Cousins Bring Treasure: Finding a Photo of Matilda Clawson

In the last month or so, I’ve been so fortunate to find about 3 new cousins from 3 different lines.  And all of these cousins have amazing research to share and lots of stuff that I’ve never seen before.  I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot in the lottery.

One of my wonderful new cousins has shared with me a picture of my great grandmother, Matilda Clawson.  I’ve never seen a photo of her before.

Left to Right, Standing to Sitting: Fate Clawson [Male], Matilda Clawson, Walter Clawson [young boy], Polly May Clawson, Robert Dayton Clawson (baby), James Clayton Clawson (baby). 

Having this photo of Matilda Clawson is even better because she has been such a source of mystery for me.  Ten years ago, while visiting my grandfather in Tennessee, I asked him to tell me about his mother – Matilda Clawson.  He instantly tensed up and didn’t want to talk about it.  At the time, I couldn’t understand why he didn’t want to talk about her.

As I started to fill in the family tree, I learned that Matilda died on 8 August, 1935 when my grandfather was only seven years old.  Losing a mother at such a young age is hard enough – but the wound only because bigger when his father quickly remarried.  The remainder of his childhood was difficult – he became a rebel and as soon as he was able, he joined the US Navy and left home.

Matilda Clawson was born on 21 March 1886 in Tennessee (probably Carter county) to James L. Clawson Jr and Edna Jane Vines.  She married Monroe Dugger around 1908 and she died on 8 August 1935 in Carter county, Tennessee.

I am just so overjoyed to have found this picture and finally put a face to my great grandmother, Matilda Clawson.

[Photo sent to me by email by Lincoln Clawson]


Getting the Next Generation Involved in Genealogy Societies

Here is my latest video and it is all about how to get the next generation involved in genealogy societies.


Analyzing DNA: My First DNA Test (Part 2)

This is the second post in a series about my getting my DNA tested through 23andMe.  Read Part 1 here.

I got the first part of my DNA results earlier this week.  As soon as the email of “Your Results Are Ready” popped into my inbox, I started screaming with excitement!  I rushed over to 23andMe, logged in, and began exploring.

I decided to go through the menu on the left one-by-one.  I started with the health section. My overview showed a preview of each of the four subsections of health: Disease Risks, Carrier Status, Traits, and Drug Response.  I was surprised to learn that I have an elevated risk of four different diseases.  One of those diseases was lung cancer – which is interesting because no one that I know of has ever gotten lung cancer in my family.  But then again, since my mom was adopted by her biological aunt and I have no clue who the biological father is, perhaps the lung cancer risk is something I got from his side?  Hmm.  The good news is that my risk for coronary heart disease is decreased – by about 10% than the average risk.

Looking at the Carrier Status section, I was pleased to learn that I am not a carrier for all 47 diseases and disorders that they test for.  Whew!

The traits section was really cool.  Little things like my earwax type (wet – in case you were wondering) and my hair curl (curlier than usual) were things that I already knew.  One thing that really caught my eye was Smoking Behavior – the result was that if I was a smoker, I’d be more likely to smoke.  [On a side note, when I shared this particular result with my dad, he chuckled a bit and then, in his most serious tone, told me he’d kick my butt all the way to China if I ever touch a cigarette.]  Other cool listings in this section include things like Photic Sneeze Reflex (which I have a higher odds of having), Resistance for HIV/AIDS, Tooth Development, Odor Detection, and Asparagus Metabolite Detection (I have a higher odds of detecting).

Finally, I started to explore the drug response section.  This section shows various prescription drugs and the status of your sensitivity to those drugs.  For example, it shows that I have a reduced risk to responding to Hepatitis C treatment [note to self: don’t get Hepatitis C].  It also showed that I have a higher sensitivity to the blood thinner Warafin.  I also learned that I have a higher risk of heroin dependence. [Side note: When I shared that information with my dad, he started going off about how if I even *think* about using heroin, he’ll kick my butt much farther than China.]

When I went to explore the Relative Finder section, I was disappointed to find that those results were not yet ready but would be ready in about a week.  This was a huge disappointment because the email that indicated my results were ready did not mention that only half of my results were there.  As a genealogist, this was what I was looking forward to most.  I know that 23andMe isn’t a company that works exclusively with genealogists, but it should be a bit more clear in the email that only half of the results are in.

In the next post, I will discuss my Maternal Haplogroup (which is visible in this first batch of results) and what I find in the Relative Finder.  Stay tuned for Part 3!

[Disclosure: I received a complimentary 23andMe DNA test in exchange for a review of my experiences on my blog.  My opinions, however, are truthful and not swayed at all by the fact that the test was complimentary.]


Analyzing DNA: My First DNA Test (Part 1)

Super excited!  I got my very first DNA test from 23andMe.  After years of wanting to do a DNA test and doing some research into the science behind DNA.  (I even had breakfast one morning with Steve Morse during Jamboree 2011!).

So what made me go with 23andMe?  I’ve been watching the company for a while and I’ve love the fact it also presents a health side to their results.  But what really cinched the whole thing for me?  The new beta features that will soon be released.  Plus, everyone at the booth at Jamboree was super welcoming and willing to answer questions.  And they had hilarious t-shirts… I like a company with great customer service and a sense of humor.

So I ordered a Personal Genome Service from 23andMe.  The kit is $299.  Surprisingly, I received my kit in the mail the next day.  I was so excited to get the package that I practically attacked the poor delivery guy and then proceeded to rip open the box.

Before I could provide a saliva sample, I had to avoid eating and drinking for 30 minutes.  Assembling the spit tube was easy but coming up with enough saliva was harder than I thought it would be – but I got it done.

Once the spitting was complete and everything was packed back up, I stuck it in my mailbox, impatiently waiting for the mailman to come pick it up.

In the meantime, I went to the 23andMe website to register my test.  It was super easy to  enter the barcode from the spit tube onto the website.  The whole user interface for 23andMe is really intuitive and easy to follow.  And there are tons of cool features to explore.

While a lot of the features are unavailable til my results come in (in about 2-3 weeks), I have taken advantage of the surveys that are offered.  The surveys provide information that could lead to a better understanding of how genetics influences health.  Thus far, I’ve taken 8 surveys (they are super addicting!).

So now… I wait for my results.  These 2-3 weeks are going to feel like they are taking forever because I’m just so excited for these results.  I keep reminding myself that patience is a virtue and that it takes time for all of this science stuff to happen – but I’m too excited to be patient!  Wonder what my results will say?

Have you ever gotten a DNA test?  Was it through 23andMe or another company? What new things did you learn?

[Disclosure: I received a complimentary 23andMe DNA test in exchange for a review of my experiences on my blog.  My opinions, however, are truthful and not swayed at all by the fact that the test was complimentary.]


The Genealogy Generational Disconnect

Recently, there was a post on the Transitional Genealogists Forum from a young twenty-something genealogist that has sparked a lot of great conversation.  If you haven’t read the post yet, you should read it here.

Reading about Eva’s experiences as a young genealogist, especially her experience while at NGS this year, I realized how much I can relate to her.  Her experiences sounded eerily similar to my own and I could definitely feel for her.

I was very lucky with my first conference.  Going to SCGS Jamboree in 2009 was a wonderful experience and nearly everyone I met was kind, funny, knowledgeable.  People were certainly surprised that I was there but no one made me feel as if I was not knowledgeable about genealogy simply because of my age.  People remarked how shocked they were that someone my age was here and many people wanted to know why I was so interested in genealogy.  Many people wanted to quiz me on how to get their own children, grandchildren, or other young family members into genealogy.  Only one person choose to question my knowledge and practically treat me like someone with a complete lack of basic US history knowledge – and while I was polite, I quickly got away from him.  But perhaps the positive conference experience was based on the fact that this conference was practically in my own backyard.  Or maybe it was the fact that this was the first time I met so many bloggers in person – therefore, I already had a group of people behind me and cheering me on.  Or maybe it was just that all of that didn’t phase me because the conference was just so much fun.

However, at other genealogy events, I have not been so lucky.  My local society held a genealogy meeting one month that I decided to attend.  From the moment I walked in the door, people treated me like a complete newbie.  It wasn’t that it bothered me that people assumed I was a total newcomer to the genealogy world – but it bothered me that after I showed my pedigree charts and my notebooks and had a few discussions and yet, still, they treated me like a total newbie.  The whole event was honestly embarrassing and made me never want to come back.

But fortunately, most people haven’t been that way with me.  In fact, I’ve been fortunate and blessed enough to be welcomed into the community with open arms of love and acceptance.  I don’t feel that anyone looks down on me or questions my skills.  People have loved me for the crazy, loud, Energizer Bunny kind of person I am.  I’m out there in left field a bit and wearing a tiara for most genealogy events.  And yet, everyone accepts me for exactly who I am and my knowledge.

The reason why?  I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I “knew” a lot of these people before I went to conferences or went to genealogy events.  Thanks to my blog and social media, I already have a bit of a social media family.  I knew so many genealogists before I had even met them in person.  There were no awkward meetings – in fact, meeting everyone for the first time felt like I had known these people forever.  We instantly connected, instantly had stuff in common and to talk about.  We knew each other’s research interests and could relate to one another.  It was wonderful and I’m so grateful for the technology that made it possible.

So my fellow genealogists – how do we help bring out these young kids into the world of genealogy?  The young research set exists, hiding away from the crowds and just lurking on the web.  What can we do as a community to get more people like Eva out in the open and comfortable?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!


June Equals One Busy Month

June is going to be one super crazy awesomely busy month for me.  Why, you ask?  Well, let me give you the low down.

  1. First, my little (well, she isn’t really little anymore) is coming down for a week at the start of June.  We are celebrating the end of another semester and she turned 21 this year.  Plus, we are both graduating from college in December.  Lots of things to celebrate.  But why does this matter to genealogy?  Well, it is simple: When my cousin comes down, the whole family will congregate together.  When the family comes together, I get great family stories and a chance to get more information.  Now that I have my Android phone, I can even pull up photos and documents from my DropBox app to show people.  It is a great way to get conversation going and serve as an inspiration for further researcher.
  2. Secondly, on June 8th – 10th is the Southern California Genealogy Society’s Annual Jamboree in Burbank, California (practically in my backyard – if the 405 Freeway didn’t exist).  Jamboree is one amazing weekend of learning, fun, and total socializing.  This year, the ante seems to have been upped: top speakers, amazing events (like the Genealogy Idol Breakfast and the Hollywood Gala – fancy dresses, tiaras, and feather boas, oh my!), and a great exhibitor hall.  Not only will I be debuting my presentation Conquering the Digital Monster on Saturday morning at 8:30 am and be on the Bloggers Summit Panel #2 at 2 pm, but I will also be working at the WikiTree booth in the exhibit hall (table 106).  You should come to both of the lectures, stop by the booth, and overall track me down.  Why?  Because I love meeting other bloggers and I’ll be wearing both my fancy orange WikiTree shirt and a tiara.  And possibly one of my prom dresses on Saturday.  So yeah, you want to find me.  I’m pretty easy to spot because I have the energy of an energizer bunny and I’m one of the youngest ones there.
  3. On June 17th, I’ll be speaking at Questing Heirs Genealogy Society in Long Beach, California at 2pm.  The topic? Conquering the Paper Monster.
  4. On June 19th, I’ll be speaking at the Los Angeles Westside Genealogy Society in West Los Angeles, California at 7pm.  Conquering the Paper Monster will once against be presented.
  5. Sorting through, scanning, and identifying all of the family history stuff I’ve inherited.

June is going to be one crazy awesome busy month.  What do you have planned for June?


I’m Back

I’ve been away from blogging for a few months now.  Life has gotten a bit crazy and gotten in the way of my genealogy addiction.  But I’m back.

2012 has been one interesting year for me and it has come with lots of new experiences and many changes.  I don’t want it to sound like I’m complaining – because honestly, I’m not –  but this year has been one that requires a bit of adjustment.

And I’ve put this blog on the back burner.  So for that, I’m sorry, Dear Readers.  For those of you who are sticking with me, let me just say that I love you more than words can say.

So what magnificent things have happened since I’ve disappeared?

I hit the genealogy jackpot:

This is a bookshelf my Grandpa Max welded. Since the wood was in such bad shape, my cousin added new wooden shelves. But the frame is just gorgeous isn't it? And all that stuff on it was stuff I also got in the jackpot.

My grandmother's rocking chair and my baby blanket. The rocking chair was given to my mom in 1989 after my grandmother's passing and I have many fond memories sitting in that chair. And the baby blanket - adorable, isn't it? (But how in the world do I wash it? Seriously... my dad has no idea. So I'm open to ideas.)


Many dishes. I have more baking dishes than I now know what to do with. For a college student, this is worthy of a celebration.

My favorite jackpot winnings? A wooden box full of photos: everything from my childhood, my mom's childhood, and older.

How did this jackpot come about you ask?  Well, in short, my amazing cousin brought down all the things my mom and I left in Seattle, Washington about 10 years ago.  While we had every intention of going back for the stuff after we got settled in to our new California place, we never went back for it.  The stuff ended up sitting in my aunt’s house for ten years.

And now it is back in my posession.  Some of the stuff is familiar and I remember it while some of it is like looking at it for the first time.  It is so cool and neat and I’ll tell you all about it in upcoming blog posts.

On to other news… The Southern California Genealogy Society’s Annual Jamboree is coming up in less than a month!  My favorite conference of the year, Jamboree is sure to be a blast.  I’ll be there in all my usual tiara-wearing glory as a participant, blogger, speaker, and exhibitor!  Yes, I will be quite the busy bee that weekend.  It will be a blast to be around my genea-family again.

I have my final exams this coming week.  I’ll begin writing after that… I’ve missed blogging so much!



How to Recover from a Genealogy Slump

Sad man holding pillow

Photo Credit: "Sad Man Holding Pillow" by Hang_In_There on Flickr.

I have a confession to make:  I’ve been in a major genealogy slump for the last two months.

Generally, when my non-genealogy life becomes too crazy and stressful, my genealogy life suffers.  The more stressful my non-genealogy life is, the more cloudy my brain becomes and it isn’t long before I can’t focus or get easily distracted.  It isn’t long before my genealogy begins to suffer.

Once you are in that place of “blah”, it can be so hard to get out of it.  I started watching all my genealogy friends and feeling envious – popping out blog posts left and right, making new discoveries, and enjoying new tech toys while I was stuck in “blah-land”.

But I’m here to say there is light at the end of the tunnel.  There is hope.  There is a way out of “blah-land”.  So what is the secret?

Find Inspiration

How do you find inspiration?  Different things work for different people, but here is a list to get you started:

  • Watch Who Do You Think You Are
  • Watch The Generations Project
  • Attend a genealogy society meeting
  • Attend a genealogy lecture
  • Attend a genealogy conference/seminar/event-of-some-kind
  • Read a genealogy blog you love
  • Find a new genealogy blog to read
  • Read any genealogy blog
  • Listen to The Genealogy Gems Podcast (How can you NOT feel inspired by Lisa Louise Cooke – she is just so bubbly and happy!  It is like listening to your own personal cheerleader)
  • Listen to The Genealogy Guys Podcast (George G. Morgan and Drew Smith and sometimes, a cat sidekick.  Need I say more?)
  • Listen to The Family Tree Magazine Podcast (Hosted by Lisa Louise Cooke).
  • Watch genealogy videos on Youtube
  • Try a new library or archive
  • Listen to Geneabloggers Radio (Good hosts + Good Guests + Crazy Chatroom = one fun night)
  • Try a new genealogy website
  • Chat with a genealogy friend
  • Buy a new tech toy
  • And the list goes on…

What got me inspired?  Last week’s Who Do You Think You Are episode with Reba.  I already love her and add the fact that her journey included the story of her ancestor coming to American Colonies as a child and I am hooked (again).

Add a dash of Caroline Pointer’s post, Problems with Evernote and Genealogy?, a conversation with my dad about the 1940 census that didn’t end in eye rolls, and a pinch of Ben & Jerry’s binges while blasting Adele music and I’m feeling back to my usual genealogy enthusiastic self.

Have you ever had a genealogy slump before?  How did you get out of it?  What inspires you?


Lessons From My Mother: Part 2

Dear Mama,

Over the last six months or so, I’ve made it a priority to go to bed in my room and fall asleep without the television.  The goal isn’t too hard to focus on since I only have one television and I keep it in the living room.  So far, it works pretty well and I’m able to fall asleep without it – a task I never would have thought possible a few years ago when I used to need the television on just to sleep.

While I’ve mostly gotten over that habit, there are still some nights when I just need the TV on.  On these nights, I walk with my blanket and pillow to the futon in the living room and turn the television on.  The simple act always reminds me of you and your insomnia.  I flip through the channels and try to avoid your shows – always the crime shows – in an attempt to not think about you.  But try as I might to avoid the latest episode of Law & Order (and the 20,000 variations of it), my thoughts still go back to you.  It isn’t long before I settle into my makeshift bed and put on The Daily Show – of course, it reminds me of you.

We used to watch that show all the time.  It was our way of bonding over politics, a starting place for our debates and discussions.  Arguments over President Bush’s policies, the Wars in the Middle East, healthcare, education, just about anything.  While it was all about the politics, it was never really about the politics.  It was all about developing an opinion, seeing things from another perspective, and learning to speak my mind.

I remember one such occasion during the summer of 2001.  We had just moved from Seattle down to San Marcos, California and our condo didn’t have much furniture in it yet.  It was morning and we were reading the newspaper while we ate toast.  I always loved the opinion section and you always loved the news.  Something in the “Letters to the Editor” section caught my eye and I was suddenly furious.  I started to rant about how incredibly wrong this person was and how my opinion was better.

“Why don’t you tell them that then?”

“Tell who what?” I was confused.

“Why don’t you write to the newspaper and tell them your opinion?  Give them your take on things?”

“I’m 12.” I said flatly.


“So… why would they listen to me?”

“You won’t know if you don’t try.  Worst they can do is not publish it.  But at least you will have gotten your opinion out there.”  You shrugged the whole thing off as if this was the most obvious idea in the world.  I was in shock because you actually thought a newspaper editor would listen to me.

“You just want me to stop ranting, don’t you?” I asked.

“I’m just saying that if you feel so strongly about the subject, then you should write in.”  The smile on your face gave you away.

But I followed your advice anyway and wrote in.  And then not-so-slyly attacked the newspaper every morning for the next two weeks, flipping like a mad woman to the editorial section.  And each morning I tried to hide my disappointment when it wasn’t printed.

Until one day, it was printed.  And as soon as I saw it, I screamed.  And jumped.  And screamed some more.  You worriedly looked at me.  I pointed down at the newspaper, way too excited to form a coherent sentence, and continued screaming.

“ME!  MINE!  LOOK!  AHHHH!”  The excitement was overwhelming and you only smiled.

I quickly grew to love speaking my mind and debating.  By the 10th grade, I had joined the debate team – which is saying something since we met at 7:00am every morning and often had competitions early on Saturday mornings.

You were the one that taught me to speak my mind and express my opinions.  You were the one that taught me to “back it up” with facts and sources.  You were the one that taught me to speak up, even when I feel like no one would listen to me.  And it was because of you that I inherited a determined stubbornness that always seems to play out in arguments.  I guess my craving to be right comes from you too. (But how boring would I be without it?)

We were good at arguing and I think we spent nearly every moment of my teenage years perfecting those skills.  I pushed your buttons.  You pushed my buttons.  You screamed.  I screamed.  It was our version of normal.  And yet, as much as we screamed (and we screamed a lot), we seemed to always be able to forgive and go back to being our typical laughing selves.  I still feel sorry for our poor neighbors though.

During my teenage years, I was really good at speaking my mind but not so good at knowing when to bite my tongue.  While I’ve certainly improved my diplomacy and wording skills, my big ole mouth still gets me in trouble once in a while.  But then again, if I didn’t get in trouble for running my mouth once in a while, I wouldn’t be able to call myself your daughter, would I?

It still feels unreal that it has been two years since you have passed and two years since I’ve had a great argument.  Oh the things I would do to be able to argue with you again…

In Loving Memory ~ Sharon Doerflinger

June 20, 1959 – February 28, 2010


Lessons From My Mother

Dear Mama,

Why is it that I always get the best ideas while I’m doing the dishes?

And why is it that I always call you “Mama” when I am not feeling well?

I hate doing the dishes.  But you’re well aware of that fact because you spent nearly every moment of my teenage years practically pulling teeth to get me to do the dishes.  I don’t know why I hate that chore so much, but I would do practically anything to avoid the dishes.  But now that I live on my own, I’m forced to do the dishes.  Maybe my mind drifts to you as I do the dishes because I’m trying to distract myself from how much I hate doing the dishes.  Or maybe it is because I’m trying to ignore the fact that it has been almost two years since you’ve left this world.  I don’t know.  It doesn’t matter much anyway.

While I was doing the dishes this morning, I started to think of you.  My life seems to be rapidly changing and moving these days, so much so that I wonder if you would even recognize it.  My future teaching career feels closer than ever, no longer feeling like some distant dream, but much more like a reality.  It is exciting and terrifying all at the same time.  I can’t place my finger on exactly when I crossed the platform from childhood to adulthood, but it is abundantly clear somewhere along the way, I’ve done it.  You’d be so proud of me and I only wish you were here to see it in person.

You’re probably the only one that would understand my need to teach.  It isn’t a choice for me and never has been.  Teaching is a part of who I am, so ingrained in my DNA and very being that it would be impossible for me not to teach.  Since the age of five, I’ve known that I had two possible paths in life to follow: Either I could be a princess or a teacher.  Since I don’t have any princes knocking on my door, I’ve settled on just wearing a tiara once in a while and focusing on being a teacher.

Even when I tried to avoid a career in teaching, you stayed patient and let me discover it on my own.  I made every excuse for why I didn’t want to be a teacher: the pay is horrible, too much gossip between colleagues, parents never seem to appreciate you, those kids that don’t listen, the fact that I’ll be spending my own money on supplies for my classroom, the fact that the system is so broken and far too many children fall between the cracks…  The list seemed endless

“I could be a journalist.  Travel the world.  Interview important and interesting people.  Write articles.  That would be cool.”  We were eating breakfast at a local diner, both of us reading the newspaper.

“Journalist?  Yeah, I suppose.”

“What kind of salary do you think they make?”  I took a long sip of my iced tea.

“No idea.  But I don’t think the average journalist makes much more than a teacher would.”

“Who said anything about being an average journalist?  Average journalists don’t get to travel or interview super important people or-”

“If you think being a journalist would make you happy, then go for it.”  Your voice was dripping with frustration.

“What does that mean?” I asked, raising an eye brow and using a tone that I knew you wouldn’t like.  I was pushing your buttons, feeling offended and hormonal.

“All I’m saying is that at some point in your life, Elyse, you’re going to have to decide what is more important to you: being happy or being rich.  Since you’ve suggested just about half a dozen career choices in the last week, I’m assuming that you are trying really hard to convince yourself, and everyone else in the process, that you would be perfectly happy as long as you had lots of money.  I’m not contradicting that.  I’m just saying that the choice is up to you and you have to figure out what matters more to you.  Teaching may not be a glamorous job that pays great, but you know you love it and you’d be an amazing teacher.  You might not have a giant bank account balance, but you know that you would change lives.  And at some point, you have to decide what will make you happy.”

I sat across the table, trying to hide the shock on my face from your bluntness.  We ate the rest of our breakfast in silence – and if I remember correctly, I gave you the silent treatment for the rest of the day.

I also remember 4th of July of 2006.  I had a horrible fight with my then-boyfriend and spent the day moping around the house.  After a few hours of this, you had had enough.

“Get up.”

“Excuse me?” I asked, sitting in front of my computer.

“Get up.”

“I don’t get it…”

“Get up and get out of this house.  You have moped long enough and it is time for you to go do something.  It is 4th of July and you’re telling me that suddenly you have no plans?  Don’t let some boy ruin you’re night.”

“He isn’t just some boy.  He is my boyfriend.”

“Yes… I remember,” you said with a grumble.  You never did like him, always insisting that he was a jerk – but of course, I didn’t see that until much later.

“I don’t want to go out.”  I said flatly.  Turning back to my computer screen.

“Go call someone.”

“I don’t want to.”

“Get up.  Go call someone.  Get out of the house.  Go cause some trouble and don’t come back until you have a smile on your face.”

I vaguely remember rolling my eyes at this and flashing an ever so fake smile in your direction.

“Don’t make me be the one to call your friends.  You know I’ll only embarrass you to no end.”

“You wouldn’t.” I said confidently, turning my back to her in an obvious sign of avoidance.

“Is that a dare?  Oh Elyse, you know how I just can’t resist a dare.”

I sent my strongest teenage stare in your direction.  You returned the stare and didn’t break it – not even for a second.

“Fine.” I said angrily, admitting defeat.

“Oh good.  I knew you’d see it my way.”


“Life is too short and you are too damn young to be this hung up on a boy.”

“He isn’t just any boy!”  I said again angrily.  But rather than engage me into what surely would have escalated into one of our shouting matches, you walked away.   I got out of the house that night, choosing to go with a friend to the beach and watch the fireworks.  At the time, I refused to admit that you had been right: life is far too short and I am far too young to be hung up on a boy.  So once that boyfriend and I had broken up for good, I took your advice to heart and refused to sit at home moping.  I left the house.  I hung out with friends.  I tried new things.  Because life is too short and I’m far too young not to.

When I do the dishes and your memory creeps into my mind again, I avoid the sadness of your absence and choose to let your adventurous spirit fill my thoughts.  I think about all the possibilities the future could hold: the places I’ll visit, the people I’ll meet, the new things I’ll try.  As I place the last dish on the drying rack, I think of the lessons you taught me.

Life is too short and I’m far too young to be anything but happy.

Mom and I

In Loving Memory ~ Sharon Doeflinger

June 20, 1959 – February 28, 2010