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The armchair chalice

Allow me to paint a picture.  I am sitting in a cushy red chair with my feet up, gray UU hymnal in hand, reading glasses donned.  Mythankfulboy, 13, and his 7 year old cousin, M, kneel beside my chair, B with his chin on his folded arms on the arm of the chair and M with just his big, wide, eyes peeking over the arm.  He’s not sure what to expect.  My daddy, their grandfather and great grandfather, sits in the background, working a crossword puzzle but listening intently.  Our chalice is lit on the table beside the chair.  I read the following, from W.E.B. Du Bois:

“The prayer of our souls is a petition for persistence; not for the one good deed, or single thought, but deed on deed, and thought on thought, until day calling unto day shall make a life worth living.”

I paraphrase as I go so the little one understands, and he nods his head gravely as I speak to him.  When the reading is done, I ask for what they are thankful.  B says, “I’m thankful that my cousin, M., is here.”  M says, “I’m thankful that I’m B’s cousin.”  I say, “I’m thankful that everyone is here together, and that you both are in my life.”  Everyone nods, and we sit quietly a moment, B’s arm still around M.

Then M says, “Well, my momma told me to go to bed, and I gotta go!”, at which point he hopped off to bed.  Such sweetness.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Managing

Summer!  Finally – school is out!  Mythankfulboy is adjusting to being on his own for the first time – I think he’s finding it’s lonesome.  Last night, at our chalice lighting, he asked me to wake him before work and kiss him goodbye.  Twist my arm!  The end of the school year is nutty for us – my work schedule is changing and parts of it are heating up, spring and summer baseball overlap for  little while, there are events to attend and vacations for which to ready.  We can stretch a little thin, but we always do our evening ritual of gathering together and talking about what makes us grateful (and often about what does not), whether or not we manage to actually light the chalice.  Last night B was thankful for me for getting him ready to go to the beach with friends.  I was thankful he was allowing me to shout out from my bed things for him to get together instead of doing it with or for him!

This morning I woke him and kissed his forehead, told him not to forget to eat something of substance, to vacuum the living room chair and couch of dog hair (because he allowed the dog to sleep on both yesterday), and to remember that I love him.  He said, “Yup”, “Yup”, and “I think I can manage that”.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Potentialities

“Some day, men and women will rise, they will reach the mountain peak, they will meet big and strong and free, ready to receive, to partake, and to bask in the golden rays of love.  What fancy, what imagination, what poetic genius can foresee the potentialities of such a force in the life of men and women.”

Emma Goldman, #559 in the gray hymnal

This was our chalice reading tonight, Mythankfulboy and I, on this Memorial Day.  Tonight we were grateful to have been born to privilege of so many kinds, and for those who have protected us in our freedoms.  We tried to envision the “potentialities”, as Emma Goldman put it, of starting from a place of all people being safe and free and strong and able to soak up love and to begin from love.  We were also thankful for peach water ice on a hot day, and for time to move at a slower pace.  Blessed be.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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A happy child

Baseball season is in high gear – B is playing on two teams, which is the result of two seasons, spring and summer, overlapping.  Very different teams and coaching, to boot.  He seems okay with the running around and the transitions.  The hardest part is making sure the correct pants and practice or game jersey is clean.  There are worse things.

We’ve had a wonderful visit from Grandaddy and Nini, and they are planning a return next month, to which we’re looking forward.  There were too many “thankful for Grandaddy and Nini” nights to count – before they got here, while they were here, and after they left.  I do remember one night, though, when B said “I’m thankful for all the things Grandaddy is building, and for Nini for being awesome.”  He saw the look on my face and quickly added, “Not that Grandaddy isn’t awesome.  He’s awesome, too!”

We also had a fantastic “crew” weekend of just the boys and moms, or at least some of them, at the beach, thanks to one set of grandparents who own a beautiful beach house.  Best Mother’s Day ever.  Precious people, precious time.  10 boys getting along beautifully.  Even 2 Mother’s Day serenades (sweet, yes; also quirky, but that’s our boys).  B and I were thankful for the trip and the people for days on end, and I found myself just yesterday telling B, a little tearfully, that I was thankful that he gave me new friends I didn’t know I needed.

Tonight we studied for a math test, and, for once, it wasn’t all that hard to decipher what was being taught (thank heavens for the internet and smart people who like to talk about math). B picked it up easily once we did a little of it together.  This left time to cut up, resulting in tickling, pinching, and wrestling, and he sorta fell off a chair at one point (I barely tapped him!)  When we lit the chalice tonight, he said he was thankful for me for explaining math to him.  I said I was thankful for how much we laugh, which can even make math fun.  He was clearly not ready to settle down, and he started doing a sound-switch technique he borrowed from his friend O, which involves swapping the first sound in two words or two syllables, so that “math test” becomes “tath mest”.  Once he started, I couldn’t shut him off, so I eventually kissed him loudly on the forehead and shouted goodnight over his verbal antics and laughter, and he continued until I couldn’t hear him anymore.

It is a blessing to have a happy child.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Savoring

It’s been a while since I have sat down with the computer to record Mythankfulboy’s evening thoughts.  Baseball season hit and grandparents visited and I acquired pneumonia – sometimes life feels too big for quiet reflection.  Of course, that is probably precisely when it should be done.

For days and days of the period, B was thankful for his Grandaddy and Nini – my father and stepmother.  He was thankful for them before they arrived (because they were coming), while they were here (“For everything Grandaddy does for us and for how awesome Nini is.  I mean, Grandaddy is awesome, too….”), and after they’d gone (because we had such a great time and Grandaddy brought and built a cover for a generator for B’s pitching machine) and for the generator for my house and he took B bowling and, and, and…

Last night, around 10:30 (WAY too late for B to be going to bed on a school night), I flopped down on the side of his bed and said, “Honey, I am just plain thankful for you.  For everything about you.”  He smiled a knowing, but appreciative smile in the chalice light.  He said, “I’m thankful for you, too, and that we’re going to the beach with our friends this weekend.  It’s really nice that I can be with my friends and with you at the same time.”

13 years old, still wants to hang with his mom.  Still snuggles with his Nini, even when she falls asleep on his shoulder.  Savoring…

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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What if, one of these days…

Another bomb threat at my son’s school this afternoon.  A teacher friend pointed out to me that April 20th often evokes such threats, as it is the anniversary of Columbine, and Hitler’s birthday.  Mythankfulboy, tonight, said, “I hate these bomb threats!  They’re never real!”, which gave me a chill, because they feel like a big annoyance to him, when I am thinking, “I hate these bomb threats!  What if one, one of these days, is real?”

So, no baseball practice.  I gave him some time on the Xbox, then put him to work cleaning.  He moaned on and off for the first hour or so, then just did what was asked without apparent concern.  I thanked him at one point for just saying “Ok mom” and doing what was asked.  When we sat down for the chalice lighting, he said, “Thank you for helping.”  This seemed like a genuine statement, so I asked with what I had helped.  He said, “Everything around the house.”  I laughed; “Oh, you mean thanks for making you work when you didn’t want to?”  He said, “I guess – it came out funny, but I guess I meant thanks for making sure it all gets done.” I said, “Thank you for kicking in, too.”  After that the conversation turned to the state math testing they’re doing right now, and whether or not the bomb threat would keep him from school tomorrow (nope).  Then, in a moment of quiet, I said, “I’m thankful tonight that you and all your friends and teachers are safe.”  “Yeah”, he said.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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8

We had such a lovely weekend.  It was a found weekend, since it was originally scheduled and then, last minute, not scheduled.  I am quite sure I am a nicer person on a weekend such as this.

Friday night we attended a dear friend’s production of 8.  Here’s the description from Wikipedia:

8 (or 8 the Play) is an American play that portrays the closing arguments of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a federal trial that led to the overturn of Proposition 8 – an amendment eliminating rights of same-sex couples to marry in California. It was created by Dustin Lance Black in light of the court’s denial of a motion to release a video recording of the trial and to give the public a true account of what transpired in the courtroom.

The play is written in the style of verbatim theatre reenactment,  using transcripts from the trial, journalist records, and media interviews from the plaintiffs, defendants and proponents involved.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact, sponsors of the play, have licensed the play for readings nationwide on college campuses and in community theaters free of charge, as an educational tool.[3]

My friend took our kids and I met them there – it was very powerful, wonderfully done, and I was so glad that both Mythankfulboy and I had seen it.  There was a panel afterwards that included the judge who was sued by his own county for issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, and one of the women from one of the couples who received one of those first licences, as well as teachers and students from the school district’s GSA (Gay/Straight Alliance) and Aequalis clubs.  In the car, leaving, B said, “I needed to see that.”

Saturday we did baseballish stuff and B had a sleepover with The Crew.  Today we did odds and ends around the house, which included Xbox and a nap.  I don’t want to give the impression of being a delightfully balanced human – I took work to the baseball fields and worked today, too, but it was at a slightly lesser pace, I guess you could say.

Tonight, at the chalice lighting, we read the following covenant from the Gray UU hymnal, written by Reverend Walter Royal Jones, Jr.:

Mindful of truth ever exceeding our knowledge and community ever exceeding our practice,

reverently we covenant together, beginning with ourselves as we are,

to share the strength of integrity and the heritage of the spirit in the unending quest for wisdom and love.

and the heritage of the spirit in the unending quest for wisdom and love.

in the unending quest for wisdom and love.

When I finished reading, I asked if I could read it again for myself.  B said, “Please!”, acknowledging that he hadn’t caught all of it, either.  I read it again, interpreting each line in my own words, with B contributing.  We ended up with something like:

Knowing that there is more out there than we can know with our senses or wtih science

And more people than we can touch

we make a promise together (B held out his pinky for a pinky swear)

to start with our imperfect selves and to grow stronger in sharing a moral compass,

and to draw from the spirit of those who have gone before us,

in our search for Truth and Love.

When we finished interpreting, pinkies locked, B said “I do.”  I said, “May it be so.”

I asked B for was thankful tonight, and he said he was thankful that I took him to the baseball fields and worked there, where “most moms” would have just said he had to stay home.  While I don’t love the fact that he even thinks about work coming before him, I’m glad he sees the efforts I make.  I was thankful for 8, and the young (and not so young) faces in the play, on the panel, and in the crowd who are turning the tide of public opinion.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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