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Posts Tagged ‘encouragement’

(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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It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone. (Andy Rooney)

My vacuum cleaner and I have more in common than I like to admit. Two of my toes are bound together after a mishap in my living room, and the electrical cord on my vacuum cleaner is held together with enough tape to stock a hardware store.

The vacuum and I both wheeze around too much dust.

“Come on!” I call to it. “One more time over the shag carpet.”

As an inanimate object, its answer is a weak whirring sigh.

If I were asked to follow my double-jointed youngest granddaughter’s exercise routine, my sigh would be similar.

Older citizens have limitations. Physically. Not when it comes to a capacity for giving and caring. We can live locked inside our pain or despite it. My grandson calls me a wrinkled kid because I get down on the floor and play with him. Perfection isn’t required. Not when imagination fills in the gaps.

Imagination, hope, love—gifts inanimate objects don’t have as they age. I pray to continue to learn, to celebrate possibilities hidden inside each new crease.

 

 

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Experience teaches us only one thing at a time—and hardly that, in my case. (Mark Twain)

Wow! I see individual leaves on the trees. A male and female goldfinch at the birdfeeder. Sky, blue with white slivered memories of larger clouds. All seen through dark sunglasses. The world no longer appears wrapped in fuzz.

Not to my cataract-free eyes. My brain remains as scrambled as ever. How many places have my thoughts run as I drive a few miles along a familiar route? Past politics. Into man’s inhumanity to man. Through global warming. My stomach considers lunch and dinner preparations—I should have stopped for breakfast.

There’s a speed indicator on a pole. How long has that been here? I pass this way often enough to drive it blindfolded. Okay, almost. The number on my speedometer drops. Into a one-thing-at-a-time ordinary pace.

Ugliness remains. I look at it differently. I can be peace by joining others who live love. By not giving up. My cataract-free eyes have sight yet can continue to seek vision. Wisdom, it is earned. Never an automatic right.

 

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If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace. (Franklin D. Roosevelt)

If peace were a bird, it would fly through heat or wind.

It would thrive in a nest open to storm.

 

If peace were a mountain,

it would stand patient,

constant, firm for centuries.

 

If peace were a tree, it would begin

as an acorn, unafraid of darkness,

then grow to house birds,

and reach for mountains.

 

Peace. It transcends

mountain borders,

and allows foreign bird species

to nest together.

 despite unseen possibilities.

 

originally published in For a Better World

 

 

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