Inspiration ✨

Whether you choose to evolve or stay as you are, both require the same amount of energy. The quality of energy is the only distinction.

Are you choosing to restrain or unleash yourself in this one life you have been given? Only you can make that choice.

Advertisements

Sapling

As if offering to the world a tender sapling, yet its roots were so lovingly planted some time ago.

Entrusting an expansive forest with its potential; a mighty oak is nourished within, this I have come to know.

But for now, its delicate branches sway to the will of the forest, it just may be so.

Yet, it is the lifeblood of the universe; to the sky, it will someday surely grow.

MOM

Trails of steam rose from the tea pot, “Would you like honey?” she asked.

“No… thanks.  Sugar.  I’ll do it Ma,” I replied absentmindedly as I rose from my seat.

The sun streamed in through the bay windows of my childhood home.  From my seat, I was able to catch glimpses of  Brooke and J.T. as they tossed a football in the backyard.

“Everything is always better after a cup of tea,” I could almost hear my Memere comment.  Although she had been gone many years, I could still hear her gentle voice echoing.

With each cup of tea that I shared with my mother, another gem of wisdom could be gleamed.  Often, I would have a few quiet moments with my mother before everyone arrived for our midweek gathering over dinner.  Reflecting now, I can appreciate this time as a gift that is still partially unwrapped.

“You know, Maary, until Sean got sick, I really believed that nothing bad could happen,” she offered to me after her first sip of tea.

She paused, adjusted her seat and glanced out at the traffic spinning around the rotary.

I lifted my gaze from the sugar bowl and looked at her in silence, gently biting my lower lip.  I gave her space. Silence is filled with so many answers.

My mother, my mother; never one to wallow in self-pity.

My mother; resilient, with her youthful spirit marveling at the simplest delights.  A stone, a shell, a tree; all reason to stop and enjoy.

My mother; never once have did I witness her act ugly or bitter despite the trials she had to face.

Yet, my mother; fierce and determined when needed.

When faced with the idiotic threat of losing custody of her six children, she entered law school in her forties stating simply, “I will never allow someone to cause me to feel that vulnerable again.”

“It is true, Maary,” she furthered lowering her cup.  “Wasn’t I lucky!”  she smiled, her baby blue eyes squinting.

“Oh, Ma.” I sensed the weight of her words.  This would be a realization she would repeat to me time and time again.  I loved her so much each time she shared this with me  because I understood the message behind her words.

“You know, when he was a baby I would walk him in his stroller all around our Vermont neighborhood.  On his first day of kindergarten, I had to close the front door on him because he would not get on the bus.  Oh…I feel so bad about that.” Her smile disappeared and she took another sip of tea.

As a mother now, I sensed the piece of her heart that broke when the reality of his disease visited her.  The collage of moments that she tried to knit together to understand his disease.  She never once hesitated to embrace the son he now was, beyond the delusions and hallucinations that taunted him.

Brooke and J.T. burst in the back door, football still in tow. “Memere!” they screeched in unison. “Can you take us to the park?”

“Oh, give me just a second,” she replied jumping up from her seat and her cup of tea that was still hot.

Within moments, she was ready for her “adventure” with them.  Calling up the stairs, “Phil, I am going for a walk with the kids.  Be back in a bit.”

“You coming too Maary?”  she pleaded, her voice brimming with anticipation.

And, there it was. My mother’s innate ability to reset and savor the moments she was given.  How could I not go on this adventure with her?  I had all my life, quietly following her lead without completely comprehending the power of her example.

Wasn’t I lucky?

The Tears of a Clown

Fidgeting with the art supplies on my desk, I pondered if I was the only student who did not enjoy art. I was finally beginning to catch up with my classmates after lagging behind in first and second grade, but this assignment distracted me.

Sister Eileen told my mother how proud she was of the progress I had made in the past year. The additional tutoring over the summer had made a noticeable difference. I was proud of myself. However, art made me doubt myself. I was uncomfortable in my desk, my stomach suddenly upset.

We had been instructed to draw a clown. Next to me, my classmate was humming to herself and shaking her shoulders back and forth as she emptied the crayons onto her desk.  It was obvious, she was anxious to begin.  I, however, slouched my shoulders and slid down in my seat, lowering my eyes and tilting my head to inspect my brown knee socks.

Perhaps, I was distracted for another reason. Sean had been in a hospital after the night by the staircase. We still did not know for certain what was causing his odd behavior.

There were days that the silence was deafening and the darkness inescapable. The majority of my understanding arriving by the manner of osmosis. Closing my eyes at night, I had to sing commercials over and over in my head to keep from worrying about him, “Milk, it does a body good.”

Reaching my hand forward, I slid the crayons closer to me. I raised one to my nose and inhaled the smell of the wax.  Closing my eyes, my hand lowered back to my desk. As I opened my eyes, I began to outline the face of my clown.

By the end of the week, Sister Eileen announced that our class would be hosting an art show for our parents to view our work.  She had awarded some pieces of art awards that would be presented at the show.

I shrugged my shoulders and continued to work on the cursive penmanship assignment we had been given. I was suddenly more invested in perfecting the capital letter M in cursive than I had been before she made this announcement. I kept my gaze fixed on my desk and smirked.

                        ***

     The following week, we returned to school after dinner for the art show.  The cafeteria had been arranged to allow for the display of art along the walls and at tables arranged in the center of the room.  My brother and I lagged behind our mother waving to our classmates and giggling.  It was not often that we were at school at this time of day and it caused us to be silly.

“Oh, Mary Beth! Look! This one has your name on it and it has a ribbon!” my mother stated scurrying to a drawing displayed at the center tables.  I followed, confused. Certainly, it was not mine. My mother had to be mistaken.  Her body obscured my view.

“Wow, look at your clown Mary Beth!” my mom continued as she inspected its face.

“Wow,” she whispered as she placed two fingers by the clown’s nose.

She turned so that her eyes met mine, her fingers lingering on the paper.

For the first time, it seemed, I beheld the face of my clown.  It was good, especially for a third grader.  The curly hair, the red lips, his clown hat…all of it was drawn in considerable detail.  But, what was most striking about this clown was that the corners of his lips were turned into a frown and his wide eyes appeared sad. By his nose, one glistening tear fell. Beyond the crayon and the cheap construction paper, this clown had a story to tell.

As we stood for a moment longer, it seemed to also hum, “The tears of a clown when no one is around…”

“Mary Beth, that was amazing.” my mom said more to herself than to me.

A deep sigh exited my lips and I felt a warm rush of blood in my chest as I watched her turn back one more time to view my portrait.

‘Thank you, Mom,’ I thought as we made our way across the cafeteria.

The Dressings of Divorce

My focus remained fixated on my hands folded on my lap.  Silence surrounded me, except for the sounds of the highway.  I abandoned my typical game of observing the cars passing.  Instead, I intently investigated my freshly trimmed nails and did not lift my gaze.  All my strength consumed by maintaining my composure.

My dress, that I now forced myself to ignore, lay against my scrawny thighs.  I was so excited when I picked it out weeks earlier.  It was sky blue with white polka dots.  The selling point was the ruffles that adorned the hem and the straps.  The fabric was soft against my sun kissed skin.

I had worn it on the dance floor, the ruffled hem cascading as I twirled.  I made myself dizzy that night, spinning as I tilted my head and my eyes to admire its invigorating flow. In the blended family wedding photo, it is impossible to miss my flushed cheeks and proud grin.

Tonight, though, was completely different.  I was confused because with each moment that passed of this deafening silence, I grew more and more ashamed of the ruffles that had so recently brought my young heart so much joy.  It had been the special dress I chose to wear to my mom’s wedding.  Now, it was a source of contention and rejection. Was it me or the dress?  In my innocent mind, I could not separate the two.

With as minimal movement as I could produce, I opened the car door and kept my eyes from raising to the expression on my father’s face.  My young heart could not bare to interpret it. I was all sensing, no feeling in those moments. The cold of the door handle against my sweaty palms.  The warm breeze that greeted me as I opened the door.  The welcoming sounds from the nearby highway; cars beeping and tires against the pavement.

If words were spoken, I was now deaf to them after the calculated hushed tones that had ensued just an hour earlier.  I walked in a daze to my front door.

The dress was deemed not suitable for the restuarant, inappropriate with my bare shoulders adorned by ruffles.  Cotton, no less.  I must be taken back home to my mom and miss dinner.

As I closed the heavy wooden door behind me, tears brimmed in my eyes and I was barely able to will my feet forward.  P.J., our family dog, greeted me and I let my hand touch her scruffy fur.  With her beside me, I was able to find my way to the coach and sink into the comfort of all I knew.

Suddenly exhausted from the weight of the emotions that I had just withstood, I discovered myself sobbing in my mom’s arms. I was not able to comprehend what had just happened. I just knew I had not felt pain like that before.

Although this memory is unpleasant, through it my emotional resilience was fostered.  With no apologies, I gradually discovered the words and the bravery for that sweet girl. I refuse to be ashamed of the love and acceptance I am now capable of spreading in her name.

Wordsmith

My tools are not shiny or sharp, nor do they have serrated edges.

An arrow with its crimson target, breath aligned with skill, I pursue.

Threading my bow with echoing sentiments, may it penetrate and render you breathless.

Captured; become untamed to the language of the heart.