Sunday, May 18, 2014

"You're In Good Company," Thanks for Reading

"You're In Good Company," Thanks for Reading


When I started this blog in February of this year, I was filled with equal parts exhilaration and fear.  Writing has always been how I made sense of the world, and now I would be placing it in a public forum where the words would remain and maybe, if I was lucky, make sense to other people as well.

There are many days when I sit down and have no idea what to say, consider that maybe my ideas are tapped out, and I want to move on to something else, but like anything in life, anything that moves you, drives you, fascinates you—you are compelled to do that very thing.  So I want to thank you, thank you for sharing in this compulsion with me by reading what I have to say, and commenting, sharing, and subscribing.

It’s with true surprise and more than a little gratitude that I share that I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award from Faith, Family and Focaccia.  From everything I can gather, a Liebster (meaning “dearest” in German) is the People’s Choice of blogging awards because it comes from other bloggers who are out to discover voices that ring some truth in tandem with their own.  It is for bloggers who have an audience of under 200 and there are some rules involved.  You have to offer 11 facts about yourself, and answer 11 questions posed to you and then set another 11 for those you, in turn, nominate. 

So I, like my nominator, am unsure about the audience for the blogs that I have nominated, and am just offering them here because I discovered them, and I enjoy reading them and hope you will too.  


And I have to tell you, the first order of business, the presentation of “Facts”—well these have had me meandering and fidgety and on all sorts of avoidance detail, because this, well this is exposure.  Single light bulb kind, interrogation room reminiscent and hard to craft into something other than plain original flavored truth.  But here they are nonetheless, in no particular order.

A Few Facts About Me


1.  I believe in God and in Christ and call for an all-inclusive Church for which there is no separation from one another and plenty of room for necessary healing.  I believe that grace abounds enough in each person to see forgiveness for what it is, and that fear of what is unrecognizable to our own living is the only thing that divides us.  The command to “love one another,” is the truest, kindest and hardest call to action we have, but without it we are destined for chaos and all manners of ill.  We must combat fear that gives birth to ignorance and enmity with love.  (Galatians 3:28)

2.    I think Abbey Road is the best album of all time.  It is hard to imagine my life’s soundtrack
Buy Beatles
without one of those songs humming alongside of it.  I don’t care who you are and what you like, you need to at least listen to it.  It is in our cultural vernacular now.  And while we’re on the subject, I like listening to ‘80s music.  And I make no apologies for it.  Well except for “
Come on Eileen.”  I have no idea why that song was there or why everyone wore overalls in the video.  Howard Jones’ “Things Can Only Get Better” still makes me smile when I hear it on Sirius though as does Simple Minds “Don’t You Forget About Me,” if anyone tells you they don’t like it or The Breakfast Club or John Hughes, they’re just lying.  I mean really.  (Any of those tunes are a rarity for my hearing though because

I think the Curious George soundtrack has been 
jammed into my CD player since 2006.)

3.    I see grief as a sidecar.  My mother passed away from a rare cancer at the age of 57.  From diagnosis to death, she fought for 4 months before she was called home on June 9, 2004.  My life, my mirror reflection changed and moved.  Nothing grows you up like losing a parent.  My mother was the first great love of my life.   As an only child, I didn’t realize until she was no longer there that I had to fly without a net. 
"Happy Mothering Day to all of you far and near and dear.
And for those whose jagged edges are pierced sharp 
today with missing the heart that beat over or under yours, I hear you.
 You are so loved." 11 May 2014
Having navigated those grey days and since, I have come to realize that there is no “over” it.  And Kübler-Ross is utterly wrong.  What is grief?  It is a strange bedfellow and goggled passenger complete with white scarf and leather cap, racing alongside wherever I go.  Some days the bugger takes more room up than others, but it’s there nonetheless.  Learning to live with it is the true trick and that’s taken time.  It is what you see etched along with laugh lines around my eyes. 

4. I do not watch reality television.  I.cannot.stand.it.  I think it has completely
The BookFiend
discombobulated the world.  There are so many of these shows that I worry that the slippage between what is real and what is imagined has completely been lost.  I understand the impulse to be a voyeur.  But such illicit viewing is no longer a forbidden fruit when it is scripted and displayed in such a way that it mocks what we know to be true.  Take a look at 
Griffin & Sabine and be satisfied.  Then open a book.  And go on a bike ride.  And do something that has nothing to do with any kind of Kardashian.  Please. 



5. I am inspired by my people and great music. My friends, my family and the authors and mischief makers that
Jack Kerouac
offer me new truths at every step.  They set 
words to music and allow me to dance along with them.  I couldn’t write without reading them, sitting with them or listening to them.  There is no genre of rhythm that is safe from me, and I can find something in every kind of sound that moves me to write something that I didn't know was there.  And I am so lucky that God keeps me crashing into these points of reference at full speed…and often, loudly.

6.   I do not run anywhere so don’t ask me to, please.  I
 do not like to exercise, but I like how I feel afterwards.  I was about as small as a blade of grass for a looooong 
time.  Then I hit 30.  Then my metabolism was like molasses.  Thick and unmoving and just sitting there.  But  I do it because otherwise my thighs and I don’t get along It’s so much better when you get along with yourself right?  And a strong body equals a strong mind.  I’m really lucky because I have made some amazing friends who are all doing the same thing and we laugh with each other, and it makes everything better.  Even exercise.  I mean pretty much. 

7.    I am an introvert.  I used to be an extrovert and made friends easily, but on June 10th 2004, I found myself settling into someone who just couldn’t release well.  It was as though the grief took root and made me do an interior CT scan of what I could give.  And for a long while, it was only to my family.  As it settled into a dull ache, I was able to venture out more, but it isn’t my strong suit at present.  But it’s worth the time to bump into me a bit, because I’m about as loyal as Lassie and extremely reliable too.  It takes awhile to crack a nut I guess, and I’m as nutty as they come.  It’ll be worth it though, promise. 

  8. My husband, John, is the best man I know.  He is loyal and unwaveringly optimistic.  That is irritating, but regardless, he is kind and compassionate, an involved and loving Dad, athletic (thank you Lord, because had it been my genes solely, my children would have only been at home in the science club instead of thebaseball field; by the way, I’m the one in the stands with a book, it’s okay.  Come talk to me.  I look up luckily just when one of the boys stops to wave instead of fielding the ball properly.  So I’m cognizant, just really out of my element) and, on occasion, funny.  He’s helped me through more than I can care to count.  And supportive.  If I up and decided to open a parasailing business on the Connecticut River in January, he’d look up from one of the 3000 papers he reads with an eidetic memory (except for any lists I have), and say, “Hey that’s great, let’s do it.”  Without missing a single beat.  We’ve been together for ages.  And in a world where most is easily disposable, I’m mighty proud that we keep chugging along despite the roughest of terrains.  He’s a pretty big Fact of mine. 

9. I read.  A lot.  When my father took me to get 
my library card for the first time, it felt like I just stepped into magic.  Worlds opened and so did my imagination.  I read everywhere and anywhere, stayed up late, and brought my books to the table.  It got to be a problem, so much so my Dad banned me from eating and reading.  So that’s still the peach for me—to get to enjoy a book while eating something lovely with a perfect cup of Hediard tea.  I can’t decide on a favorite author, though I love many.  I have a beloved series of Anne books by L.M. Montgomery; I still re-read them, I think they are brilliant, funny, poignant and brave.  My favorite book is Montgomery’s The Blue Castle, and my husband got me a first edition for my birthday one year.  (I still have a much-loved paperback for emergencies though.)  My graduate degree is in literature but if I got to go back again, I'd pursue one in theology, with a specific emphasis on the double divine and the "Gospel" of Mary. 

10. I think the United States is an amazing country, filled with opportunity and an essential instinct to survive that is hallmark to its history.  I understand why my parents came here because it is a place where you can make your own future despite what you were anywhere else. 

The Smithsonian Museum of American History is my favorite
Reinvention is a hallmark of this place and it is a grand thing, especially when you think of how much censorship is prevalent everywhere else in the world.  Information is not accessible, and neither is opportunity.  There are places where your surname or your gender bans you from education, and the brightest may still find themselves without hope.  Where small amounts of medication are unknown and disease is rampant.  We have problems aplenty, but the upside is we have the power and the ability for change.  It’s written into the very laws here.  That’s awe-inspiring, isn’t it? 

   11. My family matters.    For them I go to any end and will listen to any critique 
and they hold all the keys to whatever is 
locked away.  To my incessant  surprise, I find myself more in love with them every day.  As challenging as motherhood is,    and no matter how many times I wonder      “what if,” I can see how they are     changing before my eyes, and it is humbling.  I'm grateful that I still have time to imprint some lessons.  My ship is secure if they are all safely on board and not fighting over the last piece of pizza or cake.  Or some combination thereof. 


My questions from Serena Gideon Rice of 

Faith, Family and Focaccia  


1. What does the word “faith” mean to you?  I think the only answer I have to that is in Hebrews 11:1.  It isn’t something to see but feel, not to touch but know.  Faith is as intangible and as enduring as love.  I would not be overstating the case to say that I would be lesser and lonelier without it.

2. Were you raised in a particular faith, and what meaning does that faith (or non-faith) upbringing have for you now?  I was raised in the Mar Thoma Church of India which is sister church to the Anglican Church and the Episcopal Church in the U.S.  When I married, I converted to Catholicism.  I was raised in a household where prayer was taken seriously and as a family.  This was a difficult alignment when I married as that was not my husband’s experience.  I did not reconcile the two until I went through the First Communion preparations with my oldest son.  In teaching Joe what was to come in the sacrament helped me understand it better than I could have in any other way.  I am proud of Pope Francis’ outreach to those who have felt marginalized in the past by the church, the hard line he has taken on the abuse that has all but broken it, and the call to healing.  It is a daunting task, but the conversation has begun.  It’s a different faith formation than when my husband went through it as a "cradle Catholic."  When Joe (and all of our children) reaches Confirmation, it will be his decision to continue as a Catholic or to seek a different church home, and we will support him in whatever decision he makes.  I tell my children that it doesn’t matter when you talk to God, as long as you talk to him because he is waiting with eager anticipation to hear from you. 

3. Assuming there is a God, would you want a personal encounter with God tomorrow, and what would you expect?  I believe there is a God, and I believe in the Trinity.  I feel like I do have personal encounters with God all the time.  It took me a long time to listen, and once I did, I could hear.  I know he wants the best for me, and that brings me great peace.  One day, I look forward to holding my mother again, and meeting the brother I never got to know, and the children we’ve lost.

4. What do you think is the best role that faith can play in interacting with culture?  The biggest mistake we make is imposing beliefs rather than listening to others.  My father’s best friend in medical college was a Muslim, and he was the gentlest man I ever knew.  Denominations, the church, these are man-made constructs that offer division and disagreement; compassion, loyalty, humanity, grace—these are gifts from God that belong to everyone.  Everyone is in.  Everyone has a place.  We need to begin there, talking from a place of interest rather than fear.

5.  What does the word “family” mean to you?  Safety and surety.  But it is not that for many.  I feel like with family I am allowed missteps, I am allowed to falter.  Since my mother passed away and my father’s dementia, my location of family has become necessarily smaller.  I am fortunate that I have cousins and my aunt and uncle that I can go to, but it is not exactly the same.  I feel like I cannot impose on them, it has drawn me into my husband and my children.  It has forced me to whip stitch around them and to lean in.

6. What is your first memory with your family?  My earliest memory is of my mother, I remember walking down the hallway of our apartment in Arlington and she was at the stove.  She offered me a wide smile and said, “Good morning kutta.”  I didn’t realize then how much of her world was pulled around me. 

7.  Growing up, did your most important influences come from inside or outside your immediate family?  As an only child, I was far too influenced by my friends than my family.  I wanted the close relationships I felt were missing from my life and that I attributed to siblings (even though I know now that having a sibling does not necessarily mean having a close relationship) so I allowed that influence to take over and, in a lot of ways, that was to my detriment.  My father was a functioning alcoholic, growing up in that home was not easy.  There was a lot of unevenness and emotional pain; I think it pressed me to seek sympathy or attention in ways that were dishonest.  I was bitter for a long time, but I can see now that it was a matter of survival, for my mother and me.  She did the best she could with a person who was broken and who she loved.  I’m trying very hard to understand that and learn from it.  I’ve been fortunate that the people I pushed away as I was trying to come to terms with it all have welcomed me back with such constancy, particularly close high school, college friends and sorority sisters.  I’m so grateful to have them back. 

8.  What role does “family” play in your life now, and why?  As I mentioned before, my family has become smaller.  I have an aunt who I have always been very close to; she’s always been like another mother to me.  We shared a love of books and were very close even before my mother was sick.  I’ve leaned a lot on her and my uncle for parental support that I haven’t had in many years.  Now my family really consists of them, my cousins and my own family.  Family matters the most, without that foundation, I don’t think my children will have the courage to try.

9. What does the word “culture” mean to you? I’m an Indian-American.  I was born in KeralaI am a minority whose parents immigrated from India at a time when there were not as many Indian-Americans represented here.  I went to a predominantly white school.  Further, as an Indian Christian, I knew nothing about Hindu religious customs or holidays.  I was far and away removed from it and could not answer the questions posed to me about it.  And I couldn’t really claim a space in those groups for Indian kids, because I didn’t speak Hindi or celebrate those holidays.  It was dual exclusion.  And it wasn’t easy.  Not American enough for one side and not Indian enough for another.  For me culture is indicative of what we experience both intellectually and organically with what is around us.  So where we are affects it.  We live in a pretty homogeneous upper middle-class area; there is some diversity.  But we live diversity; we affirm cultural difference in our day-to-day lives because of my upbringing and race.

10. How do you feel about the culture you were raised in?  I was raised in Northern Virginia.  My parents decided to settle there because of the school system, it is one of the best in the nation.  I loved where I grew up.  We were a stone’s throw from D.C., and I grew up thinking museums were free and everyone had tried Ethiopian food and knew what was happening in the world.  I had no idea how rich that experience would be.  At the same time though, I experienced a significant level of prejudice in both covert and overt ways.  From name calling and yelling at stores and in the street about our “dirty” race to school drama made crueler because of my racial difference.  I remember my high school biology teacher, Mr. Adams, telling me that he didn’t want to see me astride the elephant in the Natural History Museum when we went on a field trip.  I can’t imagine that happening today, but then it was considered fine.  It was tough, now it is cool to be from another culture or to be exposed to it, but it wasn't as I was growing up.  It'd be interesting to see what those classmates  had to say now about our collective memories of those years.

11.  If you had to live in another culture for the next three years, which culture would you choose and why?  My first thought when I read this was the U.K., either Ireland or England.  Probably Ireland.  My husband’s family hails from there—Counties Clare and Cahersiveen.  It is different enough from our lives here that it would offer the children a chance to see the world but it is familiar enough in that my friends who have been say that there is commensurate experience in having been colonized country that there is an understanding there of being marginalized that is hard to translate elsewhere.

Please check out Faith, Family and Focaccia while you're looking at blogs I mention below: 

Now for my nominees--I don't know about the followers, they deserve all the audience they do have though, so take a peek and stay awhile at:

Holli Long: Joy is the Grace  

A Modern-Day Margery Raves On

         Do a little Good

Should you choose to accept the nomination, please remember the following rules:

(The rabble-rouser that I am, I altered the number of the blogs and number of questions.  The whole purpose of the nomination and the award--and you have it, I gather, once you've been nominated and take on answering the questions--is to connect writers to other writers in this worldwide blogging community and give them increased exposure.  Serena explains it so much better in her post, so check that out for questions.) 


  • The nominated blogger must provide a link back to this blog.
  • You need to provide 11 facts about yourself.
  • You need to answer 11 questions asked of you. (I only asked 7, I think it's a good number.)
  • Choose more people and ask them questions of your choosing.   

1.   Why did you start writing your blog?
2.    What makes you the happiest?  Why?
3.    What would I be the most surprised to know about you?
4.   What do you sing when you are alone?
5.    Whose writing do you look up to and gather encouragement from?  Why?
6.    Who are you the most like in your family?
7.    What is the most important thing you want your readers to know about you?

So it's a wrap!  Thank you all for reading.  If you want to subscribe, you can put your email in the box up to the right ä.  

If you’d really like to but you don’t like having your inbox cluttered, consider subscribing via a reader like bloglovin'.  You can click on this button Follow on Bloglovin also to the right ä.

bloglovin’ is a reader service, so you get ONE email in your inbox that covers all the blogs you want to follow.  It’s a great solution to inbox clutter.  You can just type in my blog address: www.smhallisey.com and add that to the blogs you wish to read.  Simple!  

However you decide to spend some time and have tea with me--thank you.  I am so grateful for you.  Cheers!











Tuesday, May 6, 2014

"Let Olive be Olive": or Happy Mothering Day


"Let Olive be Olive": or Happy Mothering Day    

     

   for my mom, who believed...

in all manners of green and storytelling.


He is four.  Just four and you can see by the picture, he still has the dimpled hands of infancy.  He is funny and smart.  Equal parts inquisitive and irritating.  He’s my youngest child and next year he goes to full day kindergarten.  Right now, though, he is in preschool for a few days and my partner in crime, the others.  Lately, he’s told me things that make my heart beat really fast like “no, I don’t want to go to the splash pad, I just thought it could be a me and you kinda day.”  I don’t know how long this will last, but I will take it.

So it was a “me and you kinda day” and we went to the mall where I had a return to make and after telling him that “no” you cannot have that heat activated watch for $34.95!” (and you know I articulated the exclamation point) four times over, he brushed off his disappointment and skip hopped, be bopped his way over to the nail polish display where I was thinking about picking up a new shade in anticipation of a girl’s night out with some friends this weekend. 

He’s always been curious about it, I think anything paint related is pretty much a go at this point.  He’s liked Peppa Pig and Power Rangers with equal passion.  He dislikes bugs but wanted to have lunch with his pet worm.  He also likes to cook with me, bites with a Jaws like vengeance, and sleeps with two awful blue blankets like Linus Van Pelt.  (The latter security is residing with the Transformers keeping watch over his leap pad in the car right now.)  I put a variety of different glittery messes all over my fingers and ask him to pick one he likes.  He picks the one I like the least.  And then he circles the green glittery chic-swamp creation I cringe at.  “Can I have this one?”  “Nope.”  “Why not?”  “Because I will never, ever wear it,” is the reply and off we go to make a return.  But not before he asks to see it on his nail, so I do something I have never done since only the y chromosome exists in tandem with me in my house, and paint a small small nail.  “Can you take it off?” 

Sighing, I reach for the remover and do just that, knowing that it was coming and we do what we were supposed to do and then play and then lunch and then…Jake reminds me about the polish.  It’s set now, all the sampling and I like one orangey glittery one.  So I think I might get it.  And as I’m being helped, he asks again about the jazzy crocodile shade.  “Your son likes green?”  says the saleslady. I nod and feel exasperated but put my purse, his backpack, and my purchase on the floor and paint a very sad boy’s nail with the shimmery slime like shade that I have refused to purchase.  He still seems sorrowful, and when I ask if he wants a balloon, even that doesn’t lift his spirits.

“Can you take it off?”  I sigh and reach for the remover and say, “thank goodness I didn’t get you Butter London’s version.” 

He was mopey dopey though in the car.  He wanted some and because I had a last stop, I bought some at Target in the purest, truest green I could find.  And said I’d put it on him when we got home.  And so after a lot of back and forth, at the homework table, he said that yes he wanted it.  His brothers watched me do one hand, Joe saying, “cool!  It’s your favorite color!” (and in an aside—my children don’t know inflection—“will Daddy be mad?”  I shoot him a look, and he goes back to work.  For the record though, I did text Daddy a snap of it, and he thought it grand because he’s awesome like that.)  Then, the littlest walked off and returned with a napkin wiping his hand.

“Can you take it off?” 
“Jakey why?”
Lips pursed and eyes swimming with tears.
“Is it…is it because you think Daddy will be mad at me?”
yes.”
“But he’s not mad!  He liked it a lot!”
“Just please take it off!”
“Why?”
“Because. I don’t know.  It’s something girls have.”

J.Crew  Catalog  Spring 2011 
I wonder that there is some idea of nail polish that entered the boy’s head at this early age saying it was taboo.  I don’t understand why.  Why at the age of four does his imagination have to be gendered?  And if you don’t think it’s a big deal, consider the J.Crew catalog controversy when Director of Style, Jenna Lyons, was seen painting her son’s toes pink in the catalog and the ferocious debate that followed on what agenda she was pushing or...if she was just painting her son’s nails.

One of my favorite films is Little Miss Sunshine and the family it portrays.  The picture, if you haven’t
© Fox Searchlight
seen it, follows a less than functional family on the way to participate in a child’s beauty pageant.  The child in question, Olive, is a pretty normal little girl.  She wears glasses, and has the rotundness of regular jelly belly childhood.  Her hair is mousy brown and her teeth are a gangly lot of misshapen mess.  As far afield of what we think of when thoughts turn to toddlers and tiaras.  

© Fox Searchlight
The most poignant moment in a movie loaded with them for me, is when Olive’s surly half-brother, an eighteen year old know-it-all, who, surprisingly, cannot wait to leave the nest, looks around at all the amazingly coiffed and tanned and pearly whited girls around him and finds his mother, begging her not to let Olive perform.  He worries they will laugh at Olive.  Says she’s not a beauty queen and to please not let her do this.  “You’re the mom!” he says accusingly, “you’re supposed to protect her.”  The whole world seems to reside in those small sentences:

You are the mother.  
You are supposed to protect her.

I can only share Sheryl’s confusion and anger.  Perfectly portrayed by Toni Collette, when she replies, wringing her hands through the air instead of around the head of her son, “Olive is who she is.  She’s worked so hard, she’s poured her heart into this, we can’t just take it away from her.  We can’t! We’re gonna let Olive be Olive.” 
© Fox Searchlight
 And they do.  And they do more than that.  When the audience cannot speak for shock, one by one, her family stands with her.  They dance with her. 
© Fox Searchlight
They let her be who she is and they celebrate her for it.  It brings me to tears every time.  Because for a lot of the cases I read about, the wrongness and the sadness, the wretched loneliness that leads to all kinds of unspeakable, a lot of it could have been eliminated from the start if someone had stood up to the face of rejection and said let it be.   


So, I sit this unruly on my lap and say, “listen here [FULL NAME used].  It doesn’t matter one whit to me or to your brothers or anyone else if you want to wear this. 
You can be whoever you want.”  He places that baby hand right on my heart and whispers, “please take it off mommy.”  So I begin to, and I ask Sam and Joe to leave and talk to him whisper close because I don’t know how many times he’ll be able to do this, speak his fear and I don’t want the window to close too tight on his imagination.

“I will.  But Jake, you’ve got to know, that it doesn’t matter to me or Daddy.  All that matters is that you’re just you.  Just how God made you.  That you be you.  And if that means wearing green on your fingers that’s okay.  You need to be you, and we’re so happy that you’re you.”

He looks up at me with such sadness I just want to break in half, “I think I just need it off.”  I do it.  But because it’s green and my remover is old, the lingering imprint of his curiosity lasts on those digits.  Joe comes back in with his book and sees my resignation.  He’s an old soul, every thing that ever was shores up in his eyes.  “Hey mommy!”  I look up.  “Can I get my pinky painted green?” All glinty and mischievous.  “Yeah!” says Sam, but, truthfully with a lot less enthusiasm, Joe’s willing him on, “me too.” 

Jake looks at them and me, painting nails of my boys and Joe decides we need a Hallisey United picture.  So I take one.

We all decided to go about our day tomorrow with a nail painted green.  Even if the resolve doesn’t last.  And even if Sam wants it off in an hour and Joe tonight, I’m glad.  The boys know, really seem to get, that allowing someone the room to figure out what they want and who they are is an okay thing.  And I feel like I’ve won something really, really big. 

Because it wasn’t long ago that an American was barred from voting because he wasn’t beyond the pale.

Or that a woman was denied admission to a graduate program because the director wanted to know how she would manage a family life.

Or that boy who came from the wrong side of town was told he couldn’t apply to that particular school.

Or that couple was told they couldn’t marry because their skin color didn’t match.

Or that man who only wanted to save others but who was condemned instead, had to carry a cross alone.

And a lot of the difference were the people in the crowd who stood up when it wasn’t easy and said, yes, I will stand with you.  And today, in the green, I saw that my children have begun to choose, in the words of Robert Frost, the road "less traveled by” and it will indeed make all the difference not only for them, but an entire world.  One moment, one choice, one voice at a time. 

“Mommy, we can return this.” 
“How come?”
“I’m just all done now.”
“Just like that?” 
“Yep.  I need to do a light saber battle.”



But you know, I’m keeping it, this little bottle of “garden party,” because it showed me a glimpse that my kids are growing up to be individuals, and encouraging judges of character.  I hope they never have to come across what I have seen in the ignorance and hatred that goes on and on despite best efforts to the contrary, despite our collective longing for peace.  But knowing that there is a spark to stand up, not look away, when difference arises in these still unbound minds and nimble learning hands, right now, this moment, for today, that’s good enough for me. 

And I know, you reading this, it's probably pretty good for you too.  Because this is what's at stake, and I don't think I'm overstating the case.  It may not be nail polish today, it may be something as simply complex as the triumph over finally helping your son pronounce a letter or physically grueling like supporting your daughter as she tries out for a sport.  Or…it may just be the hollow empty feeling you have when you realize that you cannot protect these small people from the world that will hurt them.  But in seeing them, acknowledging them, equips them for the rebound necessary to meet the challenge of life's pain head on. 

“Letting Olive be Olive” brings out the best in our children, and, in us too.  It shows that we believe in their potential to dream big, and, most of the time, that is exactly the attachment they need to fly solo.  So for you dream makers and sharers of magic, you who give earnest enthusiasm for all of the small everyday discoveries that are made and the tear sympathizers whose own world is crushed when the door closes on the child you love.   For you who recognize that one size does not fit all, that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made, that a contribution is there in a living, breathing beat that you are nurturing to full rhythm.   

laurent laveder
For you who bridge the distance between the real  and the imagined by offering a ladder to the moon. 









For you who get up early in the morning to feed and hear then come home late to look over, listen and encourage before even taking a broken minute to tend to self.  For you who ask, inquire, demand, and resolve to give an opportunity that you think will otherwise be missed.  For whoever you are, man or
mom
believer of bridges and moons and stories and me  
194- to 2004
woman, family, friend, neighbor, teacher, old or young, thank you for the mothering you are doing.  For you who let stand, let be and let live.  You are bringing the best to an uncertain future.  Well done.  Well done.  Happy Mothering Day to you.