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Archive for the ‘positive thinking’ Category

(photo of the two children taken by Alice Zeiser)

I choose not to place DIS in my ability. (Robert M. Hensel)

Buddy Walk Day. The Saturday after Labor Day brings

A sea of shirts in bright colors. Yellow this year. Thousands.

One day without any uninformed person

dropping both eyes and mouth into parallel

frowns and an I’m-sorry. Down syndrome isn’t sad.

Apologies come after simple happenings.

Spilled water—nothing a napkin can’t handle,

or an it-took-me-forever-to-find-a-parking place.

Smiles follow. My granddaughter takes her cousin’s hand.

Or does he grab hers? It doesn’t matter.

This group knows we are all one.

And celebration comes naturally

when our common space is love.

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It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. (Tom Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker)

On Labor Day afternoon my granddaughter, Ella, and I play fast-food restaurant. She is at the drive-through and I am a 107-year-old customer with a special request. Since my chewing is limited, I want my order cut into small pieces: 2 hamburgers, a couple dozen chicken nuggets, five orders of fries.

She is willing to oblige.

“How much is that?” I ask as I reach for my invisible order from my imaginary car. (Fortunate, since at 107, more than chewing mechanisms would be out of order. Driving may not be advisable.)

“Nine hundred dollars.” She grins.

Wow! Service charges have gone up everywhere. However, in the pretend world I can reach into my pocket and find five dollars, a thousand dollars, or a magic frog.

Perhaps I should have given her the magic frog.

Imagination. I hope it stays with me until I am old enough to keep the nursing home entertained.

Ella’s real-life gifts appear as I get lunch ready. She makes Lego creations for my friend, Ann, to see by feeling them. Ann has been blind since birth. I don’t mind that Ella sits next to Ann instead of me.

After the meal, Ella brings Ann to our toy shelf and shows her safe-for-kid paint jars, stuffed animals, cars.

I watch. Enriched. Ella has Down syndrome: I am grateful to be favored by the up of her existence.

 

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I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine. (Neil Armstrong)

ONE OLD, LOST CALENDAR

I find an old, unmarked calendar

Three-hundred-sixty-five blocks of freedom

promised in small pristine white boxes,

twenty-eight to thirty-one on each page.

 

It had been a difficult year,

better forgotten in a dusty closet.

And yet, like soil that is no more than

ordinary dirt, the kind that grinds

under the fingernails, hope and beauty

were planted into the grime. And their seeds

continue to grow, inventing bizarre

and beautiful surprises.

 

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If we have no compassion it is because we have forgotten we belong to one another.
(Mother Teresa)

 

The Neighborhood, Delicatessen, and a Baby Squirrel

 

I hold my delicatessen number as if it had first-class boarding-pass value.

No neat queue waits for meat and cheese sliced as if

a thousandth-of-a-millimeter difference per slice mattered.

Customers stand scattered.

The woman with the number before mine

buys one slice of bologna. I wonder if that is all she can afford.

Her cart holds one marked-down loaf of generic white bread.

 

My thoughts wander to a neighbor.

Yesterday he asked my husband for a small loan.

This man performs chores for sub-adequate fees.

I want to contact him, give him a small job,

call the score even, then give him a tip.

 

I know the cashier. She rescued a baby squirrel after a predator

snapped off his mother’s head. I ask how he is.

Died on Monday, she answers. She continues to scan my purchases.

I tell her she did her best.

 

And we agree we can’t save the world

yet can’t stop trying.

I notice her silent tears but don’t mention them.

A neighbor’s phone number

is pegged on my home corkboard. Earlier, when I called

to offer him a gift, some loaves of bread,

more than what we needed,

his number had been disconnected. I nod.

We can’t stop trying.

 

originally published in For A Better World 2015

 

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No matter how many plans you make or how much in control you are, life is always winging it. (Carroll Bryant)

One more dead branch needs to be removed from our blue spruce; I haven’t faced the loss yet. The naked branch stays—with no hope of revival. The cost of maintaining the top branches is no longer worth it. The cost of removing the spruce is both high and final.

The tree was planted for our older son, Gregory, when he was a toddler. He’s in his forties now. He’s an accomplished writer. Greg’s newest book, The Dream Thief, is available for preorder. I have pictures of my son as a toddler as he watered the tree. It, too, was in early development.

The blue spruce once took over our front yard. Now, it has huge gaps between branches, like thought lapses. Warnings. The empty spaces will expand. And win.

Loss is never easy.

When a person dies loss plunges into deeper places. Several days ago, someone we have known for years, died. It feels unreal. I recall this woman on one hot day as she volunteered for kids with Down syndrome. Her face sweaty, her smile unaffected by the heat. Her gifts rooted in the hearts of so many people.

I think about this beautiful woman’s family. Friends. Grandchildren. And ask what happens next?

I consider the tree again, the one planted for my son, when my husband and I were proud of him for recognizing every letter of the alphabet before he was two. Now, his words touch minds and hearts. The tree won’t last much longer. My son and his talents affect many.

The woman who died suddenly, left a beautiful legacy and precious memories. May all who knew her embrace them.

Life is always winging it—with a lot of help.

For now, I celebrate hearing and giving kindness, laughter, the chance to offer an honest compliment. Peace, may it touch all, especially those who mourn.

May the green in today appear brighter, embraceable. For as long as possible.

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From discord, find Harmony. (Albert Einstein)

An Old Man’s Final Wish

Along a back window

at a huge family gathering

at a rented hall

the oldest uncle sat in his wheelchair

with the youngest child curled in his lap.

 

In the center

long tables covered with

gold, red, or blue

painted signs demanded isolation.

They claimed truth, whole

perfect, beyond criticism.

 

The families divided the space

into zones, while ugly words

stung the air—

How can you say that?

I can’t forgive you . . .

You are a fool.

 

While the family members argued,

the elderly gentleman and the tiny girl

met with approving eyes,

a twining of fingers, a gesture, a smile.

 

He celebrated the exquisite fit of

her name to her personality,

despite the hardened hearts

that fed her and his inabilities

to respond beyond a crooked grin

and speech delayed by multiple strokes

and advanced age.

 

She giggled, tugging gently

at the sagging folds in his face.

Then, as the toddler grew tired

and slept in his arms,

the man’s wife, gone twenty years,

appeared, clothed in soft light.

 

She called to him.

 

Before he allowed his spirit

to separate from his body,

he whispered his final wish

into the girl’s small ear.

 

The buffet opened as

the child’s mother noticed

her waking in the lap

of the dead man.

 

Unwilling to touch cold flesh,

several family members

abandoned their divisions,

at least for that moment,

and called to the girl,

 

Please, Hope, come to us.

 

They didn’t know they were

echoing the gentle man’s

deepest desire for his family.

 

poem previously published in For a Better World and in Piker Press

 

 

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Asking ourselves, “Where am I right now?” gives us a chance to step outside the internal dialogue for a moment of peace. Look around you, take a deep breath and notice what you see, hear and feel. Present moment awareness is the point of power and choice. It frees us from our compulsive thoughts. (Laura Harvey)

Okay. It’s time to organize. Or, should I have started these projects years ago? I haven’t been allowed to lift anything heavier than five pounds for more than a month. Now that my cataract surgeries are completed my eagerness to begin is heightened.

My eight-year-old grandson Dakota wants to help. He eyes the paper shredder. “Anything to shred?”

“No…Wait!” Folders lie stacked on top of one another. Copies of short stories already published. Stories I abandoned—for good reason. Early chapters of my books, The Curse Under the Freckles, Stinky Rotten Threats, and The Ugly Mood Storm. The Ugly Mood Storm, the third book in the series, will come out in October.

Sure. I could recycle the pages without shredding, but my young buddy likes the noise and the action. He knows how far away to keep his fingers from the blade, the source of the noise he enjoys.

The past returns as I open each folder. Mistakes circled in red on the page. Mistakes made in life jump out as well. Years cycle through as I open each worn folder.

“Oh,” I say.

“Something wrong?” he asks.

“No. It’s just a name of someone I used to know.” Someone who died.

He pauses to make sure I’m okay.

I celebrate the messy, beautiful present, my young grandson on the floor next to me.

Dakota continues to work, sorry when the shredder needs time to cool, sorry when the last sheet becomes a mass of white slivers. Then he is happy to play another game.

I take a deep breath and notice the whir of the air conditioning on one of the latter days of summer.

“See you next Thursday,” Dakota says.

His enthusiasm brings me a gift no amount of money can buy.

In the scheme of things where am I right now? Not sure I know, but it’s a mighty fine place.

 

 

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