Refuse Permission

“Negative emotions need our permission before they enter into our hearts. Bar their entry. Why let trouble into your heart, given that all it can do is evict that more legitimate resident, joy? Similarly, no one can force you to be unhappy, you always have the right of refusal.”
 ~1001 Ways to Live in the Moment by Barbara Ann Kipfer

Quote Tuesday

“We are not human beings on a spiritual journey, we are spirituals beings on a human journey.”          ~Native American saying 

My Favorite Childhood Games

A set of jacksImage via Wikipedia
A couple nights ago, I enjoyed a visit with my youngest g’daughter. At 4 1/2, she is at the stage where her constant refrain is, “Want to play with me?”  I was tired and in pain but whether I wanted to or not, I didn’t dare disappoint her. So, I dutifully accepted my assigned role as “Toad,” (For the uninitiated “Toad” is a character from the land of Mario Brothers.) while she is “Toadette.” We laugh and play and before I know it,  the pain has eased and I feel relaxed and contented. As I sat there, I thought back to those days long ago when I was young and carefree and the games that I loved to play.  These are some of my all-time favorite games that I loved to play and things that I loved to do:

  • Jacks
  • Tether Ball
  • Volleyball
  • Hopscotch
  • Swinging (the higher the better), and
  • Blowing Bubbles
Back then, computers were unheard of by most people and a child’s needs were simpler. We spent our “playtime” outside instead of inside in front of a television or computer.  Mario’s brother was likely the kid down the block, and not a game, and toads were a type of frog.  We were physically active and relished the daylight hours, especially the seemingly long summer days. The only reasons to go inside involved potty breaks, food and drink. What about you?  What were your childhood favorites? How did you spend those hot summer days? 

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Happy Birthday to My First Love

birthday cakeImage by freakgirl via Flickr
Today is a special day in our house.  Seventy-one years ago, my mother, C., was born to Curry and Inez in New Orleans, Louisiana.  For all intents and purposes, she was raised by her grandmother, Irma, and spent time with her father. She was a happy child with numerous cousins to play and hang around with.

When she was a mere 18 years of age, she married. I was the first born child to C. and J., five days before Christmas in New Orleans. I was their first born of three girls.  My mother is an amazing woman who single-handedly raised me and my 3 siblings, when my dad made the poor choice to leave our family–on my 5th birthday.  Although I didn’t realize it for decades, this incident had a huge influence on my life and the person that I was to become.

After my father left our family, we had to move in with my great-grandmother. My mother, a very beautiful woman, who married young and never had the opportunity to attend college, had few job prospects. She had three children to care for so she soon accepted a job as a cook for the New Orleans Catholic Archdiocese, where she remained for over 40 years. Although we were poor, my mom always worked 2-3 jobs to make sure that we had food on the table and clean clothes to wear. Although she could have easily qualified, she steadfastly refused to apply for or receive any type of government aid. (The exception was the free lunch program that we had to apply for through the schools and were automatically accepted.) She is a proud woman and remains so to this day.

Her life has not been easy. She has seen a sister taken from her by violent means, her mother by a drunk driver, her beloved grandmother by cancer, her son by congestive heart failure following an earlier diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 23, and numerous other losses that she has handled with grace. Most recently, Hurricane Katrina, as well as health issues, made it impossible for my mom to return to the only home that she has ever known, the only one that she ever cared to know–New Orleans. Yet, in spite of all of this, she has never lost hope or faith.

My mother came to live with my husband and me because of serious health issues, but I think that I have gained much more from her presence. It is the first time that we have lived under the same roof since I left home the Summer after I graduated high school. I can’t say that I left on great terms, and I certainly did not understand her and what it meant to be a parent; especially, a single parent of four. The passage of time and parenthood have mellowed me and I think that I can say, made me wiser. With that, our relationship has been transformed. It has matured into something that I never thought possible, a friendship, and a close one at that. My mom is my confidant, (okay, there are limits.) friend, and at times, just my mother. For the first time ever, I think that I can say with certainty that, I get my mom and she gets me. Even ten years ago, I never thought that I’d utter those words. I know that I am blessed to still have my mother with me and that is why I couldn’t let this day go by without saying “HAPPY 71st BIRTHDAY” to the very first love of my life, my Mom. 

Blessings to you,

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