Connection

HANDS

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.
Connection

Each Day is a Gift

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.

Connection

What’s missing these days?

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.
parenting

J.W., a father

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.

parenting

Shopping with Mom

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.


Connection

Winter

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.

parenting

Christmas Day

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.
Connection

I marvel at the light

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.
Court Reporting and Captioning

Am I fulfilled at work?

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.


self-care

To be a lotus when the world wants magnolias

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.