Sunday, May 14, 2006

Here, Here!

Ricky was up early on Mother's Day. He'd thought ahead and bought bake and eat cinnamon rolls for the kids' breakfast. He and The Little One had been up since 7:30 but I wouldn't know it until 10:30 when I woke up on my own. The Little One, who can reach and operate doorknobs now, made a timely entrance. Ricky was hot on her trail, "N-no! Mommy is sleeping!"
I was awake but still wallering around.

The Middle One entered, a close third, and helped The Little One up onto the very tall bed.

"Mah-ma?!" The Little One said patting my arm.

"She's been asking for you all morning." Ricky added.

A pile Mother's Day cards were on my bedside table. Ricky is the best card-picker--ever.

The Middle One had planted a styro-foam cup with marigolds at school, offering it up with pride after carefully gift wrapping the container in a decorated brown lunch sack. The plants were accompanied by two very thoughtful Mother's Day writing projects from school. She's such a funny girl.

The night before, Ricky and The Middle One twisted their sniffers into knots at every Dillard's perfume counter to find just teh one they thought I'd like.

Later that day, we all ate not-so-great Chinese together. I loved it.

That evening, The Big One brushed my hair (one of my favorite things) for about an hour.

I was hugged and kissed throughout the day.

Two-dozen roses are still blooming in the kitchen. White from Ricky and a multi-colored, warm mix of red, yellow, fuchia, and orange from The Middle One.

My husband Ricky and those girls are really something. I simply cannot say enough about them.

Friday, May 12, 2006


In February, we celebrated the Middle One's 7th birthday with a good old-fashioned birthday party here at the house. We sent invitations to every girl in her class, along with a few others she'd known from Kindergarten last year. Ten seven year olds were dropped off one-by-one within ten minutes of 2:00. The second guest to arrive was Anna--a shy, slight little girl whose mother gave me two cell phone numbers to call if needed and left with a reassuring smile to her daughter.

While we waited for the guests to arrive, Anna sat on the bottom step of the staircase.

"I came from China." she quietly announced. "My mommy came to China when I two year old. I have a big sister, she from China too." Her tender little face shone so much that the hairline, pink scar from below her nose through her upper lip was only incidental. Her eyes swirled with sweetness.

Mo's bedroom was wall-to-wall little girls by 2:15 and the business going on upstairs sounded like a colony of cartoon squirrels snickering and chattering away with the occasional squeal peaking the pitch. I felt a glow knowing this was what little girls' birthday parties were intended to be. It's what I'd only dreamed of as a girl her age and it felt good knowing she wasn't missing out.

Balloons and crepe streamers framed kitchen table and the mountainous stack of gifts that had been handed off at the door. The bulging pinata swayed awaiting an impending assault. I clicked a picture of the scene. I was satisfied. Everything was in place and it was time to call the gaggle down for a party.

Before I could holler the 'come-n-gettit', I was stopped short. Little Anna was sitting alone half-way down the staircase, quiet. Sigh. I sat down on the step next to Anna.

"Hey. What's the matter, Honey? Don't you want to go in Mo's room and play with the girls?"

In her smallish voice she whispered, "No tank you, I don't tink so."

"Is everyone being nice to you, Honey?"

"Uhm, I done know."

Ever poke a mother Grizzly bear with a stick?

"Mohhhhh?!" Mo appears from her bedroom.

"Yes, Mommy?"

"Honey, is everyone being nice to Anna?"

"Uhm, well . . ." she lowered her voice, "Well, um, Mommy, Nina was being kinda mean to her saying she couldn't play with us."

"Okay, you know what? You tell Nin--nevermind, Hon, just go tell your friends it's time to come down for your party, okay?"

"Anna, Honey, come on with me and we'll get something to drink, okay?"

Anna reached for my hand and held on to it until we made it to the kitchen. She motioned for me to bend down to her.

"Yes?" With the gentlest touch, she moved my hair behind my ear and whispered, "I like you."

"Well, I like you too! Hey, would you like some M & M's?" I presented the bowl full and she selected two.

The gang was still upstairs. "I'll be right back, OK?"

On my way up the stairs, I gathered all the diplomacy I could in 16 steps. I needed to make an impression without being Mom The Scary Birthday Clown--complete with tentacles.

"Hey, Girls!" I'm not even a blip on their radar.

"GIRLS?!" Instant silence. It's as if I'd said, "Simon says, freeze!"

"Hey you guys, it's time to have a party, k?" A crazed mob of pony-tails and little hands bounced up and down like contestants on The Price Is Right. "Okay, okay, hang on! First, let me tell you guys something. I want you to have a great time, and we're going to but we need to make sure we're being very nice to each other . . . and if somebody can't be nice, then you'll have to call your parents to come get you and you'll miss the rest of the party. So, can everyone be nice to everyone?"


"Okay then! Let's go!" It was all I could do not to flick that Nina creep right in the ear as she pushed her way through the rest of the girls to be the first one down the stairs. How much did I want to wag my finger at her parents when they came to retrieve their little precious--just in case they didn't know what they'd created--so far.

Maybe she'd downloaded her anger from her own family legacy. Nina was a minority too. I could only wonder. For the record, I didn't do any finger wagging or sermoning when Nina's dad came to pick her up. I just hugged Anna a little tighter when she was leaving with her mother, and let her mother know what a fantastic little girl I thought she had and that we'd love to have her over any time.

Moms and Dads, we're not raising girl children, we're raising women. John Mayer sings, "Girls become lovers and turn into mothers so . . . be good to your daughters."

I hope Anna will be having lots of popsicles with us this summer. I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Why Not?

What if the God of the World answered back with an Instant Message *bling* each time you ask, "Why did this happen to me?"

Your answer would begin, "Because . . . ".

Would it help to know the answers, the complete and expansive explanation? What if the answer, the reason, contained at least 6,527 shifted lives by the time it was all over with?

You say, "I didn't say I wanted to know the outer ripples and other by-products, I just want to know why did it have to happen to me!"

Okay. What if the World is made up of more than just You?

Perhaps you're an integral member of a grand mosaic.

What if what happened to you was the final blow in the world of domestic violence? What if the beating you endured as a child, and thrived in spite of, was the seed of social change that eventually saved 10,000 lives?

What if it saved just one?