We Are Family


Feeling a bit like I’ve been shot through a wind tunnel or perhaps lived through an episode of the old Twilight Zone series, I am here in my office today. Hoping to catch up, but knowing better. My mind is spent. The last few days have been a rollercoaster ride.

Last Friday, I flew from my St. Louis home to attend my father’s wedding celebration in Phoenix. He was married on March 11, discovering 16 days later in a sterile Emergency Room that his bride’s body was riddled with cancer. Only a few hours earlier that day, I had called them both to wish them, “Happy Easter.”

My father and his wife, Eileen planned a wedding celebration before her diagnosis of cancer. Close family and friends had been invited. The room was reserved. Their favorite one-man-band was all set to play and sing, and the food was carefully chosen and ordered. Together, they decided the party was going to take place, regardless. It gave them hope, something to look forward to.  A goal in the future. Eileen had started treatment and was feeling pretty good. Things seemed optimistic going into the weekend of the party.

My father’s only living sibling flew in from Michigan to surprise him. My husband and I picked her up from the airport and arranged for her to stay with us at the same hotel. Upon landing in Phoenix there was a voicemail telling me that my father was on his way to ER with Eileen. And so, the rollercoaster ride began. Emotions ran high for everyone.

The next day, we were able to see my father and Eileen’s new little house for the very first time. She was resting in a chair near the patio. A card table and two chairs were placed near the open screen door. Sun was shining, cactuses were blooming and grasses were green in between desert coral sands. Their dog, a miniature collie never left Eileen side.

In the end, Eileen was too weak to attend her much-anticipated wedding celebration. My father came for a few minutes, just long enough to make a brief speech, thanking everyone for coming. He spoke for a minute or two before breaking down. This father of mine, the strongest man I’ve ever known.

And, so under the twinkling stars of an Arizona desert sky, a one-man-band played like an orchestra last Saturday night. Chicken and vegetables were served with pink, prime rib of beef. A beautiful rolling dessert cart passed, overflowing with white wedding cake, Bride and Groom decorated cake pops, together with pastel powdered sugar cookies placed in fluted paper tin cups.

For several hours, drinks colored of the desert filled fancy glasses and flowed freely while people danced under a golden moon before the last song of the evening was sung. Suddenly, every paver cemented on the patio dance floor was filled. People put their hands together high in the dark blue sky, clapping them in unison to, “We Are Family.”

*The next day, Eileen did feel rested enough to join everyone for a BBQ hosted by her daughter. Truly, a nice family gathering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birthdays with Daddy and the Mommies Behind Them


As a young girl, I remember my mother sewing me a special dress of flowered cotton just before my big day. She braided my long hair of dark blonde before tying ribbons to match near the bottom of each. Then a kiss on my pink cheek. Both, I think.

Ding-dong, the front doorbell rang. Mother made a huge production of who might be standing behind the honey colored, wooden door. I remember getting so excited until I jumped up and down in my patent leather, May Jane shoes. The bell rang again. Slowly, Mother opened the door. I clapped my hands. “Open it, open it,” I begged! My heart skipped a beat. Slowly, Mother turned the shiny brass of the round knob to open the door. It squeaked and swung inside to the right. It was Daddy! Daddy stood behind the honey colored, wooden door

I remember my father being all dressed up in his very best suit and tie, probably his only suit and tie. I was four or five years old at the time, with love spilling out of every pore. He smiled before coming inside. Within the two of his hands, he held a white box, the kind I had never seen before. Handing it to me, Mother helped the two of us open it. Inside was a corsage made of a single pink carnation accented with a beautiful satin bow. If I close my eyes tight, I can smell the sweet scent of it even now. Mother helped Daddy pin the corsage on my pretty new dress. I remember the pin was long and silver. At the end, it had a beautiful pearl of white. Seconds later, I learned my daddy was taking me on a date, just the two of us!

This soon became a birthday tradition for me. For several years, I pretended to be surprised when the doorbell rang at the sight of my father just before dinnertime. Every year he carried a flower corsage and fumbled with his fingers when he tried to pin it to my new dress. Mother rescued him from the shadows each and every year. My father was ever the gentleman, opening the car door for me, taking my arm when we went into a restaurant and helping to pick out magic music on the jukebox. I remember dancing atop his shoes in ruffled stockings on my feet……Afterward, we went to the famous Bay City, City Dairy where we gobbled hot fudge sundaes while sitting on red stools at their Formica counter.

In looking back those were treasured birthdays for me. Traditions created by my mother, no doubt. Oddly enough, I didn’t think of them yesterday which was my birthday. No, the memories flooded me today. Why? Because it’s my mother’s birthday. I’ve been thinking of her all day long. How selfless she was! It was always about my birthday, never about hers which fell the very next day. I suppose this is what all mother’s do.

Happy 80th Birthday, Mother. Thank you for who you were, for all you gave to me and others, and for the memories held deep within my heart. I love you yesterday, today and tomorrow.

pink corsage

 

Halloween Innocence


Trick-or-Treat for  Halloween

Costumed monsters or movie queens

Door to door to ring a bell

Heart is beating thumping well

Treats of sweet sinking bag

Stuffed inside so full of swag

Chocolate pretzels plus kids to tag

Distant sounds and spiderwebs

Pumpkin smiles and waxy teeth 

Peek inside then run and hide

Witch’s hat atop hair of red

Have no fear she is a dear

Biggest treat I’ve ever had

Jokes and smiles to send me off

Treasures emptied upon my floor

Sit and count them to the door

One or two gobbled whole

Brush my teeth and scrub my face

Pajama time another race

Tuck me in with story time

Lashes long now falling fine

Friendly ghosts are in my mind

Magic wishes and floating dreams

Oh what a Happy Halloween

Some photos courtesy of Google Chrome

 

 

 

 

 

Nature’s Fireworks


Fourth of July and I feel all of June has been lost…Much to weather and other conditions in life.  Still, it’s beautiful this morning.  The sky is clear and a rising sun is shining down upon me, warming the back of my neck ever so slightly.

Sigh….My beloved potted flower gardens have taken a beating.  Rain pounded the red bricks of my patio and all on top of it for most of June.  Petals of petunias are wounded.  Leaves have turned yellow and roots have risen to the top of pots.  Variegated ivy trails over sides of primary colored clay.  No longer are plants vibrant and full of life.  Their voices are weak and barely speak.  I’m afraid their days may be numbered.

I don’t ever remember the month of June being so soggy and wet.  Day after day it seemed to rain.  Rivers rose, roads closed, flooding ensued and everyone was forced to stay inside.  Even my favorite forest friends never ventured beneath their canopy of trees.  

Normally, June signals celebration.  Summer begins, school ends and voices of children begin to drift through wire screens of open windows.  How my heart aches for sounds of summer solstice!

Thankfully, there is no rain in sight today, not on this holiday.  Families are busy packing picnic baskets with favorite foods.  Coolers are being filled with ice and drinks.  Concerts will be heard in parks tonight while skies explode in sparkling colors all aglow.

As Independence Day is celebrated, I take pause to thank God for all that I have in life.  My treasured flowers may dry out, allowing new ones to sprout.  Or, perhaps beautiful blooms are flourishing elsewhere around me?

The world is full of fireworks if only we open our eyes to see….

What’s life without any move, on second birthday?


Get down on your knees and thank God, for Christmas gifts of life and breath this holiday.   “Thank You” to this special man for blessing us with courage through each word he ‘writes.’   A true gift to all of us.  Merry Christmas.

jamilzogheib, Flying Soul

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Dear friends,
My expectations in life were reduced to zero, the day I decided to undergo tracheotomy for continuous mechanical ventilation, without which I couldn’t spare life’s end. Every day since that moment seems like a new birth in life for me.
Today, it’s my second birthday, and I’d like to share with you the experience I had during these two years. I could put end to my life, but it would be a big mistake. Life is beautiful even with so dark conditions. There is always something to do and succeed in it; and I haven’t done badly.
In the first year, I’ve wrote two books: Ma vie, mon histoire and Conseils pratiques pour la santé des enfants.
In the second year, I’ve signed them via Skype, from my bed and because of my physical conditions, during the French book exhibition of Beirut at the end of October 2012…

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Carnival Day


Last year my husband and I held a Halloween carnival for children living in our neighborhood.  So much fun it was, we decided to repeat the affair.  Anticipation grew as fall leaves turned yellow and red within our trees.  It was that time of year again.  Soon, ghostly goblins and fairy princesses would come a-calling.  Of course, our grandchildren would be stopping by as well.  Little babes dressed in fantasy costumes would be letting their imaginations run away.

Our oldest grand-daughter, not yet three, spent that day with us.  Together, we baked ghostly cookies of sugared purple before she busied herself with Motherhood.  A doll under each arm plus two more stuffed in a pink seat.  A stroller of four feet pushed on maple floors before it was time to eat.

“Grandpa” had to wake our precious princess before the carnival began.  Out of bed she flew, like a hummingbird to sugar-water.  Upon entering our back yard, it was as if magic happened while she slept.  Chocolate cupcakes decorated in lavender fluted frosting sat under the umbrella table.  Games were strategically placed on the lawn waiting for children to play.  Near our tallest pine, a brightly colored pile of leaves was ready and waiting for kids to tumble in.

Soon children and parents from houses near-by began to arrive.  There were characters from Frozen, Mario and his friends from video games, and a darling girl proudly dressed in her very best dress.  She showed it off to me, even letting me touch it!  So soft it was, made of thin wale corduroy, black (of course) trimmed in holiday orange.

Shortly thereafter my grown children arrived, carrying costumed babies on shoulders.  Security was tight.  At six months old and smiling bright, there was a new sheriff in town.  Soon, a sweet cotton pumpkin toddled by.  All plump in bright orange wearing black tights with suede boots to match.  It was as if she escaped from our local pumpkin patch!

Moms from the neighborhood helped out, encouraging kids to play games, where each and every child won a prize…maybe two or three, or even more!  On the patio a giant black tub made of plastic was filled with prizes for all of them to see.  Carnival day is a bit of magic to last the whole year through.  Much more for me than any of the children.

As each one neared the tub to pick a prize, eyes would grow to saucer size.  What would you like?   Play dough, monster trucks or jewels of diamond pink to wear with your princess dress?  Try these skeleton gloves on for size.  Perfect for the cold of night.  They glow, you know!  Rubber dinosaurs or army men?  Glittery bracelets or Barbie stickers?  How about a pack of Halloween pencils with colorful erasers? Or maybe you’d like a sparkling magic wand?   Perhaps a puzzle for later play?

Splish-splash!  Sweet babies dunked chubby hands into tubs of water, grasping for swimming rubber ducks in their mother’s hopes of winning rattles, fuzzy caps or teething rings.  What a sight to see a baby grab a slippery duck!

Shaded In a corner, I painted lopsided pumpkins of yellow, red hearts or black kitty cats on cheeks of warm pink.  Girls with smiles of pearls gazed prettily in a hand-held mirror of blue.  It was the perfect day!

By far, the biggest “Hit” of the carnival was definitely my husband who drove his lawn tractor, shiny and green.  In the rear, a wagon was attached stuffed with straw and yellow hay.  Soft it was.  Kids could sit and sink right in.  And, yes, they surely did!!  Piling in and plopping down, they held tightly to the sides. Giggles and smiles, joyful glee.

Around and around the subdivision my husband wore a silly chicken hat atop his graying head.  An innocent child sat upon his lap.  More in the back.  Up and down straw flew all around.  Some landed on the ground and in the street.  Little hands up in the air helped it disappear.  A bright green machine trimmed in yellow drove through empty lots and up the curb where squeals were heard.

Carnival Day….The perfect one in every way.

Happy Halloween!

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