Captivating

Reflecting on the memories; I’m skipping along the dirt road where the speed limit couldn’t be any more than 5 mph because the bumps, dips, and rocks slowed any vehicle trying to travel faster with terrible shock repairs afterward. The trees seemed tall and grand. The brook talked playfully as the dragonflies dipped and soared around, catching food unseen. The sun would peek through the pines, warming my skin as I climbed the rocks to cross the brook, pretending to be an explorer in a strange land. I loved being outside, the air expanding my lungs and making them feel bigger than the usual breaths in the city.

Every weekend, I stayed with my grandparents, was a treasure to keep and sear in my mind forever. Mom had to work, so Mem and Pep stepped in to keep us safe and captivated in the surroundings they chose to use as their legacy. Like surrogate parents, they taught me and my brother all the responsibilities to share in a family. They loved to be outside. Sun Valley gave them the opportunity to establish solid memories and great times of fun and teaching with the element of laughter whenever warranted.

Campfires were one-of-a-kind because Harvey had a way with fire that called neighbors to come enjoy some fresh popcorn, beer and a game of cards on a chilly nights when the sun went to sleep. Watching him build each fire was like peeking into the process of a highly crafted artist, each stick and log in a specific place so that the oxygen could flow and give the fire its immense breath. How incredible! The colors he could bring out of the fire,  made it seem like a rainbow with lots of reds, yellows and orange, then blues, purples and greens as the embers could still kick up a burst if prompted in the right way.

Just like the fire’s smells and colors, the days and nights spent in Sun Valley held our attention and our youth. These memories help me to see how camping and living with Mem and Pep on weekends, or whenever my mom had to work, pulled and formed me to become who I am and the pleasurable moments being outside can do.

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Brilliant

“I hold to the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgements he pronounced. ” (Paraphrased from Psalm 105:5)  I find this to be the most incredible coincidence….or not.

My son is attending school after four years of rehabilitation through the advocacy of his mother. While he attends a medically fragile classroom, he shows eagerness and joy to move closer and closer to his teacher’s classroom door where his friends are looking forward to seeing him. It’s 2018! Wow! He is shining. He is smiling. He is so happy to be.

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His miracle reminds me it’s okay to be. Take the time to “smell life”, to cheer when the sun glistens on the river, bursting brilliant rays that chase the chill of the night.

Diligence

As a little girl, I had a pet cat, which came to be mine through my mom’s second marriage. I enjoyed this cat name Kid because it taught me responsibility and was so much fun to play. I taught it to do ‘jack-in-the-box’ and scare my brother. Kids was the firs pet to teach me responsibility. My affinity for cats lasted more than twenty years.

Every pet thereafter was a cat. When I went to teach in Colombia, I raised four kittens without their mother, when they were recently born and still without sight. I kept them in a box with soft towels, and a baby doll bottle to feed them milk, until they were old enough to go to new homes. I was their surrogate. I fell in love with one of the kittens and kept her for myself.

Cats were a successful pet for me. They were always easy to care for and easy to play with. Litter boxes and food left in their bowls allowed me the easy freedom of singleness. They would wait for my return, always happy to see me as they walked up to push against my pant leg. Cats allowed me the flexibility of caring as a parent with the not-yet ready for the responsibility of true parenthood.

Since my true inducement into parenthood, I’ve come to be the dog lady. I did have a puppy years ago, but failed at my attempt of diligence at being a parent to my puppy, Maxwell. I gave him away, but never forgot my inability to be diligent and learn how to be a good dog owner. I look back and feel as though it could have been different.

Now it is different. I have two dogs which were rescued through the sheriff’s program. I’ve become a dog lady instead of a cat lady. I find it interesting when I reflect on how things change and turn for our better development. While being a mom of three boys, I’ve learned much about being a diligent parent. Moms almost always make comparative notes with other moms to decide and measure one’s caliber as a parent.

With the arrival of our new pets, I learned from my failed experience with Max. I learned that I needed to be trained with my pets so that we could live harmoniously. If it weren’t for the cost, I’m sure there would be more training to learn on all parts. Now, not only am I finding that diligence doesn’t stop with children. It continues with the dogs. Because the cats are more “independent” in their nature, the dependence dogs have on their owners is almost synonymous to children and their mothers. Happily, as my boys grow into adolescence and on to adulthood, I have our four-legged friends to keep life happening. The boys are better attached than before Angel and Daisy.

Even though my boys are becoming more independent, my diligence in character and discipline continues. Now it extends beyond three boys to include two females. While working hard to form good citizens, I am working to form well-mannered pups. The continuity of parenting children and pups seems synonymous. Thankfully, practice makes perfect.

Holding the Spark

Last week, I was contemplating a degree in Creative Writing; an MFA. Today, I’m contemplating the personal experience of my son’s tragic accident of four years ago. My mind spins with constant activity of new goals. New ideas and new projects, want to leap to completion without the drudging of daily plodding. This daily plodding often becomes Continue reading

Mother’s Day

The angled cut of her white curles told of changing texture and managability. The slight looseness of her cheeks as she studied her reading with serious lips of concentration expressed more gravity than before. Her glasses made her brown eyes larger showing flecks of more hazel than brown. When she looked up from her reading, I saw a contentness-to-be in the moment.

As we drove back from church along the river, we noticed women of all ages out on the house porches and balconies or making their way to the bank to absorb the bright, cheerful, warm sunshine of the Sunday afternoon.

“Oh! What a glorious day!” she cheered.

“Memere. Look at that house there!” shouted Jay from the back seat.

“How wonderful!” she responded. “It’s very big!”

Reminiscent of the long-ago Sunday drives through the neighborhoods of big houses and big yards, green grass and beautiful lawn furniture I enjoyed as a young girl, the oohs and ahhs of another generation could be heard. While Sam slept because the winding of the road was making him woozy, we continued our ooohs and ahhhs, enjoying the designs and expressions of creativity of your own property. Years ago, the same conversation could be heard as I thought about the generations in the car. My boys, her grandsons, miles and miles apart came together to continue strenthening the connection of historical significance that each family strives for itself.

“Weee-eee–eee!” cheered Lou as we sloped over each hill and bump. I felt huge satisfaction as I listened to his expressions of happiness and his participation meant three generations made a stronger connection. We felt as though the many miles which exist didn’t make the distance in today’s daily living so vast. We were enjoying each other’s company. Our interactions made me feel as though there weren’t any distances between us, geographical or generational. Our emotions of happiness to be together surpassed any length of road.

Flashing Memories

He did it. He made the face that sparks of orneriness and playful obstinance. He made the “O” face, as if to say, “Uh-oh, I’ve been caught so I need to play it up with the hope that no one will be mad”.

I haven’t seen that facial expression in almost four years. Then, he pushed himself back from the table using his feet. He’s ready to go. He wants to move on his own with incredible impact. Any attention he recieves, he smiles with great approval. He’s sensitive now. Traumatic Brain Injuries can feel euphoria and tears in the same moment depending upon what is happening around them and the individual’s support system.

My Lucho is lucky to have his family close at hand to assist him with what he is attempting. Although nonverbal and primarily gestural when he wants something, sign language may become a stronger form of communication for him. His consistent drive to move toward independence reminds me of how strong we need to be when our heart leads us toward our desires. He reminds me to persist and will my actions toward improvement and happiness.