly my whole life. I am praying daily for her … we had many, many more years with my daddy after he had his stroke & I am praying that you also have that with your mama … Healing (((HUGGS))) for all of you!!!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thanks Shell. I felt the same about your parents. Much love and hugs to both of us. xxxooo foreverReplyCancel

  • Ines Roe - I was so touched by your beautifully written blog about your mother. I have a very close relationship with her mother and I am preparing myself for the day she will not be here – (which may be soon – she is 93). Each Christmas I prepare myself that this might be the last Christmas together. Your blog made me reflect about the mortality of all of us.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Oh Dear. You’ve got me crying again. No worries- it’s tears of joy. THANK YOU Ines. And with Xmas coming up… I don’t know. Must muster my big-girl pants. Keep in touch and thank you for your supportive and lovely comment.ReplyCancel

  • Ruth Curran - This took my breath away…. I know it is hard to feel right now but you will remember the twinkle in her eyes and the light they shed on your life. And as that memory solidifies, the helpless unreachable stare will fade…. I promise. Be kind to yourself and know that your mom launched you so fly in her honor…. I hope that makes sense to you someday soon too. It did to me…in time. Until then, draw from the collective strength all around you. Wishing you a peaceful thought for both you and your mom.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - “Fly in her honor’!!!! Jesus, that’s a life saver Ruth.ReplyCancel

  • Rena McDaniel - I can’t imagine the sorrow you must have in your heart. Just remember that’s where she also resides as well as you in hers no matter how many miles are between you. I’m sorry.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I’m sorry too. For all of us. Thank you Rena. You made me smile which is worth a million dollars today.ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - There is absolutely nothing to say, but if I were there I would hug you. She knows you love her and you are still her beautiful daughter. I too lived far from my mother. She, however, always knew things and called me one day in March and said, “If you want to see me alive, come now.” Yes, I did go. I’m so thankful I did. It has been over thirty years, but I would love to hear the phone ring and her saying, “Hallo.” Hugs again.ReplyCancel

  • Estelle Sobel Erasmus - Wishing you peace. I’m so sorry you are going through this. Your mom is beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Julie - I am a total stranger who stumbled upon this blog a while back, so having never met you +/or knowing much about you, I have this to offer ~ The aging process SUCKS!!!! I have my folks “near” for 6 months and “far” when they winter in Florida. Mom has been diagnosed with dementia and it is the most painful thing I have ever had to experience.
    Mothers have a great gift tho ~ they never lose the ability to love. No stroke, no cancer cells, no memory loss can take that away.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Julie, it’s an honor to have you here. Let’s commiserate… yes it SUCKS! I’ve seen dementia and it ain’t pretty. SO sad-confusion, not recognizing things/people, paranoia. My heart breaks for you and your family. My mom is 70% ‘there’ but trapped inside a body that won’t move. BOY is THAT a mind blow to see. The frustration. The sadness coming from her eyes. Keep in touch. PS: We are now friends.ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen O'Donnell - Oh, Cheryl. My heart goes out to you my blogger friend. I lived this experience almost a year ago to the day. Knowing you will lose your mother is a life defining thing. I was convinced, until my mother took her last breath, that she would never die. But, damned if she did. On her own terms, just like she lived. My relationship with her was complicated. And even though I was there, physically, I don’t know if I was ever really “there” for her. It is something I am still trying to come to terms with. I’m with you, Cheryl, in my thoughts and heart. You’re what your mom would’ve wanted you to be, talented, loving, funny and kind. If anyone knows that, it’s your mom, more than you realize. Hugs to you.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thanks Kathleen. I’m starting to wrap my head around it but it’s a process.ReplyCancel

  • bodynsoil - I’m so sorry to hear about your mother, such a difficult time. Your words are very expressive, thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - You’re so welcome and thank you. I guess the metal of a person is how they react to adversity. I’m getting there.ReplyCancel

  • Gwendolyn Gilkey - Great picture! She is beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Froman - Cheryl, this was so beautifully expressed. I am sorry you are going through this….and while I live near, I am absolutely terrified of the time when I will have to face this situation. It has been on my mind a lot lately.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I now know, with certainty, that you can never be fully prepared. Yes, I have her finances in order, her insurances in play, her cat being babysat, and my sister is there with her as often as her work schedule allows, but it’s the finality of end-days that just rocks you to your core. The thought that her time is coming soon and I’ll never hear her voice again, HOWEVER, I have saved the last voice message she sent me. Is that crazy?ReplyCancel

  • Pia Savage - I’m so sorry.
    it’s so beautifully written
    I think once we reach a certain age or time in life we can all relate to parts of itReplyCancel

  • amina - Cheryl,
    That was a beautiful post. I lost my father a few years back to cancer. At the time, I had 2 small children and was also doing a masters. It was very painful to watch, and more difficult to experience. However, I did my best to make it every time I could and also to be more than just a present participant in his illness. I fed him, I groomed him, I also just sat with him. I feel like I did all that I could given the circumstances. When he eventually passed away, I felt ok with all that I did, given that I was a mother to my own to children and studying. In the end, I say this is THE CIRCLE OF LIFE> stay strong.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you. It IS the Circle Of Life. I accept that. And I am slowly forgiving myself for not being there on a daily basis. I will see her over Thanksgiving though and am trying to arrange visiting very 4-5 weeks. That’s my best. It sucks but there you have it. Thanks again for your words of encouragement. I hope you stop by again.ReplyCancel

  • Connie McLeod - I’m an only child and my mom is in a nursing home a few miles from me. It’s so hard to watch her grow frailer and to dim with age. It does throw our own mortality in our face. But I’ll hug her extra close this holiday season and be grateful that I’ve had another year with her. Hugs to you and your mom too.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thanks you Connie. Yes- it’s a special time of year fro being grateful.ReplyCancel

  Once Upon A Time, I pushed two bowling balls out of a garden hose.   It wasn’t easy, but I had no choice. There was no were else for them to go.   I toiled and huffed, and ate ice chips and swallowed laxatives, and lo and behold, the universe brought forth an unbreakable […]

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  • Carol Cassara - Great tips–and pix–for everyone. Like me.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Something tells me you live surrounded by beauty. Inside and out.ReplyCancel

  • Tammy - Awesome job from an AWESOME mom! Happy kid = happy mom! Such a fun AND helpful post from a pro!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I really should have gone pro but the thought of having to deal with people’s neurosis’ was a game changer. I leave that up to my mother, who’s still designing. At 82!!!ReplyCancel

  • Diane - Amazing! Absolutely stunning. With a few tips and tricks and not a huge outlay of $$$! Genius!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Yes! Very cost effective. It’s all smoke and mirrors Diane. Smoke. And. Mirrors. You just need to know where to pace them. Hahahaaaa.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy Hill (@Nerthus) - Love all your tips. Most people over-furnish. But mostly I love your description of interacting with your kids. I was so happy and so thinking about how much more money it would take when my daughter started a PhD program… sigh. Someday I will have the money to decorate! School has to end one day, doesn’t it?ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Does it? End? But, it’s true- most people either over-decorate or just fill their spaces with a mish-mash of stuff. Or, don’t have things ‘at the ready’, like not having magazines by the couch, or coffee mugs on the other side of the kitchen away from the coffee machine. Why?ReplyCancel

  • The Finishing Touches - You did a fantastic job! I want to live here!ReplyCancel

  • Kim Tackett - I swear this is true. When my oldest lived in Vancouver, I visited a house she shared with 8 other people. The lamps were on the ceiling. As in, Kate and her boyfriend took all of the floor lamps and attached them to the ceiling, so the floor lamps were now upside down ceiling lamps. It was kind of spectacular. That was 5 years ago. Kate and her boyfriend (same one) are now Masters in Architecture students at SAIC in Chicago. Their lamps remain on the floor, but they are both kind of spectacular.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Great idea! Especially if you have high ceilings! As students of Architecture I imagine that they are always experimenting. Did you know that it was a woman designer, way back, that first suggested not only overhead lighting, but the very first WALL SWITCH! Maybe your daughter will invent something wonderful! I hope so.ReplyCancel

  • Ruth Curran - Oh you have an eye for just what belongs. I hope my son meets some like you to help him balance out his place because that is not one of my gifts!!! And the cat in the bathroom was such a nice touch!ReplyCancel

  • Its All About The Yummy - Love this! I am sending your post to several of my children’s friends who are now leaving in their own places!ReplyCancel

  • Mary Johnson - Oh well done! It looks amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Kim Dalferes, Author - Love, love, LOVE what you’ve done with these rooms. Sending this post to many of my son’s friends who are working on their first post-college “real grown-up” place. ReplyCancel

  • Rena McDaniel - The blue lamp in yhe kitchen, genius! Great style. I think this is one of the things I miss the most with taking care of mom. Hubby and I have a very definite way of decorating and have taken months to put something on the wall because we simply haven’t found “it” yet. Great booksmon the coffee table even the aquarium rocks and decorations were taken into account (OCD) but mom will buy little kittens or puppies or abox wharever strikes her fancy and she just puts them anywhere. I just let her she has Alzheimer’s and used to have lovely taste. What can you say? Luckily we don’t know anyone in this state so nobody sees it but us.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It’s hard enough to be dealing with Alzheimer’s (both you, your husband, and, of course, your mom). I don’t blame you for ‘letting it be’ with the kittens, or china puppies, etc. in your mom’s place. Whatever makes her happy in the moment.As for waiting months to find the ‘right’ object for a room- I agree. As long as it’s not TOO long. HAHAAAAaaa. I’m sure your place is fabulous just like you Rena.ReplyCancel

  • Lois Alter Mark - Wow, my kids’ places look nothing like that! I’m forwarding this to both of them for inspiration, although I’m sure I’ll be getting back replies asking for money!ReplyCancel

  • Doreen Mcgettigan - I love what you did with the lighting, I really like all of it. The cat is a wonderful finishing touch. Adorable!ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - You do good work. Looks fantastic.ReplyCancel

  • Sheryl Kraft - Beautiful! The sentiment, the words and finally, the apartment. ReplyCancel

  • lisa Froman - This was fun to read. I gotta say….your kids are lucky. LOL. And I LOVE what you did with her apartment….Southern Living would be proud.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Since this apartment is in Columbus, Ohio, let’s call Midwest Living!ReplyCancel

  • Lily Lau - The best thing that could happen to that bathroom is Ned (in my humble opinion!) 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Hahahaaaa. Yes he is the centerpiece of any room! ps: Did you notice little Ned on the bed?ReplyCancel

  • Vashti Q - Hi Cheryl! I love before and after pictures. Great job! I’m going to be moving into a new house soon. I’m going to remember what you said about the WoW factor. That’s really cool. I’m actually going to pin this so that I won’t forget anything. 😀ReplyCancel

  • Sue - Love how you hung the black clock down low too and that it is black to go with the black in the WOW factor chair.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - You bring up ANOTHER bone of contention I have- people hang their wall pieces at the wrong level- always TOO HIGH. As always, you have given me an idea for a new post with pic’s from MY house to use as examples. Thank you Oh Wise Woman.ReplyCancel

  • Linda Roy - First of all, you crack me up! “…they keep calling your bluff…saying I love you.’
    And second, you have excellent taste! I am a decorating junkie. I watch hours upon hours of HGTV and devour the magazines. So I loved this. Well done! Hey, aren’t you going to be on HGTV? Make sure you let me know when!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Well, that’s what they SAID when they showed-up and filmed us! I’ve really got to write a post and I will MAKE SURE to let you know.ReplyCancel

  • Roshni - That sure looks like a huge apartment! Absolutely love the chair! Great choice! !ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It’s not. It’s small. But the light is good and the space is open- except for the bedroom. The chair IS GREAT! She got it at a discount $350 bc it was a little dirty, which we cleaned and viola!ReplyCancel

Because there are several of you who have asked, ‘What’s the story behind your kid who doesn’t look anything like the rest of you?’ I made a phone call, asked permission, and am now laying it ALL out there.   The short answer to the question “How To Adopt a Child Without Going to Court’ […]

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  • Carol Cassara - Every so often I run into an angel on earth. You are one such angel. I’m privileged to know you.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Oh Carol- you’ve made me cry. I wish you were here so I could hug you. XXXOOOReplyCancel

  • Liv - I’m writing this with tears in my eyes. That young man is so very lucky to have a mother like you. What a story! Well done.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you Liv. Those were some tough days. What was I to do? I saw no other way to handle this. People thought I was crazy. I didn’t care. Thank you again! XXOOReplyCancel

      • Liv - You were the right kind of crazy. And I’m sure that he is extremely grateful.ReplyCancel

  • Lana - What an amazing mother you are. People talk about what they would do in a situation like this – but you didn’t just talk, you took action and DID something. And that young man was truly saved. Thank you so much for sharing this story – you made my day! Hope yours is wonderful.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I never thought I would be confronted with a situation like this- but then I was- and I just couldn’t throw him to the streets. I like to think no one would- except his father did. Jesus. Oh well, today I’m having lunch with Tyler. I win.ReplyCancel

  • Sue - You win is right. You and your family are a great blessing to the world and Tyler. Like another commenter says: You are angels on earth. Proud to know and love you.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Oh Sue. I love you too! Thank you for all your support my dear dear friend.ReplyCancel

  • Mary - You, are an amazing woman!ReplyCancel

  • Lori Lavender Luz - How fortunate for Tyler that he found such a soft and loving spot to land.

    Blessings to you all.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - That’s a beautiful way to put it- though sometimes I’m not sure he’d say I provide ‘soft’. I’m a tough taskmaster. HahaaaaaReplyCancel

  • Diane - Oh, man, I’m sobbing here! I can’t imagine that level of parental abandonment. So, so, SO glad that Tyler had you to pick up the pieces. My heart breaks for the other four children in that unbelievable situation. At least you saved one.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Yes. The other kids. I just can’t think about it. I concentrate on Tyler Diane. Otherwise I’ll scream.ReplyCancel

  • Darcy Perdu (So Then Stories) - Literally tears in my eyes, Cheryl! What an incredible story. Thank God you stepped up for Tyler when so many others had failed him! Your whole family is awesome!!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you Darcy. I really see my kid’s as the heros’. They had to share everything- suddenly, and fully. They said YES. I’m so proud of them all.ReplyCancel

  • Helene Cohen Bludman - Wow. This story took my breath away, Cheryl. Bless you for opening your home and your heart to this young man. You absolutely saved his life.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Ya know what? He gave me a great gift- his love.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs - Oh, how this hurt my heart. Yes, tears streaming as I type. Unbelievable the disregard of some for the children they’ve either had or taken in. YOU, my friend, have done an incredible thing (as you surely must know). You have changed a life, made it clear that life matters. You rock… and amaze me.

    A truly incredible story written so well. I’ll be thinking of this a long, long time.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you so much Lisa for your beautiful response. I’m fairly certain you, my dear, would have done the exact same thing.ReplyCancel

  • Kim Tackett - wow…thank you for what you did, and thank you for trusting is with the story. wow.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I asked his permission first and assured him my readers are a wonderful lot- like you Kim. Thank you for commenting.ReplyCancel

  • Claudia Schmidt - You are fantastic and deserve a place in heaven. I can not actually even fathom how parents could act the way his did, but I think it’s for the better as YOU are clearly a better and more loving parent for Tyler. I’m stunned and amazed by this story. Truth is stranger than fiction, right?ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Oh yea. Stranger then fiction Claudia. And do you know what? His father has NEVER tried to contact him in all these years. Can you believe it? How does he sleep?ReplyCancel

      • Claudia Schmidt - It’s so crazy, I can’t even comprehend. You always have such interesting posts, this one is just fascinating – there’s a book waiting to be written in that story…….ReplyCancel

        • Cheryl - Another one? I’ve got three on the burner but I’m afraid I’m so used to writing a blog that complete sentences allude me. HahaaaaReplyCancel

  • Cary Vaughn - Oh my God. I can’t stand it. This is so awesome, Cheryl. I REALLY appreciate you sharing this story! I’m going to have to read this one again.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you Cary and you’re welcome. It was time people knew.ReplyCancel

  • Kate Hall - This is pretty freaking awesome, Cheryl. Glad you were there for him. Life is so freaking hard.ReplyCancel

  • David Stillwell - You know… nothing really moves my Vulcan mind much… this did… I think you may have restored my faith in humanity…. I love you for that too… ReplyCancel

  • Connie McLeod - This story is remarkable on so many levels. Thank you for sharing it and thank your son for allowing you to tell it.ReplyCancel

  • Amy Skipper - Wow!ReplyCancel

  • Lois Alter Mark - OMG Cheryl, I am heartbroken and inspired at the same time. What your family did is amazing, and I wish only love and good things for all of you.ReplyCancel

  • Ruth Curran - Wow…your son’s birth “father” (and I use that term very loosely) is a staggeringly stupid and narcissistic man (and I use that term very loosely as well)…. He obviously lost out on being part of, what sounds like a wonderful young man’s life. How wonderful that your son lives down the street and is such a key part of your family.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Yes to all- and I’d like to add… very weak Ruth. A very weak man.ReplyCancel

  • Angela Hall Weight - I’m sitting here crying, having just finished reading this. Bless you and your whole family. I’d like to punch Tyler’s dad in the face, hard, with a hammer, repeatedly. ReplyCancel

  • Denise Scott Geelhart - Ummmm…Wow. Just wow. The heartlessness of his family (particularly his dad) is so disturbing. What you did was amazing! I told my husband the story and his first question was why you didn’t call Child Services. Anyhow, kudos to you and your family.ReplyCancel

  • Rena McDaniel - This story touched me at a very deep level. My husband comes from a huge dysfunctional family. We took his sisters teenage son into our home for several years until his drug habits drove a huge wedge between us, by this time he had gotten married and was spitting out babies one after another. When their youngest was 4 days old they called and asked me to babysit for the weekend. They came around w more times in the next 6 years wanting money or basically threatehing to take her back. We paid them $100 twice just to leave her be. About a year and a half later we were taken to court by the mom who had left the father and wNted her back. We had a lawyer, Dr.s records, character references. The judge actually said she gad made an intelligent decision by ababdoning her with us because sge kbew we would take care of her and was awarded to her mother who had seen her three times in 7 years. Now she’s 13 and lives with her mother and stepfather. She is “allowed”to spend summers with us (as long as I buy her school clothes) and 1 week of her Christmas break. We now live 400 miles away. We leave Christmas morning drive straight there and back for a 7 day visit then do itover again. All for the love of a little girl who may not be biologically mine, but mine no less. So you see, I really get it.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Life is so unnecessarily complicated. Some children are ‘birthed’ to the wrong parents, but luckily, occasionally, a few find people to love them- like you. My heart just breaks for this young woman. And for you and your husband who have to stand back and mostly watch it all because so many have failed to do the right thing. The judge. The parents. Jesus. God Bless You.ReplyCancel

  • Becky Sadler - Just remarkable on so many levels – you are me if I were in that situation – it is everything I ever pictured myself saying – I’m so glad you were there for him, for us!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - You are so kind! I’m usually pretty good at getting my thoughts out without faltering. You should have heard what I said to my Division Head when I resigned my teaching position! She was stunned… and she deserved it. HahahaaReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - Bless you, Cheryl. Your heart is as big as your mouth. Hugs.ReplyCancel

  • Lizzi Rogers - I don’t have the words for how completely freakin’ awesome I think you are. And your whole family. You WIN AT FAMILY.ReplyCancel

  • Marcia Shaw Wyatt - Score one for the good guys! Thank you, Cheryl!!!! The world right now needs more caring parents like you … and this post is an excellent wake-up call to the rest of us. Thank you for posting it and for reminding us that if we want the future improved we need to open our eyes right now. When we see a need, we need to fill it. We need to make a difference in other people’s lives. It’s the only way – and I much applaud you for making such a tremendous difference in Tyler’s young life!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Ya know Ruth, we never talk about it here among us. The family just accepts our decision and moves along with it, and I have to acknowledge that the ENTIRE family (Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins) scooped him up- even though they didn’t really understand what was going on at the time. He was a stranger to them, but they saw the finality in my eyes and heard the resolution in my voice and opened their hearts, as well. I’m so proud of THEM. Thank you for taking the time to leave such a wonderful comment. I appreciate it.ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen O'Donnell - What a story. You’re a good woman, Cheryl Nicholl. You really are. ReplyCancel

  • Ida Chiavaro - I love a tough talker that actually is tough –ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - ‘Say what you mean. Mean what you say’, Ida- right? . One doesn’t need to say much, or even loudly to be heard. -wink-ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer W - Wow. What an awesome story. Kudos to you and your family for opening your hearts and home. As a child who was ignored, I will say that it only takes one person to show they care and that you matter. Sometimes that one person isn’t the right person, but Tyler got so lucky. He will find his way I am sure. Thanks for sharing your story.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Yes. So wise. Sometimes the one person is STILL the wrong person. I guess this might be how/why gangs are formed, or drugs/alcohol becomes a best friend. (I’m taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly so that we can pretend to be in the same room because I wish we were) What a shame. Life is hard enough. Indifference- especially towards a child- is a pet peeve on mine. (Is there more coffee? Let me get the sugar and we can talk awhile).ReplyCancel

  • The Shitastrophy - Just solidifies what I already knew about you – 1) never cross you 2) you are stronger than anyone I have ever met 3) Your heart is pure gold 4) I love you.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Here’s what I know: 1) people talk-talk-talk too much, 2) too many excellent people are scared of actually being their most authentic selves, 3) most people do not need to be friends with everyone they meet, and 4) the word ‘Love’ is overused, but not in this case- I love you too.ReplyCancel

  • ruthi coats - Thank you for writing the same way you speak. I appreciate people that are champions for others, even more so for children. We have ten adopted children and I also have seen the true need for paperless parenting the same as you. I want to put you as my hero for today. God Bless.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I can’t imagine writing any other way! Especially in a blog (hahaha). Seeing anyone taken advantage of, or being in the presence of indifference, especially when there are obligations involved, is a real game changer for me. Maybe it’s because I grew-up with a bully for a father, or because he always told me that everyone pulls their pants up the same way. Either way, when I see something ‘off’ and I can do something about- there I go. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave a lovely comment. I appreciate it.ReplyCancel

  • Chloe Jeffreys - Wow! What a story. Thank you for telling it. Tyler is fortunate to have a good friend like Chase who has a good mom like you. And knowing you like I do I can only imagine that dressing down that man received that day. What a sorry excuse for a sperm donor.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Hahaaaa. Yes. Dressing OFF was more like it Chloe! HahhaaaaReplyCancel

      • Chloe Jeffreys - My daughter’s bestfriend in high school was caught at my house in a terrible snow storm. I kept telling her to call her mom because I knew she’d be worried, but she wouldn’t. Finally I called her. Her response? “Oh. Fine.” Her daughter could have been out in a ditch, or dead, or frozen. She didn’t seem to give a shit. It was shocking. There really are people like this.ReplyCancel

  • Gwendolyn Gilkey - Love this!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - You knew all of this-right? Ty’s situation, that as. As for your Aunt’s big mouth- you knew that too. Ha! Love you Gwenny.ReplyCancel

  • Journey McGuire - Oh my God. That almost made me cry. I respect you so much for doing what you’ve done, and for doing what we’re here to do..change lives. You are awesome. I will be saying lots of prayers for him.

    I can really relate with this post. My son’s mother hasn’t contacted him since I’ve known him, except for a few months ago when she called my husband (high as a kite) to ask him if we’d adopt the baby she was about to have, because “it’s only right for a sister to be with her brother”. When he said no, she called him a piece of shit and we haven’t heard anything since. I’m sharing the shit out of this story.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Oh my God- back at you. Some people are so confused and weak and without any kind of inner dialogue. Without conscience is another way to put it. She should just keep having babies and you and your husband should just keep raising them for her? What a shame for all of you. Wow. Keep me posted and thank you for sharing YOUR story. Oh my.ReplyCancel

  • Roshni - Cheryl, I always loved you, but after reading this, I absolutely adore you! That is all.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you my beautiful exotic friend. I’ve got to PM you with something…. check your messages. ANd of course, thank you for stopping by.ReplyCancel

  • Lillian Connelly - This story just blows my mind. You are a light in the dark.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It blew my mind at the time too. HahhaaaReplyCancel

  • leecy madison - I would like to adopt a couple of children around 5 or 6. Our son was killed when he was 25 and was not married so we will never have any grandchildren. When I applied to several agencies I was told we were too old. I admit i”m too old to take care of a baby but by the time they are 5 or 6, they can pretty much take care of themselves and I have lots of love to give them. My nieces children used to beg to come stay with me until they grew up. Then our cleaning ladies daughter came but she too has grown up so we are without any children now. I teach childrens’ arts and crafts. I would love to have some creative children to play with me.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I’m very sorry for your lose Leecy. I can’t imaging the pain in loosing a child so young. Teaching Arts and Crafts with young children is a noble activity. I’m sure you are making a difference and the kid’s can’t wait to ‘play’ with you. God Bless.ReplyCancel

  • Jamie Walterscheid - What a beautiful story! Way to go, mama! You are amazing. I’m so glad you found each other. ReplyCancel

  • Deirdre Kelly Ferguson - What an amazing story….what a loser of a father Tyler was born to, however I think he found his real family when he needed them the most. ReplyCancel

  • 50 Things About Me You Wish You Never Knew - - […] This blog post, by my friend A Pleasant House, “How To Adopt A Child Without Signing Papers.” […]ReplyCancel

  • One Funny Motha - Wow. What an amazing & unbelievable story. Truly. I cannot believe the parents/father never called again. Or in the first fucking place. My heart goes out to Tyler, but it looks like he’s found a good family now.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I always say when life throws you spitballs, you better be able to catch them- or, at least have the good sense to get out of my way as I try. HA!ReplyCancel

  • Todd Gaudin - One day, I would like to meet you. I live and work in Baton Rouge and have made adoptions a significant part of my law practice for 18 years. After reading the story, I wanted to give you a hug. I’ve seen what you’ve seen. Thank you!!ReplyCancel

  • Linda Roy - Wow – what a story. You are so amazing Cheryl. I have no words for how unfathomable Tyler’s situation was. Thank God for you and your family. And as always, your candor is stellar!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It was a first for me! And hopefully, the last.ReplyCancel

  • The 10 Best Blog Posts I Read In 2014 (Part 2) | Pecked to Death By Chickens - […] How To Adopt A Child Without Signing Papers (A Pleasant House) – An amazing story about a family that stepped in to help a boy and became his family. […]ReplyCancel

How far can you remember back?   My first memories are at 2 years old.   I am in my parent’s newlywed apartment- second floor of a three story walk-up. On the left.    Enter living/dining area. Parquet floors. Large picture window looking out on the front lawn. Television on a gold metal cart in […]

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  • Journey McGuire - My first memory was seeing some kids wiener at nap time so you definitely have me beat.ReplyCancel

  • Vashti Quiroz-Vega - Yum! That looks scrumptious and so classy! Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - You’re welcome! And if you try it give me a jingle with any suggestions. I’m not kidding. A pinch more of this….a tad of that… etc.ReplyCancel

  • Carol Graham - What a precious memory (and post) You stirred all kinds of memories and emotions. Nicely done – I enjoyed the ride.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - How nice Carol. I wanted to share the recipes and I thought,”What’s the first plate I remember?’ and it was a small red one, so there you go… a post!ReplyCancel

  • Rasma Raisters - Such wonderful childhood memories and such delicious food.ReplyCancel

  • Diane Tolley - Love this! So many of my memories include food . . .
    My first memory was when I was two as well. I was trampled by a mad mama cow and saved by my heroic mother. And then she and I were saved by my highly enraged father. True story. And the only casualty was one red leather cowboy boot. Then tears and cuddles and treats. ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - You have an amazing memory and I really like your small plates idea.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - They are delish! Hope you try them. If you do, give me jingle and tell me what needs to be tweeked.ReplyCancel

  • Rena McDaniel - Looks delicious! ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It was! If you make it- give me a jingle and suggest any changes you might like!ReplyCancel

  • Carollynn Hammersmith - Oh gawd, I just gained 10 pounds reading these recipes, which means I will have to try them…soon.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - hA! Good for you! If you find something needs tweeking give me a jingle.ReplyCancel

  We have two, or three, children, depending on when you entered our lives.   I usually say, we have two biological children and an adopted child, though we never legally adopted our third.   Confusing?   Maybe.   Let me explain.   Ben and I birthed (who are we kidding? I BIRTHED our two […]

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  • Lux Ganzon - You’ve got a lovely family. And that looks like a cozy apartment.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It did turn out great. It was a pain in the ass- but it turned out great. It’s all about them- right? snoozzzzzzzzeeeeeeReplyCancel

  • Chloe Jeffreys - Damn girl! You gots talent! Very nice. So cozy. I wish I lived near you and could spend time learning from you. You have skillz.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I come from a l-o-n-g line of designers. The apple didn’t fall that far- it never does. -wink-ReplyCancel

  • Shelley Zurek - Wonderful redecoration. I swear I am looking at a magazine. You really understand lighting.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Wow- you really saw that? Wonderful!!! Yes- lighting is an often times greatly overlooked accessory. you’ve got a good eye!!!ReplyCancel

  • Lisha Fink - And now she lives in a pleasant house, as well. Good work, mama.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - How clever! I should have used that line Lisha! Are you a writer or something? -wink-ReplyCancel

  • Sue - I like how you added the small table next to the island and the new chairs for the island with backs, plus the lamps in the bathroom and kitchen make it look so homey.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - The island stopped before the ceramic tile on the floor Sue, leaving this’area’ that was open so it looked like the perfect spot for an extension using her table (I love these chairs- so retro). There was an electrical outlet under the counter at the end of the island so… voila! As for table top lighting in the loo- I always try to do that. Makes using it a pleasure!ReplyCancel

  • Manal The Go Go Girl - Beautiful job! Love what you’ve done with the apartment. And bravo for taking in your third baby 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thanks Manal! Sometimes life throws you a curve ball- or a big box of an apartment.ReplyCancel

  • Diane Tolley - Gorgeous! The homemaking fairy endowed you royally!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Yes she did. Her christian name was Mom. At she was a tough task-master. HahaaaaaReplyCancel

  • David Stillwell - I fear you left the reader hanging with the long introduction to Tyler and then you derailed into lamps. So if you can go back and tell us more about Tyler that would be heavenly… BTW awesome job on the apartment and Ned is interestingly handsome while curiously distancing. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - So… you want more Tyler story? I hear ya.ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - Fancy digs. Just wait. They always move back at least once. Mine did it twice. One couple at church were tired of moving their daughter in and out of different places. They really gave thanks when she married.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - So far- only Tyler. Now, he lives just around the corner. Does that count?ReplyCancel

  • Rena McDaniel - Wow! I’m sure my hubby would sign me over for adoptionReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - You’d have to get in line Hahahaaa!ReplyCancel

  • Johnny Serio - Well since I stumbled across this eloquent essay of yours, I had better comment…
    I remember very well that transition in your lives, and I think no one knew exactly what to make of it at the time…bold, if nothing else. You have led by example for your children and all who witnessed. Very proud of you, good work!
    ooxx, johnny ReplyCancel

  • Gary Sidley - What fabulous room transformations. An expert in interior design; your skills know no bounds.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I really should have gone into Interior Design but then I’d have to work with people- a deal breaker.ReplyCancel

  • Rhonda - Holy Cow. I’m in my 30’s and my house isn’t as well decorated as that apartment! Nicely done!ReplyCancel

  • Cary - You did a smashing job! Love it (though I think she may have a cat infestation).ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Oh yes. She does- two of them. The apple not falling far (and all that).ReplyCancel

  • Johnny Serio - Yes, I remember Tyler being a REALLY good kid! Love and miss you all too!ReplyCancel

  • MJM - Are you available to decorate a friend’s house, I’d pay you…do you accept foodstamps?ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - A ‘friend’? Do they have wine?ReplyCancel

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