Peace, Love, and French Fries

Catholic, children, faith, family, growth, humility, learning, love, motherhood, teaching, teenagers, truth

Peace Be Unto You – a standard getting in the Arab world predominated with members of the Muslim faith and a greeting I used, in its Arabic form, to break cultural and language barriers with a parent this week.

So grateful for that greeting, the father gestured that I sit down before he did, with a genuine smile and a knowing approval that we shared a willingness to dialogue no matter the barriers . We also shared a deep and abiding love for our son.

Happy at his son’s progress report, he offered to buy his son french fries. Not not just any french fries,  but the ones from Ted’s. He gestured about the cost of those, rubbing his fingers together, the international sign of expense, but a with a gleam in his eye and willingness to treat his son.

I shared with him that in my faith, Lent was coming and that we can’t eat meat on Friday and I, too, enjoy Ted’s for fish and fries. A translator helped with the logistics of the conversation, but I knew with the smiles and gestures that he understood.

My love for my son has been put to the test this week by those who wish to do harm unto him. My bond with him, forged in the womb, is a connection primal yet spiritual; with the yearning to protect him from the evils of this cruel world.

Peace be with you and with your spirit, is a standard response in my faith with a handshake or a kiss of peace.

Peace through fear, rage and betrayal is what I knew to give to stabilize his soul and keep his faith along with french fries and a milk shake.

As my Lenten journey soon begins,  I harken back to my early years in the Church, in the  Latin Rite. I close my eyes and knowingly can feel, see and hear the smells, the mysterious language, memorized but understood;  my visceral images of faith, unity and security.

Pax Dómini sit semper vobí- Et cum spíritu tuo. As-Salaam-Alaikum.  Mualaikumsalam.

Two  different languages and experiences; common and familiar.

Love, peace and french fries…

Simple love for our sons.

 

 

 

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Burning Desires

faith, grief, growth, humility, learning, lettinggo, love, motherhood, truth

I’m burned out. I’m exhausted. I’m tired. I’m sad. I’m overwhelmed.

Yet words written by my a friend to me today rocked my inner core:

“You are a ridiculously strong capable smart compassionate incredible caring mother and woman.”

Facing death, destruction and denial, I have been in a downward spiral of survivor’s guilt and soul crushing grief over the past month.  Grief and sadness that I have covered up with lipstick, scarves and a smile.

How could she still see me as strong when I felt so weak? How did she see me as caring mother and woman when I have been short-tempered and angry? How does she see – see me?

So we talked further, and I had an idea. I am writing all the negative hurtful things that have been weighing me down out on paper and burning them at midnight.

Cleansing my inner self and creating a new year’s path of positive thoughts and actions these negative weights will float away as ashes.

I AM a ridiculously strong capable smart compassionate incredible caring mother and woman and 2018 will start off with my burning desire to be who I know I am.

 

 

Summer Enrichment

children, faith, graduation, growth, teenagers, truth, waiting

Here in upstate NY the days are either extremely hot and muggy or cool and rainy. I sit here with a pile of undone chores and an exhaustion level ( Over 9000) in my bones after finishing a grueling 4 week, 10 hour a day summer enrichment program where I had the opportunity to teach and create memories with rising 5th graders.

The goals – stop the summer slide, feed bodies, and create fun opportunities in a safe environment.

Accomplishments – traveled the world, wrote poetry, created carnival games, put on a show, made new friends – oh yeah we read 9 books, did math problems, experimented with scientific hypotheses, learned foreign languages, invented, painted, sculpted, created – and we laughed. We laughed a lot.

We Sang. We danced. Every day!

Then there was the day we ran out of hot dogs for dinner. Yup. I was, to use a nice phrase – agitated.

But we had beans. Lots of beans. So growing up in an oftentimes impoverished household with depression era parents, I thought well there are buns and beans, let’s have bean sandwiches. We have bananas. We have cookies.

Thinly veiling my disappointment of not having what was on the menu, I danced into the room singing “We have beans on buns with bananas. Beans on buns with bananas.” Picture a hot, sweaty, miffed 6′ 2″ woman singing a silly song at the top of her lungs. I still don’t know how I mustered (haha) the wherewithal to think of that.

My sweet little girl M, so shy and loving comes up and says, ” What a wonderful feast will we have together – it’s like we are a family.”

Yup summer enrichment.

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Gifts

children, faith, family, love, momoffive, motherhood, truth

If you ever sang in a choir in NYS (and Western Massachusetts) you’ll immediately have the song in your head. Simple Gifts

Yesterday, my life was filled with many simple gifts.

One in particular touched my heart and those in my family.

My son’s shoes “disappeared” yesterday morning. A frantic search was undertaken. I, in desperation, reached out to a friend, with a call. “Is there any way he could have left them at your house?!” with a voice cracking from my tears of being overwhelmed.

My son had told me he had looked in my car, looked in his room, looked everywhere, but could not find them. “I’m so sorry Mommy for losing my sneakers.” tears starting to drip out. Hugging him then, I said, “It’s OK, now let’s try and find yours.”

So rooting though the garage and house, (Now  he is already late for school and had missed the bus!) I had found an old pair of his brother’s, not too badly worn, so that he could get to school, but then floodgates of his tears opened.

Complaints of taunting and bullying, frustration and tears. Lots of tears. Lots of tears.

Gone were the worries about the sneakers and onto what was really the problem, the problem that only the lost shoes could bring to light.

Meetings, solutions and more tears  the major issue solved by 10:30 am. Solutions, advocacy, his gaining a sense of empowerment.

Me, now exhausted and trying to save strength for a long trip later on to a wake out of town, I sat down to rest.

I thought and prayed, “Dear God,  it has to be simpler than this? Why can’t we just enjoy one another, love one another, be kind to one another? Why does everything have to be a fight? Why is having new shoes so important? What is so wrong with the worn ones?”

I wanted a more simplified life. I wanted less stress. Less yelling. Less craziness.

Later on, driving with my friend, Miss Daisy, to the wake out of town,  we laughed and laughed on our long car ride and then we passed an Amish horse and buggy filled with women! They looked at us and we looked at them. Miss Daisy said, “You know they’re not all that much different than us… but they are.”

Didn’t think much of it until I got home, weary after a 7 hour round trip.

A box, with a short note:

“There is a gift receipt in the box if you need a different size or want to switch to high tops. Thank you for being a great friend.”

A simple gift.

Oh yeah, before I left, I had found his sneakers in the back of my car.

Simple gifts