Category Archives: Musings

On Motherhood

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What do you wish someone had told you before you had kids?

All the planning in the world cannot prepare you for becoming a mother. Even if you received too much advice from other moms while you were pregnant, you only realize this fact after you give birth—not a moment prior.

You will take pictures and videos—lots of them. From hearing the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of your baby’s heartbeat to grasping ultrasound pics in hand to your husband’s photo capture of you with a tear streamed face holding your precious baby in your arms for the first time to waving good-bye at the bus stop while your stomach lurches to your daughter going to her first middle school dance to talking about the birds and bees to waking up one day and your son is grown-up, you will capture every important moment with a snapshot and/or video clip—and then some.

Real parenting is not your friends’ Facebook shares. Facebook is not the real world. Seeing highlights of your friends’ exaggerated posts, whether it’s viewing pictures of their little ones who are reading novels by the age of 3, potty trained by age 2 using the M&M’s method (it does work sometimes), or playing concertos at age 4, isn’t necessarily reality—even though the photos may be cute. Reality is:  little ones will become preteens, next teens, and then they will go off to live their own lives. Your heart may feel like breaking but you will be proud—so proud. Welcome to the real world and celebrate every moment.

You will always be a mother. This reality will never change no matter how large your son’s shoes are or how your daughter towers over you in heels or if your kids become chefs, police officers, teachers, or parents themselves or if they adorn their bodies with tattoos or piercings or if they grow their hair out and join rock bands—whatever. After the umbilical cord is cut, you are forever mom. If you are lucky, you will become grandmom at some point. Love will never be in short supply.

You won’t ever be the same—never ever. From the moment you find out that you are carrying a life inside you, the ground will careen under you, you may see stars, and you will free fall into a love that no life alert call could rescue you from. You wouldn’t want to be rescued. You fall hard and thank God every day for it.

You are a mother. Imperfect at best yet filled with love so consuming that its presence is like breathing. You wouldn’t have it any other way.

To my mom, I know now–and I appreciate everything you are to me. You are the best. To my beautiful children, you will always be mine. I adore you.

~Pamela

Always remember

There are times we are compelled to ride waves of emotion as they appear—whether we want to or not. Tonight is one of those times. I am as ready as I ever will be. I trust my doctor, the medical staff and my own body’s capability of healing. Yet there are these thoughts and feelings that accompany this process that I can’t just brush away. Actually, I am surprised by them since they seemed to have quietly surfaced when I wasn’t paying attention.

I have had some exciting moments in my life like learning how to ride my bike with no hands or making my first meal from scratch and having everything turn out not burned tasty or holding my nephew and niece as babies or making Dean’s list or co-authoring a book or meeting the Dalai Lama.

However, none have compared to the births of my two beautiful children. I can still remember what it felt like to have them kick inside my belly, the late night tangerine raids as cravings hit, looking at their little faces for the first time, the  nights cradling a sick baby and all of the precious time spent watching them emerge into the incredible people they are. I wouldn’t change a thing.

This is the end of an era of sorts. While I knew that 2 was the perfect number of children for me and I am no longer as young as I sometimes feel, there’s something about knowing that this is it—it’s done, over, kaput. Along with the knowing are twinges and hauntings that serve as flashbacks and we wonder, “Has that much time really passed?” “Are we really about halfway done with our lives?” “Can our kids really be teens?”

So we look to the future. I will still have the capacity to give birth—just in a different way. My muses still gaze at me from a close distance, swirling words and ideas and metaphors into my heart and carrying me along on their whimsical flight. I will feel the contractions once more and know the fiery love and intense passion that birthing brings, and I will remember, always remember.

Sailing

The sooner we learn to be jointly responsible, the easier the sailing will be.
~Ella Maillart

My uncle loves to sail. He is a highly intelligent man and knowledgeable in many subjects including art (he is an artist), philosophy, literature, technology, writing, and, yes, the thorn in my side, computers. Sailing appears to be one of the most freeing experiences one can encounter in life. To be out on the water sounds incredible and calming and exhilarating (especially to someone who has no sea legs and turns a ghastly shade of green).

Since most objects or experiences can be life metaphors, sailing is no different. While feelings of bliss and joy come from feeling the sea beneath us (so I’ve heard) or looking out over the vast expanse of sparkling waters on a clear day, a dark side of nature exists. Seasoned sailors are aware of this reality. They are prepared and ready to battle it, if necessary, in order to survive. This knowledge is in the forefront of their minds at all times.

How similar is life with sunny days cast suddenly into shadow or unexpected summer storms that arrive with fury. We don’t have to be sailors to respect nature and life. We can live knowing, that at any moment, we might have to fight to survive, that the feelings of bliss we are encountering, at the moment, might end, that we have to be in the now, in the present, to taste life, breathe it in, let it fill our senses, to appreciate it. We try to not let the storms take away our sunlight. We get our life legs under us and stand, sometimes, kneel, and, other times, fall.

Yet, we keep on and, in the keeping on, learn what we must, that which comes from not giving up easily, refusing not to deceive ourselves, being honest, knowing that, in some aspects of our lives, we steer our own ships, saying “I’m sorry” when we mess up, forgiving, having awareness of ourselves and others, appreciating the azure skies (however fleeting) and even the billowing thunderheads that remind us that life is change, and that we bring about positive or negative effects depending on our actions, words, and life views.

(Uncle, if you’re reading this, I hope one day to sail with you. It  doesn’t have to be a long trip. I’d be thrilled to make it a short time without feeling sick. In that moment, I hope to experience the feelings of freedom and peace and exhilaration you encounter out on the water.) 

Gardening

Without encountering manure and decay, we wouldn’t be able to fully appreciate a beautiful garden. We could plant seeds without preparing the soil. We could randomly drop them onto the ground without creating tiny holes and covering them up. We could forget to water them and pray for rain. We could wish that the sun wouldn’t bake them before they take root.

We could hope the seedlings that do sprout will survive without fertilizer. We could, because of convenience, make a pathway through them and believe that, despite our trampling, they will live. We could think that we will enjoy a great harvest if we just let them be. We could let our rakes, shovels and spades collect rust in the shed because gardens don’t really need muscle. We could let the weeds grow so tall and become so invasive that they begin to choke our plants.

Or we could get on our knees. We could get dirty. We could till the ground. We could carefully place them one by one in furrows and pat the soil on top of them. We could drag the watering can over again and again–no matter how cumbersome–and soak them.

We could plant them in a location where they will get just the right amount of sun. We could create a compost heap, be patient, try to ignore the smell and shovel black gold over them so they could thrive. We could go out of our way to take the longer path and walk around them. 

 

We could hope for a brilliant harvest but not expect perfection without any damage from pests or fungus. We could put our backs into it and use the tools we have to assist our baby shoots. We could repeatedly grab, pull and tug at those invasive weeds that threaten to overwhelm our plants. We could do all of these things if our garden is meaningful to us.

If we have even a speck of faith that the sun will come up each day, that falling waters quench thirst, that dirt–while making us feel unclean–can be washed off, our gardens will appear beautiful to us. We will see the loveliness and color as others see it.

 

And when we are too tired to plant, nurture, dig, pull, water, we will remember that all gardeners have periods when they get stuck on their knees in the mud or fall face down.  We could lay there for a while. Get a little strength back. Then we could try to stand or we could reach out for strong hands to pull us up.

We could begin to plant again–until we figure it out how it all works and how many seasons it takes to get it right. Eventually, we will harvest blossoms of success.


La famiglia è la patria del cuore

photo by dreamstime

Last night, I heard an often repeated Italian expression that, because of recent circumstances, means even more to me than it did four days ago. La famiglia è la patria del cuore or your family is the homeland of your heart. 

We, Americans, are familiar with the expression home is where the heart is. Basically, the same sentiment. No matter where we go or how many miles (or emotions) separate us or how long we are away or whether we nag, smile, bicker, or hug, la famiglia è la patria del cuore. Simple. 

I know how lucky I am to be a thread in this handcrafted fabric.  I am grateful beyond words that I have a dad and mom who have always loved me, protected me, wanted the best for me. That I have a brother who, no matter how little time we get to spend alone together, will always be my best friend. That, even when my children and I are apart, their hearts are safe within my heart. La famiglia è la patria del cuore. 

It’s how my ancestors lived, breathed, prayed, loved, ate, drank, slept. It’s the fundamental stitches my grandparents sewed that now entwine my heart with each of my family members’ hearts. La famiglia è la patria del cuore. It’s the sometimes imperfect loops that still include everything and everyone I am tied to. It’s my roots, my core, my center. La famiglia è la patria del cuore.

On the Flip Side

 A quick post in the throes of preparing, readying, prepping, steeling oneself for what lies ahead. Time, that elusive fate thrower, has taken aim and hurled darts this way, leaving us dodging left, right, up, down. Attempts to avoid the pain of biting steel punctures. Present has accelerated.  Near future breathes heavily on our necks. There is no inkling of what will be. No psychic knowledge. No spiritual prophesy. Just time and life and waiting plus that impenetrable shield of hope. See you on the flip side . . . .

Deluge

Lately, I haven’t written much here. Not because words have eluded me but because life has been a deluge.

I have been umbrella-less, soaked, face upturned, eyes closed and experiencing a light drizzle matting down my hair. Other moments, being subjected to stinging, pelting torrents.

In between the tumultuous extremes, I have felt warmth breaking through the lumpy, gray clouds. The sensation of sunlight on my eyelids that have caused them to fly open.

When I have looked up through dampened lashes, I have glimpsed rainbows. Day after day after day. Not one or two or three, more like five or six. Extravagant jewels in the skies. At times, only a fragment of multi-colored hues, but rainbows just the same.

I have savored them, letting my gaze remain fixed on their transparent beauty. My emotions have soared amidst the slowly moving skyscape, flitting here and there, bathed in flecks of violet and indigo.

A sense of hope has permeated my spirit. There is no shaking it off, no angry skies that can blanket it, no lightening zig zags that can electrocute it.  Anticipation remains, expectant, receptive to whatever it is that is now concealed by a watery, dribbling mist.

~Pamela

Magic Wands, Fairy Godmothers and the NAVY?

While on Facebook the other day, I stumbled across a friend’s Mother’s Day status. Kim is a hard-working, married grad student who is “temporarily” functioning as a single mom. I use the word “temporarily” because her husband, Steve, is serving in our Navy overseas in KuwaitHe is sweating in the sandbox, trying to stay out of sandstorms (sometimes driving through them), risking his life and missing his wife and child.  She is working as a grad assistant, studying for her own classes, is mom to their adorable little boy and misses her husband. Since she is “sharing” her hubby on behalf of our country, she is winging it solo until his return. What does this have to do with Mother’s Day (stop the impatience)? Come on, you should know me by now! I’m getting there!                                                                                                                         

Anyway, she and her son headed to Disney on Mother’s Day. Kim just finished up a semester and needed some time to unwind. What better place to relax than DISNEY? After a fun day in the Magic Kingdom, they headed back to the resort.  Once inside, Kim discovered some Disney magic right in her hotel room. Awaiting her was a Disney tote bag embroidered “Mommy” overflowing with goodies and snacks she and her son like. Nearby was The Box. The Box was nestled atop a magic wand (yes, it looked like the Fairy Godmother’s) and inside was a beautiful bracelet adorned with a heart. Romantic enough? Nope. Along with the tote, treats, bracelet and sparkling wand was a note. Not just any note. It was written in golden calligraphy and looked like a wedding invitation. It was a “A Magical Wish.” Part of it read:

Disney is known for fairy tales/ and making dreams come true/ For the Fairy Godmother in my life/ is someone I love. . .that’s you!/ You’ve inspired me to dream/You’ve encouraged me to grow/Your time spent with me means far more than you know.                                                                                                                    

Jealous? You shouldn’t be (kidding). Here is a deserving woman whose husband loves her so much that he planned and executed a surprise from another country in the middle of sandy somewhere! They’ve been married for long enough (six years) and were friends for long enough before marriage (sixteen years). Long enough for the “I love you’s” to wane, long enough to get so caught up in the daily grind that he could forget to appreciate her. But he doesn’t. It’s not magic. There’s no wand to wave to make relationships easy (especially being apart for lengthy time periods). There’s no Fairy Godmother to bring Steve home when she needs someone to hold her or he has had enough of 100 degree temperatures and needs some loving. They just make it work (and make it work well).  

So kudos, Kim and Steve. May you celebrate many, many more happy years together and may your son enjoy the stability of growing up in a loving home. Here’s to great marriages, friendships, inspiration and hope!

P.S. Steve, thank-you for your service!

The Flash

 “There is such a place as fairyland – but only children can find the way to it. And they do not know that it is fairyland until they have grown so old that they forget the way. One bitter day, when they seek it and cannot find it, they realize what they have lost; and that is the tragedy of life. On that day the gates of Eden are shut behind them and the age of gold is over. Henceforth they must dwell in the common light of common day. Only a few, who remain children at heart, can ever find that fair, lost path again; and blessed are they above mortals. They, and only they, can bring us tidings from that dear country where we once sojourned and from which we must evermore be exiles. The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and story-tellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland.”

~L.M. Montgomery (The Story Girl)

Dear Readers,

L.M. Montgomery has been one of my favorite writers from the time I was a tween and I first read Emily Climbs.  I was enamored by her main protagonist, Emily, who loved writing, life, nature, and was filled with “gumption.”  She experienced “the flash” and from the moment I read about her experience in the text, I felt at home between those pages I eagerly devoured (metaphorically speaking of course 🙂 ).  Emily writes, “Words are such fascinating things. . . The very sound of some of them–‘haunted’–‘mystic’–for example, gives me the flash. (Oh, dear! But I have to italicize the flash. It isn’t ordinary–it’s the most extraordinary and wonderful thing in my whole life. When it comes I feel as if a door had swung open in a wall before me and given me a glimpse of–yes, of heaven).”  Lovely!  She summarized for years how I felt as a small child when stories would sneak up from behind and demand I write them by nightlight (risking my mom or dad catching me awake when I was already supposed to be fast asleep on a school night). 

I hope never to forget the feeling when I capture a moment so real, so intense, so full of passion or grief or joy.  When I am allowed glimpses into my past from my muses and these backward glances overwhelm me, I can once again BE that barefoot four-year old child riding a green bike with a suede banana seat or I can taste honeysuckle nectar on my tongue or I can inhale the neighbors’ perfumed orange blossoms that fill me with summer calm.  I am so grateful for emotions that may be expressed in words, words that are as real to me as this laptop I am typing on or the comfy bed I sleep in or the stir fry I will later make.  Today, I was granted this gift of just BEing and I am thankful.

xoxo,

Pamela

Hidden Treasure

I’m a “quotes” person.  I love quotes from people who have climbed rungs of the highest ladders, who have tripped and fallen face down in grime, who have cleansed themselves by splashing about in rain puddles, who have soared on the wings of ecstasy, who have teetered on rocky precipices, who have cradled a little person close to them and inhaled that baby’s sweetness, who have scratched art into existence, who have loved, hated, accomplished, failed, thrown in the towel, swam with rip tides until they broke free. . .who have LIVED. 

“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it?

The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within, not for want of a teller, but for want of an understanding ear.”
~Stephen King (Different Seasons)

Symphony of Saws

I’m sitting here working and loud sounds may be heard outside (despite the Cat. 5 rated hurricane, impact resistant, glass windows in my bedroom). By loud, I mean very loud since if the sounds were softer, I wouldn’t hear them at all.  To many people, these sounds would be considered “noises.”  If my ears don’t deceive me, a heavy duty concrete saw is being utilized as well as a tile saw.  These sounds should irritate me but they don’t.  Years of growing up with a dad, who worked around the clock as a full-time firefighter and part-time carpenter, have provided me with enough “audio memories” that, instead of aggravation, I experience contentment when hearing the sounds.  Must have something to do with the association of loud sounds with progress (my dad was, and is, the type man to finish projects). So, I’ll keep writing to the symphony of concrete, tile, and hydraulic saws and know that my neighbor will soon be enjoying a beautiful pool patio.

 

Love Letter Fest

Friends, welcome to my Valentine’s Event. A “Dear ?” love letter which you have written (whether sweet, sarcastic, or saucy) and will post your links below in the comment section so we all can have grieve, giggle, or gasp!  I will admit. When this idea jumped into my brain, I wasn’t daunted.  HOWEVER, as I sit here about to type my own letter, I’m overwhelmed, a tad bit intimidated, and wondering what on earth I was thinking when I started this.  Those of you who know me well are aware of my stubborn perseverance.  Hence, onward.  Enjoy and happy Valentine’s Day.  Not the commercialized hype but the everyday love we hold in our hearts.


Dear _______,

Many of you have directly or indirectly shaped me into the woman I am today.  I wouldn’t be Pamela without you.  Some of you have taken my heart down spiraling staircases into dank, dark basements where I suffered pain, wrenching hurt, abandonment.

A couple of you have led me through enchanted forests where rainbows arched overhead, the grass was soft, the castle walls had crumbled, and we loved as first loves.

Still others have taught me the foundation of love, how love isn’t based on emotions, how it demands action, requires being able to mouth or write two words (I’m sorry), and mean them.  That anger doesn’t necessarily reflect lack of love, although, at times, it may indicate lack of “like” (or sheer frustration).

Another has shown me that no matter how much I get angry, or question, or cry, or vent, He will remain faithful and, even more amazing, love me despite me.

All of the individuals who do not hesitate to pick up the phone to let me know they care, reach out with a card or letter, laugh with me, scream with me, or who hold me when I cry across the miles in a tight, virtual embrace.

Then there are the up close and personals who cling to me, climb me as if I am a tree, and hold on with little arms tightly clasped around my neck.  There are older ones who reach out when I least expect them to, grab my hands, sit close to me on the sofa, or hug me unexpectedly in passing.

There are those of you who have touched me so deeply that even though we are separated by this seemingly vast expanse of the other world you continue to move me, fill me, motivate me, cheer me on, and you are alive to me in my dreams, my memory, my soul.

There might be a person out there on this planet who could, through honest eyes, stir up flames in me once more.  Who, through sincerity, persistence, humor, character, empathy, gentleness, and time, has the capability to evoke in me passions which have yet to be completely drawn out.  He may exist. . .

In the meantime, I love and am so loved.  For all you, hole fillers, and you, hole makers, I thank-you.  It’s been real, raw, and, at times, raucous.  Even though, some days I harbor a few, wee regrets, I wouldn’t change any of it.  I have learned and will continue to learn.  My heart’s love journey (I hope) has, like my parent’s wedding song, “only just begun.”

All my love,

Pamela 

Parental Love Musings

Yesterday was my Christmas with my children.  They returned after being gone for a couple of weeks and I was grateful. I looked at them in wonder… I gave birth to these two, beautiful, young adults? It’s hard to believe. Seems like so long ago.

No matter how much time keeps those big and little hands moving or how often we are together or apart, when it comes down to it, nothing really changes. We’re a family. Families, despite sabotage attempts or psychological warfare, survive because you can’t kill love.

Some people try to. They mask their insecurities and fears through talking smack about others, lying, trying to buy others’ affections. These people believe, in their alternate realities, that love can be smothered, traded, stabbed, shot, bought. What they don’t realize is that love is eternal, infinite, impenetrable. Love is and always will be.

So, these militant, bitter individuals can keep at it.. stockpiling their arsenals, detonating bombs, attempting through charm to deceive. Some of these people receive wake-up calls and ignore the flashing, red lights and ear shattering buzzers.

To these individuals, I say, love isn’t going anywhere, any time soon. Might as well open your hearts to it.  Let it fill those holes that need plugging. Maybe, in the process, you might uncover joy. Then, there will be no going back to the darkness, the bitterness, the hate.

Unconditional love sandwiched between respect and compassion make for some fantastic soul food.  My kids receive this. From me. Have since they were babies.

While, at times, they might not like me because I don’t give in to their every whim, tough. Those of us who had involved, caring parents growing up, respect and love our moms and dads who were quick to apologize and not afraid to say no. Kids grow up. They’ll get it, eventually.

Time will be the great eye opener. My kids will see clearly how much I have adored them, do adore them. They will understand that love doesn’t die. Expressions of it might differ, but it’s not going anywhere. Love is, was, and always will be.

WARNING! Artwork in Progress!!!

This is one of those raw, emotional posts that is cathartic in nature and also contemplative. Last week, I had a conversation with one of my heroines. This particular heroine was forced into the scorching, hellish furnace and made it out (thank-God). She more than survived. She is passionately living her life, is gentle with herself and her past choices, and is a living model of strength (for me and others). The talk, much needed, ended with me stating that I felt “like a mess.” She emphatically said, “No! You are not a mess! You are a work in progress!” 

Of course, her statement triggered a metaphor. I realized I am not a mess (or just messy). I am ARTwork in progress. Art, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means a “skill acquired by experience, study, or observation.” Work (same dictionary) is an “activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something.” Artwork, therefore, involves working at life (using our God-given faculties). In the process, we become art pieces. Messy, at first, as we flex our cores, our selves. Eventually, though, because we have acquired the skills necessary, not merely to survive but to succeed, we experience break throughs and can love our beings (even when our easels are splattered with paint and our canvases look like disasters).

Fears and insecurities can crumble and become the concrete mix we need to build strong “me’s” and “we’s” (if we allow ourselves to be vulnerable). It doesn’t mean we are going to always feel unfaltering or resolute or certain. It does stand to reason we are not going to accept fears or failures without some WWF action (and the days we are unable to get in the ring, we call our life-lines who will splash some water on our faces and bandage our cuts).

So, life, this week I can say, “bring it” (and mean it). I am not afraid (at the moment). When I do feel guarded or hesitant (life will guarantee this), I will try and remember my truth. Although I am still a  “mess” (at times), I will recognize that life can instigate the messiness. But I am a piece of art in the making. Life, step off. Because when the product is finished, I will be more formidable, loving, and self-compassionate (beautiful, too).

Catch and Release 101

Catch and Release 101

  • grab hook and twist it free
  • be careful not to tear hook
  • do it quickly
  • the longer it takes, the more trauma caused
  • if it takes too long, snip leader and let it swim free
  • practicing catch and release will allow fish to live happier, longer lives
  • remember, catching and releasing is a privilege

How to Survive a Bombing

Bombs get dropped daily.  Some affect small surface areas, some impact large areas, some hit very near cores.

How to survive a bombing:

  1. Remain calm (easier said than done)
  2. Take cover under a sturdy object (like a neutral expression)
  3. Be prepared to evacuate (if the situation escalates)
  4. Remember there are still people who could want to do you harm (there are also people who don’t intentionally want to do you harm but harm you anyway)
  5. Stay away from anything that could implode on you (impossible when emotions are involved)
  6. Deal with the aftermath (whether you want to or not)

Remember that bombings often occur when you are least prepared and don’t expect them.  No matter what preparations you made beforehand, they will present with the element of surprise.  Don’t blame yourself.  There was nothing you could do to prevent them. Pick up the bloodied pieces and stitch yourself back together.  You will survive.

3 Things:

1.  Love needs fuel and oxiders.  Fuel provides heat.  Oxidizers supply oxygen.  If both elements are present daily,  3, 2, 1. . .

2.  to·mor·row   n.

  • The day following today.
  • The future.

(don’t wait for the defibrillator)

3.  Life= a two way mirror.  Reflects self and covert behavior.

FAIL

Today was a bad day as far as bad days go. It wasn’t awful but it came pretty darn close. I have met some pompous donkeys before but never like the person I encountered this afternoon. I am conscious of the reality that many people I meet in my daily life are going through tough times. Even though I might be having an “off “day, my behavior towards others (when I’m in the grocery store, library or on campus) reflects a fundamental philosophy of mine, be kind anyway (or, at the very least, don’t displace my feelings on someone who doesn’t deserve it)!

I was rudely reminded of how crass and obnoxious some people are (when supposed to be acting professionally). I became the attempted target of an abusive person who tried to belittle me in order to keep “superior” helium from seeping out of his inflated ego.  My immediate reaction was hurt (not a common response). Then, anger.

I spoke to three incredible women who all asserted that we don’t give our power over to individuals who trample on it. Maya Angelou says that “anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.” I’m going with this one. Like my amazing friends, she is one smart woman. If anyone knows about oppression, she does. If anyone could have hatred for people (like this man I met today), she could. But she doesn’t hang onto it.

I’m not the same person I was four years and eight months ago. Yes, it’s true, because of an absurd divorce and single motherhood, I’ve been bumped down rungs on the economic ladder. It’s correct that sometimes it’s a struggle to get through the day and I’m grateful when she closes her door.  I acknowledge I am imperfect–sometimes too feisty, too passionate, too inquisitive or too intense.

Despite these characteristics, I am sure of some important truths:

  • I am worthy of respect and dignity because I am human.
  • I’m a woman. The term doesn’t translate to idiot.
  • I never deserve to be called a “what.” I am a “who.”

I know the difference between right from wrong, lies from truth, nominalism from authenticity and abuse from love. So to the man who dropped nuclear bombs today hoping to witness destruction, epic FAIL.

Continent of Kisses

A kiss can be a comma, a question mark or an exclamation point.  That’s basic spelling that every woman ought to know.

~ Mistinguett (Jeanne Bourgeois)

Go ahead, slap some more pejorative labels on my culture. We, North Americans, have been known to promote obesity, drugs, alcohol, violence, imperialism, slavery, colonialism, war, and–kissing. You heard me, kissing! How fantastic is it that, despite all of our numerous transgressions, we are recognized as the culture that developed kissing? That we have been a fertile continent of Eskimo kisses, air kisses, butterfly kisses, kisses of peace, friendly kisses, cultural kisses, parental kisses and the all familiar romantic kiss!

There’s just something about the term itself that makes me smile. No, I was not thinking about Gene Simmons (sorry Gene). Being half Italian, kissing is in my genes. But I’ve found that I’ve had to restrain myself, on more than one occasion, so as not to make non-kissers uncomfortable. If you’re reading this and I intimidated you by a PDA, I apologize. I’m working on it. But what if what the world needs now is love and–a kiss?

For you skeptics, try it and let me know how it goes. You don’t have to begin like the French do with a left cheek kiss, right cheek kiss and then another left cheek kiss. Start small. Kiss your wife’s hand. Give your baby an Eskimo kiss. You might feel awkward at first but press on. You can do it. Let’s start a kissing revolution. One that involves thirty-four facial muscles and one hundred and twelve postural muscles. If we kiss more, who knows what could happen? World peace? Global empathy? Less violence? More love? I’m in, are you?

The Haunting

October breathes reflection for me. There’s a supernatural quality to this particular month that evokes sentimental remembrances. Whether it’s because of the changes reflected in nature that strip life down to its bare, autumnal branches, I’m not sure. What I am certain of is the fluctuating nature of life.

Have you ever been haunted?  Truly chilled by specters in the form of uncanny experiences that won’t let you forget past loves or childhood’s embrace? To stand in a particular space and sense a gauzy veil has lifted and you can feel, see and almost touch your past, your joys, your sorrows?

These spirits persist in fingering our souls with their icy bittersweet hands. They haunt us, disguised as filmy apparitions of people who caressed our lives so that, while time unmercifully shoves us forward, our memories, our subconscious, resuscitates them, breathes life into them, and clothes them with skin, flesh, and bones.

So when people cross our paths who remind us of these persons in our pasts, we feel the coolness of shadows. In the shadows, a darkness which briefly flits across our hearts and is the complete opposite of warmth and sunlit freedom and meadows.

These phantoms reach and clutch and we rarely escape unscathed. Our minds, in an effort to deal with the mausoleum of preserved memories, try to wrap themselves around the mysterious and cannot make sense of it. It’s too evasive–too mettlesome to grapple.

We press forward and eventually break away from their grasps. Time, once more, fills our lives with flurries of work, bills, and children. We forget–until the next haunting.