A Letter to Remember Love

A letter to my two-year old son:

Dear Luke,

This morning I dropped you off in your classroom at the daycare. You ran to your friend who has cerebral palsy. He’s a bit older but due to his disabilities he is in your class.

You hugged him and your face was covered by his facial excess from drooling and snot.

You backed away, “Ewwww!” You said and preceded to clean your face with the inside of your shirt.

Then you took the bottom of your shirt and reached to his face to clean his completely so you could return and give him a real tight hug.

You almost tipped him over, as two little guys clumsily tried to hold love in a balance.

I watched as his face dug into your forehead. You were so happy to see him, to hold him, to love him.

I sobbed making my way out of the classroom to then turn around and go kiss you. I whispered in your ear, “Thank you, baby boy, for showing me compassion.”

You smiled and let me go, waving as you returned to him. “Bye mama!”

I’m so proud of you. Thank you for teaching me how to love unconditionally in a way that exceeds any human expectation.

I cannot wait to witness the endless lessons you will provide for me and the world.

I love you every single day deeper than the previous one. I am blessed.

Mama – 9/13/19

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Marriage is Loving Work

I adore my husband.

He loves me.

Not in the way he says it. In the way he cares for our children. In the way he does things when he doesn’t know I’m watching. In the way he makes breakfast when he’s exhausted on a Saturday morning. Or the way he tells me to leave them with him so I can go run errands. In that he runs me a warm bath (and feeds the kids) because I’m in severe pain after work. In the way he tucks me in after he’s tucked our little girl. In the way he gets my favorite foods and drinks. He loves me in spite of my idiosyncrasies or woo-woo-ness. He loves me when I’m heavy or shed the weight. Whether I have red or purple hair. Even if I am a hot mess. He loves me because he found that my love for him will move mountains. He has felt my admiration and profound affection. He has seen what love looks like and it came dressed as a short-middle-aged Puerto Rican woman who doesn’t always speak perfect English (and she’s not Scarlet Johansson)!

Marriage isn’t perfect. We work at it. Some days more than others. Some months with anger, exhaustion, and annoyance. We forgive. We work at it when we are levelheaded, or when we allow space for other shit to surface. It’s not easy. It’s having a long term roommate. It is a constant work in progress. We continue to work through our baggages from past relationships. In all our years we’ve had maybe a handful of arguments. We are sarcastic and humorous. We both have sick killer wits. We are silly and loving. We compliment each other because huge opposites do attract. We can share deep conversations about the world and still not feel attacked with our differences. He’s a warrior and I’m a love-pacifist. But we both have similar beliefs.

He has become a father to children who aren’t ours. He has shown up to be the most attentive dad to them. He never (for one moment) has regretted it or wished it was different. And if there are more to take in I know he’s the first to grab a bag and go get them. There is a partnership with all of us in our home. It starts with commitment and working through so much of our human crap at times. Our egos sometimes take leadership but we are blessed to call each other on it even if we get butt hurt for a moment.

I never ever thought I would ever marry again or be in a committed relationship. It was not in my life goals or desires. I just wanted someone to be around and do things with, head to a movie, hike, and have fun. I got a lot more than that. He trusts my intuition and when I speak of our future together he rarely disputes on how the messages show up or how I am manifesting our next project.

And if I, or the kids, were in any kind of trouble, or someone messes with us, I feel sorry for that person. He’s not only our bodyguard… he’s a true galactic warrior at heart. He would do anything for us. I never had that before. I was never shown what true commitment looked like. I had nothing to model. My eldest son always says he is a man of chivalry and admires him for it.

So if you have this please do whatever it takes to keep it. Make sure you let the bad days come and go. Allow for them. They make for excellent lessons. Put down your insecurities (which is hard at times). Fight for what you love, who you love and what is yours. Love isn’t wrapped in perfection. It comes in the most fascinating and strangest of ways. This man saw something in me that I never saw in myself. And he continues to show me the many aspects of my personality through his perspective. I get to witness his own soul growing and expanding into a magical loving knight.

The Innocence of Pure Love

I was sitting outside with my classroom of babies. Next to me was my sweet volunteer grandmother who comes daily to help hold babies. She’s a bodacious gorgeous elderly black woman who has my heart stuck to hers. We watched a biracial child in the next playground crying. A sweet blonde little girl came and hugged her. Another black little girl hugged both of them. They are about 3 and 4 years old. They consoled one another in the most empathetic humanitarian way.

My gramma and I started to cry. We began to talk about compassion. She said to me, “Now you know if them babies’ parents were here they might not be so loving with each other!”

“Oh, sweetheart, I hope you are wrong. I know kids don’t see colors. They see love and kindness. And those little girls have grown up in homes that have taught them to reach out to others when they are hurting regardless of the color of their skin!”

She cleaned her tears. I cleaned mine as we continued watching three little girls hugging and moving around together.

“I hope these children light the way to our future generations.” I held her arm as I said it.

She put her head against mine, “Gurrllll! Me too. Change has to come. It has to happen. Cut all of us open and see that we the same inside. Same color runs through our bodies. There ain’t no difference of race.”

We must continue to teach love and acceptance to our children. I am witnessing new stories and experiences now. I’ve gone from stories of times behind us to stories in front of us. I’ve worked with the elderly population. I’ve been among those suffering with severe mental illness. I have had the privilege to see the worst and best in humanity. Now I’m reliving the beauty of innocence and how simply magical they see the world. All that’s common is the thread of love and compassion.

In the end all we want is love…to be accepted without judgment…and feel a sense of belonging.

Let It Go

Yesterday morning, as I was dropping this baby off at daycare he squeezed my cheeks in, looked into my eyes smiling, and said, “Mama, letttt itttt goooo!”

He’s not watched Frozen. Lol.

I was taken aback. I say this all the time when he’s holding something and I need to change him or get him in the car seat. But, as he said it I recognized this was coming from a little conscious soul-to-soul messenger. I had been struggling for a few days holding “stuff” inside.

His let-it-go message was clear. I put my head against his forehead as we do before saying goodbye and kissed him.

He’s such a special little boy. Being in his presence immediately brings anyone joy.

When a child gives you a message take it to heart. It’s coming from a deep conscious knowing.

Now you…yes, you…let it go and move on. I love you.

Love Notes to Humanity

Yesterday, before my boys left, we stopped at Barnes & Noble. It was crowded with the remains of Holiday folks. I waited by the magazines while the boys looked for their books. I remembered years ago when I moved to Asheville how that store was my saving grace. When the winter hit hard that year I was stuck up on the mountain and my only outlet was to come into town to the bookstore. I had been stripped of all monetary means. A friend and I bought an old motel that took everything I had. She went off to work for the winter and I was left with two teenagers and a deep isolation that pushed my soul into a spiritual awakening.

The mountain taught me invaluable lessons. The motel endorsed those experiences. At the time I didn’t recognize how priceless those obstacles would become. I learned to trust my intuition. I was snowed in more than I could ever imagined. I spent time without electricity and water. And I knew not one soul.

My outlet was coming into town once a week if I could make it down the roads. I packed a bunch of Post It notes and typed up letters. I would sit in a hidden corner of the store and write inspirational notes to put in books and magazines. In the mental health books I would leave “You are magnificent. You are here to make the world brighter.” In the glamour magazines, especially those for teenagers, I would leave something along the lines of “You are more beautiful than any photo shopped girl here. You are here to make a world a better place.” And on and on I would go around and just post the little love notes around the store. It filled me up with joy.

The letters I called, “Love Note from the Universe” I would fold and place in the windshield of cars in the parking lot. Those were longer. And deeper. I would watch from the second floor of the store as people would grab them. Some would open them up and read them, always checking around to see if they saw anyone. Many times they were thrown on the grown or crumbled up in their car.

I had the time to do these things. I have lost my way with busyness the last few years working full time, raising small children, taking care of lives (especially mine). They aren’t excuses. It’s just the way it’s been. It’s a different journey now, but yesterday I ached to start again doing those things that touched the core of me: going to the homeless shelter and having coffee; taking books to the VA Hospital; gathering stories from all walks of life. I ached for a moment so deeply for those simple acts of kindness that my chest felt like it cracked open. I gasped for a bit of air and recognized my soul’s call. I know it well!

This new year I plan on being more present with humanity. I vow to write Love Notes to Humanity and share all the stories from around my world. We are united by the act of connections, feeling acknowledged, listening, and knowing we are not alone on this journey.

The other day I was getting in my car from the supermarket. It was drizzling. An elderly couple was in front of my car. He held the umbrella and was trying to get his partner into the car. It was sweet to witness. I wondered at that moment how many years they had been together. He actually kissed the top of her fragile hand when she got in and closed her door, getting a bit wet then slowly dragging his feet to come around to the driver’s side. And without words, their story became mine. Love Notes for Humanity. Their actions became the driven force to go home and be gentler, more loving, and accepting of whatever was to come with all the buzzing from the holidays. A few times this week I have returned to that elderly couple in my memories. I smile thinking of their lives. And I am blessed to have them now become part of mine.

You are part of mine by just being here. Never, for one moment, do I take that for granted. I love you. May you also begin to collect and create love notes in your life from all of humanity. We need more of that!

On Being a Mother

My sons came home for the holidays. They always do regardless of where they are. I’m grateful for this. They are amazing men. They gave me the reason to mother them and so many others.

I was told from early on that the likelihood of me bearing children was minimal. The older I got the less the chances. So I showed the doctors that I don’t take no for an answer. I had Nelson at 20. Patrick at 22. Several miscarriages and lots of health issues didn’t stop me from bringing these two souls into this world.

We grew up together. I was a single mom for a long while with them. When I left their father he ran the opposite direction and never saw them again. We nurtured each other. We grew up learning the ins and outs of parenting.

These boys taught me unconditional love, patience, letting go, humor, and how to be a conscious soul through a very human experience. Their love for me and each other has been magical.

When I began adopting children they never complained. They opened up their hearts and shared their home with little strangers. My sons, not once, asked me to please stop. They never felt jealous or pushed aside. And even now with two little ones at home all I witness is unconditional love and tenderness. They are my heroes.

They go back home today. This mama heart is tender this morning. I will miss their pure intelligence and intellectual conversations. Their laughter. Their own banter that’s hysterical most of the time. I will miss their inspirational and motivational pep talks to me about how I need to be sharing more stories and creating a forum for the world to learn from One another. They are techie. I’m not and they show me this and that…sending loving thoughts while challenging me to think outside of my comfort zone.

My head starts to feel overwhelmed but they truly are looking out for my best interest.

You know when you recognize your job as a good parent? When your grown children want to come home and just be with you. I’ve done my best and they’ve exceeded any kind of desire I’ve had for them as adults. Happiness comes out in every laughter and tear. Every touch and hug reminds me that I’ve been so deeply blessed with love. True love without ever judging or criticizing my choices. And I have done the same for them.

Be gentle with your children. Allow them to do whatever they need to do in order to learn and evolve. It’s not our jobs to get in their way. Our only job is to be there to love. And love is all there is….

Don’t Judge an Act of Love

We got a call on May 28th, 2014, from the Department of Social Services. My granddaughter was going to be removed from my daughter. I had two hours to go get her.

I paused. Even though I suspected and intuitively knew it was going to happen there was still a shock factor to the words.

My husband, then fiancé, without hesitation said while I was quiet with the investigator, “Where do we go pick her up?”

A few hours later she was in our care. This was his first child. She was my seventh. Her mother had arrived at nine years of age from Romania into my care. She has mental disabilities, bipolar and a rainbow of other disorders that have caused mayhem throughout all the years I’ve loved her. And, oh my gosh, how deeply I love her. She continues to teach me on a high level of compassion.

So we picked my granddaughter up at the agency. We had nothing but a box of diapers and bottles. They handed me formula and a car seat. We ran to get a playpen. We had to get some extra clothing. At the time our finances were also super tight. I had my last child home who was graduating high school the following month and would be turning 18 in August.

People always make two comments to me that shake me up. I wonder how humanity has made it this far. First one is “Did you have another option than to take her in?” (This is asked many different ways).

Second one is “I don’t think I could do it.” (Sometimes this is implied as if we are some kind of heroes. We are not. We are humans)!

It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks because until the event shows up no one really knows how they will react.

It took two and a half years of waiting and fighting to adopt her. Finally on December 1st of 2016, she was ours.

My daughter got pregnant with her second child and I heard from a woman in her building who took my number down from borrowing her phone. My daughter at the time was four months into her pregnancy. I felt it. She’s in Florida and we are in North Carolina. I would hear from her periodically. Since she got pregnant I heard from her only twice and when she did call I would ask and she would lie.

Her baby was born in April of 2017. She was alone. She didn’t know who was the baby’s father. I called social services and begged them not to let her take the child home. It took 10 months for anyone to do something. By this time he had been terrorized by her new boyfriend, had gotten pregnant again with her third and finally the county removed him from her care.  We got the call two months after he was removed, right around the time he was to turn one years old.

I was asked by the social worker if we wanted him. I was completely torn. My husband and I were to leave to Peru for my 50th birthday the following week. The social worker told me it was a long shot. I went home and shared with my husband who immediately said he wanted the baby boy. Our little girl needed a sibling. I called the social worker and told her we would take him. It took another six months of fighting with the system to get him. It was excruciating and exhausting. And, once again, the comments began with folks who believe they have the answers. “Not again! You aren’t going to take on another one…?”

Yet, something had changed in my life from all my other adoptions. My circle of friends are supportive. They are tribal. They gathered together and helped make this a wonderful experience. For the first time after seven other children, I had a baby shower. I was shown support from many. The few who had negative comments weren’t in my immediate life anymore. I changed and, therefore, my circle changed.

I won’t tolerate negativity any longer!

Our hearts determine our lives. I don’t judge anyone for saving a child. I can’t. I have learned after eight of them that I am here to mother many. My husband is an incredible father. This is his first rodeo and I’m navigating the challenges and struggles, the love and sleepless nights, the snuggles and cuddles, the reward of seeing two more children saved from a horrific situation. As for my daughter, she will continue to do whatever she wants to do. She’s allowed to because the system is corrupt. She lost her third child (immediately that she was born) and the baby is thriving in a beautiful home.

We are made from love to give love away as much, as often, and as freely as possible.

Adoption is a personal choice. Taking kids into your home is a remarkable way of giving back to this world. It is not for everyone. It’s not easy and these children are traumatized. They need assistance and patience. I ask that when you hear someone talk about adopting, or fostering, you can save the judgment and recognize the magic that’s happening to those little souls. You get to shape your perception and your words carefully.

Our lives are all connected. Each one of us. How you act and react is felt through the waves of consciousness. So…let’s be love.  Let’s be examples for the new generations. Let’s live through acceptance and awareness. You don’t know what’s in store for you tomorrow. You just never know what curve ball will be heading your way.