Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Thank You Mejenis

Just this morning my nephew posted something on FB, one of those goofy questionnaires the kids put up, and for that I owe him great thanks.
The first line of the posts asks you to indicate whether you are ‘single’ or ‘taken’. I chose to answer ‘given’, because that is how I view my marriage. I am not entirely my own self anymore but I am not taken from myself at all. I am given with great intention to my partner.

And that got me to thinking.

What if I did the same in the New Year with other things? What if instead of being taken by force toward a healthier life I gave myself with intention to that life? Knowing its faults but loving it anyway?

What if instead of casting myself away from those who do good work - remaining single in my efforts, so to speak - I gave myself to those who touch the world in places I think are meaningful?

What if I married my ideals, instead of making them dating material, easily cast aside for the next, remembered only with a wistful smile? 

I’m thinking instead of being resolved, I will be given in the New Year. I will compromise. I will  approach opposition with the idea that we must work together somehow and pursue that end. I will show affection for tire, I will step away when a break is needed but always with the intent to return. I will keep at it and at it, wanting the success of it with all my might, whatever it is. I will love and smile and give my best, and have a laugh now and then at my own expense. I will offer what I’ve got knowing there may be nothing but my offer for that day. Some days I’ll receive without asking and that will be reward enough. 

I will not be resolved, not single, nor taken.

I will be given.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Is It Right?

As I write this, my husband has gone off to work, my children are just beginning to wrest with the warm sheets of their slumber, a fresh pot of coffee waits in the kitchen. Lena Horne and I keep one another company in this room bright with sun and ribbons that sparkle. A snapshot that delivers.

Today, another's child will wake without covers, his mother dirty and sad, his father unrested for fear. They may be cold or wet, too weary to know whether they head north or west. Hunger will grumble in their bellies, to no avail. There is no music.

Is that right?

I'm compelled by some unknown to think about them as I enjoy my day, wondering if He for whom I celebrate would be pleased by me or deeply sad at my sweets and abundance. I wonder, too, if all my other doubts and starts make Him wonder whether I deserve my joy. He'd be right to do so, I'd say.

Tendered into my smile is this worry that I am indeed not worth this good life of songs and ivies. It can't be right. So I imagine new in the day a tuxedoed man with a microphone will pour his regret as my crown and flowers are taken; the crowd's roar will not save me as I bow away from the stage.

If it were true that my sister in the dirt might get my crown I could accept that truth and be away. But what is really true is that she may never be clean, and I may always have this sweetness, neither of us deserving our lot. I am brought to my knees in wonder, worry, and a thanks blurred with tears of ill design.

Among us there are those whose faiths and devotions will divide us, judging, and breaking us apart. If not His message, than another's, is lost, I think. Perhaps my thinking is my poison, the bitter in this otherwise honeyed life. I should take it and make good of it, as best I can, I suppose. When I pray that is it, every time.

"Let the right thing happen, Lord," I pray. I pray it for me and for you, with wishes for love and peace and for all of us, the time to know it. That is right.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

I Worry

I don’t worry about you my Sun, because there you are, even on the darkest days, and when you rise there is no challenge to your greatness.

I don’t worry about you my Earth, because despite your rumble and weep you hold us dearly to your breast, safe and sure.

I don’t worry about you my Sister, my Brother, because whatever ails find your door you have proven your strength. You can count on mine, too.

I don’t worry about you my Child, because you are ready for the next day, healing, smiling; tomorrow is yours to make for the better.

My Mother, I worry least about you, knowing that  the lines about your hands and face are not comprised only of sorrows and fears but of a thousand stories, good and love, the feast of life. God blesses you.

I worry only for myself, that I am not worthy of this Sun, this good Earth, my family so true and kind. I worry I shall never be. 

So I strive, as all I can, and hope.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Inspired By a Comment on Eve's Post

Excerpts from the conversations we might have if some folks had their way:

Via walkie talkie, Jim: (crackle) Phil, we’re gonna need some cones down here, pronto.

Via walkie talkie, Phil: (crackle) Cones?

Jim: Yah. We’re gonna need a bunch. We’re shuttin’ some stuff down. Gonna need some cones. 

Phil: How many?

Jim: A bunch. All of ‘em. Just send down what you got.

Phil: Well, I got Norm up here but he’s workin’ on somethin’ and that dang Harold ain’t showed up to work. Again! So I’m gonna need some time to get stuff to you.

Jim (frustrated, shouting): Dang it, Phil. I need some cones. I need ‘em now. We’re shuttin’ down the Muslims and I need some dang cones.

Phil (frustrated, shouting too): Well right now Norm's tryin’ to finish level 169 but he can only get one of the apples down to the bottom before he gets killed so he’s trying to buy more lives on Facebook. He's on break. You know I can't take him off break so you gotta wait.

Jim (disgusted, to himself): Are you freaking kidding me?

Via walkie talkie, Jim: (crackle) DAN! You need to hold back that line, brother. We’re waiting on a level to be completed before we get the cones. It could be a while.

Dan (frantic): A level?


Allen, to his sister: They’re shutting down the Muslims. Finally! A President with some tacones.

Marjorie, his sister (smirking): The Muslims? I thought you were pissed at the Iraqis?

Allen: Naw. There’s Christians over there. Muslims, Marjorie. Iranians. Afghanistan. Those people are terrorists.

Marjorie (bemused): Afghanistan? 

Allen: Don’t you watch the news? This last President nearly got us all killed by shutting that down. Now the Chinese are over there! Betcha this one’s going back over there to finish the job. The Afghanis started this whole thing. He’ll just bomb the shit out of them, shut it right down. Totally and completely.

Marjorie: Oh I don’t think he’ll do that.

Allen: Oh really now? And why’s that Miss Smarty?

Marjorie: Because Afghanistan is a strategic hub in Central Asia at the crossroads of pipeline routes through Russia, China, and Iran, and has major oil and gas reserves. It also has huge mineral wealth as well as untapped natural gas reserves, all of which have been estimated at over a trillion dollars in value. In fact, five years ago the New York Times reported that the amount of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium are so big there and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry, that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world. He’s not going to bomb the shit out of Afghanistan.

Allen (shouting): Have you been watching that DAMN public television again? Goddammit, Marjorie, I told you that was a communist station! You know they’re all communist over there, right? You’re a communist, Marjorie! Mom and Dad are rolling over!


Ned, over the fence to his neighbor Ron: That's that for that Shariah law bullcrap. They're shutting it down.

Ron: Shariah? Is that the gal with the hips?


Pauline, to her husband J.C. (from the kitchen): Arlo’s got that fever coming back again but I’m not sure what to do.

J.C. (from the den): Well call the doctor, first. Let’s see what he says.

Pauline: I did. He’s not there.

J.C. (walking to the kitchen): What? Why?

Pauline (unloading the dishwasher): He was sent back.

J.C.: What? What are you talking about?

Pauline (loading): He’s Muslim, Jackson. They shut down the Muslims so he had to go back.

J.C.: Where’s he from?

Pauline (rinsing): I believe he’s from Boone County. Didn’t he go to school with Debbie? His folks were from Ohio though…

J.C.: So they sent him to Ohio? What sense does that make?

Pauline (mildly annoyed): I’m not sure. I think they sent him to Pakistan.

J.C. (incredulous): PAKISTAN?? My God! You can’t do that. You can’t do that!

Pauline (back to loading): You can now.

J.C. (shaking his head): I can’t believe that. I can’t believe it. That’s awful. God. We have to do something. I’ll run down to the pharmacy and get something for Arlo and then we can talk about what we can do.

Pauline: Don’t bother.

J.C.: Why?

Pauline (looking up): The pharmacist was Muslim.


Via walkie talkie, Jim: (crackle) Phil, how are we doing on those cones?

Jim: Phil. The cones?

Jim: Phil. For God’s sake man, I got Muslims up the yang down here and Dan is starting to sweat curry. For the love of apples will you get me some dang cones?

Via walkie talkie, Norm: (crackle) Uh Jim? 

Jim: Norm, that you? Geezus H Christ. What is going on up there?

Norm: Phil’s on break. I’ll have him call you when he’s back. I’m still trying to get this apple down.

Via walkie talkie, Jim: DAN! You gotta hold that line, brother. 


Braydon, to his mom: Maaaaam. Maaaam. Maaaam.

Mom: Yes, Braydon. One time, honey. One time is enough.
Braydon: Mom, can Ali come over?

Mom: I don’t think so, sweeheart.

Braydon: What? Whyyyyy? Why? Maaam. Maaam. Why? Just for a little while??

Mom (kneeling): Honey. Ali’s family is moving, so he won’t be able to come over.

Braydon: What? WHY?

Mom: Well, it’s complicated. Ali’s family is a little different than ours and some of the things they believe are different and the President decided that maybe they should move. To keep us safe.

Bryadon: WHAT? Oh my God! Are they doing that with EVERYbody?

Mom: No, honey, no no. It’s o.k. We are safe. We are not moving. Only people who think very differently than we do. 

Braydon: Oh my God. This is the worst news. Is he already gone? Is Davis? I have to check on Davis.

Mom: Davis? No honey, Davis is not moving.

Braydon: He is! He is moving! 

Mom: No. What? Why? 

Braydon (running out the door): He is a MARLINS fan! I have to stop him!


Via walkie talkie, Jim: (crackle) Phil? Phil, you can forget about the cones.

Via walkie talkie, Phil: (crackle) Alright, princess, settle down. I’m sending Norm down now with the cones and Harold just walked in so you should have ‘em in a few minutes.

Jim: Never mind now, just send ‘em back up.

Phil: What? Why?

Jim: The Muslims are leaving of their own free will.

Phil: Really? 

Jim: Yah - something about wanting to live in a free country, freedom from discrimination, an open society… I don’t know.

Phil: Hah! Jokes on them. This is the only free country in the world. Where do they think they are going?

Jim: Mexico.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Rejoice for a Reason

I read somewhere that the Pope feels that the holidays this year will be a bit of a charade because the world is at war. He lamented the hypocrisy of celebrating the Prince of Peace at a time when all the world seems so far away from His message.

I was uncomfortable, out of sorts with that message. Should I be ashamed of my celebrations?

Then, the other day, my mother mused aloud that the decorations she was seeing, mostly in hospital lobbies and doctors' waiting rooms (as has been our lot of late) seemed garish, unseemly. She, too, was feeling that a world at war might pause before a bauble made sense. I had to think about that.

If the holidays are decorations, like lipstick on pigs, to distract from the pain of real suffering, they are indeed a charade, and for shame. If we take in our grand meals with no regard for the plights shared in places where there are no tables, no feasts, we are lost for sure.

If, however, these days of rejoice are about messages of hope and provocations for reform - in our thoughts, our words, our deeds - then there is no charade, no loss for vanity.

Just as you do this day with family and friend, every day when you have the opportunity to spend good, do so with abandon. Smile, be kind, return the chatter of the clerk. Catch yourself before you act on the impulse of anger. Remember the reaping comes from the seeds you sow. You cannot solve all the problems, so address those you can well and express yourself with sympathy for those that others tend. Choose wisely, don't dawdle in the muck and vile. See it and know it if you must, then cast that trash aside for what it is. Linger in the goodness you can find, be that goodness for someone else. Hum, hug, be fine.

And on your days of pain know that for all the hurt there is love, and love to spare. Wide and wild there is love, full and breathing love, in gardens and books, high in the sky and in all the miles between us, love. Reach for it, lend it yourself, rejoice for a reason, and know love. Have hope. There is no shame in that. It is, for all, worth celebrating.

Lost The Child (For Max)

The teacher who tries and tries and cries and cries and knows the child won’t round the walls in robes and golds.

The police officer who firmly, then roughly, then regrettably finds that child, tossed in grit and shame.

The policy maker who aspires and runs, ambitious and bright, sure, who is apalled and wronged, and wrong, and fails that child, dirty and torn.

The warmaker, not of his own choosing, who fights and burns and hurts and breaks, true to his word, and comes back, lost the chld.

The blind man, able to see, knowing he has a hand to extend, closes his eyes, keeps his hands in his pockets so he might not get the soot on him from the child, lost and stolen. 

See the mother mistrusting and fierce. 

He tells her she is angry from the comfort of his weakness, shuns the child for his fear.

When she turns, she is not defeated. She is resolved. 

That is the blind man’s legacy.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

On Paris, Tyshawn, and Being Angry

My daughter is singing about love, sweet and rich her voice, selling smoke that shouldn’t be there, wisdom she shouldn’t have. The sound lulls and growls and rounds the corners, surprising and seeping into the fabric here. The cool of night is settling in outside, candles burn at our table, all is good. For me, in this moment, all is good. If that were all that mattered then good would be the day and all the days after.
But there in the grey-blue-dark of dusk is a haunting, calm and quiet, calling to me. She is in Paris, in the streets and alleys of my hometown, in the fresh and salted waters that lap against the shores of every worthwhile nation. She slithers into the desert, stows among the stacks and stores of every city street, slick. She is on the radio and in my cottons, brushing against me, on the rails and books. The sand between the stones. 

Still and tall the call to love, to be in and full of all of it, is urgent and constant and I am drawn, so drawn. 
When Fire! Hot! Cold-hot fire burns and beckons, too. Why should you break my reverie? Damn you! I should let this fire burn you burn you and burn you again, to ashes, and then I should set fire upon your ashes for your sins.
And then how would your mother hear your voice? And how would the world know your sweetness? Can’t you speak softly to me and I to you in words our mother would smile about, not because one would be the true and the other not, but because she would feel joy over our brotherhood and the goodness with which we found one another?

I am lost in grief over your pain and the pain you cause. And still that voice resiliant and right calls to love and love again and again. Without it, surely all is lost. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015


Don't go, sweet bean. I don't think I can bear a day without you, or at least the promise of you. I know I should be strong but I'll just have to confess now and for all that my strength is tethered to you, and the further you go the weaker I become.

Please go, sweet pea. Adventure as far and as wide as your sight can take you. Look back only to smile and wave and keep going, breathing that air, high and wild as you should be because this is what you worked for and you so, so deserve it.

Don't go, my baby. I can't keep pretending I'm whole. I was in pieces until you arrived so full and complete and mine that you became my wishes and my wishes became real. Don't take my wishes.

Please go, my angel. For all that you have given your turn has come and now your wishes must be made true, so you can see I never lied, I never wanted anything for you but your own joy.

And go and go and go and seek always to be a happy soul. That is what I did, over rolls and tumbles and times of sleep away from my self until I came here. And here you are. And now you go.

Sad and sweet for me and good for you.

You go.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sure as God Made Green Apples

In all of my days there have been few greater thrills than a long ball soaring into the left field bleachers, my heart in my throat, my team on the verge, the announcer on the radio cracking with his own disbelief.

The maybe of it all is exactly what I need. That's the game.

And for all that I may have to wait, I continue to long with bright eyes and a ready grin.

Because sure as God made green apples, it's gonna happen.

Can you feel it? I can. 

A Brief Recap With The Lord

You better have one helluva case, if one is to be made, for your actions. I picture it this way,

"Well, Lord, you see, the gays, they were trying to marry one another and they were trying to hold hands and show one another affection and have cake at their celebrations and have babies and take on all the repsonsibilities of adults in society, so I figured you'd be against all that and I shunned them.

And the illegals, Lord, you see, they lived on a different part of the planet and their countries were not run as well as ours so they had a hard time finding jobs and taking care of their families so they came to our section of the planet and they wanted to live here and work and feed their families and be regular members of society. So I figured you'd be against all that, so I shunned them. I still ate the food they prepared and allowed them to care for my children and employed their lawn service and called them 'amigo'. Then I shunned them.

The environment was damaged by humans, Lord, yes, but I just couldn't do without my car or my gadgets. You see without all the comforts of my civilized life I might have to hunt and sacrifice and live more frugally and be cold or wet sometimes and I figured you'd frown on that so I shunned a more simple life. I was real responsible though and put my plastic bottles from water in recycling bins. I even unscrewed the caps. So, there's that.

And, yes, Lord, the guns did kill people, did kill children. Lots of them. Yes, Sir, your children. But you see, during our wars, Lord, one of us was right about something - I can't remember what now, but we were real sure we were right so we blew up a lot of people because you said, 'an eye for an eye' so we took some eyes. The theater and campus shootings were tragic, yes, Lord, but I figured it was better to keep the guns and you'd be against any rules that might keep us from our guns so I worked real hard to keep the guns. I figured you'd feel pretty proud of me for that.

Yes, Sir, I thought about pink. I didn't support public healthcare or preventative care, or environmental protection, or stricter food inspection laws because I figured you'd be against all that stuff, Lord. Instead, I sprayed chemicals all over our food and invented artificial ingredients and fake pumpkin powder because I figured you'd be happy about that, Lord, and you'd look upon me with favor and reward me.

And I figured you would take care of all those families I allowed to starve, fall by the wayside, uneducated, unemployed, and hopeless, what with you giving the earth to the meek and all, Lord. I figured I was doing kind of a good thing there, and you'd be real happy that I left all the meek stuff to the West Side.

Because I'm Christian, like that, Sir."

Friday, October 2, 2015

Civility in the Wildnerness

We have convinced ourselves that we are not alive in the wild.

We have cushioned and wired and insulated every manner of thing, so much that we have arrived at this false reality with great sure: we are tame.

But we are not. Ask the fallen. We are not.

We plant artificial civility in the midst of a wildnerness too great for our plastics and drink tea in shiny manufactured cups, telling ourselves our beiges and bikes are the cure.

Shouldn't you laugh at that?

In truth we are as muted as we are vulgar and violent and unashamed.

There is as much in the quick as in the dull wit.

Some cannot soar through the towers of books and fame, but still they rise.

There should be place and space to keep us all, though we know that in the wilderness some are injured, some die.

When we squeeze here, the pain seeps out there. We can salve but not erase, it is always there.

The questions I have are these: have we cushioned the right seat? wired the right connection? insulated from the right injury?

I wonder that we might do better to dwell on the rightness of the wildnerness in her natural form, casting the civility for its false promise, so we can know in sun the good just as we embrace the moon, her twin. I wonder if that is not the call of the faithful. To be wild.

Monday, August 17, 2015

If I Could

I had seen the bliss and been in its glory, knew it well.

There! The blur that comes so sweet, intoxicating. I would close my eyes and grin, as I do now thinking on it.

Oh warm and kind love, reaching out for me, surely there would be none to compare. None ever as good.

And then there were three.

And if I could be blessed, washed complete in love ever and again, I was and I was and I was.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

It's Time

We mark twenty years together tomorrow, but really, it has been so much longer.

We were together in the dreams of our childhoods, I know. 

You were the smile in my wist on nights when the torn heart of a teen girl will make her wonder if it'll ever happen. Indeed, it will. 

In fact, I have loved you in all my days, even before I knew you, and still I long to give you more and more and more. I have wanted you for all your faults as much as for the dazzle of your smile or the ripple of your arm around me when we dance, flawlessly now, as old married couples do, and while I'm alive in every moment with you I am, too, dreaming, dreaming as I'd never dared to dream, knowing I can't wake because here I am, in, and with the man of, my dreams and all that could be true for me and more is made right when I am with you. I couldn't ever, wouldn't want to stand away from you any longer than I had to and even then I'd be finding my way to you because together is where we belong. I am no more in faith without my self than I am without you. And in case you should wonder, I know I am the same for you and the poetry I write here is shabby beside the work you spend to provide for my comfort, the worry you wear for my relief; this is the truth in every day. I know it. I always do.
It's why I smile when I remember us twenty years ago, swaying and singing softly to one another. Truly, the world you show me shines and shimmers, splendid, and I could imagine no greater ride than on this magic carpet, with you.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I Was Stupid on Facebook

I totally blew it on Facebook today. A friend posted a mildly provocative comment about a government program he's clearly not a fan of and I clucked to myself, despite reading a little bias into it, 'He's probably right about that.'

But then I read the comments.


The comments.

By the time I got to the bottom of the thread at 6:45AM, coffee-less and addled with age, I was clear out of my noggin. So I posted a ridiculous rant-comment, not particularly lucid, and I entirely mangled what the original post had been about. I blended comments and post and attributed all badly, then assaulted the intelligence and integrity of my friend: 'Super-Classy? Party of one? Right this way.'

When he, rightly, responded that I was nuts, I re-read my remarks (still coffee-less, BTW - huge mistake), and the comments, and the post, and realized he was right.

Good Lord, did I feel like a banana-head!

And I wondered, 'Why did you get so worked up over something so unimportant?' I left that unanswered and apologized. Twice. Still felt dissatisfied.

Then it occurred to me. I wasn't mad at him or his post or his friend's goofy comment. I was pent-up mad at all the posts and all the goofy comments.

Obama is a Communist!
Obama is a Saint!
The Pope is a Saint!
The Pope is a Communist!
Kittens are SOOOOO cute!

I read so much stuff now on social media sites for work, for liesure, for no good reason at all. And unlike conversation, I can't react right away, say what I think, clear the air between me and someone who may be saying something I think is mean or frustrating. I walk around all the time with these stored answers to these un-questions and un-conversations that are left un-finished. The Pope is a metal-head??

I'm hardly a FB newbie. I know you're not supposed to read the comments. I know if you do you're just supposed to blow past them and scroll to the next cat diary video. I know these things, but somehow I'm still stocking indignance and rant over things that matter nowhere to no one, not even to the people who casually post these things in places where none but a few on the planet ever take even fleeting notice.

So I totally lost it with someone I actually like and think is a cool guy, mostly because I'm nuts. But also, because this new age of communication is making me nuts.

I'm not sure what else to do with that information except to know it and to share it with the public so that if I ever comment on someone's FB post with a three page dissertation on all things liberal-hippie there'll be some context.

So there you have it. I was stupid on Facebook. Poster beware. And look out for the Pope, too. I heard he's a Communist.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

No Word

It was a peculiar sort of pink.

The sort that's grey and pale and blue, reflecting a sun that's dozing on the job.

Not quite twilight.

Too alive to be dusk.

A wisp in the air.

And the water.

The water was glass. Agloss.

There was a freshness in the air, waiting for me.

Like the moment just before
a new kiss, pressing forward, eyes closed.

I was enchanted by this night and its smell of hickory and summertime and I would remember it forever, never quite finidng the word to capture its magic.

Better there was no word to say this was among the last of the days we would all be together, so sweet, so young. We were all growing up too fast.

And now, as then, I am in my favorites floating on the water, beneath the stars and sparkles, remembering that night.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Outdated Americanism and The New American

The kind of Americanism that wastes itself on bigotry and war is on its way out. You can hear the last of it in the mewls of the Trumps and pharisees. Good riddance.

The kind of Americanism that obstucts a President because he is black, not because he is idealogue, is also fading fast. I say a prompt good-bye to that, and shut the door firmly behind it.

Americanism and -  for my sense, religion - that seeks to separate instead of unite, to burn instead of to heal, can go suck it, too. I'm done with that.

The old American is gone. This middling child is aging too. And so a new American steps forward. And what will he do?

He can't be the risk-taker his forefather was - that chance was already taken in his name, so he wouldn't have to. Ironically, the country is no longer comprised of the very people some label global discards, so there's been a bit of mission drift. Do we still primarily seek to take in the tired, the hungry, the poor? It seems in many instances we are not.

We are now the fat and comfortable.

But we are also the environmentally interested, the urban farmer, the cyclist. We are a half-shade of brown, we've tasted curry and we like it, our music thumps. We care if we are cheated, yes, but we are also wary of war. We prepare with irony. We feast on an engaged faith.

The new American knows that the money comes and goes, not always at her own will, and she doesn't care. Really. She finds disinterest in my bedroom habits, cares not to judge me, won't allow it as she knows what is just.

It is a slow turn, to be sure. Still, the new American finds that we grow not just for our own bloom, but for others'. He is willing to share.

The New American is a different kind of smart. He reclaims the simpler ways using the tools of the day, always seeking the better solution. In that manner, he is like his father, in all his best.

This American, borne of the children of jumpers and poors, can write it new. He will, he will. I know he will.

Give us your tired, your hungry, your poor. And together, what can we do?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Not Exactly Perfect

The kids love to tell and re-tell the stories of their father coming up to their bedroom to do the night-time story and tuck-in. He'd climb the stairs slowly, creaking along the tired floors, step into their room, and turn off the lights. Then he'd begin even the most innocent story in a husky voice, 'Once upon a time,' building, building, the room quiet save for the sound of his voice rasping against the evening air. Softly and then more and more, up and up, until he was roaring "I WISH THAT I HAD DUCK FEET!", lights flickering, feet stomping, a din! Much to the glee and giggle (and not sleepiness) of the completely un-tucked audience.

Of course, I'd be wailing from downstairs, "That is NOT proper tuck-in storytelling," which would only elicit more giggles and the good, loud belly laugh of the culprit. I'm positive the kids' poor sleep habits come from that business. I'm also positive that's not true, but that's not what I tell them.

My kids are the ones with the stories now - this happened in school and that happened in band and this class is so hard. I think our children talk to us so much because their dad created this place, this home for us where all the stories, even the scary ones, could be funny and laughed over.

He made it safe to be yourself here, to be a little weird or silly, to tell fart jokes. That last one is probably not my favorite, but I recognize its value...

What I mean to say by all that is that he's not exactly perfect, but he's wonderful and warm and strong and good, good, good. I couldn't have picked a better man to be a dad to my children and they couldn't be luckier to have him.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

No One Else Would Do

She is the keeper.

Steady on her feet, practical.

          In every family there's one person who keeps everyone together.

And it's never the one who thinks she's the one. That one's the alpha. Sometimes there are two of those in a group, and they spend most of their time keeping one another busy with their alpha-ness. It's not them.

It's not the softie, the sentimental one either. That one's too drawn in one direction or another, depending on who needs the nurture in the moment. (Usually, one of the alphas.)

The artsy one? Nope. The nerd? No, not him. They're good in the group and serve their distinctive purposes, but they don't hold everyone together.

It's the other one. The one who intentionally flies just under the radar.

          And she knows it long before anyone else has a clue.

If she seems vulnerable, and she may at times, that frailty is fleeting and hardly the truth of her. She is strong and sincere because she knows herself, always has.

She demonstrate softness only when she's interested in showing it to you and most often not for herself, but to give you some sense of purpose. She is kind that way.

When you confide in her she is even-handed, matter-of-fact, and fair. If you are wrong she will tell you. If someone wrongs you, she will tell them too, first and without flinch. There is a force there better not to be reckoned with.

She intimates infrequently, as little as possible. Her messes are her own and she is satisfied in that.

A finer sister or friend you will not find. She is smart, as talented and lovely as all or more, a quick wit, a good sport, and all without flourish. No need. Let the others have the noise.

When the time comes and they have tired of stray and pomp, hers is the embrace that will bring comfort. It always does.

Now as she grows into the yearning years of her own dares and travels there may be times when all seem far and least connected. Then and again, the center is real and all will find their way home to her.

Because the keeper is she and she knows it. And good that it should be, as no one else would do.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Happy Mother's Day, Ladies

That lady in the thrift store who was buying all kids' clothes today because they're half-priced, whose husband was sighing and whining the whole time in line, whose kids were scrambling and climbing all over everything while she waited patiently for the overwhelmed cashier, who looked at the $2 vase she'd included in her cart - the only thing that could have been for her - and put it back, then carefully selected each dollar bill from her old-fashioned snap coin-purse to pay for her children's things, and smiled at her daughter and said 'Ahora tienes un vestido para manana!" (Now you have a dress for tomorrow!)

Happy Mother's Day to her.

That older lady in the grocery store, who stopped to smile at me and chat for a few moments, who does not have any children and told me sweetly she is a mother to two pets who've promised to be extra kind to her tomorrow, whose caregiver sends her (every year, she told me) Mother's Day cards signed by her pets.

Happy Mother's Day to her.

The woman whose got three children, a dog, a house, and a husband, who just took on a new job, one she didn't much want but one she knows will get her back in the game even if on the fringe, whose been wanting a job for a while, but now that it's real is probably spending a lot of time second-guessing the wisdom of turning her life upside down and worrying over how it will affect her kids, because every thought you have once you have children is accompanied with a thought about your kids.

Happy Mother's Day to her.

That woman who is adjusting to a life change that was unplanned, unwanted, and unfortunate, whose Mother's Day must naturally include moments of sadness in the years just after her mom has passed, but who senses her mother's hand in healing as certain turns, equally unplanned, are just what is needed, and who accepts that help with bittersweet.

Happy Mother's Day to her.

To those women who are graduating, and teaching, and driving, and carrying, and sweating, and barely holding on - and still find time to love someone - child or otherwise - and provide the nurture that's needed for the day.

Happy Mother's Day to them.

And that woman, harried and earnest, who's got too much on her plate because she just can't say 'no', who's making mistakes and dropping balls and forgetting to dot all kinds of i's, who is only home in fifteen minute increments lately, it seems, and then only to be mad about messes and to make lists of chores which, when done, she never fully appreciates, who infinitely - and more - loves her children with all her might, and yelled today and swore at them when, really, what she meant to say is "I couldn't live without you, wouldn't want to, wouldn't be anything if I didn't have you."

Happy Mother's Day to me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

It's Not What You Think

I'm going to tell you a little something about racism and discrimination. It's not what you think.

Today, I received a message from a prospective client. I'd been providing her with market updates and options for rental/sale sporadically for over two years, as she worked through a difficult separation from her partner. When asked whether my husband and I might be good candidates for selling their joint home, this prospective client informed me via email that her partner said,

“English is their second language and they have yet to sell the property at _____.” She told me not to take it personally.

Three years ago I was taking my oldest daughter to prospective high schools, jumping through absurd hoops, and fussing over every letter in pages-deep applications. We arrived at one 'prestigious' program for a scheduled interview and were directed to a waiting room. There were two other families waiting, too. When the interviewer came into the room and called "Lucia? Lucia Rodriguez?" she looked directly at the two brown girls with black hair, seated next to their parents.

My daughter stood and walked to the door and the woman reacted with a scowl, "Did I call you?"

To which my fair, green-eyed daughter with blonde hair responded, "Yes. I am Lucia Rodriguez."

Nearly ten years ago we were selling a two-flat in a comfortable, middle-class neighborhood. We had rehabbed it top-to-bottom, and at the height of the market, the list price was over $600000.  My husband greeted the gentleman who arrived for a showing warmly, with a handshake, and thanked him for coming. We toured him through the property, chatting, and discussing potential rents. 

When he was leaving, the man slapped my husband on the back and said, "You did a good job here, Amigo. Where are you from?"

"Chicago," my husband told him, pointedly. "You?"

Don't think you know if you don't know. These are three examples of burns every member of my family has endured, leaving scars that build over a lifetime and that do not heal no matter how one tries to apply reason and faith and patience. 

I haven't been drawn into a street to throw rocks at anyone and I don't know that I ever would. I don't and won't condone that behavior. But I have a tiny bit of understanding. I am angry, and hurt, and damaged. And being told to wait for change doesn't make me feel better. 

It's true. English is my second language. So I can kick ass in two languages. Be careful what you say. It's not what you think.

Monday, April 27, 2015

How Good It Is

Seventeen. ((Sigh)) You are in these moments that, later, will comprise some of the greatest of your memories.  Make sure you enjoy as much as you can; don't rush. Even now, you know how good it is. Let the worry have another day. As we all do, by our own choosing, our missteps too, and our persistence toward our truer selves, we all become who we are intended to be. Know only that whoever you are and in whatever ways you will change the world (yes, you will) there will be some things that never change. And that is good. I love you, love you, and wish you happiest of birthdays.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Ansel: It's Been a Hard Few Days

Sam wouldn't eat his burger. When I asked him why he said, 'I can't eat this and know he's hungry.'

A few blocks back we'd met Ansel.

On the last night of spring break we went for a walk downtown. Resting against a railing was a dark man with bright eyes and a smooth gravel in his voice. 'Could you help me?' he asked. 'It's been a hard few days.'

Tony stopped to talk to him, while the kids and I listened to his story. Jamaican, he is, soft-spoken. He lost his home as winter began. In the few months since he's learned when to hop the train so he can ride and sleep, he's learned where to rest, away from the blustering wind, where to get help with something to eat. Still, homeless in cold and hungry, he has the inclination to chat and shake hands. He does not hurl rocks at the smiling, glittery people who blush past him from inside Macy's on State. I wonder if I'd be so kind.

We got him a burger and walked back so Sam could stop to give it to him and tell him he wouldn't forget. 'Ansel's my name,' he reminded us.

It's been a hard few days for me these past two weeks. Some days I don't know where it's going to come from, what I need because I'm wearing down, honestly. Wearing. Down.

More than feeling a little lost and tired I've found myself increasingly unwilling to keep trying, to keep battling when what I'd rather do is sit in a chair and read a book.

I hear the good wishes for might and courage. They are good but tire repairs with rest and a cup of hot soup; there is none.

Then I am spoilt and silly and I know it.

And I am reminded of Ansel.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Where is your faith?

Where are you? Are you in the sinning, the suffering, the walk away from honor? Or are you in the dying, the surrender? (And do you die only to be redeemed? Or because you are in your time?)

Did you find the step toward the truth, into the everywhere, into all time? Or are you lifted into the ever after, ascended into the next?

Where is your faith?

I’m always asking myself this question.

That’s what I give. 

I don’t feel fit to rejoice; I’m not even sure this is the day for it. I keep thinking that celebrating the proof is less sure than feeling the thrill of the faith - before the test. 

I cast myself into the shade for my doubt and then remind myself I am made in His image, and so my self is a good and worthy self, even with my flaws, my questions.

There, I find I am most connected, receiving what I think is the message of mine and all faiths.

In all your turmoil, your fear, your hunger and cold, with all that is needed and left unpaid, for all the days you do not walk in hand with your brother, for all that hurts you still there is and always there is room for redemption. Go that way.

Peace to you.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Rahm or Chuy: A Crisis of Choice

I like to think I'm a gal who pays attention. So I've been circling the mayoral campaign in Chicago for most of the months of its duration, and I'm still not entirely decided.

I'd like to tell my teacher friends that Rahm is an ass and for that reason alone I can vote for the 'anyone-but' candidate. The truth is being an ass is not always the wrong thing for some jobs. We may not like the change Rahm has implemented, or the manner in which he has shoved it down our throats, but I do wonder at the faulty notion that gentlemanly demeanor would have somehow assuaged the pain of change. It would not.

If charters and selective enrollment and wall-to-wall IB and de-funding language and SPED programming will not be the answers (they will not) we will learn it on the backs of our children, yes. We will learn it just as we have learned that fiscal mismanagement, protection of bad teachers, and institutionalized poverty also screw our children. Those problems were here before he got here, not helped much by the hard-to-take-too CTU leader, Karen Lewis. Her moral outrage was wasted on me most of the time. Whether I think he's made good choices or not, I don't lay the entire CPS mess at Rahm's feet; it's not a one-issue election for me.

So then I ask: Polishing up downtown? Adding big business? George Lucas? Is that who we are? I look at the sloppy, inefficient management of city services, the quality of care I get as a resident of this city, and I ask 'Is this the best there is?' No. It's not the city I feel in my bones and blood, and I live on the north side. If I lived on the south side I might wonder if I lived here at all.

Chuy's a little more 'city', right? He is. But Chuy doesn't know jack about education, from what I can tell. He doesn't seem to be super-clear headed about anything, actually. He's awfully nice and seems at times less ready to be pushed over than what we might think, but most often he's more affable than alert. I suppose that works well at the county level.

I like that he sounds like us, still lives with us - I like that a lot, actually. But who among us thinks he's the guy to shove his foot down Rauner's throat? (Ironically, Rahm could and won't because they're aligned on too many platforms.) I've prayed many times for Madigan's atrophy to finally force his retirement, now I hope he can hang in there for a few more precious cycles or all is surely lost.

Chuy's ED experience with a civic organization seems to have held great promise until trouble struck and the finances fell apart. Having been involved in a similar circumstance myself, I can tell you that managing a community service-oriented endeavor during a global economic free-fall is noble work and not for the weak-minded, no matter the outcome. I don't fault him his troubles, as has been the story. It was a hard time for everyone.

The truth is, Chuy says all the right things - stop starving the neighborhoods, put cops on the streets, give people your time and attention - it's the least a mayor can do. Yes, yes! But if it were so easy, wouldn't everyone be doing it? Where is the money coming from? I don't feel satisfied.

He says he can have the hard conversations with all the stakeholders and his voice will be respected because he is not adversarial in his approach. Friend, if you try to screw thousands of people out of their retirement funds, the situation will be adversarial, just take my word for it.

So. Chuy or Rahm?

The truth is there's a cultural identity crisis at hand, and these two candidates could not be more perfect for its poster.

Are we a little angry, a little bitter about being shorter than our siblings, hungry for more money and more polish to neutralize the dark we carry? Or are we a little hapless, the kind uncle, soft in the middle with strong, working hands? Are we earnest but ill-prepared?

I waited for my answer at the last debate; I paraphrase the question: "Tell me why someone should stay in Chicago - with all these problems you intend to address as mayor - why should someone stay?"

And neither man could answer that question convincingly. So neither deserves my vote.

I stay because this is a city that works - that toils - and continues to do so no matter how many jewels you hang on our collar. I stay because what is rough about us is just as beautiful as what is shiny, we have it all and life is like that. I stay because for every crappy teacher I've encountered in CPS, there are twenty amazing, devoted, wonderful, sincere, and smart teachers entirely invested in children others don't even think about. Where would I be without them? I stay because my city vibrates with the variety of interest and amenity that is always bursting at its seams, stretching, teetering. My city gets dirty, she cries, sweats,  screeches along the rails and then arrives safely, strong, flush with victory. I love, love, love my city, her color, her language, her wicked politics.

The guy who gets that, gets my vote.

I'm writing in Daley.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Why It Can't Be Cruz

Because none among us wishes to claim Christianity as paranoid, indifferent to the pain of others, focused on the punitive, and hypocritical. So it cannot be Cruz.

Women who seek power don't proclaim their places after ceding the spotlight to their husbands. That is no model for my daughter in her search for self. So, no matter her credentials, it cannot be Clinton.

Aristocracy dressed as democracy is abhorred in this country. We are founded on that disdain. No to Bush, too.

We are not pretend. We are the real thing. So it's time for our young country to grow up.

We cannot keep pinging and ponging between extremes screeching all the while about compromise and middle ground. We cannot keep pouting over our imagined injuries, forwarding bully candidates to do the work we are too weak or, in the best light, too right-headed to do ourselves. If we enjoy the candy our friend stole from the corner store, we are just as much delinquent.

We need to do what is right and what is hard, whether liberally or conservatively suggested. We need to get over those labels and teach our children, feed our families, produce products that matter and can be touched rather than clicked on a screen. We need to say 'no' to ourselves and to others when we cannot afford to do something. We need to care for our elderly, our disabled, our veterans, even if it means we only get one TV and one car. We need to suck it up a bit. We need to be what we say we are, instead of talking about what we are and being something entirely different.

Our elections need to be fair and ambitious and exciting, and they need to focus on reality and pragmatic solutions to solvable problems. Exit the bombastic, the entitled, the just-as-likely-to-run-for-president-as-take-a-round-of-golf.

This country can no longer brag on its reputation. The shine on that medal is getting old. It's been a long time since we stood up to the power of the overbearing, flush with integrity and promise. What have we become in the years since? Who speaks for us?

Cruz? Clinton? Bush?


Monday, March 9, 2015

You Be The Judge

Have you ever read the story of Mary Magdalene? Not the conspiracy theory about how she and Jesus married and had two children. The basic story from the bible. It's very simple, provided here as written in John 8 -

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

I've been rolling these ideas about fairness and profiling and justice in my head for weeks - for a lifetime, honestly. I can't understand why we keep killing one another, but neither can I understand how we expect any of us not to be afraid of people who are scary. The uniform of a thug is not quite so formal as that of a police officer, but no less threatening depending on what side of his thuggery you stand. So, too, a police officer can appear as thug, no matter how shiny his shoes or how dignified his arrangement. Our problem is not in the uniform or the thuggery. It is in the judgement.

So we see Mary, she appears as a sinner, we know her to be a sinner, she herself cowers for her sin. And those among us willing to cast stones need to ask ourselves what would happen if we were called for our sins. Have we always been honest? Have we always been fair? Truthful? Law-abiding in every sense?If the whiteness of your skin were as shameful as the black of his would you cry for each child killed bearing your appearance? Would you be meek when your name was called?

In truth, we are all like Mary and we must all strive to be more like Jesus.

An Ordinary American

I was talking to my mom the other day and she said, randomly, as she is wont to do with age, "I hate that term - 'ordinary American'. I don't think anyone is ordinary. Everyone is extraordinary if you just take notice." She went on about that a bit until she sent herself on another tangent, I think about bananas being on sale at Jewel.

The idea stayed with me.

A few weeks ago, I'd gone on a listing appointment. I pulled up to a pretty basic-looking bungalow tucked away into the city's most common anonymity. I walked in, greeted by a genteel man transplanted from the south, his twang funny and out of synch with my Chicago bawl. I followed him through generous rooms lined with books, trailing along soft yellow walls behind him. There were fine furnishings, photos, the treats of travel. The house, like the man, was unpretentious but rich, funny in places, unabashedly simple.  An interesting man lived here, an ordinary American.

I walked back to my car and looked along the row of bungalows hunched against the sidewalk and wondered about them, every one.

Then Ernie Banks passed away, as fine an American as you'll find.

Just like the bungalow, Ernie was also as Chicago as you could get.  Because I am Chicago, and he is Chicago, he is mine and so his feats belong to me in a way, to us all. Most who expressed condolence repeated the experience of meeting him, knowing him, shaking his hand. These, too, are mine, because these are not athletic talents, they are human expressions, endeavors of the ordinary. But then -  ordinary? This man? Not one bit.

I worry a great deal, which is not to say that I'm a worrier, but a mother and worry just comes with the job.

I worry about the world into which I deliver my children. I worry about our politics and our global affairs. I worry about whether I'll have enough money saved, enough good health to take care of myself and not burden my family. I worry that the world has gone mad and I can't relate to anyone because everyone is completely off the rails, skittering, teetering, screeching. I'm just one ordinary American, in a quiet panic.

And then I stop to notice people. I notice their book collections and affection for their grandparents' old furniture. I notice their genuine smiles and patience for children. I notice their soft hands when they kiss me and touch my face before toddling off to the grocery store to buy what should be a lifetime supply of bananas (on sale!) and I think. It's all fine.

In fact, it's better than fine.

It's quite good to be an ordinary American.

On Fairness and What it Costs

So I helped a friend buy a house last year. After we closed, the agent for the other side claimed I was not entitled to get paid and held back my commission. After months of catting and mousing to no avail, we are set to face a panel of colleagues who will review the facts of our transaction history and determine whether I am entitled to be paid for my work.

I don't know if I will prevail, not because I have doubt about whether or not I am right. I am right. I don't know because sometimes you win and sometimes you lose and being right is nearly irrelevant. That doesn't bother me; it is what it is.

If I lose, it'll cost me the entire commission.

At one point, I had the option to settle. In fact, I still have that option. I could throw up my hands, give way to the entitled and the belligerent, and let 'em have what they want.

If I do that, I get paid some of what I'm owed, but not all. It's not like I couldn't use the money; I'm not working entirely for pleasure.

But something about just giving up tastes bad. So I asked my kids what they thought I should do. To a one they said I should do what is right, outcome be damned. They told me they were proud of me, would support me no matter what. Cue the music. It's easy to be an idealist when you don't have your name on the mortgage note.

So I'm at this crossroads - do what is fair? do what is easy? I look down the easy road and find nothing there for me - no honor, no satisfaction, no moment to share with my children. I look down the fair road and there is uncertainty, yes, but there is also clarity and purpose and alignment with my better self.

I might lose the entire thing. I don't care. When I'm done, no matter the final word, I'll sit with my kids and recount the day, maybe over a pizza, maybe over a more elegant dinner funded by my slightly more padded bank account.

The expense of pursuing fairness is worth every penny, just as the cost of injustice is far too great to accept.

I Can't Sing.

Some people jog. Some people eat or pour their hearts out in music. When I can't resolve something I take to writing. I look to see if by the act of putting all my thoughts on paper some logical thread reveals itself. That usually works pretty well. Then, depending on my state of mind, I either follow the thread to some better conclusion or I pull on it and everything unravels. The 80s were a very thread-pulling time for me.

Now and more, I work hard to be a thread follower rather than a puller, with varying degrees of success.

However, most recently I've become caught in a conundrum, not by my own design or inclination, for which no thread to salve appears. No matter how often I write I cannot place words in the order needed for the peace to reveal. I'm so disturbed by this I find myself distracting from the original problem to dwell on the failure of my process. It's been such a good and faithful process. Why isn't it working?

(I find my futility worsened by being in a houseful of teenagers who wander from morose and despairing to giddy and delirious, often within thirty minutes, and many times over the same issue. Clearly my process will not work for them either, unless the tweet can be considered a thesis in the modern age. I digress.)

This blur simply will not do, and the curried feelings all around by those injured on their own and by my hand, my failure, only serve to burn more and more.

I find I rather hate having to care and I wonder if I could ice that interest in how others feel so I wouldn't have to hurt for their hurt. Then I circle back to the feeling that if I were a better person I could find the kinder truth for everyone. As it turns out, I may not be the better person.

In any case I have been disappointed many times and still I return, I embrace. If another can't should I chase? Or find peace where I stand? I think the latter.

So there it is. I think my system works after all.

Thank goodness. I'm not much of a singer-songwriter.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I am the same; I am me

I'm in that same dark spot; that windowless room; there is the pain, so familiar. In my stomach the yawning hurt, on my chest the anvil, my vision blue and blurred, the relentless horn in my ear, the buzz that trails all my thoughts.

I have lived with this resident, this squatter really, almost all of my life.  I wear pink with this, I serve meals with this, I laugh and share stories and marry and work with this. Still and always. This.

I have tried to convince myself that I am not that child, who's dad was a treat in her life, and then gone. I am not that little person, trying so hard to be mature, to hear the words that were being spoken to her, to receive and understand them and be o.k. with them. And then I am that person and I do not understand and I am not o.k. with any of it. All is lost. I am so tired by it.

My compassion for children, my demands of them and aspirations, my immersion in the children in my life is by design. I am the constant that could not be for me. I am the ready, the steady, the immutable hug because I have to be. I know what it is.

I am crippled with the force of a million faults - not mine - theirs, for having failed at the simplest of things, for having tried and failed to make me the most important thing. And then I am broken, knowing they tried with all their might and I was, truly, the most important thing and still they failed. So I could fail too. Any one of us could fail and then the hurt would all come back and hurt again.

And there we'd be in that same dark spot, that windowless room. And we wouldn't have changed at all. We'd be the same. I'd be the same.

And no matter my pink and smiles, that is me.

Friday, February 6, 2015

I Remember, Don't Forget

I remember inviting a friend from high school to my place after school. As we approached the large public high school just three blocks from my apartment I saw my friend begin to pale. The closer we got, the more nervous she became. I guess I looked right past some of the rougher edges of my neighborhood, but she was quite entirely focused on every one of them. She tried desperately to maintain conversation while slowly using the automatic controls on the driver's side to roll up all the windows in the car and lock the doors.  I was at once bemused and saddened.

I have no recollection of how long she stayed at my place that day or what we did, only that I never invited her back. I never invited anyone from high school to my house.
I thought about that today when I received a note from a broker who's doing an invitation-only open for a place across the street from that same public high school. List price? Let's just say I couldn't afford to live there anymore. I now live in a more affordable area, pretty close to where that high school friend lived. Isn't that funny?
I remember later, in my junior year of high school, I had another friend insist on driving me home after we'd gone out to do something. I was already in the car so I frantically raced through my options - have her drive to someone else's house? feign nausea and vomit to distract? lie and say I was going to work and then take the bus from there? I couldn't think quickly enough and absurdly blurted out my actual address instead.

She took me home, windows down, music blaring, chewing and chatting all the while. When we stopped in front of my apartment she stopped smacking her gum for a moment, looked up at the building and said something like, 'You live here? Nice. See you tomorrow!' And back she went to making a job of that gum.

She is my son's godmother.

There are a few kindnesses in my life I don't - won't - forget, no matter what comes after. I remember them always and still, still they bring me comfort.

Don't forget to be kind. It matters immensely.