The author lives in the Sunshine state with her three sons, husband and their two dogs, Daisy and Angel. She enjoys creating new and useful items with a crafty flare, while problem-solving new adventures and enjoying every opportunity to be blessed by the abundance of nature and those around her.
Languishing with in the moments.
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.
I struggled with our relationship. We knew each other for fifteen years, lived together for six. His family had a staunchness that caused me to be frustrated. I like letting loose. I like to be impulsive. I like to dance. No one in this family danced. I felt an emptiness, an ache within that needed soothing. I looked at the classifieds. An ad read, “Teach in South America”. Ooh. I sense the ache within my being feel stronger. I answered the ad and received an interview.
As I walked to my interview, through the Boston Gardens, toward the Commons and Brownstones, I felt as if I entered the timeless classics, imagining how it was to walk through the crisp trimmed hedges and carefully step over cobble stone walks up the iron wrought steps to tap the brass knocker on the door. A woman in her 60’s greeted me at the door, so pleasant was her disposition and hospitality, I knew I might have a difficult time saying, “No” to her for almost anything.
She brought me down a long dark corridor to a round sitting area with a tv and vcr. I met her friends and colleagues. I was asked some questions about my flexibility, and “open-mindedness”. They showed me a video of the exciting things they do with the children every day and emphasized immersion of the English. “All students leave the school completely bilingual.”
Wow. I thought to myself. Imangine if the tables were turned. Could I learn Spanish in the same way. I was so impressed with the idea that a school existed in another land and their students graduate bilingual. I insisted on knowing more. My boyfriend of several years, with all my frustration was suddenly easier to manage.
“Hello Auntie!” I started. “I’m going to Colombia. It’s only for a year. I’ll be right back.”
“Isn’t that where the drugs come from?”
I countered her comment, “There is more than drugs in country.” I found myself ready to defend a country I didn’t know. The urge was strong. The desire to adventure my way across the globe and leave the staunch to see if I would be happy.
On the plane the anticipation baited me with extreme awareness and excitement to be alive and experiencing a different culture. Something within, the ache, felt at home in the sensual heat of Cali, Colombia.
He invited me to the town of his childhood and birth. I thought what a great way to travel this beautiful country, especially with a native speaker. I was still learning much of the language and already had an embarrassing moment or two. We were dating quite consistently regardless of our language differences. I came to Colombia to learn Spanish by living it because all other methods failed to make it a part of me. Guillermo was one among many eager to learn English. He set himself apart from the others with his piercing dark eyes, heavy but refine arched brow, strong Latin nose and disarming smile.
“Resilient people are not perfect, and they don’t always know what the hell they are doing.” – Angela Duckworth, PhD, psychology professor at University of Pennsylvania.
In my frustration and attempt to manage the barrage of criticism handed to me by my spouse before he left with the preteens for some outside fun and time together, tears flowed down my face and my son’s nurse pittied me. How angry I was. How insulted. How discouraged I’ve become. I’m criticized for my ways and different manner of discipline and parenting. I’m scrutinized for using logical consequences in my child rearing practices.
I’m outnumbered. I am surrounded by the crashing patterns of growing males that continue show they don’t understand what I say or choose not to. The curse? Is this God’s design? No, I won’t believe that.
While there is no nurse to watch my Epileptic son this night, I watch with the vigilence like only a mother can. I won’t give up, regardless of the sleep that tries to take over. Three plus years since that tradgic day and his purpose is clear. For me, he reminds me to rise, to stay strong, and push forward. He reminds me that we can still appreciate each other through smiles and laughter.
When we extend Lucho’s abilities by lifting him on top of his brothers, as if he were ‘king of the mountain’, the giggles of days before return to sooth and comfort the scarring pain that still lays heavy on our beings. I hold onto these moments because they make me stronger. Lucho’s magic is laughter in the midst of anger, frustration and disgust. While my frustration and anger remain within me like a nagging sore, Lucho turns and smiles, almost laughing at the noise of animation and liveliness of the emotions plucked like strings on a guitar, rising and falling in musical dissonance. With his laughter, he has control. He’s like a calming salve on a burn that won’t quit seething. His laughter helps me be resilient.
Sincerity, simplicity and direct words are prized when you speak to me about love. While the words are sparely used, their direct effect causes my heart to sing. I want to hear more.
Speak to me in words that make me happy to be; happy to serve day and night, picking up socks, following after to keep the food fresh as I return to the fridge what you’ve taken out.
Speak to me simply saying how much you care; how important I am, how magnificent we are; and how wonderfully proud to have our children.
Speak to me softly, whisper in my ear how significant my actions help you, make you grow, and feel valued.
Speak to me respectfully, supporting my words by acknowledging my intelligent thoughts and analysis’ about our projects and plans.
Value me above all others, showing me through your actions and words each day that I make a difference to you.
Show me you care
As I pulled the car onto the sandy parking space in our Enchanted Forest, Justin and I climbed out of the car and let the breeze sweep over us. We walked toward the pond area and visitors station. Butterflies danced from flower to flower as the tree branches bowed in the breeze.
Justin stopped and stood still; looked around and said, ” Mummy there are butterflies. I think they are Monarchs.” He watches their movements with much focus. While still looking with great attention, he declares, “They are Monarchs! Mummy, this place is filled with joy.”
Eager to start my sketch, I sat down on the nearest bench. Justin was pacing close by. He looked for his first sketch. He found it in a yellow daisy. I continued writing. Curious, he looks over my shoulder and asks, “Are you drawing?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“What are you drawing?”
“I’m drawing this moment,” I said.
“Oh,” he says,” I’m drawing this flower.” While pointing with emphasis, he adds, “And this flower.”
“Let’s keep going, ” I suggest, hoping to recover my most recent fleeting thought.
While we drew in our unique ways, our hearts were happy. My delight in finding an activity both mother and son could benefit from put such value as I didn’t want it to end. I sat writing as quickly as the words came without corrections, when I noticed Justin wiping his forehead and adjusting his body position in the sun.
“Are you thirsty?” I interrupt.
“Yes,” he replied, “I want to get something to drink because I’m getting hot.”
“Okay. We’ll go home.”
“Mummy, look at my picture.” He points his sketch book toward me to see. The exaggeration and simplicity of his plants drawings were unusual for six year old. He truly has a talent.
“Wow. That’s beautiful.” And I smile.
“Let me see yours.” I show him my words on paper. “That’s not a picture.”
“Sure it is,” I counter. “I made a picture with words instead of lines in a drawing.”
“You should use a drawing,” he remarks, “It’s better.”