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becoming free

Last night, my husband sat down next to me on our front porch, where I sat reading and watching our three-year-old play with dirt.

“You know how you wish you could unwatch some of the videos that you watched?” he asked.

“I’m sorry,” I replied. The fact he was saying this virtually affirmed he’d watched one of his own.

He had.

Read more…

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Hearing Bill

A couple of nights ago, my husband linked me something he said had made him cry. I listened to the tear-prompting audio and understood why he’d cried.

“Pst. Love you!” I texted the speaker captured in the audio.

“I’m guessing you listened?” he replied.

“Yes indeed.”

The audio reminded me of an early conversation I’d had with my now-husband. When he asked me to describe a person, I debated mentioning the color of the person’s skin. If I mentioned it, would the earth open up and swallow Anthony’s car whole? Would he kick me out of his car? I decided these outcomes weren’t too likely, and so awkwardly included a reference to skin color.

“Thank you!!!” he said, emphatically, before expressing how weird it is that people so often omit a piece of information that’s useful helping someone else distinguish between two people.

(Without knowing it then, I’d begun building my racial stamina then and there.)

In the audio here, I heard a friend describe a similar situation. And I felt a surge of gratitude for that friend, Bill, who sees some of the hardships my sons will face and is on fire with the knowledge.

The world is better with Bill in it, y’all.

I hope you’ll hear his words (and love), instead of taking my word for it.

Thanks. ❤️

la próxima vez

In July, I wrote that I was excited to study German again. I enjoyed eavesdropping on a couple of coworkers shooting the breeze, and occasionally joining in with my incredibly rusty college German.

In August, I reconsidered. I definitely wanted to study a language, but was German really the one to study first?

I listened to conversations around me and realized how many of them are in Spanish. I realized I’d be able to interact with many more people day-to-day with even a basic grasp of Spanish. Also, I remembered promising my “Peruvian sister” I’d learn Spanish, a promise about a decade stale.

I started studying Spanish. I’ve already used it to hold a few conversations with some folks who know less English than I know Spanish.

Last week, I was introduced to a phrase that sounded so musical, I wanted to say it over and over and over again: la próxima vez. Next time.

I don’t have many ways to use this phrase yet, but that’s OK. The one I can think of is enough for now.

Hasta la próxima vez,

I will spend my moments awaiting

the next time Silver Star, Darth, and I

are face to face

rose from a wreck

A couple of decades ago, an Oregon girl’s car slid in the rain and flipped on a country road. Virtually everything else was wrecked, but she survived along with some silverware and one minor but ever-present reminder of the event.

I didn’t know that girl at the time. I didn’t know about the event for years after it happened. When I did come to know of it, the knowledge itself flowed from a fairly random convergence of events.

This morning, with my three-year-old snoring next to me, I set the book I was reading on my stomach and thought about the tenuousness of past events that led to this life.

My entire life would be different had that Oregon girl not arisen, basically fine, from a wreck. Read more…

exploring “efficacy”

In a recent trip to Long Beach’s Gatsby Books, I picked up a couple dozen political books. Many were written by authors I’d never before encountered, which didn’t deter me from picking up their works.

I’ve read a few of the books I picked up that day, and I’m glad to have found each of them. That being said, I feel a special gratitude for the Gatsby-acquired book I’m currently reading: doctor Paul Farmer’s Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor.

I’d never heard of Farmer (“Presley Professor of Medical Anthropology at Harvard Medical School”) before I happen to pick up this book on the strength of its title. I’m grateful the title caught me; Amartya Sen’s introduction coupled with the first few pages of Farmer’s words had me totally, absolutely hooked.

Having grown up devastatingly poor, I understood the impact of powerlessness–of poverty–on life outcomes. As I wrote in “Bernie, Because I Was Poor,”  Read more…

feeling life

It’s been a while since I visited my mom’s grave, so I wanted to visit it while in town last weekend.

As my hours left in town shrank into minutes on Saturday, I found I didn’t really want to visit Mom’s grave. I’d already felt my mom in a dozen sweet moments of life outside the cemetery in my family’s three days in town. Trying to find her in the cemetery, which she only ever visited in death, felt like holding on to the wrong thing.

My husband, sons, and I left town without visiting her grave.

I feared I’d get back to SoCal and kick myself, but no: I’d felt her life wherever I went in town, and that sweetness didn’t leave me just because I left town.

Categories: Death, Family, Love Tags: , , ,

cousins laughing

When I left my hometown, I was virtually certain I’d never return for more than a few days at a time.

When I left my hometown, I wasn’t a parent.

Now, I have two little ones.

Now, I watch them

play with their cousins

(some are cousins

by love and blood;

all are cousins by love

between once-famil-ies

now famil-y)

and hear their

peals of laughter

as they disappear

this way and that

and feel the joy

flowing out of them,

to be here with family,

and I wish

we did not

have to

leave.

This time, we’ll make the long drive back to Los Angeles.

But it may well be that there’ll be no drive back the next time we arrive, or the time after next.

That someday I’ll miss the SoCal sunshine … but that such missing will be a small trade to make to not-miss my siblings, or their kids, or the sounds of cousins laughing.

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