My hands, oh, marvelous hands They are more than an instrument For survival and instinct. They hold what is dear. Protect and grasp. They lovingly clasp hands Overlapping the fingers of another Like a zipper All knit and closed up. They carry more than their weight And sometimes I burden them as I try to hold more than is manageable. They are in tune with the seasons Even when my head and thoughts are not. They reflect time and age. There is no denying the changing Shape and texture over the years. They hold my pen and Create shapes that move Across the page. They allow me to type and Send my stories across The globe. And with a click of a button, My hands reach out to you. My hands, Just for today, I will appreciate all you do, Routinized and mechanical at times, Without much thought You are always there for me. So today, I celebrate and thank you.
I welcome my mortality. It’s scary to share with another Thoughts of the impermanence of life. Perhaps it is too morbid a subject for some And it can really darken another’s mood. Once you hit middle age You begin to realize Half of a lifetime May already have been lived. Maybe one day you notice It takes the body longer to recover than it used to. Like I can’t roller skate as fast as before And my balance is a bit off-kilter. If today was my last day to live How would I want it to go? What would make my final moments Have meaning? Would I feel I’ve lived a well-lived and well-loved life? Or would I deeply feel the shortness of life And the reality that there isn’t enough time To do “all the things;” That there was more in this lifetime for me to experience? Checking things off a list or a life of comparison, wanting what they have even if it doesn’t resonate with you, isn’t the point. Each day I try to embody that life truly is a gift. And I intend to bring that appreciation And gratitude into all my days While I get to roam this earth.
Time to pursue my creativity; Too many distractions and obligations That eat away my energy. And then when it's a good time to do the one thing I most want to do, I put it off, yet again. In the moment, Dusting the shelf just seems easier than writing. Just when I’m getting myself Motivated to start, There’s always one more thing to do. And that seems to take priority Over my creative pursuit. What’s missing? Time to connect to myself and others. A sense that there isn’t enough time; That I could or should be doing more. Although, how can that possibly be true? What ifs, coulds and shoulds are easy to be explain and defend When there’s no evidence to the contrary. And it takes me further away From my desires, my dreams. Even though I know the reasons are untrue That I can prioritize myself, My creativity, My movement, And the momentum gets started again. Everything ebbs and flows. Energy and time. Winter is the season of quiet reflection Of taking stock And not regret for what never was And couldn't ever be.
I never lived with my biological father. We never slept under the same roof, shared a movie, cuddling on the couch. He never got to hold my hand or see my firsts: My first steps My first day of school My first time driving a car. And I didn’t miss having him in my life Because he was never there So I didn’t truly feel a loss from the beginning. It didn’t really bother me During those formative years. My mother and my grandfather Did the best they could to fill in the gaps. They let me know that I was loved. And I felt loved Deep into my heart and bones. When we made Father’s Day crafts or gifts at school, I always gave them to My grandfather, my Pepe. He was my first male role model, along with my uncle. It was only when I became a teenager Did I first feel that loss, Feeling unwanted And unloved, even unworthy. Then as a mom, When my children had their firsts: First crawl, first bite of peas, First steps, etc. Did I realize that he missed out on a lot. How could he ever play catch-up, if he wanted to, and even the parenting/playing field? Now I know the type of person, Monster he was And I am grateful that I didn’t have to share A roof with him. I didn’t need his resources, His attention or discipline. And I gained so much: My independence My self-reliance My kinship with my siblings. We all shared the same upbringing. And I didn’t have to share my mom’s heart or her attention, besides my own siblings. And we created our own traditions And special days together. It didn’t have to be material to make a difference. I haven’t seen my biological father, J.W. Since I was 17. I couldn’t tell you if he was Alive or dead. He is a stranger among strangers. And my family has always been complete Even without his presence.
I remember our solo shopping trips to K-Mart. It was just for a couple of hours And I was my mom’s shopping buddy, Helping to push the cart and being surrounded by endless options available in the aisles. A girl could get lost for an hour or two Just browsing and dreaming in the toy department. After our shopping was complete, We would go get an Italian grinder to share. It was always a highlight and bittersweet Because it meant our shopping trip was coming to an end. Plus, shopping always gives me an appetite. And not just for the potential goods and wares But the fulfillment that each item promises. I wonder what memories I’m creating today That my children will cherish into their adulthood. We never know what impression will make its mark When we’re living the moment in real-time as it occurs. It’s only in hindsight and reflection That our memories get formed and shaped Later to be accessed again at a future date. To be determined. We never know when a scent, a sound or a view will recall that memory back into focus to embody that time and space once again.
The cold bitter wind Nips at my nose and my ears. I tighten my winter hat Snug around my head And walk on. My legs stride on Over the sidewalk Into the street. A biting chill enters my lungs. I must walk on. I marvel at my speed And surprise myself at the quickened pace; Wanting to lighten the load of thick gloves and Puffy winter coat. To feel warm again To breathe steady and rhythmic. I throw open the door. Once I step inside The heat engulfs me And I sigh in relief Unzipping and shedding Layer upon layer Forgetting that I’ll have to Step out into the world Once again After the cold has become A distant memory.
We emerge from our winter slumber. It is still dark outside. The sun has yet to greet the horizon. The house is aglow Lit with joy and glee For Christmas is here. And the big Jolly Elf Emptied his sack The giving and generous spirit he is. The children can’t hardly wait! They’ve counted down the days. It’s taken so long, it seems, For this day to appear. The presents are lovingly wrapped In festive colored paper of snowmen, Santa himself, Reindeer and penguins. They shimmer in the Sparkling Christmas lights Under the tree. It's the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Let’s tear into the mysteries That lie beneath The paper and tape that sheathes its true contents. Paper is tossed into a huge pile. Opened packages are placed in neat rows. A surprise accompanies a feigned smile, Sometimes confusion Or a true delight. I savor the magic in the air Music softly plays A fireplace flame flickers on the screen. The kids sneak a bite of candy or two. There on the floor, Under the tree now bare Its goods all opened All before breakfast.
At winter solstice darkness dominates the days And light seems to fade shortly after its arrival. I marvel at the light. At the sunrise The neighbor’s chimney smoke Graceful and floating Like a dancer in the sky. The sunset that takes my breath away And I linger to look A little longer. I marvel at the light. Everything seems aglow Orange and burning Then quick pinks and purple Gone in a flash. Over and over again. I marvel at the light. I surprise myself And take it all in. Darkness may seem to Envelope and surround. And the bitter chill Nips at my nose. The light that appears is just a little bit brighter, a little bit more alive. I marvel at the light. We take in the light and create our own Be it holiday lights Or candlelight. This little light I hold in my hand It warms our hearts Through and to The brighter days ahead.
There’s so many facets to life More than the sum of its parts. I know I don’t want my vocation to be the only definition of my innate worth, of my contribution to the collective whole. The French refuse to be defined by their profession and I am inspired. But I can’t deny that what I do My job, my career has thrived and brought me riches, Internal and external rewards: Recognition Journeys Challenges Joy and pain. And I could never stand before you Here today without that vocation. I possess a rare skillset And I am proud for all of my accomplishments. Even now as guardian of the record, As the silent witness As laws in the books are test driven in daily life. To be front and center of someone retelling their darkest hour, their fears replayed. And I am honored to be Entrusted. It is a gift. Or in my previous career, To help someone who cannot hear take an active role and participate And even the playing field. My skills cannot be underestimated. Am I fulfilled? Yes. Do I wish for things to be different? At times, of course, I do. The many facets of my life do not revolve on my ability to bring home a paycheck. Although, with utmost gratitude, I must recognize that my current position has given me a routine, a steady schedule with space to reflect and create these words to you.
Happiness and confidence Lies in true acceptance. I come alive and feel at peace, No longer adhering to Or following a Well-worn, grooved path. The easy way that is already before me with clear checkpoints and crossing the list off as I go. Is there room for happiness and joy in a path that is not authentically mine? Can I be my true self, Accepting the Beautiful and the ugly? The whole instead of just the Presentable parts? I embody confidence And I don’t waver. I won’t lose myself in the struggle to attain others’ approval or acceptance. It is like Dorothy in Oz. The power to go home (or accept myself) was inside me all along. This path is not always easy: To be a lotus when the world says magnolias are all the rage right now. My joy and My happiness Cannot be swayed to placate And follow the ever-changing Whims of the day.