Soul Sparks

 

Joy

 

This month. Hmm.

 

I was going to start this post with dark thoughts. Thoughts about all but giving up on my country. Thoughts about being ashamed of people who’ve chosen to forfeit their moral compasses. Thoughts about the fear of where America is headed. But then I switched gears and read some things on the interwebz, watched a few videos and chose a different mood for myself.

 

Erica Buist had this to say on her insta-account: “Why not just ban guns and when people are upset about it, just send them thoughts and prayers? If ‘thoughts and prayers’ are good enough for people who’ve lost their families then it’s good enough for people who’ve lost their guns.” Ms. Buist has spoken truth to power here. She is also a bad-ass.

 

Scott-Dani Pappalardo posted a video of himself destroying an AR-15 rifle. Not only is Mr. Pappalardo a registered gun owner and proponent of the 2nd amendment, he is also someone possessing decency and common sense.

 

And then there are the kids. God bless the kids! Too many children in this country have been lost to gun violence. Too many survivors have witnessed it up-close. Thank all the gods, the kids are now making their voices heard. On March 24th, there will be an organized show of common-sense, can’t-wait-another-moment support for gun control. The “March For Our Lives” is planned to take place in Washington DC and in cities across the country. (I’ve even read about marches around the globe. Fingers crossed and thanks to those who haven’t given up on us here in the US! We need your support!) As many have pointed out, these young people may be mere teenagers now, but a lot of them will be old enough to vote in 2020. (I’m counting on these kids to register to vote and then to actually do it!) Every single politician who has accepted dirty NRA contributions should be scared as hell. If you look at this single issue, it’s incredibly easy to discern which elected officials are with us and which are against us. At the rate we’re being murdered in this country, there is no time to be wasted when it comes to gun control. And any politician who tries to talk his way out of this one doesn’t deserve another chance.

 

So. This month. I’m hanging in there. I’m trying to grab on to hope, where I can, when I can. It ain’t easy. And I don’t always win my personal battles. Some days I feel nearly broken and struggle to find even a shred of joy. But I still believe there are more decent folks than not. And the spark in my soul is still glimmering. Every little bit of positive momentum helps. Every time someone chooses to be an honorable human, I find myself exhaling into love.

 

We’ve lost a lot here in the States. There may be more pain ahead. More struggle. But I’m not giving up. Nor should you. Those of us who’ve held on to our decency will continue to show up for one another. Personally, I’m looking forward to celebrating my birthday with the “March For Our Lives.” Supporting others whose soul sparks continue to glimmer is going to be an honor. Hope I see you out there.

Thursday Memories

 

 

I drove past a high school the other day and saw a sign out front that read “Welcome Class of 2020.” My brain hole immediately flashed back to my own high school graduation. I was a good kid, with a good heart. But such a kid, just the same.

 

And then I thought about all those high school freshmen, who will be graduating in 2020, and wondered how many of their commencement speeches will focus on some aspect of Vision (their graduating year being 20-20 and all). I’m guessing every last one of them, is how many.

 

Hope they’ll be good kids. With good hearts. Kids, though they are, just the same.

Please Don’t Call Me “Child-Less”

 

 

I don’t know how many of you are following British politics, and really, in America, why would you? We’ve got a homegrown freak show going on in our front yard. But I digress… British politics. For those not keeping track, the Brits are about to get a new Prime Minister (PM). I won’t go into the party battles between Labour and Tories – which are fascinating by the way, as the to-be PM is (at this point) unopposed and will therefore simply become the new Prime Minister – because that’s not my point. My point is this: Why is current British Home Secretary Theresa May (the soon-to-be PM) being called “childless” when described by the press? It irks me, and so I feel a need to once again cover this familiar terrain, if only for myself.

 

Most folks I know have children. Not all, mind you, but it’s fair to say the majority of my friends are parents. And that’s great. Generally speaking. I actually like most of my friends’s kids. Not all. I don’t want to be a liar or anything. I mean, some kids I’ve met are the spawn of Satan. Them babies’ mamas aren’t named Rosemary, but still. Spawn. Of. Satan. But I digress – again.

 

Of the folks I know who are not parents, a select few wish they were. Those souls, bless them, have feelings of lack and regret. Which is not to say they wear it on their sleeves or anything, but when the time has allowed, their feelings of empty pain have been shared and expressed. And that is heartbreaking. Truly.

 

And then there are the other non-parents. Folks like Mister and me. We feel not one iota of regret over choosing to avoid children. In fact, we regularly toast the fact that we are non-parents. I’m serious. We get downright giddy over the fact that we dodged that bullet. And that’s with first-hand knowledge of kids we like! We didn’t want children. Let me say that again. We didn’t want children. We made a choice. And we are slap-happy about it. We can adore your little darlings and hang out with them and watch them grow up and be tickled pink over their accomplishments in life. We can empathize with your love for and devotion to your kids (which is exactly how you should feel). And we are still grateful we don’t have children.

 

Now. This is my point. (Finally.) Can we please stop calling non-parents child-less? The “less” half of the word implies lack. And I assure you, as a non-parent, I do not feel lack on this point. In fact, we refer to ourselves as being child-free. Which is exactly how we feel. Free! For us, it’s fabulous and smile-inducing and, did I already say fabulous? Because it is. And if anyone out there is thinking, “Mikki – perhaps thou doth protest too much,” well, you’re just wrong. As I type this, I’m grinning from ear-to-ear and I feel bubbly. Bubbly, y’all. I feel this way because our choice to be child-free is completely congruent with who we are. Honestly, I’m really proud of us for being true to ourselves and not caving to common culture. That choice may have been right for you, but it would have been all wrong for us. Don’t believe me? Unfortunately, there are folks out there who did not want to be parents and now are. And when you know someone wearing those shoes, it is pitiful. For the parent and for the child.

 

But back to the soon-to-be British Prime Minister. I don’t know Theresa May. I have no idea how she feels about her personal choices in life. That’s her shit to work out. But until we hear otherwise, how about we not label her with a negative? If she expresses feelings of lack on the home front, okay. Maybe then we can call her child-less. Maybe she does feel that sense of less. Then again, maybe she doesn’t. Maybe Ms. May is doing just fine in life. Maybe she feels free. Maybe her heart and soul are full and content. Maybe, when if she thinks about being child-free, she grins from ear-to-ear and finds herself feeling bubbly.

 

How about we label the non-parents of the world that way? Child-free. Speaking for myself, thank God almighty.

13 Years Ago: Someone Else’s Thursday Memories

 

 

This Thursday Memory isn’t my own. It’s a photo of our young friends Taylor and Kyli, from 13 years ago.

 

The reason I dug up this old pic is that I just saw these chicks last week and they’re practically grown. Which I don’t understand. I mean, how do the kids keep aging and yet I and my contemporaries stay the same? Is it going to take 40 years passing for me to look at my friends (and myself) and see a change? I wonder. Or maybe my failing eyesight is doing me a large by keeping a nice, friendly blur going wherever I look. Hmm.

 

It really is amazing to see kids grow up. Thank goodness – a whole lot of them are turning out to be awesome people. Taylor and Kyli certainly are.

Thursday Memories

 

 

In the middle of a heatwave here in Los Angeles, I thought I’d look back on one of the few times I was cool. I can say that with confidence because kids are cool. They just don’t know it. And they’re not supposed to know it really. They’re just supposed to be kids.

 

Dear Lord – hope I don’t die of the vapors…

Are You Ready For The Summer?

 

 

It’s the first day of Summer! It’s Rock Camp orientation day! It’s hotter than Satan’s butthole!

 

How about we all try to make this summer count, huh? How about we all try to grab a spark of what it felt like, as kids, to really be alive during the summer. I don’t mean all summer long, although if you can pull that off, I will bow to you and your awesomeness. No – I mean just once or twice. Maybe during a barbecue or an al fresco dinner. Or maybe during an afternoon session of shelling beans on a porch, or sipping lemonade in the shade.

 

It only takes a moment to really be present

I Don’t Know How They Do It

 

 

Yesterday Mister and I attended a birthday party for our 2-year-old friend, Ben. It took place in a beautiful park on a warm, sunny day.

 

That last bit is a lie. For though it was indeed a beautiful park, it was also overcast and cold, friends. The skies looked threatening the entire time we were there, and the cold dragged my core temperature down to a place that left me shivering and wondering how many hours it would take to regain my body’s comfort setting. But I digress…

 

So there we were, in a lovely park, surrounded by friends and their kids. And at some point I realized I didn’t have it in me to go on the nature walk with the whole gang. It wasn’t that I was too weak or tired, it was simply that I don’t really know how to deal with little kids. I can handle one at a time, easy-peasy. But in a group? Not so much. And those little nuggets were in herd-mentality mode. If one wanted to run circles around trees, they all did. If one decided to climb a step-ladder at the edge of the picnic area, a queue ensued. If one enjoyed plopping down on his diaper-padded bum, they all plopped. And did I mention their seemingly endless energy? No? Well it’s freaking mesmerizing, y’all. There were a few times flies flew in my open mouth, as watching the kids was a jaw-dropping experience. The more they ran, the more they wanted to run. The more they chased bubbles, the more they wanted to chase bubbles. Honestly, I do not understand their energy, as my own body behaves in a completely opposite manner when it comes to activity. If I accidentally run, I absolutely do not wish to run more. If I chase bubbles, they’re usually in a fluted glass and after downing them I simply do not chase anything else.

 

Anyhoo – the kids were all happy as could be, in good moods, and they were darling. (Really!) And the birthday boy, Ben, was about the cutest thing ever. Watching him was precious. We happen to adore that kid, and being part of his life is a blessing. Observing him as he grows is a treat. And he’s a cool kid, so it’s also fun.

 

I get all that. I get that I’m privileged to know this child and that I will likely know him – always. What I don’t get is how his parents (and all parents, really) do it. How do they keep their energy reserves filled in order to parent the kids? How do they herd those cats and feed them and bathe them and read them stories and teach them and love them and not pass out mid-random-afternoon? I was just watching the little scamps run around for a couple of hours and I was exhausted.

 

Here’s what I know. I am not childless. I am child-free. And I thank God for that one, y’all. I’ll leave the child-rearing to the professionals, thank-you-very-much. So to all my friends with kids: kudos! Great job! Way to go!

 

Heaven knows – better you than me.

Young Americans

 

 

This weekend I attended a reading of essays about coming to America. The writers of these essays were 10 and 11-year-olds who attend The Wise School in Los Angeles. Their works were part of an American History competition for kids. All the children presenting were rewarded with certificates and scholarships.

 

As a child-free person, I don’t spend a lot of time with kids (outside of Rock Camp each summer). So watching these little nuggets delivering their essays was sweet. They were so tiny in stature! And yet so confident. I truly enjoyed their creativity, too. It was cool to hear each child’s version of what immigrating to America’s Ellis Island looked like a century ago. A couple of the kids actually wove interesting tales.

 

After the kids and their families had left the meeting, we were told how one of the children had intentionally left his essay at home, thinking that little “oops” would mean he wouldn’t have to read his essay aloud. God love his mama, y’all, because that woman pulled her son’s essay/document up on her phone and forced him to read from there. I laughed so hard when I heard this. And really loved the mom for not giving her son a pass.

 

Another thing we learned was how the majority of the kids we saw were 1st generation Americans. As their parents were immigrants to the United States, it was through their children’s essay project that the parents themselves learned a bit about American history. It was kind of a beautiful thing – modern-day immigrants learning about earlier immigrants. About our collective history. After all – with very few exceptions, most all of us are in this country because of  the brave souls who came to America hundreds of years ago. Souls who got on ships, with no idea what might happen or where they were going. But they toughed it out. For a Dream. For Hope. Seeing kids keeping that history alive through learning about it was special.

 

Those Young Americans made for a lovely Saturday morning in Hollywood. All in all it was fairly grand.

Naughty or Nice?

 

 

I’ve been mostly nice this year, though a fair amount of naughty was sprinkled about. If I’m honest, that’s probably how most years go. I’d like to do better, but I am what I am.

 

Because I believe and – in my heart – know, I won’t wait up for Santa tonight. I’ll just snuggle under the covers, grateful to have a warm bed and a roof over my head. I’ll probably count my blessings before drifting off. Knowing me, my belly will be full and I’ll wear a smile there in the darkness. I like to think those little parts of my personality put me on the Nice List. And that Santa sees it.

 

Let me be clear about something here: I believe in Santa Claus. Maybe not in the way a child believes, but I believe just the same. It took me many adult years to get here. As a kid, I was a Santa junkie, like all the other children I knew. Then, when I was only 6 or 7, my uncle Scottie told me the most horrible story imaginable: Santa was fake. He told me how our parents get all the presents, then hide them before putting them beneath the Christmas tree each year. He even took me up into the attic of his house, to show me where all his gifts were stashed. As uncle Scottie was a couple of years older than I, he was an authority. And I believed him. Kid Christmas would never be the same.

 

I was devastated, but I kept it to myself. I had 2 younger sisters and I didn’t want them to find out about Santa. I didn’t want them to feel the heartbreak I was enduring. By the time they no longer believed in Santa, years had passed.

 

I never told on Scottie for enlightening me about Santa Claus. And to this day, I don’t blame him. He was a kid himself. Like me, he didn’t know any better. We just wanted to grow up. We thought we had to put aside childish things in order to make that happen. We thought a concrete understanding of life would bring maturity. We had no idea what we’d lose in letting go of our magical beliefs.

 

I am mostly grown now. I watch the children of friends as they marvel at December’s promise. I hear strangers admonishing their children out in the world, “You’d better be good or Santa won’t come to our house!” And I smile at all of it. For I believe in Santa Claus, too. And I believe in Magic. I believe – period. As an adult, I have regained the beauty and possibility of a child’s faith. And if that’s not Magic, I don’t know what is.

 

Itty Bitty Converse

 

 

What happens when 2 amazing musicians, 2 amazing people, have a kid? Itty bitty Converse happen.

 

And one of the coolest kids I’ve ever met. Word.