Stories of a single mother raising four kids after her divorce while trying to reinvent herself, including dating again

My Year of Asking for Help

Standing in my bedroom in 1974, my mother schooled me once again with her steps for finding the perfect job. Having heard it all before, I wanted to scream. At twenty-two years old, I was now a college graduate and, in my snarky opinion, no longer needed her advice.

But, as I pounded the streets of San Francisco’s financial district in my long, homemade jean skirt covered in embroidered flowers and a peasant blouse that slid down my right shoulder, I began to wonder if […]

A Piece of Me

“Are you crazy?” a woman I’d just met began, perplexed. “Why bother writing if you can’t make a living at it?”

Back in 2001, when stories I had locked away in my brain found their way to paper, I felt God was giving me another talent to play with. From the time I was young, I was pulled to the arts: drawing, painting, sculpting, even sewing.  Later, music entered with my first guitar, and off I was in folk-, singing the songs of Peter, Paul […]

My Year as a Minimalist

Walking into my apartment, exhausted after a long day of negotiations on my recent listing in Los Altos, I stopped and looked around at the tiny space I called home.  Just a year ago, I sold my beautiful five-bedroom, 3,500-square-foot home—filled with memories and pictures of my four kids on every wall—and downsized to what felt like a 780-square-foot closet. My first thought was I should be crying over this change. Instead, I smiled.

Not long ago, I was a marketer’s dream. I found myself […]

My Final Responsibility

 

Going through massive amounts of paperwork, my brother Dave and I cringed. How could our father, a brilliant and organized man, leave such a mess with his estate? What Dad thought were simple instructions would take a year, several attorneys, extra money, and a judge’s ruling to clear up his intent. Wasn’t losing him suffering enough? The paperwork became pure torture.

In the Madden family, my parent’s finances were never discussed with their kids. Watching them age became frightening because we didn’t know where anything […]

All I Needed

 

 

In an effort to leave our family’s digital history organized and in one place, I spent hours learning how to turn the old VHS videos into DVDs. Being technologically challenged, this was no easy feat. But, in the Universe’s Divine planning, I was granted an intercession by the techie gods above, and soon the transfer from the archaic mode of entertainment to the current would begin.

First, I organized the volume of dusty tapes into chronological order. Then, by activity, dance recitals, and athletic events. […]

If not when?

Pulling the four, freshly minted cards out of my wallet in Walgreens, I found myself flummoxed. Being new to this game, I looked at the pharmacist and sheepishly asked, “Which one do you want?”

As she stared at my Medicare identifications, she giggled. “I’ll take these two. Isn’t it fun to turn sixty-five?”

My first instinct was to grumble “no,” but instead smiled and went on my way.

On December 31st, I officially became a senior citizen. Long ago, in my uninformed teens, I thought turning sixty-five […]