Friday May 10, 2013
My work week ends every Wednesday at 11 am and with May in the air I can't help but feel a little like it's the last day of school each time I leave the office! As a kid, there's nothing like that feeling. Freedom on our lips as we ran out of school diving head first into the endless days of summer. It's coming!
Our home is folded in between the patchy downtown neighborhoods of our city. Nestled close to the community garden surrounded by swirling hippie murals and teeming with ripening tomatoes, peppers and cilantro. Down wind from the sharp, salty aroma of Rancho Grande who's doors are a gateway to a foreign land where they don't sell Oreos and all the food is labeled in a language I barely understand. And in the shadow of the marbled beauty of the temple of my faith, etched with symbols and stories of our creation and purpose. The statue of the Christus reaching out with His pierced palms to passers-by.
My palm out the car window rolling on the breeze as I come closer to the Ebony Dancer. I see her most Wednesday mornings as I drive home from work. It's her ritual. She's crazy with the love of dancing. And it's always in the same place every Wednesday, a stop light corner in front of a small community college building. Her hair always pulled up into puffs; 2 puffs, 3 puffs 1 puff and spandex; black spandex, yellow spandex, florescent spandex. Dancing, stomping the ground, rolling her shoulders back and then forward, violent and beautiful at the same time, electric. A million shimmered diamonds of sweat glimmer on her skin: The Ebony dancer. If I'm lucky, the stop light is red and I can watch her greatness for a minute before the sea of cars push me on. I always wonder what is playing through her musical earmuffs.
Pulling through the traffic light I notice a beat up white work truck to my left. A blue sticker declaring SAFETY IS MY GOAL. A man who seems reasonable too big to be riding a small BMX bike has his palm hanging loosely to the bed of the truck. He's laughing and talking with the men in the cab speeding up with the traffic the bike wheels wobbling under the speed. I wonder if the man will make it safely and if safety is his goal.
Further down the street past the elementary school and the fig tree and the new art welding studio and past the grapevine I take a slow right hand turn into our neighborhood and past Bonnie's house. Bonnie the widowed wife of a doctor, who has lived in her home for over 60 years, raised her kids here and each Christmas she leads her bushels of children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren around the block singing carols. A few weeks ago she fell and dislocated her shoulder and now the entire neighborhood is looking after her.
Bringing the car to a stop in my driveway, I think of all the people in this neighborhood who have looked after me. I feel so much affection for these neighbors.
Last night was my 10 year old daughters first softball tournament. They were scheduled to play the toughest team in the 4-team league. She was the first hitter of the first inning and felt a pressure and nervous knot in her gut that she'd never felt before. She struck out. She skipped to the dug out and belted out cheers and songs for the next hitter. This season she caught a pop-fly, hit a home run and their team won the championship! As a mother, can you ask for anything more?
And today is the weekend my girlfriends and I look forward to all year long, the annual father and sons camp out. At 10:30 am Mr. Scabs and the Boy and their friends packed up in the truck with a loaded horse trailer and set out for the woods for an overnight camp full of manliness. With all the stuff they packed, I joked that I didn't want to see them for a week, well, at least 36 hours.
Waving as they drove away, I sat on the front patio reading a book all morning, then i came inside and thought of you. I think about all of you so often. You stories. Your fears. Your miracles. Your beauty. And so, I felt the urge that has long been over shadowed by exhaustion and too much business to write to you. I've opened all the back doors in the house inviting the beginnings of summers heat sneak its way into my kitchen along with a handful of annoying flies, but I've got one of those zapper fly swatters. Thanks Mr. Scabs.
Sitting at the kitchen table, writing to you I feel alone. Not the kind of alone that eats you up and makes you feel like nothing, but the kind of alone that fills you and leaves you full of gratitude and love. I stripped down to my underwear, it's a balmy 83 degrees inside and I am, after all, alone.
There's a knock at the kitchen door! Jumping, I dash around to find the clothes i just shed, not realizing they were on the bench next to the table...i reach for anything and then race back to the door---it's Grandma and Grandpa Lou, our adopted grandparent neighbors. They hand me the most fragrant edible juicy sweet green bell pepper from their garden which i am now eating.
It's in this moment that I think of Mr. Scabs and the struggles he is treading through. And the one day at a time attitude he is cultivating. And the changes he is weaving into permanency in his life. And the mistakes that he makes and the self-awareness that is taking hold of him. I look forward this weekend all year. It's like the last day of school with freedom on my lips and diving headfirst into a weekend without Mr. Scabs without anything. Just as he pulls away and waves good-bye and the silence of our home folds into the neighborhoods of our city, i think..."we might be ok".
I text him my thoughts and we promise each other, he will reach out to me with both hands and I will reach out to him with both hands inviting all good things into our circle.
To all women and mothers, I celebrate our women-ness.
Happy Mother's Day.