Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Paying it Forward

I'm getting the sense this morning
some people need some kindness
I saw this happy guy yesterday
His smile beckoned me from across the parking lot
and brightened my day.
Hope it does the same for you.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Bride's Tears

Last week my refrigerator broke. Oy.

The only good that comes from a frig breaking is the opportunity to clean it out. If you're anything like me, your cold storage box is easily a place where things become hidden, hoarded, and forgotten.

I had let this bottle, for example, slip from memory. This beautiful glass jug, and its contents, is more than 14 years old. It is a liquor called Bruidstranen. I bought it while in Holland, on the threshold of my nuptials. Translated it means Bride's Tears and the Dutch often drink it while toasting a wedding. Can you see the gold flakes suspended in mid liquid? Those are the tears.

I remember the day we finally opened it. May 17, 1998. We had just come back from City Hall in Brooklyn where an official with a piercing Brooklyn twang told us that "by the power INvested" in him, we were now husband and wife. We quickly went back to our brownstone apartment, poured a shot of the Dutch treat and headed over the Brooklyn Bridge.

It was a beautiful morning. As we held hands, giddy from the mixture of alcohol and our new union, we realized we were the only ones on the bridge. No pedestrians en route to work, no bicyclists, no tourists. My brother took our picture, which ended up being the photo I used for our announcement.

Years later I saw what else was in that picture. It breaks me to look at it. So much hope and happiness in the foreground, so much heartache and loss in the background. One picture, two worlds.


The tears of a bride are supposed to be shed out of jubilation but when I look at this crystal carafe grief is revisited. The thing is, I can't throw it away. This bottle, that picture, those two buildings and what they held, all intertwine into one. It's a part of me now.

The refrigerator man has just left. All that was needed was a  new compressor, that's all. He tells me to wait 24 hours before using it. So, I sit and look at my bottle of tears. Tomorrow I plan on putting them back inside the freezer. Maybe this time, though, I'll keep them closer to the front. Some things deserve not to be overlooked. Some things deserve not to be forgot.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Reigning From Above

Did you know that
the classic yellow plastic bat is no longer used for pinatas?
It's true.
Nowadays it's the titanium club
that is the weapon of choice.

One, two, three whacks
is all it takes
before a waterfall of junk food
floods the ground
and little painted hands and feet go scrambling.

Most children will automatically hit the ground
in search of treasure
It's the independent thinker
who questions the source.
Instead of down, they look up.

So always remember,
there are no rules.
Sometimes it's not slow and steady
that wins the race.
Sometimes it's about quick reflexes.

And an opened bag.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

This Day is Yours

To all the mothers
who spend their days
away from their little ones
trying to make a better life.

To all the mothers
who spend their days
in spite of a door that may be tightly shut.

To all the mothers
who spend their days
and their nights awake and feeding
undeterred by the fog.

To all the mothers
who spend their days
giving and giving and giving
and then giving some more.

To all these mothers,
I applaud you
and your constant worry, your careful examination
Your pure attachment.

May love's embrace envelope you
Homemade creations rain on you
And sweet morsels be fed to you.
This moment belongs to you.

Happy Mother's Day.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Kiss Goodbye

I'm in a sad state.

Mama bird, who I mentioned the other day, abandoned her nest. What happened? Did she get hit by oncoming traffic? Did she get lost? Spooked? She vanished so quickly, in the middle of the night, it seemed. When I went to investigate, I found four beautiful, defenseless, teal eggs. So there they sit, outside my window, a harsh reminder of how fleeting life can be.

I'm in a sad state.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Under Protection

My 8 yr old is doing her homework, which consists of putting vocabulary words into sentences. She stops writing and looks up at me. More often than not, she's in a dream state but at this moment her eyes are focused, lit up like headlamps in the middle of the night. "Mom, did you know that sometimes when you hear a sentence, you want to hear the whole story?"

I stop whatever it is I'm doing and study her. Is this something her teacher told her or am I experiencing her epiphany?

"Do you want to hear my sentence."

I want to shout, "Does a woman crap when she's giving birth?!" Instead I nod enthusiastically.

"Across the road there was a sidewalk and on that sidewalk was a mysterious box." Her voice is raspy and she injects each word with a heavy dose of cryptic rhythms.

The child is in elementary school and already knows about hooking a reader. Is that unusual? I'm tempted to say no. Most children, if left to their own abandon, often create spot-on, highly descriptive pictures of an imaginary world. So, what happens to these voices? What happens to one's song? How does it get stifled or, worse, extinguished? Is it one person who undermines our natural ability to express? Or is it a combination of negative experiences?

As if reading my mind, my daughter wants to know why it has taken me 40 some odd years to get cracking with a pen. I tell her that when I was younger I loved to write but that something happened to squelch it.

"What?" she demands.

Um, I don't know. I think I had a bad teacher.

She picks up her pen to finish her homework. After a few moments she looks up at me.

"I'm never going to let anyone stop me from writing. Ever."

Her words hit me with unexpected emotion. I don't think I've ever been more proud. I only hope she's right.