Sunday, July 26, 2009

Rocking the World

You've traveled the world, leaving it rocking in your wake, doing impressive things, creating a better place in both small and large ways. You've left markers behind as witnesses that you were there.

You smile at my efforts, underestimate my capabilities, humor me when doing so will avoid conflict. Your list of places seen and contacts made is far more diverse than mine. I am regarded as secondary - an accessory.

I've rocked cradles, kissed boo-boo's, untangled hair and sat through innumerable soccer games, dance recitals, teacher conferences and late night conversations. Today, two amazing young people are determining their own paths, choosing the way the footsteps will fall. One is driven by ambition and fierce determination, grounded on a bottom line that always puts the people in his life first. The other has a heart that is drawn to people with empty places in their souls, empty places longing for a touch like hers. Day after day, she gives - and the giving fills her up - leaving her with a magic sparkle that pulls others into her orbit.

Smile at me ... even laugh at me. The world is rocking in my wake and will be for decades to come ... when your name has been long forgotten.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Gift

My son celebrates his 23rd birthday today ... how incredibly fast 23 years have flown by. I can remember every tiny detail of the day he was born... the day that made me a mother for the rest of my life... the day that since has given me reasons for laughter and tears and hope and despair and teasing and sorrow... but through it all... and looming larger than any of those things... is the love.

He's a young man now... no longer my 'little guy'... but he will always be my baby. He no longer drags around his blankie or his dinosaur... but when I look at him, I can still see that child in him... shadowed behind the man he is becoming. I am so proud of where he is today... of who he's become... of what he's accomplishing with his life. I'm pleased and surprised when I see bits of myself in him... and relieved beyond measure when I see that there are some parts of me that he hasn't inherited.

The letting go is difficult... but the blessing in that is that he's still here even without anything holding him here. We end practically every encounter with an "I love you" and he doesn't seem remotely embarrassed by that. He watches me... alert for any sign of MS trouble... the protector. He knows me extremely well... from the inside out... and he cares. My daughter's goal is to find a man just like her brother.... what greater compliment could there be.

I found out he was going to be a part of my life during Thanksgiving week in 1985... and I've been thankful ever since... thankful and amazed that such an incredible young man was sent to shine light into my world... to show me what love is really all about. It's not all sunshine and bluebirds... but it's always full of wonder and a joy that circumstances can't steal.

Matthew...whose name means 'gift of God'... he has always been that... a very cherished gift.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Breeze

(Guest Post by Craig Daniels)

The breeze found me, delivering Ellen's scent, then continued on its way.

I sat smiling, recognition touching memories, like a child flicking a light switch my feelings rapidly alternated between warmth and chills of excitement.

Out the corner of my eye I could see Ellen's car turn through the gates, roll its way along the winding drive and come to a stop under the Butternut, just shy of the old brick walkway.

Putting down the spiral notebook I had been writing in, I turned my full gaze, my full attention toward Ellen's car, and waited for her to emerge. Often she would spend a few minutes between scenes, allowing frets to drop away, letting one moment pass before engaging the next. Now in the drivers seat, Ellen sat staring straight ahead, hands lightly caressing the steering wheel, seatbelt still in place, gathering the moment.

The car door opened, blue heels touched gravel, pausing for a second, then she stood and faced the window of my study, smiling broadly scrunching her nose while pushing her hair off her shoulder. Her movements were beautiful, colored with mindfulness, deliberate yet spontaneous. Silently I watched her retrieve the shopping bags and head toward the bright cardinal red front door. With a turn of the brass handle she came swooping in, bags in each hand.

I was halfway down the stairs when Ellen zoomed passed, quickly turned in a circle shopping bags extended like a windmill and said, “follow me.” Without a thought I followed, heading into the kitchen.

Ellen set down two huge shopping bags across the dark black granite counter, and busily pulled items from the bags till the counter became hidden in treasures. I watched her closely, she grabbed the first treasure while looking at me, and with animated abandon delivered her pitch pausing just long enough to catch her breath, and to kiss me on the cheek. Ellen gave each item its due then moved on to the next, her hands wrapping and unwrapping, her voice rising at the right place to reel me for the sale.

Her excitement stopped abruptly, she reached for my hand pulling me to the floor and at the same time exploded in laughter. She laughed until tears streamed from her hazel eyes mumbling apologizes for her devolving into a sales pitch. “Forgive me, will you?” she asked in a newly serious tone then broke out laughing once again.

I loved her realization, her laugh and I loved her. We stayed on the floor with legs entwined, listening deeply to the other, long after twilight had turned the room dark.

The breeze returned with the scent of rain and solitude, the world disappeared, leaving just us.

by Craig Daniels - flash fiction on the web

Monday, July 20, 2009


On every side the players of life align ... antagonists, friends, complacent observers. Each new day is a game. The pieces and tokens change. The participants change. The currency changes. Some days each move is a spin of the wheel, other days a roll of the dice, yet other days a simple alternating rhythm. Always the play is in the living, the giving, the taking, the laughing, the crying.

And with every dawn, the odds reset and another fresh turn begins.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Thing Called Family

The princess wrapped in pink slept quietly as the teardrops fell onto her rosy cheeks. Tiny perfect fingers rested gently in the hand of the one who had given birth to her mere hours before. She was a gift, this child. The woman smiled through the tears, knowing that the joy of this child would forever outshine the loss suffered that day.

His words had been casual, nonchalant as he stood by the hospital bed, explaining that once again, he would be leaving … walking away from the tiny newborn girl and the beaming toddler prince who was now a big brother … and from the woman who was their mother. His actions made lies of the words of love he spoke as he turned his back and went away once again. Only this time … this time her heart remained behind, no longer his to carry. And on that day, the three left behind became an unshakable unit … a thing called family.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fanta Banana

(Guest Post by Craig Daniels)

Unmistakably clear, “Fanta Bananas, Fanta Bananas” rolled off the vendors tongue with a Latin flush, her rich lush delivery reaching me across the plaza. “Fanta Bananas, Fanta Bananas” she cried again and again hoping to pierce the self containment hovering over the crowd streaming into Fenway Park, this late spring afternoon.

Across Yawkee Way I watched the vendor repeatedly circle the stainless cart shouting “Fanta Bananas, Fanta Bananas,” for everyone to hear. What on earth was she selling I wondered, and equally perplexing, how would I ever cross the street. Thousands of people clogged the artery in front of me, pushing and jostling each other. I might be swept up in the baseball frenzy, never to be heard of again. Deciding to risk annihilation I stepped blindly into the crowd, and apologized my way across. People shoved me and groped me until finally, I stood face to face with the mysterious woman selling her mysterious wares.

“Fanta Bananas just for you,” she asked staring into my eyes, flashing me a look I felt in my gut. She paused, then deepening her gaze she continued, “they have a delightful flavor from the Fanta soda company.” I smiled at the sales pitch thinking if they were nearly as delightful as she was, I was in for a treat.

I was struck dumb for a moment by the feeling that I knew her, but dismissed the feeling and asked, “Can I get one in strawberry?” “One Fanta Banana with strawberry coming up” she said, and turned poking a banana on a stick deep into a red colored jar. After a few moments she pulled the banana out to reveal a wondrous sight, a deeply red gooey banana glistening like a jewel. The young vendor handed it to me while offering a bunch of napkins with her other hand.

It smelled of fresh strawberries, the fresh smell you only get in a strawberry patch. I bit into it slowly and let the syrup linger on my tongue. Beneath its glistening facade was a slightly gummy texture bursting with an earthy strawberry flavor, so darkly musty it became erotic. I reveled in all the nuances of flavor assaulting my mouth. I sucked and licked trying to extract as much flavor as possible, I didn't want its wicked sensations to end.

All the while I slurped the strawberry banana the young woman stood close to me with her eyes burrowing deeply inside me. She was probing, looking inside me, breaking down my walls, and I didn't care, I was transfixed on the exploding flavors themselves, warming me deeply from head to toe. She smiled.

“What do you think” she asked? “It was wonderful” I expressed while licking my lips hoping to find one last sticky drop to savor. It was then I noticed that the crowds were gone and only the young vendor and I were left in the street. The streets were deserted, no sounds, no roars or cheers came from the ballpark, the area was starkly empty. “What do you look for?” she said in a serious voice, “ people, where are all the people” I asked? “People,” she mocked my nervousness, “what people do you seek?” I really was nervous and started to move my feet up and down slowly getting ready to run, but I didn't run, instead I moved closer to her hoping to gain a physical advantage. “What's going on here and where are all the people” I asked again, while deepening my voice, letting her know I was serious.

Her eyes were pools of calm, inviting me to climb in, but her body was taught like a cat ready to spring upon it pray, I froze for a second and in that moment I lost any hope of gaining an advantage, she pounced, knocking me to the ground. Before I could get my bearings she was pressing her knees into my chest, her hands on either side of my head digging her fingers into my skull and with one quick jerk she turned my head to the left, forcing me to look directly into a swelling ocean wave thirty feet high about to crest, about to crush us both with its salty wall of water. I tried to scream, I tired to shake her off, but she held fast, urging me in repeated shouts to “look beyond the wall, look beyond the wall.” The water hit with a tremendous thump, roiling furiously at it smashed upon our bodies sucking us deep into a hot churning whirlpool of brackish salty sea, teaming with primordial life and, we were gone.

by Craig Daniels -
flash fiction on the web

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Unreasonable Reason

You are the reason my heart beats … because somewhere in this universe your heart beats its own rhythm.

You are the reason I draw each breath … because it’s the same air you breathe, the same oxygen you draw into your being.

You are the reason I lift my face to the sun … because it is the same sun that bathes your world in light.

You are the reason I dream beneath the stars at night … because there I can touch you.

You are the reason I am never alone … because wherever I am, you are there.

You are the reason I wake each morning … because as long as there is another day, there is hope.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dragon Snot

The tiny dragon – well, tiny in dragon speak at least - shuddered from head to toe, shaking his head and swishing his tail discontentedly. Emma, distracted from the orange she was peeling free of its aromatic skin, looked at him curiously, “Silly dragon, what’s wrong… you don’t look at all right.”

In just the nick of time, she ducked behind the tree she had been leaning against, as a giant stream of sticky spray and snot flew across the grass in her direction, the rumble shaking even the leaves above her.

“Of course I don’t look right – what’s right about a dragon with a cold?! I’m supposed to be flitting around the park, nibbling tasty tidbits and listening to the stories people tell … not sneezing and sniffling and suffering …” came the dragon’s plaintive wail.

“Oh, poor dragon … there, there … would you like some orange?”

Monday, July 6, 2009

Ripple In The Wind

He walked through the door with a shuffle that echoed with uncertainty, as if even his feet were afraid to leave the sureness of the floor that grounded him. Rounded shoulders created a shield, protecting his heart… while a downcast gaze kept others from peering into his soul. The impeccably tailored suit fit perfectly, shoes boasted a black sheen, the hair curled slightly at just the right point on his collar… the packaging precisely correct. Slipping the elaborate smiling mask into place, he extended his hand, taking a glass from the passing tray and slipping into the blur, creating no disturbance at his entry.

After all, who would want to laugh with him, or flirtatiously straighten his tie, or cling to his every word… exchange a glance across the room? He was merely a shadow, a slight ripple in the wind… and had been since the day she went away.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Too Big

I'm borrowing a line from Tracy at Ordered Chaos today... and hoping she doesn't mind :)

"Yes, it's all about attitude (having a good one in the face of adversity), but it's also about changing the changeable, recognizing your limits, and letting go when something's gotten too big to hold on to..."

In my "I can do anything... I am invincible" everyday mode of living, it's difficult to allow myself to admit that anything's ever gotten too big to hold on to. Life hasn't always been a picnic... but I've always been a survivor. And I can only remember once in my life reaching the point that something was just too big for me... there was simply no answer but to walk away. Of course, me being me... that point took a long time to reach... much soul searching... a few major trips down Guilt Boulevard... and subjecting myself to more hurt and more pain than anyone should ever endure. But in looking back, I know unequivocally that walking away was the very best choice... and as a result my life has become one filled with peace and confidence again. There are no regrets.

Now once again, something is just too big. Not in an emotional sense... not in a practical sense... but it's just impossible for me to hold on to. No rights... no wrongs... just a series of circumstances that mean that something I would have otherwise held onto with all my strength is now completely out of my reach. It's not even about giving up... that would imply that I ever had it to begin with... it's just about not even being able to get my arms around it. This time there is no walking away... there's nothing to walk away from... and I'm not the one doing the walking. This time it's a letting go... and a determination to do that graciously and not having the first idea how to pull that off.

I want to be loving and supportive and gracious and accepting... and I pray for the strength and the wisdom to do that... because right now... today... I don't even know how to begin.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Too Much Tenderness (Khalil Gibran)

"When love beckons to you follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him, Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden. For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth......

But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure, Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor, Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears. Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.

Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love. And think not you can direct the course of love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course. Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself."

But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires: To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To know the pain of too much tenderness. To be wounded by your own understanding of love; And to bleed willingly and joyfully."
— Khalil Gibran

Thursday, July 2, 2009

No Greater Value

I'm learning that so much of what I believe to just be normal, everyday habits or thought processes... well... apparently they really aren't. Sooooo... does that make me weird? Or silly? Or ridiculous? Maybe.

I was talking to a friend today about sentimental things that moms keep from their children's younger years. The friend's mother had saved all those things... locks of hair, first shoes, photos... but had stashed them away and they hadn't been seen in years. I've saved every imaginable thing from the day my kids had their first ultrasound pictures to last week. Difference is... their things are in boxes that are stashed where they're easy to get to. They drag them out and go through them every so often... and so do I. They're important memories... looking back over them... talking about the experiences... that makes us more of a unit. Every time we take those memories out and look at them, we add to their value.

Then the conversation went wandering... as conversations often do... and I mentioned that I had voice messages saved on my phones from everybody that was important in my life. I always make sure that at least one message from the handful of people I love most is there. The assumption was that I just saved them so I could go back and listen to them if I wanted to, but the reason goes much deeper than that. Most of the messages that I save include an "I love you" from that person... and life is too fragile to risk never being able to hear that again. There is no guarantee that there will be another phone call... or another "I love you"... so I treasure the ones I have. It seemed a very 'normal' thing for me... just something that I do as a matter of routine. To my surprise, it's not something everyone does.

As a child... or technically a 13 year old... I went off to school one morning secure in the sameness of my world. And I came home from school to learn that the daddy I had said "Goodbye" and "I love you" to that morning wasn't there anymore. A heart attack had taken him from my family at 40 years of age. I learned very early that there aren't any promises... that today... this moment is all we know we have... and any given moment could be the last as we know it. I've been blessed with so many wonderful bits of life... especially with people that are precious to me... and I don't want to miss a thing.

I still wander into my kids' rooms after they fall asleep and just watch them... so thankful that they are mine. I covet time with the and friends...I love. I choose to arrange my life around them. I would sacrifice home, career, comfort... anything... for those people. There is nothing with greater value.

I could stay awake just to hear you breathing
Watch you smile while you are sleeping
While you're far away and dreaming
I could spend my life in this sweet surrender
I could stay lost in this moment forever
Every moment spent with you is a moment I treasure
Don't want to close my eyes
I don't want to fall asleep
Cause I'd miss you baby
And I don't want to miss a thing
Cause even when I dream of you
The sweetest dream will never do
I'd still miss you baby
And I don't want to miss a thing
Lying close to you feeling your heart beating
And I'm wondering what you're dreaming
Wondering if it's me you're seeing
Then I kiss your eyes
And thank God we're together
I just want to stay with you in this moment forever
Forever and ever
Don't want to close my eyes
I don't want to fall asleep
Cause I'd miss you baby
And I don't want to miss a thing
Cause even when I dream of you
The sweetest dream will never do
I'd still miss you baby
And I don't want to miss a thing
I don't want to miss one smile
I don't want to miss one kiss
I just want to be with you
Right here with you, just like this
I just want to hold you close
Feel your heart so close to mine
And just stay here in this moment
For all the rest of time
Don't want to close my eyes
I don't want to fall asleep
Cause I'd miss you baby
And I don't want to miss a thing
Cause even when I dream of you
The sweetest dream will never do
I'd still miss you baby
And I don't want to miss a thing

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Make Believe Brave

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?" - Nelson Mandela

"Make believe you're brave, and the trick will take you far. You may be as brave as you think you are" - from The King and I

I freely acknowledge that one of my greatest fears is that life will expect something of me that I don't want to do. At the same time, I trust my intuition to guide my life in the way that is best... and to always be guarding my well-being. But I know that sometimes that hurts.

Life gets very big sometimes... and choices get very difficult. Logic would say that confidence in the rightness of a decision would make it simple and easy. So often the opposite is true.

Today I am afraid that I am capable and strong and able to make the tough choices life calls for. My strength... the same strength that I have fought for and peeled away layers to get to... that strength is what today makes me know that I can make choices I don't want to make and do what I don't want to do. So today I will make believe that I'm brave.