Gratitude makes the journey better and so does kindness

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The Gift Of Now. To Build On

Originally published as a column in NewsKamloops on Friday, January 22, 2016. 

farewellsThere’s always a bit of a dilemma in my head about what to choose for a column topic. This week’s could’ve broached on many subjects: the recent statistic about homeless veterans (about 2,250 of them) as an unacceptable but sad reality, or the fact that many Indigenous communities in Canada still struggle with deplorable living conditions, or that the incidents of suicide, teenagers and children included, in many of those communities, is shockingly high. Or that we still do not have tough enough laws to address drunk driving, which often means that people, often children, get killed, and few of the guilty ones get jail time.

After some thinking I came to realize that they all have a common denominator. Human life and how precious it is, so we’d be well advised to stop a moment longer and let that sink in. Every time I find myself thinking about it I come out richer and humbler. And I take an extra moment for the night hugs I give my sons or add extra smiles and time to share with those I love.

Opportunities never lack; it’s but a matter of reminding ourselves to slow down to see them. Unless life does it for us abruptly, in which case we’re forced to stop and take a deep breath before we pick up the pace again. That comes with regret though.

During my family’s recent trip to my hometown in Romania we took a walk through the downtown area, which holds so many memories of times past. Like the time when an old guy was selling bunnies at the farmer’s market and enough pleas made my mom yield.

I carried my bunny home with a few stopovers in stores where I carefully hid the wee bundle of fur in the cradle of my elbow. My mom’s accomplice smile was nothing short of a gift, a memory just the two of us held from then on… The memory of fuzzy, innocent days when everything seemed to be possible and infinite.

That was then. This time, my stop at the farmer’s market was to get wreaths and candles.

The four of us then made our way up the hill where I grew up and from there to the cemetery. We lit candles and laid wreaths for my parents, for all my grandparents, for aunt and uncle and one of my cousins, and for my godparents too.

That the sky was rather grey and heavy is not important, or relevant. For once, the sun could do nothing to cheer me on. There is nothing more sobering than standing by my parents’ grave to put things in perspective. Life and death tied in a braid that none of us can unravel.

I learned that early enough when I lost my grandparents. The story repeats in my heart and mind every time someone I know and love bids goodbye to the world we know.

That’s when everything becomes relevant and, at the same time, relevant only if we choose to make it so. Occasions like the ones where you stand and read the names on a tombstone, feeling every letter with the fingers of your soul, soft and unprepared still, teary… Reading names of people that life tucked away too soon.

For years I tried to understand what’s to understand from losing my precious people so early on. There is a lot. It’s a trade you see. We lose people but are given awareness in return. There are people to love still alive, there are people to know, there is still time to make a difference.

We are being given the gift of knowing that each step we take should not be for nothing, should not be unkind, should not be wasted on dismissing life as a gift, or the present as the same. The gift of people while they still are. I know that much.

Hence the common denominator of at least the topics enumerated above. Choosing to make a difference in the world we know, be it a word, a smile, a gift of time, presence, a helping hand when most needed… In doing that, we acknowledge the fragility and preciousness of now, and we have opportunities to build on it the tomorrow that will matter.

We only make sense as many, though it is as individuals that we make that shine true. While we have time. While those who can benefit from it are still around, and while the world as we know it exists.

About Trades And Why They Matter

Originally published as a column in NewsKamloops on January 8, 2016. 

IMG_8864Soon after we arrived in Transylvania my youngest had set up shop in a corner of my sister’s yard to do one of the things he likes the most: forging. It’s not quite what you’d imagine a 9-year-old doing and yet he loves the concept, enjoys the time spent learning about fires no matter how cold it is outside and every step adds a new layer of appreciation for manual work and for the things people can make if only they take the time.

He learns about durability in a world that becomes more disposable by the day. It’s a valuable lesson often packed with a blister here and there, sweat and time; lots of time spent learning and making things. Also, researching the next step in learning.

I remember the first time we went to Fort Langley during the time we still lived in Vancouver, the boys were four and nine at the time. The blacksmith’s shop was the main attraction for them. And why not? To see a piece of metal being transformed through the sheer power of heat and by the hard work of a strong arm into a unique candle holder was fascinating.

And yes, we still have the candleholder. It’s a beautiful reminder.

That day opened the topic that has become a mainstay: blacksmithing and forging. Who does it, where can you learn about it and where can one find people who carry on the trade?

Well, we found a couple in Barkerville. Our trip last May saw the boys perched on the blacksmith’s workshop fence, sun and all, just to hear stories about the trade and observe the process of how each piece comes to be. They saw pieces of bar stock curled into pendants and hooks and tools that the people of then needed for everyday life.

Trades are something of a lost art for the most part. We live in the days of 3D printers and cheap offshore labour (unethical often but then again ethics often gets in the way of money making so the issue is conveniently obscured by justification) and that means that trades that create cradle-to-grave products to be sold at fair prices may be slowly disappearing unless we make sure they don’t. And we cannot allow that to happen because we have too much to lose.

Our recent trip to Europe added more to the argument. I read about an elderly man up north who recently passed away. He was known for the beautiful traditional wooden gates he made all his life. I listened to him saying that he leaves but a handful of people who will carry on the trade.

He also talked about the gates and other unique woodwork he made. Far from being ‘just a…’, the things him and others make in the area are stories. Of times past, stories of centuries-old faith and values, joy and sorrow, stories of life unfolding.

That’s when it hit me. People tell stories with their craft. That is some of the magic of it. The solid root of a trade is the tradition incorporated in it by generations of people who believed it should continue, by communities showing they need the craft and those who make it happen.

Such realizations only point to a simple truth: no culture is too far from another. We are united in how we aim to carry further our traditions, and for those who get to see the same craft and trades in various countries, they get to see how trades become the bridge that tells of universal values and gifts carried throughout time by each of us. If we choose to see the treasure held in hand-made pieces of this and that, whether they are for decoration or everyday use.

Trades and crafts can be a common denominator of the non-imposed kind if you will… the kind that reminds us of a thing we often forget. That cultures around the world have so much in common, and their old stories tell of the same way of developing crafts that see solid things made and also see stories told to generations coming. For survival.

We cannot trade the old ways that taught us to value work for the sea of disposable things we’re surrounded by nowadays. No one has anything to gain from it. In fact we all lose.

Progress is not forgetting old ways and making everything fast and disposable, but rather incorporating old trades into new technologies that maintain good standards and see the world better not by the number of things we see sprouting every day, but by the way they hold their own as time goes by.

There is something to be said about that and I think kids learning about it may well be what saves us from ourselves in the long run. And just like that, there is something to be said about a child lifting a piece of raw material, whatever that may be, and saying ‘Mom, you know what I could make of this?…’

That’s how stories are written. And that’s how old stories continue; because they must.

Things I’ve Learned. Happy New Year!

StubbornIt is almost New Year’s Eve and winter has somewhat caught up with us bringing frozen sunny mornings to our doorstep.

It is eerily humbling to be waiting for winter the way it once was in a place that is never going to be the way it once was… People and places change in the bitter sweet dance of time, and no matter how stubborn, we are all twirling like snowflakes in a snow storm, landing where we least expected and poised (if we make it so) to make the best of it.

The year comes to an end. It’s always with a bit of regret that I look back, choosing to see mostly the things I’ll leave behind forever. This time though I want to hum the better song as I walk along. The things I’ve learned, the ones I take with, the ones that make me better, or so I feel.

Lost and foundIt’s a matter of making peace with yourself and life. Not crying over what cannot be changed. The prayer comes to mind, the one I so often saw as difficult to accomplish when changes made me bend under their implacable weight and what was left of me was no more than a twig seemingly breakable by the first gust of wind. It’s never like that though…

Now I know…


That the worst of days has, like the happiest, has only 24 hours that it can howl at me. That is, at best, a ladder with 24 rungs that I leave behind one after another as I climb towards a better day.

That if I need someone to tell me I can do it or hold my hand (or heart) as I do it, all I have to do is ask. That might be one of the hardest things to do, which is why it is one of the biggest gift someone can give. It’s the give-get thing. An unsinkable truth of life indeed.

That we are solely able to steer off courses that take us to where we do not want to go. All we have to do is stop, breathe, and have the courage to look around, asking loud enough ‘Is this where I want to be?’ If not, why dawdle? Of all the 24 rungs we climb, if there is at least one left, we can make it a day.

That when I smile, everything gets better. That someone will smile back. It’s never to be taken for granted. Or forgotten. The world is a smile better when we make it so. It’s a matter of will. And courage to be vulnerable enough to let yourself be seen. Smiling. Crying. It’s the same face that does it, the same heart that powers both.

That there is a gift of calmness in a crumpled leaf that I will never find anywhere else. When you step outside and pick one up, it will tell you stories of life and death, of the inexorable nature of seasons, of being just a wee song in the large orchestra that would sound different, even in an imperceptible way, if you were not there.

That I can get lost in a sea of others, but I am still my own. When you are, you are your own colour to a world that you joined as unique once upon a time. Add your own, believe that you can.

SeeThat I am able to see. With me eyes, with my heart, with my hands in the dark. As long as the mind is open to it.

That clouds are lessons, so big that only a sky could hold them all. Like you or I, they speak time, except that they seem to explain it better. Things come and go, nothing stays forever. Of course I know that. And just like that, of course I pretend to forget. Because it is both soothing and scary, a flavour that we have to learn to use as we go so that each bite becomes a gift. If each bite is to become a gift.

That when I open my arms for a hug, someone will fall in there, soft-hearted and eager, and will emerge feeling worthy. Because of that hug. Which I could give because I know the taste of it. Because someone, somewhere, had gifted me the same.

That seeing the sunrise is as precious as being born. Every day, another chance to make it better. There are 365 sunrises a year. Every year.

BeautyThat having my children call the most urgent ‘Mom, come see the sky!’ means that sunsets are reminders of shared life, love and the wonder of a world we get to see once more through the eyes of those who never hold back unless we make them think they should. Which is a sin.



to beThat precious is not a word for diamonds, or things made to be expensive. It is what defines morning walks with my sons, their arms wrapped around my neck at night, or the four of us waking up by a lake, soft whispers infusing the emerald air and having us know that as long as we can see that together we are on the side of life where we should be.

That speaking of life not just as you see it but as you feel it is a must. Vulnerability makes us stronger.

That’s how much I’ve learned this year, that’s what I’m taking with me to the next. To build on. To learn of so much more.

LightsHappy New Year!

Pink Helicopters To Go and Humbling Truth Bits

Pink wings‘I find them sometimes, Mama, aren’t they so nice?’

Little boy holds a pink helicopter in his hand as we walk hand in hand to school. ‘You can have it.’ So I will, my little one. It is morning, crisp and sunny, and his hand is warm and nestled in mine. I love the simple moment of just being here with him, I love it to no end, and the pink helicopter that comes with it.

‘It’s all natural colour, you know?’ I know, little one, and I celebrate that you can see the colours in the tapestry of rushed mornings. I do too. Let’s keep it that way.

Hug. I kiss the his forehead, he wraps his arms around me and I melt. He runs one way, I run another. Life unfolds.

I sit in the sun and write this down. Like putting extra wings on the pink helicopter, I build wings out of words. This day, like so many others, will be the kite I’ll fly under skies of blue and grey… Life with boys is miraculous. Tearing me apart at times with moods and sharp wills, strong as they can be as they grow, they won my heart a long time ago when I invited them to be part of my life. That makes the everyday dance worthwhile.

Every day adds more questions as we go. Do I know enough to help them understand the world? Do I know enough to guide them towards solid rather than illusory? Do I do it with fear or joy? I fly by the seat of my pants so often, wondering if that’ll wear them too thin and render them see-trough… and if yes, what will you see, should you look through? Inadequacies. Life is like that.

Inadequacies, imperfections, truth. They go together. Children know, and they braid it all, ever so elegantly, thoughtless in their innocence and trustful that we know the way better than they do. Truth is, we do not.

How then, do we find our way?

We feel it, as you feel your next step in the dark. Safe, solid ground, go. Shaky, unsafe, try again. Do we heed our own instincts enough to know when to stop? Hardly. How then, do we teach our children?… We jump in with both feet, splash, apologize too much, feeling too guilty for splashes we have no control over, remember to smile as we lose frowns and dry our tears, remember to breathe… Tying all of that with ribbons of fresh beginnings, learning that if you don’t show up, you’ll live with the regret of not daring to be present…

GiftsMy morning is gifted a sliver of laughter as I sit by the river with a friend. We talk about motherhood, the rushness that makes it all go fast, too fast… Do our children know enough before they show up for real life, by themselves? Do we? Do we give them enough to trust that they do? I am the lucky one, she says, my boys are still little, sheltered, and I am still saying good night with hugs and see their sleepy faces in the morning. There’s still time…

We sit by the river, watching its fast pace and listening to the morning. A duck is carried by the current, though it tries to swim against it. Don’t… Swim with it. Ha! As if I know how to. I know why we should swim with the current. Trust. Trust that it will all work out right. Don’t miss the sunshine, the breeze, the birds that glean beads of water as they brush over the surface with grace. Trust. Life is about trust and gratefulness.

Motherhood is what helps me see it as such. There’s beauty and wonder in every day of growing together. Little boy and big boy, struggling at times to be seen and heard and understood, refusing at the same time to see, hear and understand anyone else but themselves and me thinking how selfish… but truth is, if they don’t make enough room to hear their own voices and understand the heart echoes that sprout from them, how will they ever distinguish other people’s voices…

RedI am heading home. I know nothing more than I did this morning, but I know enough to make it through another day. A big little boy awaits so we can delve into another day of learning together. We do. Togetherness. Learning. School and more. And the pink helicopter will stay in the journal that has a red leather cover and a long leather tie that wraps around it to keep it all in, all together.

By now the struggling duck would’ve reached the shore, or would’ve understood the joy that comes from letting the river do its thing… It’s all about trust. And gratefulness. For the day, for the moment we are given and for knowing that it is never about right or wrong but about giving it all you’ve got; inadequacies, imperfections, and most of all, truth…


Of Growing Boys, and Tears, And Stories, and Soft Grey Caterpillars

Striving‘I cannot do it!’ Little boy says it loud and though no tears come into his eyes, I could hear them stomp behind the words. Loudly; tears.

It is about a game. Cute, old-fashioned design, itty bitty characters that look like baby crocodiles… Yes, sigh, the one Nintendo game little boy gets to play is wrapping him up in frustration like a cocoon.

What a long day the day had been. School in the morning, a laughter-all-around Lego building time with a friend who came for a visit, plus a whole lot of playing outside with big brother in and around a melting igloo… And so much more, all that a child’s world brings for him to see, smell, fear, dare through, be silly about, be serious about, be there every minute of a day so long and rich.

‘I cannot do it!’ He says it again. Loud, frustrated, chin trembling.

The mom that I am wants to say ‘You can do it’ but how is that not patronizing when a kid is frustrated to sky and back. Games like that are not easy, I am told. Like many things in life, there are levels. You learn, you persist, you get to the next. But when you only have one hour and fifteen minutes three times a week to make it happen… a battle ensues, I am also told.

Here is the things though: When the world tells so often of things you can get just like that – yes, instant gratification is an occurrence that creates false realities whether we want it or not in our children –  what to make then of the occasional hurdle? Electronic game or not, frustration caused by inability to do what you want to do, what you expected to be able to do so easily, or somehow hoped that invisible arms will make it happen for you… how to then?

‘I cannot do it!’ If you’re a little boy, and tired, you say it again and again. And big brother looks into your big round sad eyes and says ‘I can help you.’

Mom (that’s me) says ‘That is not help, but cheating.’ Two boys, four eyes, big and bright and wondering… But to help, Mama, just this time, I can help him… Big brother melts, understands and insists. To help is to tell him he can do it, I tell him.

“But I cannot!’ Feet stomping, big pouty face. Hug? Yes and no wrestle on his face. ‘I can’t.’

Yes, you can one step at a time… ‘No, I cannot!’ Tears. Sadness. A thought strikes true. I turn to my screen and type ‘inspirational man with no arms and no legs’. Just like that. I had heard about him but never really searched properly; there are only that many hours in a day. Today has more.

The two boys and their four big eyes watched and listened, and I did too, peeking at their faces and wondering about it all. You can search and see. Nick Vujicic is his name and he will inspire you.

He talks about frustration, about failing again and again and not giving up, he talks about taking steps – one at a time, to reach your destination. He talks about falling down and getting up, and how it never ends until it ends… He would know.

Two boys with bright big eyes looked at me and asked ‘how could he do all of that?’ knowing the only answer there is. Because he did not give up; because he chose to see the gifts that he had, rather than cry about the ones he did not have.

Sighs, smiles, crooked and sweet, no more tears.

‘Mom?… I can try again.’ Yes indeed. Thank you. I was grateful for help. All settled and peaceful, the evening rolled along like a big, grey and soft caterpillar, smiling at us… until. Until it all went black again, and a crow of hungry ‘Can I please have help just this time?’ swooped down and scattered the caterpillar’s fluff all over. ‘I cannot’ returned for one last flight through the house.

No, I will not, could not, should not. Allow for that kind of help.

That’d be like falling back twenty steps after you’ve advanced ten I tell them. They stop and listen. ‘But not every time,’ they plead, ‘just this time.’ I trade hugs and stories for half-smiles and listening ears. No is a must.

I am not cruel, but loving this. What a good chance. Sit down then. Boys listen to stories of little kids crying because they could not draw like their older siblings could; getting help when help meant locking them in a box that said ‘I cannot by myself…’ and how love should be fair, and encouraging and never ever indulging in ways that cripple. I tell stories of people lost, people who loved ones help by saying no. It turns serious but they listen.

Faces lit with smiles. Yes, they get it. Yes, they feel loved when a no is lovingly said, and fair and encouraging, and I do too. I thank the man who gave us a push today over the hurdle.

No arms, no legs, no worries, he says. How could one do it like that? By not giving up, by getting up again when falling, by reminding yourself of the brightness of the day when the night threatens with too much darkness… using the light of the day to brighten the night ahead. Belief.

The night caterpillar returns fluffy and grey and sleepy. Grateful. We snuggle on the couch reading stories of mice with big ears and big courageous hearts and then we snuggle some more. Bedtime, hugs, ‘your special kisses, mom, and then I’ll give you mine…’ A nightly ritual that brings sparkles from many days of love and brightness into all the nights that threaten to be too dark. Not now, not yet, not ever?…

Goodnight, sleep tight, wake up bright… Two boys with bright eyes and big smiles learned a lot today, I did too; they’ve grown so much and so have I. More tomorrow, again and again… one step, two steps, can never take two at the same time. Just as long as you know where you’re going… When you forget, I’ll remind you both. Of a day, of tears, of smiles, of a day so bright and a night so soft… Goodnight

Night and Snow and Frozen. Again…

SidewaysIt was snowing sideways in icy sharp arrows. You had to blink often or get stung in the eyes. Muffled sounds, signs of life far away, stacks prolonged in smoky tongues meeting with low-hanging clouds, cars that stop short, afraid of white and dark combined.

We walked to the park, dragging purple sleds, snow-filled boots… wait, already? 

The park snoozes under thick snow. More coming. We’re wrapped up in snowflakes and tumbles – wild boys, and fragmented thoughts of a long day – mama.

We made it here late, borderline bedtime, but it had to happen… I guiltily wanted tired children and droopy eyes so I said yes to pleads of sledding. 

‘Mom, he doesn’t want to play my game…’

‘Because you put snow in my mouth, that’s why!’

The tumultuous world of boys, laughter and fighting landing in a pile of arms and legs and there’s no time to scold because things are patched up by the time I get there.

‘Wanna do double sleds?’ There’s no stopping them or entering their world. When big people do so, they have to leave all big-world thoughts behind, sublime and conditional at the same time. And worth it… But now it’s all tangled up, thoughts and worries and changes ahead.

Lost boysI envy their irreverent fun, all the ‘so what if that’s not allowed I’ll try it anyway and taste the no up-close,’ they do that with each other, testing boundaries, testing patience and saying I did not mean to.

I want them like that, free to tumble. Free to laugh and say no, and ask for endless sled rides down icy hills, past bedtime and deeply immersed in being children, boys lost in precious childhood.

SleepySnowfall thickens, all plushy and white. There’s sleepy branches on the ground, buried and beautifully quiet, a row of swings, gently whipped by sideways thick plushy snowfall…Swings

Time for bed, we trail home, purple sleds and wet mitts and snowy hats.

Snuggle in bed… remember to be grateful, what are you grateful for… We say prayers for all whom we love, for all who cannot hear us and for all who need one tonight.

Then again, the hardest question pops up and my eyes become squished lines…’Mom, can I be stuck at being seven forever?’

Head full of soft, long hair, smelling sweet, trying to imprint the smell in every part of my brain. To remember…

No, you can’t ask that… Because I want it too much too… But I don’t say it.

‘No you cannot, I wish you could… but you can save some of that forever in your heart…’

‘I don’t want to grow up…’ he snuggles close, maybe it’ll happen?

I feel ashamed for all the times I said the same, not an ounce of grown-up me seeping into that absurd request…I don’t want that either… Be joyful, never be afraid of life. I want to say it but I don’t. One day I will…

Snuggle some more, ruffled long hair against pillows and stuffed otter, smelling sweet… here to stay, mine…

Good night, sleep tight…

But my wishes for sleepy droopy eyelids do not come true. I leave the room with a trail of sounds and whines… There’s itchy noses, itchy elbows and that itchy spot behind the knees and all the noises a nose can make the nose makes them, so annoying, and the comforter is too hot… what a silly name for something that annoys him so…

Two wild boys, one already slipping into growing up, still hugging and wide-eyed, one clinging to every bit of sweetness that he himself brings about… Nighttime whines included.

Snowfall stops, house is quiet… Late night, no more clinging, itchiness gone, boundaries back in place until tomorrow when they’ll be pushed again… And again.

Never stop… never grow up… My eyes will be wide open tonight, no droopiness until I say out loud what I am grateful for. Again. To know, to never give in to rushing them… I promise. To make every itchy knee count.

To listen, to love, to hug… A promise…



Of Bees and Life. A Story of Boundaries

GreyThe day starts foggy and grey. You don’t feel like stopping by the farmer’s market but how about the people selling goodness by the pound, or jar or bagful? They woke up to the same fog, the same heavy sky and they showed up. So you have no excuse.

Buy potatoes from the South American lady. She always smiles. Everything she sells, from eggs to potatoes to pies, has the same roundness as her words. Some accents are that mellow and warm on a day like today. Colorful beans, two-pound bag, too colorful to miss. Fall and earth colors. To eat.

Then parsley, both root and green bushy stalks. You shake hands with unknown gardens when you hold up a bunch. The lady says they’re good, you can make a parsley puff. How? Here’s how, she tells you. You say why not. Change is good. Challenge for little people’s taste buds.

Then the honey table. You have to buy a jar. Good, golden, thick, local. You must. The lady sells jars of golden and fragrant bee’s wax.

There’s someone else there, an elderly gentleman you’ve never met. You know, he says, we were just talking, the bees had it tough this year. The wasps were vicious, attacking bees, killing entire hives. You frown. How unfair. On top of everything else that tangles their invisible dance lines, you think.

It’s like that, the honey lady explains. A somewhat cyclic sorrowful bee event; the wasps sneak in and kill. Won’t waste a drop of golden honey ever, you promise yourself. Such hard work and danger. The bees who made this honey faced peril. They prevailed. Seven dollars a jar.

You buy a basket of tomatoes from the elderly Italian farmer you always buy from. “Last ones, eh…very sweet.” A thick bunch of chard on top, and not enough arms to hold them all. He laughs, you laugh. Like a good grandpa, he helps. He holds a big bag to fit them all in. “There you go, you cook a good dinner, eh?…” He chuckles, you smile. “See you on Saturday!” He’ll be there and you’ll buy tomatoes again, and eggs. They’re always fresh.

The afternoon passes with more grey to chew on, to walk on, to breathe in. You walk with the friend who challenges you to keep your voice above the humming of everyday life, to not give up. Walk under yellow-leaf trees, sit on pink benches, celebrate life once again. “Look, an ice cream sky!” Sunset sky, scoops of kindness. Being alive is never a lesson in grace, but you knew that.

Later, as you cook dinner, you think of the bees. The jar of golden on the counter, all that work… The bees had it tough this year... The wasps go inside the hive through the opening, you remember the lady saying. Hmm, just like words and facts of life you find aggressive and mean. Scary. They find openings, they get in. They hurt thoughts, hopes, they raise fear, trying to kill dreams… Life is full of analogies, you know that. You need boundaries to survive and to thrive. You find them, again.

Because not all the bees have to die, the lady told you today. You make the hive opening smaller, so it’s gets tricky for the wasps. Boundaries…

It’s no small feat, you know that. To set boundaries that is.

You’ll never be infallible but you’ll be better protected. Your thoughts, like bees, in their home of sweetness. Afraid at times, but alive. Daring again tomorrow. And then again. Alive is a gift. Days blossoming into joy, golden and ripe, reminders of past seasons, celebrating today’s bounty and the reality of all that we are: sweetness to taste, hard work, dancing over sunny fields, fear of dying, fear of all that could hurt, courage to go out and do it again. Daring, because of the sky, the fields, the swaying trees and all the rainbows you could never see unless you fly free.

Parsley puff for dinner. The kids have learned to say “not my favorite but I’ll eat some” when dinner has too many shades of green and earthy flavors. Dinner, laughing, some food-bursting-out-of-your-mouth toilet jokes (how rude and necessary!), day falling asleep on the table…

Bedtime soon. Be grateful. You’ve learned a lot today.

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