This week's Five Star Friday is brought to you by humour in the face of death, everyday miracles, a very American story, powerful determination, the need for a cultural shift in the treatment of people with disabilities, divorce, and Tom Clancy:
photo credit: Gary Wayne Gilbert
Nothing is as real as a dream. The world can change around you, but your dream will not. Responsibilities need not erase it. Duties need not obscure it. Because the dream is within you, no one can take it away.
— Tom Clancy
We were aching to play, my mother and I, in the midst of this ever so serious business of dying.
But here is the weird thing. Some days it isn't particularly easy but it isn't particularly hard either, and it isn't really anything except how you've always expected it to be. Some days you look down at that sweet baby and you think oh, you got here finally, you're here!, and that's all it is: not some momentous rite of passage, not some entry into a secret club, just another day that you're living your life, except now your life involves wiping someone else's bottom. You had a baby, and now you have a baby. See how normal it feels? See how right? Look, here is the place in your heart where he fits so perfectly. You didn't even know it had been empty.
My relatives, the old ones, hide things well. If beating around the bush to avoid unpleasantness were an art, they would be masters. Any questions I asked as a curious child that could only be answered honestly with a painful truth were circumvented into a story about Something Else Altogether. Thus, my family's collective history since slavery — drenched in blood, scored with rage and raked throughout with unimaginable suffering — was repainted for me, my brother and our young cousins in a manner that highlighted our family's strength, wit, resourcefulness, cunning and beauty.
…it pains me to send something mediocre, and to get criticized, or even worse, get no response whatsoever. But rather than lament hitting send, I realize that tomorrow's a new day, I can write again, I can try to ring the bell once more.
We need a serious cultural shift in the way we think about family and caregiving in general, and caring for people with disabilities specifically. Even in the worst times, I was not a cruel or bad mom who hated my child; I was a desperate and isolated mom of a very sick child who I loved. We have to speak the truth, listen to each other, and insist that we all deserve better.
my husbands were the pot of fresh brewed coffee
I burnt my knuckles pouring. They scalded tastebuds
from the tip of my tongue before I realized
I’d stirred two tablespoons of salt into the mug instead of sugar:
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