“If I should have a daughter…“Instead of “Mom”, she’s gonna call me “Point B.” Because that way, she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me. And I’m going to paint the solar system on the back of her hands so that she has to learn the entire universe before she can say “Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.” She’s gonna learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air. There is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by band-aids or poetry, so the first time she realizes that Wonder-woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself. Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal. Believe me, I’ve tried. And “Baby,” I’ll tell her “don’t keep your nose up in the air like that, I know that trick, you’re just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him. Or else, find the boy who lit the fire in the first place to see if you can change him.” But I know that she will anyway, so instead I’ll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rain boats nearby, ‘cause there is no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix. Okay, there’s a few heartbreaks chocolate can’t fix. But that’s what the rain boots are for, because rain will wash away everything if you let it. I want her to see the world through the underside of a glass bottom boat, to look through a magnifying glass at the galaxies that exist on the pin point of a human mind. Because that’s how my mom taught me. That there’ll be days like this, “There’ll be days like this my momma said” when you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises. When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you wanna save are the ones standing on your cape. When your boots will fill with rain and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment and those are the very days you have all the more reason to say “thank you,” ‘cause there is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it’s sent away. You will put the “wind” in win some lose some, you will put the “star” in starting over and over, and no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life. And yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting I am pretty damn naive but I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it. “Baby,” I’ll tell her “remember your mama is a worrier but your papa is a warrior and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more.” Remember that good things come in threes and so do bad things and always apologize when you’ve done something wrong but don’t you ever apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining. Your voice is small but don’t ever stop singing and when they finally hand you heartbreak, slip hatred and war under your doorstep and hand you hand-outs on street corners of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother.”
When do you find time to pray? For me, it is often quick snatches as I run through my day. Prayers are desperate pleas of help me, help me. This new life altered my life in a myriad of ways – both good and not so great. In my past incarnations, prayer, exercise and rest were integral pieces of my sanity. Now these elements are snatched out of time as I dash about in frenzied activity. So I grab moments of prayer when I stare at the ocean, glimpse another gorgeous sunset and as I slowly come to consciousness in the early morning. Help me see, I pray just help me see. Let me see truth, let me see hope, let me breath light, let me remember the gifts. I will pray that for you too.
We are told that people stay in love because of chemistry, or because they remain intrigued with each other, because of many kindnesses, because of luck. But part of it has got to be forgiveness and gratefulness.
Have you experienced these women and their art? At some point their story moved through the cultural hodge podge of our media world but I couldn’t say exactly when. I heard the story but did not expect to experience the quilts first hand. Serendipitously, 40 of the quilts were on display at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art. On Thursday evenings admission is free so Robb and I walked right in. We were rewarded by art that shimmered with soul. Art as a strict definition is elusive. One person’s art is another’s person uh? This truth was brought home on our recent interaction with Art Basel in Miami. But these quilts I experienced as art as difficult as it is to adequately define what that is. A community of persons who chose to painstakingly create, that which is beautiful in the face of darkness. They utilized materials worn by persons who toiled the dry parched earth for sustenance. Their art kept them warm in the winter and comforted their souls. Critics laud the artists and their quilts but critics laud all sorts of things I find baffling. But these quilts hummed with the soul of creation and my understanding of art is enriched through their prism. What a treat.