Step on a Crack…

 

As kids, my brother Kit and I
would walk
to our elementary school,
trying so hard
not to
step on a crack
because we didn’t want to 

break our mother’s back!

sidewalk

We also did not step on a line,
which would be bad for her spine!

The other challenge, the one involving our luck,
came unexpectedly, out of nowhere,

forcing us to jump over the squares of cement
that held a metal disk.

The kind with some serious-looking number(s)
and a couple letters on them.

close up of metal disk

And, the thing was, it was anyone’s guess
which cemented section had them, and which didn’t.

Because,
if we didn’t, jump over those squared-off portions,
our luck would change, for the worse.

Which could have meant
we would step on a line or a crack,
jeopardizing our mother’s health.

Whew!

What a walk!

balls

“Aunt Fern told me a story, an embarrassing lesson she learned, when she was a young school girl,” my 91 year old mom started, as I gently held her hand, listening to an old memory of hers. (Note: this was a conversation that happened 4 years ago, as my mom is now 95 years old.)
“She told you the story while you were living with her in Los Angeles? When you were a young girl?” I questioned.
“Yes.”
“Go on,” I urged.
“Well, when she was a about ten years old, and this was around 1906, mind you, she was walking to school, just like I had to when I ended up going to the same school as she did.”
“Really? You went to the same school as Aunt Fern?” I asked.
“Uh huh. Different decades, of course,” my mom made clear.

“Any-way,” my mom wanted to continue.

I nodded encouragement.

“Everyday, she had to pass the prison located next to the school. Aunt Fern saw prisoners sitting down, resting, she assumed. They were sitting on those huge metal balls that were chained to their ankles.”

“Seriously? Sitting right there? Out in the open? As people walked by? Near the school?” I was amazed.ballandchain

My mom nodded her head, up and down. She looked like she had just realized how strange that was, for prisoners to just be sitting there, out in the open, so exposed.

“Weird,” I said.
“Hm,” she seemed lost in thought. But then she added, “I guess that was normal back then. Well, as it was, Aunt Fern just walked by. She didn’t say a word. Why would she, really? She just walked past the men sitting down and entered the school grounds. She strolled into her classroom, exclaiming, ‘Those men out there are sitting on their balls.'”

I giggled.

“Everyone busted out laughing, the teacher included,” my mom’s eyes lit with humor, as she finalized her story. “Aunt Fern was confused,” my mom giggled. “She didn’t understand the concept of what she had said. The meaning behind it.

What’s so funny?‘ Aunt Fern had asked a school mate, a wise girl who explained the importance of word choice.

She was so embarrassed. She told me all she could do was simply lower her face into her hands and close her eyes. She rocked her head side to side, waiting for all the laughter to die down.”

My mom smirked then looked at me. Whereby I began to laugh.

A boy, his XBOX, and a Soccer Game

 

He stumbles out of the bedroom with bedhead hair and heads straight to the adjacent bathroom where he wakes himself up by splashing water onto his sleep-swollen face, and uses minty paste to brush away night air that had settled in his mouth. She hears the toilet flush before he walks into the living room. He greets her with a “Hello” before he plops down on the couch, in front of the rather large TV. She smiles, noting the mess of hair; hair that doesn’t seem to be a concern of his. Hair that he tangles some more with the addition of headphones.

IMG_7827She stands in the kitchen, organizing counter space, while watching him through the cut-out square faux window that connects the two rooms. He sits, somewhat slouched, gamer remote comfortably held by both hands, fingers grasping both sides, giving him complete control of the game. From where she stands she can see the lowercase red b engraved on his black earbuds. She knows the headphones drown outside sound when she asks if he’d like a cup of hot chocolate. He doesn’t move, doesn’t answer. She decides to leave him alone and just watch. Watch him enjoy his day off from school, playing an online soccer game.

His face twitches as he becomes part of the game. All she can hear is his side of the conversation. She hears him discuss plays he and his online, never met them before, teammates should try. He antagonizes his opponents. He laughs. He gets frustrated. “NO!” he yells. She hears him command a teammate to “CROSS! Contain him! Wow! Get the ball! Right here!” The online (pretend) stadium-crowd cheers. Loud. He’s so focused on the game that he doesn’t hear her when she asks him, again, if he’d like a hot drink. She decides later would be a better time. “Come on! Just shoot it!” he shouts. “BOO-YAAAAAAAA! I told you I was open!” he said into the mouthpiece, to a teammate. “Oh, that was beautiful! Now do a dipping curve. Nice! Line all the defenders at the post. Ah, almost!” He continued to narrate all the plays without realizing she was listening, watching, enjoying. He cheered. “Yes! Yes! We won! 4 to 3!”

She stopped watching him when he set the remote down, stood, and walked into the kitchen. She reached out the hot cup of cocoa she had prepared for him. “Oh, thanks,” he stated. “That game is so awesome!” he added, excitedly. “Oh, really?” she commented. “I would never have guessed.”

Understanding Boundaries

IMG_1738

Setting boundaries makes life easier and expectations are better understood. It may take time for those boundaries to cement themselves in place, but the effort is definitely worth it. 

I sent this sentiment to my kids this morning, just a random feeling I felt about what we give and take within our daily lives, the setbacks and promises.

You see, we all need, each one of us, space to thrive. Our own space. So that when we choose to bring others into our circle, we are ready to engage, fully.

If the boundaries we set are loose and inconsistent, then we never get to a place of knowing exactly what it is we hope for, whether it be within personal relationships or more of a happenstance of interacting with others in which we are all desiring the simple, daily respect we all deserve.

When we allow ideas and wishes to become jumbled, thrown around, without the thoughts required to attain the promises life presents to us it is only each of us, individually, that suffers.

Therefore, it’s important to set boundaries, carving out our own personal space to rejuvenate mind, body, and soul because then, and only then, will life’s rewards happen, allowing us to enjoy the joys of life.

he said, she said

 

lips

Rudy said I kissed him on the lips. I say it was his cheek. His left cheek, to be exact.

Everything before that moment Rudy and I seem to agree on.

We seem to have the same memory of when we noticed each other for the first time, and the slow dance later in the evening.

Yet, all these years later we still dispute what happened when the song was over, and the bright lights turned on inside the nightclub.

Rudy claims I smooched his lips. Sealed them with a knowing gesture. You know, like let’s take this to another level. And, OK, sure, another level of intimacy sounded pretty good to me; yet, I did not kiss his lips. Not at that moment.

But, I did press into him, slightly, to give his cheek a peck. A simple gesture meaning thank you for this dance. That’s it. No more.

I’m right, and he knows it.

People in Review

People who are different, live a different way, are usually people misunderstood.
Misunderstood by the uninformed.

The uninformed feel they need to do something.
Anything.
To help the misunderstood see the light.
Whatever the light is.
To change their way.
To live.
Normally.
Like the uninformed do.

Yet, if the uninformed were to take a step.
To become informed.
The misunderstood would no longer be misunderstood, but rather interesting.
In a unique way.
A different way.
A good way.

In turn, maybe the world will live in harmony.

6c4e3-img_3137

Maybe.