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Posts Tagged ‘family’

You know what the great thing about babies is? They are like little bundles of hope. Like the future in a basket. (Lish McBride)

I tell my hours-old granddaughter how beautiful she is. Everyone does, even if the message is a smile or a touch. Little bundle of hope. I look at her instead of the news. And leave my cold, wet coat on a chair. The outside world can wait while we meet:

You haven’t become complicated yet, Adeline. Your wants and needs are identical: warmth, food, protection, a pair of arms.

I pray for you, my old-lady blessing. Then I realize. You are the one blessing me with the freshness of possibilities. With love. As you grow may I learn to repair, seek no more than the basics, and celebrate life.

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We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives. (John F. Kennedy)

One dollar. I want to keep this one separate from the others in my wallet. Long enough to celebrate the moment. When I told my friend Ann that my sister-in-law needed serious surgery, she asked me to get a card and sign it for her. Ann is blind. She doesn’t know my family. She gives out of kindness.

Her dollar is a symbol. When I see it, I think of a simple woman’s generosity. Her borderless love. I could resemble a worn scarecrow or discarded carved pumpkin; she wouldn’t care. Our house could have dirty windows with bedsheet drapes. It wouldn’t matter. (Our windows are properly clothed. I can’t make false claims about their condition.)

I made a card for my sister-in-law. I will give it to her, signed with Ann’s full name. Ann can have the dollar back. Of course, I won’t be surprised if I see it again. Marked to be given for someone else. I suspect this is what real-world love is all about.

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(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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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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hospital bed in intense color with parking lot below

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. (John Lennon)

Spaghetti with homemade sauce, salad, a special bread, and tapioca for dinner. The pudding is the kind that sticks to the bottom of the pan, not the pre-packaged stuff that requires no more than the opening of a plastic lid. I wanted to make something special for my husband. A just because.

My timing could have been better.

“I’m feeling a little queasy,” he says after eating a much smaller quantity than usual.

Somehow queasy is understated. By the next day he is dehydrated enough to pass out at the emergency room entrance. As his inadequate support I go down with him.

The crisis ends. One healed moment at a time.

And I sit at the computer knowing life is not mine to control. I can give. I can look a homeless person in the face and offer food or money, listen to a friend when I would rather open a book or take a nap. Act or React.

Perhaps all I can do sometimes is have a vague outline for the week and an open heart.

Right now, I have plans to learn to be more flexible, “with a little help from my friends.”

Thanks to all my friends who gave more than a little help.

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The one thing I need to leave behind is good memories. (Michael Landon)

So many things clutter our attic. I find my wedding dress, yellowed with age, and remember a poem I wrote after my parents died:

LAST VISIT TO THE HOUSE I CALLED HOME

Dust encases the old homestead.

Encyclopedias from 1963,

boxes of unused pencils,

 

skeins of yarn with faded fifty-cent

mark-down stickers,

a broken clock.

 

Most of the saved items are gone,

Dumpster and shredder items wait.

Bags of cancelled checks

 

on Mom’s closed account.

She died years ago.

Dad’s will to maintain dissolved, too.

 

In the back yard his loss leaked

into the naked, open space

leaving it flat, withered.

 

Before the property grew sullen,

I planted seeds for annuals that sprouted into

a tiny-stemmed miniature garden.

 

They dwarfed next to tomato vines

Dad tied to hand-cut posts.

Sunlight coaxed

 

white blossoms into green and then red fruit.

Inside the house Mom made soups that

took all day to blend the chicken

 

with onions, carrots, celery

into a fragrance that filled every nook.

I try to recall an ancient, lingering scent

 

but it was taken for granted

too long ago. I find my wedding gown

in an eaves closet,

 

zipped in plastic.

I had changed my name and moved on.

The yellowed department-store receipt

 

remains attached to the wire hanger.

I wipe off the grime and carry what-was-me

into what-is-me now.

 

The door locks for the last time.

The sun leaves a sliver of itself

on a pink horizon,

 

a visible color beyond reach,

like memories, both dark and light,

locked inside things left behind.

 

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