Saturday, February 9, 2013

My Mother Gave Her All to the World

My mother unconditionally loved and cared about everyone she met as well as people she did not directly know. She dedicated her life to teaching in the classroom and at home. In the past when I would take her out grocery shopping, it was not uncommon for preschoolers she taught to run up and hug her. Parents would call out to her. Even years after these kids grew up and went on to other schooling, they still ran up to hug her.

She always found the best in others, gave them the benefit of the doubt---unless you crossed her. Sweet as she was, my mom had very strong opinions and spoke her mind at all times. In these last days, it was frustrating to see her struggle to speak while her words were restricted by the machines that helped her breathe. She had so much she kept trying to say.

I was lucky enough to hear many lively stories from her childhood, such as folks making and drinking dandelion wine in their basements. She told these tales with a sprightly wink and smile. Her best stories often started off with her saying, "I really shouldn't be telling you this but . . . "

My mother shared kindness and joy from a heart of innocence and honesty. Her jokes were never at the expense of others but she would say things that made my eyes go wide. I would be in a heap of trouble if I divulged everything she said.

Sometimes I think my mom didn't get enough love back for all that she gave to the world. She was always more interested in helping others than looking out for her own self-interests. I am fortunate to have a mother who cared about guiding and shaping the lives of all children as if they were her own.

Whoever you may be, even though she did not know you, mother hopes you are surrounded by love and smiles.

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Flame and Bone

When I was made from fire
Poured into the tender vessel of caution
That keeps my smoke from rising
Quickly did I discover that apart from crisp drizzles or falling snow
The world chilled my touched
Walking the narrow cornered gap between girders and cut stone
One learns to tuck his shoulders in or risk
Jostling a neighbor passing by rapt with want
For a clear path without the distraction
Of another man's boiling eyes
The tip of a finger
That oldest of all weapons
Grown deadlier and pristine in its invention
Gathers a mote of a cinder on its bare flesh
And turns pondering how best to scratch the impious itch
Prying open the tender seam
Where the oil of thought dews
Offering a new wick to ignite
Squirming alive as a salamander of mischief
That yearns for a taste of air it is so ready to devour
The steam of breath betrays me
Before the glint of orange spreads
In popping bright waves
Eroding the fibers feeding it
Leaving naught but ash
As my shell of quietude falls away