I’ve been finalizing a draft of my memoir manuscript—version eleventy-nine thousand or so—and I needed to clarify some dates and facts. So, this morning, I dragged down a blue-lidded bin from the attic.

I wanted Matt’s report cards and school work from third grade, when he was eight. That was the year his behavior and personality began to change. 

I write in my manuscript, “It was the start of the end of the old Matthew.”

The new Matt was different. The new Matt had a brain tumor, but we wouldn’t know that for another three years. 

I found what I wanted in the bin, along with memorabilia that sent memories swirling through my head like dandelion seeds.

For example, these teddy bear paw print shoes. The shoes say to me “innocence.” Not only because Matt was not even two when he wore them, but because we had no idea what lay ahead. 

Do we ever know?

Today’s another innocent day. I don’t know what tomorrow will hold, so I am grateful for the sun and warm breeze and cold ice tea.

I’m grateful for a laptop and blue-lidded bin and memories that hold my story, and for you with whom I share it.

I’m grateful that all my loved ones have sturdy shoes to support them on their life’s journey.

And I’m so grateful for our new Matt, now 31. I can’t imagine a better version. 


  • An emerging writer in upstate, NY, Karen DeBonis tells her story on her website, in publications like the NY Times, (a Tiny Love Story), in her “Become Emboldened” projects, and elsewhere. "Portrait of a People-Pleaser and the Son Who Paid the Price", Karen’s transformational memoir about a woman’s quest for authenticity and the courage to speak her truth, is currently available for representation.

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  1. Mary on May 9, 2018 at 1:50 AM

    OH, Karen, I’ve been following your posts, like I do, and seeing the shoes stopped me, riveted because Janna had the very same shoes I loved for the same reasons. One of my favorite pictures has both the girls in the rocker we bought when I was expecting Janna, after Oakley’s grandmother’s rocker sort of shattered one night.
    In the picture, Janna wears the shoes, those baby paws front and forward, and laughs delightedly with her big sister, just delighted to be. I often need to look at that picture, as does Oakley. We so identify with having been re-oriented and changed irrevocably by our beloved child’s struggle. We so identify with rejoicing over every step forward, every triumph, no matter how small.
    Keep up the loving work!


    • Karen DeBonis on May 9, 2018 at 9:39 AM

      Thank you Mary, for your beautiful comment. It’s good we have our pictures to get an occasional breather from the here and now. Thanks for the support, and you keep up your own loving work, of loving your child.

  2. Pat rampolla on May 9, 2018 at 10:52 PM

    Many people have memories but you have the gift of turning them into a story.

    • Karen DeBonis on May 10, 2018 at 1:05 AM

      Thank you, Pat – that’s a wonderful compliment!!

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