Another NaBloPoMo completed.
My fingers are a little tired.
I didn’t drive in The Netherlands. As a matter of fact, we didn’t even own a car while we were living overseas. An automobile in The Hague is not only not a necessity, it is almost an inconvenience in many ways. Costs for keeping and running a car are extremely high, and with space at a premium in general, parking space is an unknown entity in many areas. In short, it’s more hassle than we thought it was worth to drive in the city. So, I didn’t.
Of course, it goes without saying that living in MO suburbia, the entire story changes. I have a car. Don has a car. Soon, our soon to be sixteen year old son, Ian will be driving, and two cars for our family may not seem like enough. Trust me when I tell you that this thought gives me shivers and offends my green sensibilities. But I should leave that divergent path and stick with the post I am actually writing today.
I have a car. I drive nearly everywhere. School drop off for kindergarten, grocery shopping, errands, activities, school pick up. I drive.
I drive, I drive, I drive.
But here’s a little something I forgot about driving lots (besides having forgotten all the rules, apparently); driving lots means having the radio on. Another something I didn’t do (much) in NL. And listening to the radio at this season of the year means just one thing to me: Bring on the Christmas tunes!
As far as holiday music goes, I am decently tolerant of the variety available. I do tend to draw the listening line if it’s just too many notes inserted into a phrase, ala Mariah Carey, or if there isn’t a whole lot of innovation in a new recording of an old tune, I’ll take the original classics over that, thanks. However, I do love the tunes–pulled up from decades past and recorded by artists from then to now– as each brings memory of happy times for me. Just this morning, with the radio tuned to the “ALL CHRISTMAS, ALL THE TIME” station, I heard one I hadn’t ever heard before. It’s a classic by a classic.
And now, it’s my new favorite.
Because, seriously, that red-nosed reindeer really deserves a tribute in blues.
Our bird died today.
As I held him in my hands
he took his last breath.
Em, Andrew and me
the full funeral party
sang “bye-bye birdie”.
We called him ‘uncle’
the celibate, doting, friend
to the mating pair.
Quietly he’ll rest
the sleeper of our garden
under peace and love.
I used to link these to site which hosted Haiku Friday but as I can’t find that anymore and feel like I owe Leslie this link anyway, I am now linking my haiku to her place. She’s terrific, just in case you didn’t know, and just in case you’re not reading her yet, you really should. You’ll find her here. In addition to being a brilliant writer, mother, wife and human being, she also writes a haiku every day. Also, it’s her fault I ever began writing them, or writing them this time around, anyway. The initial fault for my haiku obsession lies with my fifth grade teacher who introduced the art form. But, seriously, that’s a bit beside the point isn’t it? I mean, how do you link to your fifth grade teacher, anyway? Leslie is the originator of the Haiku Buckaroo contest which I have entered faithfully since it’s inception, but have yet to master. So, her fault, her link. Now, go read her.
Six-year old Andrew and I stepped into the hearth room at the church. The place was fully buzzing with movement, noise, activity, and voices. This was the day we’d been talking about together for almost a month. The day that we could help make some food (sack lunches) for the kitchen of the Salvation Army. Or, as Andrew put it “today’s the day we make food for the friends who don’t have enough”. I wasn’t sure at first that the hubbub would be the best situation for him. Most often, a room full of loud voices and multiple bodies in close proximity throws Andrew. He finds himself highly stressed and uncomfortable; overstimulated to be exact. The result of such a push past his boundaries is never easy to predict or manage. But he seemed determined, so we joined the fray.
As I helped him pull oversized blue latex gloves onto his small hands, the glove tips extending past his fingertips by four inches, I asked him gently “are you ready for this?”
“Oh, yeah”, He said, “this is the best day of my life!”
Then, hand in blue gloved hand we stepped up together. We had things to do, people to help, peanut butter sandwiches to make. Side by side, he and I worked together for the next 30 minutes, bagging sandwiches and laughing up a storm. He said “go team Mom” and I said “go team Andrew” then, soon enough, the work was done. I told him he’d done a great job, I told him I was really proud of him, I told him he was a good kid, I told him I thought the friends would be really happy with their food.
He told me “those friends are gonna like their sandwich.” And then he asked “can we do that again tomorrow?”
Sometimes a mom
Sometimes a mom has
Sometimes a mom has to
Sometimes a mom has to step
Sometimes a mom has to step in
Sometimes a mom has to step in and
Sometimes a mom has to step in and fight
Sometimes a mom has to step in and fight for
Sometimes a mom has to step in and fight for her
Sometimes a mom has to step in and fight for her child.
Even when the
Even when the child
Even when the child says
Even when the child says it’s
Even when the child says it’s no
Even when the child says it’s no big
Even when the child says it’s no big deal.
A mommy knows
A mommy knows her
A mommy knows her first
A mommy knows her first job
A mommy knows her first job is
A mommy knows her first job is to
A mommy knows her first job is to protect
A mommy knows her first job is to protect her
A mommy knows her first job is to protect her baby.
Mama will roar.
Don and I just marked 20 years of marriage together. 20 years. That’s a lotta time logged in a career endeavor. There are loads of things to say about how and why and how lucky I feel that after all this time, we’ve still got something going on, but today is not the day I am going to talk about that. I really want to talk about something else.
I will preface this succinctly.
I am, and have forever been, a broadway musical fan. I love the form and the format of a story told with music intermittently inserted. I know the formula is not for everyone and there are those who prefer their theatre more classic in substance and less maudlin. However, I am a fan. Don, whether by choice or force over the years, also loves the theatre, and from stage plays to musical he’s long been my companion at a show. As a matter of fact, he’s been the planner and the purchaser of the theatre trips we’ve taken over the years to both New York and London. He attributes his love of theatre to his “one gay gene” , but no matter what is at play there, I am glad for his company. Always.
Yesterday, in celebration of our anniversary, I booked tickets for a show at the premier theatre here in St. Louis. The show, In The Heights, gathered 4 Tony awards in 2008, including the Tony for Best Musical. It’s an exceptional musical, full of vibrant color and choreography, with an overall message that family matters, that home is where one is happiest, and that life, for all its challenges and hard knocks, isn’t all that bad.
In a particularly poignant scene, the community grieves the death of Abuela Claudia, who, for all intents and purposes, is the grandmother of all in the block. She is loved deeply and admired greatly; the embodiment of wisdom and grace, and a guiding light for her family and neighbors. Simply put, she is the woman I want to be.
As the residents gather to grieve together, to remember her and (of course) to sing her goodbye, we are offered a glimpse into what may just be her personal philosophy for life. From the lyrics:
Abuela Claudia had simple pleasures
She sang the praises of things we ignore
Glass Coke bottles, bread crumbs, a sky full of stars
She cherished these things
She’d say “Alabanza”
Alabanza means to raise this thing to God’s face
and to sing
Quite literally “praise to this”
I don’t know if I can really capture here what it meant to me hearing it there. This simple notion of recognizing in moments, in people, yes, even in things, that there is goodness and beauty which is worthy of our praise. I can tell you, it’s something I have considered before, and even work toward as a means to being a better person and living a more deliberate life, but yesterday, in the height of the dramatic moment on the stage I was absolutely struck. I want that. I want to be that person who is living life every minute; who is noticing good and goodness even in the hectic chaos of getting it all done in a day. I want to be the kind of person whose goodbye song is just like this; sung by those who loved me and whom I loved.
It’s simple. Right?
hosted by Soccer Mom in Denial