Two women I admire suffer tonight.
Humble’s kids went missing one week ago. They’re probably with their non-custodial parent, but I can only imagine that is a “probably” full of what-ifs, worry and the sadness of a hundred kisses missed.
As I think about these remarkable women, I remember one terrible day in college when the hurts of the past came hurtling into the present thanks to an unwelcome visitor at my sister’s workplace. As my future brother in law drove me to a party, I started sobbing at the memories of everything that had been done and everything I couldn’t do.
Nick pulled over the car and held me while I shook with sobs. He spoke soothing, loving words about my sister and me, our amazing love and resilience. As he spoke, I had the sensation he was holding me not only in the present but also in the past. His arms reached through space and time to comfort my younger self in her sorrow. And so it came to be that, when I remembered those horrible things, I continued to feel his arms around me, as if he’d been there whispering all along, you’ll get through this; I’m here with you. Those arms reaching through time and space tempered the bitter loneliness of many past sorrows.
Right now, I would give much to be able to share a little of the distress. I can’t. Grievously, I can’t. But I hopepraywish that, though I cannot extend these arms the way my now brother in law once extended his, the sense of many arms outreached in love will serve–even in fleeting moments–as a tiny flickering reminder of what might yet be.
Please hold out your arms and prayers for Tori.
Please look for Humble’s kids, and share her “missing” poster if you can.
ETA: Humble’s kids are back. So glad.
I shaved my head for St. Baldrick’s two and a half years ago.
“Don’t do that!” urged some folks around me. “Think about how you’ll look!”
“Eh, it’s just hair,” I’d reply. “It’ll grow back.” My husband agreed, and sent me off to Chicago with warm wishes.
One woman, knowing I’d recently converted to Judaism, explained why what I was doing felt “icky.” The highest level of giving, after all, is when neither the donor nor the recipient know each other. She felt the spectacle outshone the purpose, an assertion I didn’t bother responding to in substance. I shaved my head for the same reason I ran a half-marathon to raise money: People are so inundated with requests for money these days, they want to be inspired by someone’s conviction–not just told–to give.
Another handful of people told me I dishonored cancer patients by shaving my hair; I wouldn’t really understand what cancer patients endure, and would distract other people from understanding the terrible, total experience of cancer. I wasn’t striving to understand the totality of the experience, though. Having lost my mother to cancer, I wanted to do whatever small thing I could to ensure fewer people might say needless farewells … especially to their children.
Mostly, people were supportive. Mindful of both critics and supporters, I made the choice that made the most sense to me.
I wore a wig for about a week. It bugged the heck out of me, and beside, I liked how I looked bald. Even strangers’ open stares didn’t change that.
I liked how my hair looked as it grew. And, wouldn’t you know? Read more…
What do I want from my sons’ teachers?
Perfection? No. I am not perfect, so why should I expect that from anyone else?
Unending patience? No. If that were what I sought, I’d send them to school with robots instead of human beings.
Children who immediately master everything to which they’re exposed? No. It takes me weeks and months to master my own new lessons, no matter how beautifully they’re taught. Others can only present; it’s up to the student to learn.
Book knowledge my sons will acquire as they’re ready, with guidance in and outside of school. Overall, what I want for them is knowledge and wisdom that can’t be found in books but can be found in the adults around them–me, their dad, their grandparents, their aunties and uncles, my friends, and, of course, their teachers.
I can’t be with my sons all day every day. It is their teachers who will guide my sons through most their waking hours each week and so, walking away from my sons each morning, I find myself thinking again and again what I want from their guides. What I come to again and again is that I want my son’s teachers to: Read more…
I am not afraid of looking ridiculous.
My first few times on a skateboard surely fit the bill. Moving 0.2 miles per hour along the walkway behind my old apartment, I was sure I was perpetually just about to fall and crack my skull. This meant I spent much, much more time off the skateboard than on it: Ack! A leaf! I better hop off and walk past it just in case!
Slowly I grew a little more confident. I moved faster and ended up stumbling less; the speed actually helped me cruise over small obstacles my wheels would otherwise trip over. I was eventually able to skate after my running son while holding his tricycle in one hand, much to the mirth of people I rolled by. “You’re one fun mom!”
Yesterday I stepped on the skateboard for the first time in many, many moons. I did better than I expected, but not nearly as well as when I last rode consistently.
But you know what? It was a blast.
This fits the bill for something else I’ve start doing recently.
Inspired by my newly beloved So You Think You Can Dance, I’m teaching myself hip-hop. In my kitchen.
I’ve tried dancing a couple of times before, but stopped quickly each time because I was terrible. Because, you know, beginners should be great.
My mom and youngest sister often went ballroom dancing together. I joined them once, but was so awed by their mad moves that I quickly backed out. I couldn’t dance like that! Not ever! Clearly it was rational to compare the skill of my first dances with their skill after taking numerous classes. Yep.
Rational or not, I’ve continued to feel like dancing probably wasn’t something I could do. Watching So You Think You Can Dance recently has filled me with a longing to move along, but a simultaneous sense of impossibility of ever doing so well. Read more…