The Replacements

February 8, 2023

Sheridan and I were chatting Saturday morning about Fitbits. I am a daily wearer, and never feel dressed without mine strapped to my wrist. I am, however, haunted by my popular “Fitbit break-up” humor piece that appeared a while ago in The Philadelphia Inquirer. We (Fitbit and I) have obviously reconciled, but those who remember the essay tend to glance down at my arm, eyebrows raised. “What’s the matter?” I want to ask, “Haven’t YOU ever changed your mind about having kids/hating Brussels sprouts/your favorite brand of shampoo? Well then, don’t be so judgy!”

Anyhoo, Sher expressed some interest in tracking his steps as well. Luckily, I unearthed an earlier iteration of the Fitbit from my desk drawer. It still works, but needs a replacement band, which I will order for him. Because he’ll be re-using an original, even though the plastic wristband will be brand new, I say it still counts as recycling.

Usually, when I replace something, it’s because the old one has broken. Sadly, though, the replacement item rarely lives up to my remembrance of Version One. For example, I fondly recall my 1970’s rabbit-ears-spouting black and white TV which, when on the fritz, could actually be fixed by a miracle worker known as a “TV repairman.” A few years back, we learned that our sleek, Jetsons-style flat screen COULD NOT be fixed, after a certain two-year-old grandson merely hurled a wooden block at it! How flimsy is that? is a fine firm that buys and sells old china; if someone (theoretically someone's random two year old grandson) drops and shatters one of Aunt Rose’s Victorian dessert plates, you can peruse their site for a perfect match. I love this idea and feel they should go much further. I have lost touch with an old friend from my early mommy-ing days. It would be swell to just type in “blonde, glasses, sardonic sense of humor” and find a great replacement for my Gymboree buddy circa 1986. Or how about a replacement for my beat-up old maroon Chevy Celebrity station wagon, by far my favorite wheels? They don’t make ‘em anymore--but neither do they still make the halcyon days when I tooled around town with all five of my kiddos, listening to Raffi’s Baby Beluga on the car cassette player and singing along. 

Bottom line, there’s no exact replacement for what has been lost or broken, really. As my favorite poet (and yours?) Heraclitus, once said, No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man.” However, I'll add: new us may always be stepping into a new river, but that rushing water has an old and beautiful source. As we move forward, dealing with our imperfect replacement bits and pieces, we should cherish the memories of our lives' irreplaceable moments, and be so grateful we had them in the first place.

And pray for the return of the TV repairman.


    I am an author (of five books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a retired director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: or email me at



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