This space between lungs + sky + sun.
Open for the
There for the seeking,
And whosoever chooses
to come up from the water.
To open their eyes
Aah, the 4-H fair. If you’ve been to one as a spectator, as a fried-food connoisseur, or as a ride-goer, then the fair is always something to look forward to, something that is pure childlike fun. If you are a 4-H’er, then you know this time of year as something a little different. It’s the time when your work of the past few months culminates into one day. It can be a tough week. But to say it’s just a tough week would be drastically selling it short. I would personally call this week, more than that…I would call it…magical.
Situations like this always remind me of Cadbury Eggs.
I love chocolate, candy, sweets in general, but the Cadbury Egg has always held a special place in my heart. For a long time, I was convinced that it was just the overwhelming deliciousness of ‘The Egg’ (as it will be referred to moving forward) that made me love it as much as I do. But in the recent past, I’ve discovered that’s not it – it’s the fact that I only have a certain amount of time each year to enjoy The Egg. The fact that this treat is only available for a small portion of the spring is what makes it such an extra special delicacy. Put into one word, scarcity is on what this love is based. Continue reading “Make America Empathetic Again”
My mom always told me, “Stand up for your rights. Speak up.”
It’s easy to speak up when we are in agreement. To say, “Me too! I also love dry martinis and bleu cheese and guys with beards.” Not so much when we are not seeing eye to eye – especially when it’s about the important stuff, the life and death stuff. Continue reading “Hey Christians, Where You At?”
A hike in the woods.
I brought them out here. Gun shots in the distance.
Put on your bright clothes. The hunters are far away, though. They won’t hurt us here.
It wasn’t always gun shots. They started with their bows.
We couldn’t even tell they were here.
And then gun season.
I brought them out here. Too beautiful to be inside.
A blanket on the forest floor. Long periods of peace in between shots. A resolution of comfort, my girl lying with her book, her head on my lap. The leaves crunch beneath us.
The encompassing forest, I see the trees I choose.
The big ones, with branches high.
My idea of the wood.
The shadows of others make their way in my line of sight.
The sun makes its way in the cracks of limbs, revealing the roots of all of its composition.
Do I choose to look?
The small trees muddle my truth.
Do I choose to look?
I have them here with me. The hunters’ shots get louder.
I have to look.
I nourish the fate of all of us.
I have to look.
I remember, he was in the the fourth grade and was nine years old. The public school system in Geneva, Illinois offered evening etiquette classes and my parents registered my brother. For five evenings, he went to one of the local schools and learned how to sit at a table, which fork to use, how to dance. All families were invited the last evening to see the lessons that they’d learned. Continue reading “Bringing Decency Back, Election Season and All”
The cream almost empty, but the jiggling of the carton proves enough for morning coffee.
The broken shoelace, but if removed from one eyelet, enough to tie for a run before buying new.
The market flowers lovely, but the wild ones by the side of the road fill my pitcher.
The tiny hole in the toiletry bag, with a quick whipstitch is made whole again.
Made whole again.
This of mine I give to you.
It opens the space for more.
There is enough for both.
The blanket cannot stretch over the whole bed.
But if you come closer, it can easily cover us both.
And there is enough.
Five years old, sitting on the kitchen table, like every morning.
My mom, curling my hair. The sun shining in the back window. The smell of hairspray and coffee.
“Why does she live far away?”
“Because they bus her to your school, honey.”
“You mean she rides the bus to school?”
“Yes, but from a different part of the city.”
“I think it’s because schools in other parts of town might not be as good, honey.”
I didn’t know when we played ‘house’ in first grade that she was from another part of town. I knew I couldn’t walk to her house to play after school and on the weekends. And that she was black.
Mostly, I felt she was just like me.
“…schools on the other side of town might not be as good…”
SCHOOLS ENDING CHAPTER IN U.S. DESEGREGATION SAGA
Published: June 10, 1981
In South Bend, Ind., a city that boasts of being ”the first Northern school district to enter into a voluntary desegregation plan,” school officials say their plan will desegregate the schools ”now and theoretically forever.”
The South Bend plan is not without its critics. White parents have sued, saying the plan is too sweeping, and black civil rights activists have sued, saying it places an unfair burden on minority students.
“Twenty seven years after the United States Supreme Court struck down racial segregation in schools, communities are still caught in confusion and dissension over how best to end it.”
I don’t know how it ends.
Another thirty-five years later.
My girls on their bike ride on our country road. I let them go by themselves to get a taste of some of the freedom I had at their age.
The young man who lives down the road from us, driving his truck at fifty miles per hour.
This is the time I worry about my girls’ safety.
Mothers who have to worry every time her child leaves the house.
The color of his skin.
Too many stories of others.
Thirty five years later.
Sixty five years later.
Two hundred years later.
When will it end?
Mothers in arms.
I stand with you.
Your child is my child.
I worry when he leaves, too.
I cannot say I know how you feel.
But I will no longer let my silence be misunderstood as indifference.
I stand with you. I stand with love. And I will not be quiet.
BLACK LIVES MATTER.
*Quote – Elie Wiesel
So, it’s not a far stretch to say there are points in my life when I would have been okay with him moving thousands of miles away.
I guess it probably started when we were about three and five. Coming home with stones in my pants, fat upper lips, and chains off of bicycles, I was pretty used to the normal 1980’s treatment of younger sisters by big brothers.
By middle school, our relationship transitioned into mostly just avoiding each other, although I would take any interaction I could get. Sometimes I think I would even egg him on to get in a fight with me, just so I could have a sliver of his attention, even if it was painful. So when I would be upstairs in my room, and I would hear him call, “Sej!! Seja! Can you come down here?”, I would drop what I was doing to see what he wanted. And then of course, him, laying on the sofa, watching TV, looking at me and saying, “…the remote is over there. Can you throw it to me?” And me launching the remote directly at his face.
That kind of summed up high school.
As we grew into college, our relationship started to shift, realizing the parts we’d played in each other’s lives up to that point. The kind of person that isn’t always present, but you know they are there when you need them, and they are the person you call for advice or to just sound something out.
So when David called telling me he’d met this girl, and she was pretty awesome, I knew something was different than the times before. And a few years later, they were married. And I gained a sister and a pretty amazing friend.
And then eventually nephews and a niece.
It’s easy to say my brother is one of my best friends and my strongest ally.
Like the time, when our entire family plus some friends, went to Mexico for spring break together. A guy started hitting on me. A guy with no shirt. And a huge tattoo. Dave stayed close by, talking with his friends, keeping his eye on me. I then saw his buddy Jake whisper something to him, then I clearly heard David yell, “Because my sister isn’t going out with a dude with a giant tattoo on his back that says ‘T-Bone.” That kind of brother.
So now, I feel differently. I don’t really want him moving thousands of miles away.
But tomorrow they are. Tomorrow, my brother and his beautiful wife and family are moving to London for three years.
My excitement for them and this experience they are about to have is what comforts me right now.
And mostly, my pride. I am so proud of this man, who has worked so hard, to go from an entry-level sales representative position to an executive within the same company, and now being transferred across the Atlantic to have the same impact there that he had here.
So now, I kind of feel like that five-year-old again, realizing what I felt even then, wanting his attention, was pride. Because I knew that even though he beat me to a pulp at times, like all big brothers do, he would never let anyone else. And his heart, bigger than his little-sister teasing, was always on my side.
We plan to go visit early next year, and we are so excited for that trip. But until then, our excitement is for them, for this adventure, for this experience of a lifetime.
We love you, David, Callie, Caden, Brody, and Hadley. Go show London what you’re made of.