Last Thursday evening, amid a crazy schedule of drop-offs, school closings, cooking, cleaning, writing, Girl Scouts, haircuts, basketball, and laundry, I took a moment just for me, to make a delectable protein shake that would fill the void in lieu of a sit-down dinner. It was to be a delicious mix with chocolate PB2, a powdered peanut butter booster, sprinkled in for some much-needed energy and flavor. This smoothie would have put your Vitamix and Nutribullet to shame!
In my celebration of heaven in a smoothie, I happily gave my oldest two children some, while they scoured the pantry and fridge trying to fend for themselves for dinner. It was just that kind of day. Everything was hurried and we were all rushing to get to dance practice. In my haste, I had forgotten just that quickly that Read the rest of this entry »
In the meantime,
But, of course!
My babies grow.
“He loves me…. he’s special…. ly different”
In the meantime
On a masterpiece–
“Thinking of a master plan/’cuz ain’t nuthin’ but sweat inside my hand”
Little, but Tuff lights
Glowing in a dark world
But back to
In the meantime….
Recharging– everyone needs a respite
Into my new
Physical places, and
Tying up my literary shoelaces….
Getting acquainted with
Fictional and otherwise.
Clothes that don’t fit,
Pounds that won’t sit.
Lightening the loads.
Can’t nobody walk tall weighted down!
Quiet, personal victories.
A New Season.
In the meantime
Several of which,
Though new to me,
Lived in me–
My very nerves and sinew
From the start.
My brothers too….
In the meantime
Into my own Life
Humbling…. to my own gifts
In the meantime….
I’ve been praying for–yes again,
And receiving too,
In the time-ing!
In the meantime
© SomerEmpress and Life As An Art Form, [2010 – 2014]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to SomerEmpress and Life As An Art Form with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
I am so pleased to bring you this post! In it, my eldest daughter River, age 7, reviews a beautiful story called “The Girl with the Magic Hands” by Nnedi Okorafor. Nnedi rightfully earned the 2012 Black Excellence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Literature (fiction). Her novels, listed in their order of publication, include: Zahrah the Windseeker (2008 winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature); The Shadow Speaker (winner of the CBS Parallax award and Essence Magazine Literary Award finalist); Akata Witch (An Amazon.com Best Book of 2011); and, Who Fears Death (2011 World Fantasy Award for Best Fantasy Novel, 2012 Kindred Award).
I went to pick up my four-year old daughter today from her preschool located inside a community church. I had a relatively good day trying to be reflective and more available and open to Spirit, and less distracted by the noise of social media or the news. So you can imagine my reaction when I learned of today’s horrific news that a 24-year old gunman opened fire at an elementary school claiming lives too many to count without streaming tears of helplessness. I must be dreaming.
It seemed surreal as I stood there zipping my baby girl’s jacket, adjusting her barrette which I apparently clipped too tight this morning. I could hear the chilling words from the chief reporting parent, as well as the words of the other mothers chiming in to confirm what they had also heard, but I was hearing all of this for the first time. None of it made sense.
I am sure that finding meaning in all of this was on the minds of all the parents and grandparents gathered to retrieve their children, but it was too early to contemplate. What will parents tell their children about their murdered friends, classmates, neighbors, or even siblings?
I stand away from Connecticut, but still know that tragedies like these seem to be hitting closer to “home”. Violence is quickly becoming a growing trend, and our most vulnerable are often the victims. In this case, it was children and courageous teachers who seem to be working in hostile times instead of developmental classrooms. Please someone, tell me I am hearing wrong.
I loaded my girl into her safety seat and then my heart sank. I looked back at her more often than usual, to make sure that she was still there, safely buckled and intact where I left her. I needed her fully awake and present. I needed to see her eyes. I looked for comfort and assurance beyond their glimmer. I needed to hear some more incessant pleading, and annoying requests. I don’t mind them, nor do I complain today. I needed to hear her.
My heart grows heavy with the knowledge that there are parents, not too far from here, who will not have the same privilege this evening. Instead, grief and an overwhelming sense of incomprehensibility await them. Though we who stand outside of their community empathize, we’ll mostly go on about our business, while their realities will be forever altered. I pray that one day these families will find the strength that they need to carry on, but in the meantime, as they search to find meaning, I hope that a comforting touch, a deeply pressed hug, and the openness and sincerity of community will tend to their hearts and homes during a very difficult time. This is my hope.
We may never find the words to describe this condition which seems to plague folk determined to carry out violence for whatever selfish, angry reasons they have, but I pray that our response will be one that will help these families find meaning in this. But I am not sure anyone can. I trust that in time we learn to trust, hope, and just breathe again.
I’ve always said that Life comes to teach us something, and I’d like to think that I’ve learned some great lessons along the way, but today was quite a reflective day, and the ten lessons below, though not entirely new, played over and over in my mind. Here is what I learned:
- No matter the sincerity of your intentions, there’s always the possibility of being misinterpreted or misconstrued. The only thing you own is your truth.
- I should not dim my light for fear of others’ feeling small. The total brilliance of this Universe depends on the light in each of us.
- There are people behind the Read the rest of this entry »
The more I get in touch with who I am, the more I am convicted about how I should invest my time, energy, and money. As the birthdays of my daughters loomed on the horizon, I considered how we would celebrate them this year. The birthday parties of last year and the year before just couldn’t be done, as they entailed more planning, labor, and finances than I cared to invest this year. We would have to take it down a notch, and scale back financially. As I became more attuned to Spirit, I realized that we needed to do something differently, even if it meant a lower-key celebration than in years past; however, I struggled to balance the warning to heed my own inner voice and the desire to give my daughters a special birthday celebration.
I considered various plug-and-pay (oops, I mean “play”) places and venues that cater primarily to children: Chuck E. Cheese, inflatable amusement parks, and other such operations designed to make it “simple” to celebrate the guest of honor. Inarguably, those places are strictly for kids, but adults hate them almost as much as kids love them. The food is usually meager, and tastes just okay, it’s loud as hell, and if there are kiddie areas, they usually feature ball-pits or shared apparatus that are cesspools for viruses. The smaller kids get stomped by the bigger kids, who know good and well that they have no business occupying the little kiddie areas. Then to add insult to injury, adults are subjected to a frenzy of antsy children eager to redeem tickets for some cheap dollar store chotchkes. Parents wait impatiently, arms teeming with children’s gear and goodie bags, and when it’s over, everyone swears that it will be a while before signing up for this mess again! As much as I’ve come to despise these places for their success at sucking us in, they were options worth considering, particularly during this period which my dear friend calls “forced convalescing”; nonetheless, I just couldn’t bring myself to prepare for a stampede of unruly children or for playing musical rooms. Not exactly what I had in mind!
Conversely, I also wanted to steer away from a celebration where the focus becomes more about entertaining the adults. The poor birthday child (if you can find her) keeps asking “Mom, when can we cut the cake, when can we open my presents?” “Not now baby, we’re still waiting for Cousin Lester to come.” LOL!! The adults are drinking it up, listening to grown-folks music, probably well on their second helping of food already, and there is nothing else for the children to do but pester the adults. I also wanted to avoid a celebration that was too over the top, or required too many moving parts. I’ve found that in those instances, both the birthday child and parents are overwhelmed. Though my physical limitations were enough of a reason to reel the party in a bit, my conscience screamed even more loudly, “less is more, party-girl!” In the bigger scheme of things, it mattered little to my daughters how much I spent on their birthday parties or where I chose to have them. The decision was mine to make.
When our youngest daughter’s birthday came about on May 16th, I suggested to my husband that we invite four or five of her friends, do one craft activity, have a light bite, and follow with cake and ice cream. It seemed easy enough, or so I thought. I would order the cake, and coordinate the activity while perched at the kitchen table, with my feet propped up on a chair. My husband was perplexed and said “Whoa! Slow your roll, butterfly!” He insisted that I was already getting way ahead of myself, given that I was just closing in on my second week after major invasive surgery. So instead, we agreed to extend our small family celebration to just one other family with children close in age that could also enjoy the same experience.
Needless to say, my little ladybug’s “party” turned out to be a beautiful and special celebration! I soaked it all in as I watched my birthday girl dance with her friend and sister, to Katy Perry’s “Firework” (their girls’ empowerment anthem), and “Four Boys Named Jordan”. Of course, I had to put on “Single Ladies”, by special request, for the birthday girl. (I’m still not sure why that song is so infectious among such young children.) They danced, played, laughed, spun, fell out, and giggled as they held hands and caught glimpses of their reflections in the oven door. Unlike previous birthday parties, I did not have to corral a herd of children, or tend to a burdensome list of items. This time, I was fully present. After cutting the cake and opening her cards and presents, she very contentedly remarked, “my birthday party is over, Mom…I had fun!” Our one guest family packed up to return home, while we picked up what little there was to pick up, and quietly retired for the evening. Our little birthday girl was ready to call it a night without being exhausted or over stimulated. When it was all over, I was thankful to have had a simple affair, as it brought pure enjoyment to the one who matters most…our youngest birthday girl.
I’m not sure how we’ll celebrate our oldest daughter’s birthday yet (May 25th), but whatever we do will be beautiful and special. At minimum, it will reflect simplicity, and my desire to “take back” and re-inject our own meaning into birthdays and other family festivities where going overboard will no longer be the norm.
Don’t worry….my daughters will certainly have their cake, but I’ll eat it too!
“Is the world a better place with the Easter bunny?” Damn skippy, it is! :)
In fact, Easter for me has always been an important time, mostly because it comes at a time when new life springs forth, and what was once dormant becomes resurrected. Life resurfaces in all of nature. Flowers bloom, trees fill in with leaves and fruit, and neighbors reveal their previously hibernated smiles covered by winter scarves and hiked-up collars. So, although much of what comes with Easter seems to have a very commercial focus these days, I say “Let’s hear it for the Easter Bunny! Woohoo!”
As far as I’m concerned, the presence of the Easter Bunny is not about debating the legitimacy of Easter, or whether it’s a pagan holiday, but about making people happy. At least in this household, the Easter Bunny is all about the smiles that I see on my children’s faces when they enter the household, and find that an assortment of fun surprises await them, with accompanying, personalized notes. Though they never talk or inquire about the Easter Bunny before Easter, they’re taken off-guard every time “he” makes a visit. (I happen to know this Easter Bunny very intimately, and how much he cares about making children happier.)
Perhaps there is little excitement beforehand because we don’t talk about Easter, per se. Rather than spending time discussing religious differences or practices, we strive to teach, and live out, the commonalities that define us all, even during a highly regarded, religious holiday such as Easter. These include themes such as renewal (new life, babies, flowers, trees, more abundant sunshine), restoration (healing, repair), revival (celebration/ injection of new life), vivacity (life itself), and the audacity of life itself – its boldness to dare spring anew again after such dormancy. Even children can embrace these concepts. In this same manner, we embrace the Easter Bunny’s regularity and attentiveness to bringing smiles and contentment, ultimately creating indelible childhood memories that will last them a lifetime.
So Easter isn’t as much about candy, or even the Easter Bunny, but about the occasion itself – one for joining with families, or friends that are like family, during the earliest part of Spring, when the air is warmer, clothes are lighter, and summer fun is closer within reach. With the palpable anticipation of more outdoor fun spent with friends and family, the appreciation for life itself, seems new. So breaking bread to welcome the season and restore hearts after a long drawn-out winter seems like only the right thing to do; with family and friends…and of course, my Easter Bunny! :)
“Let’s Hear it For the Boy”, Deniece Williams