The Weeknd

I’ve been bonding! Not only this weekend but the entire summer!! Lucky me. No really, lucky me. I’ve entered a very euphoric stage of my relationship with my teenage daughter. 

We have been having those intense womanly mother-daughter conversations that usually end with giggles or laugh out loud moments.  One of those moments occurred we were sharing our current radio hits (momma has been seriously trying to connect). 

  
“I can’t feel my face, when I’m with you but I love it”. She loves that tune and I’m thinking it’s such a sweet love song. Just found out that the guy was inspired by the drug induced effect of cocaine. What the heck??

We talked about it, she still likes the song, I can’t stop singing the song. She and I will make our own memory enjoying the last sunburst of summer with the sunroof open, wind blowing through our locks while singing at the top of our lungs – but I love you! 

  
 

what if I don’t?

She said, “I didn’t want to ignore her, I didn’t want not to love her as much as I should after all, she was my mother”.

These words got me thinking. Being a mom is serious business. It’s more than birthing, more than providing. It’s like tilling the garden, planting the seeds, pulling out weeds from the roots, providing nourishment and support, watching everything grow, protecting from the elements as much as you can then helping them recover after storms pass, and finally blooming to their full potential. Easier on paper, I say. It’s hand holding and lots of hand wringing, it’s the back and forth of chatter (which we finds out sinks in), it’s something simple like that first card from kindergarten saying you’re the most important star in their world. 

She loves her mom but as I gently reminded her all gardens are different as are all moms. They do the best that they’re capable of doing which is different for everyone. So many things play into the equation most notably being life with its often bipolar moments. We don’t often have the fictious moms or families portrayed on screens but I believe we can draw inspiration from them and from moms we come across in our daily lives.  I treasure those inspirations but the ones I am blessed to guide, lead, love and support are my greatest inspirations. They are my legacy, my heart!

Relax, Relate, Rejuvenate in my Whitley voice 

Didn’t realize how connected my family and I were to Wifi until our recent vacation. We walked into our gorgeous suite with state of the art electronics overlooking the ocean and thought we had hit the jackpot. Jet lag soon had us getting ready for bed. No wifi!! Had the password but couldn’t connect because signal wasn’t strong enough. With two teenagers in the house this is asking for a mutiny. 

The following day was the obligatory visit to relatives and two seconds after entering the house, the conversation went like this:

“So good to see you? What have you been up to? Can I use your computer please?” 

  
That was not even my kids – sadly that was me!! My sister in law just laughed and already briefed on the situation had the computer up and running.  The Wifi password was handed out as generously as the hugs and I am happy to report that by the time we got to our suite later that day, we were connected – by humor and by wifi.  We decided we just like to know its there but the time we spent together was even more memorable.  

Singing “This is my quest….”

It is said that children will do as they see not as they are taught. There is some truth to that but why in the heavens do they resort to combat mode when being adventurous.  Nice term when I truly mean, ticking/pissing parents off. 

  
I was a teenager once, not that long ago but long enough that there was not social media, just enough channels on television and the only cell phones were the nosey adults who would make parents aware of any transgressions before you got home. Yeah, that was quite some time ago. 

   
 It’s hard being a responsible adult and in true trickle down theory, it is probably difficult being a teenager in this megalomaniac society. Social interactions often occur via Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Kik and a host of other sites that boggle the mind. “Can you give your grandmothers a call?” I often ask my offsprings to which I get the response “I spoke to them last week when you called” or “Why can’t I just text them?”   Well for one thing they’re in the Caribbean and you’re not paying that bill!  

I guess I’m like a lot of parents who would like their kids to have a happy and healthy work/life balance. Their world dictates that they grow up faster and at times I find it is with a lot less compassion than we did.   

 

Treasured Thursday (in a pic or two)

Treasured Thursday (in a pic or two)

i spent most of the day with my feisty extrovert and this one will be in my memory bank for infinity. We didn’t do anything extraordinary (in my book) but the time spent together while grocery shopping, meeting her friends and taking a really long walk in the park as the sun closed out the day was one of our best. No fussing, lots of laughter, sharing stories made me wish that time would stand still. As I look through the pictures she sent moments ago, I smile and commit the awesome feeling to memory

   

  

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Writing101:day10:HappyNewYear/familytime

“We shall always treasure the wonderful times shared with amazing people.” 

― Lailah Gifty AkitaBeautiful Quotes

Some thirty years later, I still revisit those times every time the new year rolled around. The warm memories tinged with tragedy, death, broken relationships. The only time we didn’t celebrate was the year Grannie died. She died the weekend we always got together. A totally different reason for everyone getting together. 

My dad’s eldest sister hosted the family celebration every year to which immediate family, extended family, close friends and their kids were invited. We lived about an hour away and would be so excited to see everyone that we would awake and be dressed (extra play clothes packed) before our parents, and they awoke with the roosters:-)

We would arrive to screams of joy, hugs, and my aunt’s house overflowing with people and the mouth watering scents of smoked ham, fried fish, stewed pork, baked chicken. A quick change of clothes and we were off to explore the huge yard, too young to be solicited for the kitchen duty.  We would all be back right before the late lunch hands washed, to place utensils in napkins, fancy plates for everyone except the littlest ones who got plastic plates, glasses for the grown ups for beverages and brightly colored plastic cups for us non-grown ups which we used to make a punch mixture out of the six or seven home made juices. 

Endless games of hide and seek, lime and spoon, sack race and Dutch ball were enjoyed. Those who arrived later joined in and we even learned some newer games. In later years, girls would go off on their own after quick hellos to the boys. Usually around 3 pm, we were ready to eat by then – starving is more the word – we were called in. 

Grace was said then it was time to eat. I loved the auntie’s home made Mac & Cheese, my dad made Breadfruit Balls often stuffed with  Saltfish (a local dish he knew I loved), Greenfig Pie, Red beans, Fruit Salad,  Ham and Hot Cross buns using my grandma’s recipe. So much food, so much fun. It took me quite a while to eat but hey, that was the plan. 

Whenever I visit my island, my aunt still likes to duplicate that experience but on a much smaller scale and as we sit and reminisce I am instantly taken back to those days and the ones who are gone. 

Writing101:day9:point of view

“Consider the difference between the first and third person in poetry […] It’s like the difference between looking at a person and looking through their eyes.” 

― Diana Abu-JaberCrescent

Today’s prompt: A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench   The old woman is knitting a small red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene. Twist: write the scene from three points of view. The man’s perspective, then the woman’s, finally the old woman. 

This moment had been hinted at many times in their relationship before but neither one wanted to be the one to throw in the towel. He realized how much he needed her in his life, she was like a good photobomb in his memories and he couldn’t let her go. As they walked he noticed the subtlety of her behavior towards him – still loving but more assertive, more determined. The peaceful look on her face so different from the often pensive look when she had something to say. From a distance they saw an old woman sitting on a park bench fiddling. As they neared, he saw she was knitting. That moment mirrored the moment he first met his love. She was sitting on a park bench waiting for some friends and she was wearing a bright red sweater. He later learned that her favorite color was red! Tears brimmed to his eyes as he turned to her. 

She turned to look at him and saw his tears. She knew what he was thinking. How could she not! They had shared so many memorable years together. She loved him with every breath that she drew but she wanted this. “I have been yours for forever, I would like to find me” she thought. She didn’t want to find anyone else this was about her. Doing things on her own, discovering who she was. She would come  back and she wanted to come back to him. She had thought about this for a while now, and now she had to tell him.  Somehow, she could tell he already knew. She wouldn’t be glib about it, she knew he had been trying everything to change what he knew was bubbling in her. When they passed the old woman knitting the swearer, she would, she had to. She loved him but selfishly she knew she loved herself more. 

“What a beautiful couple they looked so in love” the old woman thought as she watched them walk away.  The man had big, brown eyes and the stature of her Paul. Paul loved her in red.   It was his favorite color, he always said that red made him happy and laughed his infectious laugh which would make everyone want to share in his happiness. As she sat on the park bench she remembered all the happy moments, all the sad moments she shared here with him.  Now he was gone. Her Paul was gone. A bittersweet smile that came across her face as she knitted that sweater. You see, Paul was her only son and he was driving home with his wife to share some amazing news with her. He wanted to do it in person, on that park bench, their special place. As she got ready to meet him, the phone rang. Someone said something had happened. She couldn’t remember much from the conversation but her Paul had suffered a heart attack and was in a coma. When she saw his wife, she knew what the surprise was. They were expecting a baby, her very first grandchild.  The park is near the hospital where she visits Paul almost everyday. She had come to their special place because she missed her Paul and as she knitted that little red sweater for Paulina who was due any day now, she heard that familiar infectious laugh. 

Writing 101: day 6: character study

Writing 101: day 6: character study

“I think that the best thing we can do for our children is to allow them to do things for themselves, allow them to be strong, allow them to experience life on their own terms, allow them to take the subway… let them be better people, let them believe more in themselves.” 

― C. JoyBell C.

I thought about this assignment for a bit which is why I’m a day late. I would like to think that everyone I meet is interesting, at least in the moment if I’m being truthful. After much thought and deliberation (primarily because I’m challenging myself to dig deeper, to step out of the box) I decided the most interesting person I have met all year is my daughter. She is tenacious, self assured, ambitious, smart, carries herself with such grace that I am very aware I did not possess in my early teens. 

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She may not be someone I have just met in the literal sense of the word but every time I look at her or share a conversation with her, I feel like I’m getting a glimpse of the beautiful heart, the strong willed, outspoken woman she is growing up to be. She has always inspired me to be more and I tear as write this because I’m proud to be her mom. 

Writing 101: Serially Lost: Day 4

It would have been easier to talk about the loss of my dad, both grand parents but I thought of using this exercise to challenge myself. What have I lost, what am I scared to the point of insomnia to lose –  my sanity, my family.

Some years ago I “lost” someone I was really close to, an instrumental part of my youth. She is seven years older than I am and a very giving soul. We dated and married siblings, had kids, did dinners and outings together. The bond got strained when I went out to work and she became a stay at home mom. Did I pull too hard to have her create her own identity separate from being identified as someone’s wife but then again I had found things out that she didn’t know and I couldn’t share. Still we tried to stay connected. Lunch certainly, girl talks yes, she wanted to get a part-time job which I secretly applauded but she changed her mind.

She started unraveling right before my eyes. Conversations  and arguments we shared as children became her reality as an adult, accusations about being recorded by the government. She  was later diagnosed with schizophrenia.   On one of our final visits, I had to walk through two locked doors to visit. When I walked through the first door, the nurse walking with me informed me that I could not be allowed to see her if I was sobbing (I was hysterical by the second door) so by the time I walked in my eyes were red and swollen.

It’s been almost 6 years since I have seen her. I remember her often especially around the holidays and when I see her children. I know she is doing ok not better but ok. I keep up with her activities through other family members but I can’t bring myself to see her to visit. Afraid that she is not the person I remember, the person that I shared so many moments with, afraid that the person I want to be there is lost to me.

“The most painful goodbyes are the ones never said, never explained.”