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Entries in family (23)

Friday
Sep182009

Upsy Daisy in the Bed of Roses

In a house not so far from this one, right over that hill, a peculiar little daisy lived in a small, but tidy garden.

This peculiar little daisy, whose name was Upsy, lived in a bed of roses.

The flowers to her right and to the left and even behind her had dark, tough stalks and velvety petals.  Petals of red, pink, yellow and even some pretty oranges enveloped Upsy's life.

These were the kind of colors that made you think of love, passion, and heartache.

Upsy, on the other hand, had a soft stem and bright white cottony petals that would bend and shiver when the wind blew too hard.  If you were to look at Upsy, you would only feel what most people feel when they look at a daisy: very happy.

And because she was a daisy, Upsy was very happy.  Mostly.

You see, since most daisies live in fields or gardens surrounded by other daisies, they are always thinking happy daisy thoughts and living happy daisy lives.  And because of this, most daisies never think the thoughts that Upsy thought.  But Upsy was special because she was a lone daisy in a bed of roses.

Sometimes, when the day waned, and the pinks, reds and oranges of the roses blended with the colors of the evening sun, Upsy would notice the white of her petals, the brightness of her face and the green of her stem.

She would wonder why she was different than all the flowers she had ever known.

She would wonder why the sky was blue and why the grass was green.

She would look at the House where The People lived and wonder what was inside.

She wondered quite a bit while the roses slept and since the roses never seemed to care about any of these things, Upsy would feel a little lonely when she wondered.  Yet wonder she did.

Still, Upsy was loved.

The roses around Upsy would whisper softly to her, We love you Upsy, you are our special daisy, we are so happy to have you here. This made Upsy feel happy and special.  In fact, she felt happier than most daisies ever feel because feeling special can make you very happy.

But many of you know that even feeling special will not make a daisy stop wondering when roses are asleep.

One day, Upsy heard a voice, “Since it’s my tea party,” a tinkling voice said, “I want to make the flower arrangement.”

Upsy was excited.  She knew this pretty dark eyed girl, she was one of The People.  If this girl took her into the House, Upsy might find out about what was inside, what made the grass green, or even why the sky was blue.

With all the might that any daisy has ever mustered, Upsy leaned forward eagerly, towards what she hoped would be answers and to what she knew was sure to be an adventure.

What are you doing, some of the roses whispered excitedly.  Don’t lean forward so much, she’ll pick you.

I want her to pick me.  I want to go, Upsy chirped.

Some of the roses were angry and thought Upsy was being silly.  Others thought that this must be some strange thing that daisies do and just watched.

Ignoring them all, Upsy leaned as much as she could.  And it worked.  The little girl’s dark eyes fell right on her.

“This one.  Only this one”  She said gently.

“Are you sure you want just the daisy,” the older woman asked, “it doesn’t really match the table setting, and I’m not sure it will fill the vase...”

“Yes, I’m sure,” her voice stated resolutely as she clasped Upsy's stem and tugged gently.

Then, Upsy felt the most curious thing happen.

Some of the roses who were angry with Upsy for wanting to leave clawed with their thorns in an attempt to keep her with them, Why aren’t you staying, they said, why don’t you like us?

But the ones who really loved her, the ones who wanted her to be happy more than anything, pushed her some more and they whispered, We never wondered about those things because maybe they are simply the things that daisies wonder about, but go and find your answers ... we trust you... we love you...

Those words made Upsy feel brave, so she pushed away from the ground as hard as she could.

Upsy quickly told the angry roses that she did like them, more than that she loved them, but she wanted to know, she needed to know why the sky was blue, why the grass was green and what exactly was inside that house.

Some of the angry roses stopped pulling and said they understood, others just gave up and a stubborn few continued to  pull.

But by that time, any pulling was simply too late, for even if Upsy had wanted to stay, she had already leaned forward towards the girl and the girl had already chosen her.

So, Upsy, clasped tightly in the hands of a pretty little dark eyed girl bounced away from her bed of roses towards new adventures and maybe even some answers.  And while she felt a little sad for the home she left behind, she knew that this felt right, too.

She felt happy and proud.

Proud because when her chance came, she had leaned forward.

Eagerly.
Sunday
Apr262009

Acknowledgments

I don't think anybody has the right to tell someone how they should feel.

I have probably seen my mother cry three times in my whole life.  I have never seen my father cry.  I haven't seen my brother cry since we were kids.

Me?  I cry all the time.  A commercial, reading a good blog post, a good book, watching a particularly beautiful sunset, and even while I'm praying.  I'm just naturally drawn to tears.

I'm also very expressive about the way that I feel.

I laugh when people ask me if I'm mad at them because... if I'm mad, you will know.

I grew up in a family of people who were very different from me.  My outbursts of emotion were awkward for them, I think.  Maybe they were feeling the same way inside, trying to push it down, and watching me made it harder for them.

Or maybe they were sociopaths.

"Why are you being so sensitive?"

"There's nothing to be so upset about."

And my personal favorite, "So and so is not worth it."

I understand that some people are not good with dealing with the discomfort of a seemingly negative human emotion.

I don't understand, though, what makes a person dismiss someone else's pain just because they can't identify with it.

That's why you'll never hear me say, "What's the big deal?" in that crappy tone that suggests that this really is not a big deal.

I think a much better response is, "Why?"  Or, if you know why, then "I can understand why..."

The number of people in my life that respond to me in that way are so few that it makes me sad.  Not for myself, but for humanity in general.

The knee jerk response to a sad or angry  individual is to make them stop.

I think we should leave that task of making it stop to medical professionals.

As friends, parents and spouses, our task, when faced with human emotion, is not to make it stop.

People don't realize that we can't make someone else's pain go away.  We can only help them calm down.  We can only help them feel safe enough to start fixing their own life.

We can only give them some acknowledgment.

And people deserve acknowledgment, you know.

We may not understand where they're coming from, or why they're so upset, but they deserve the respect that's implicit in an acknowledgment of their feelings.

That acknowledgment says, "I may not know where you're coming from or why you're so upset, but I believe that you have a good reason.  I believe you.  I believe that it is a big a deal."

(And, yes, I'm fine.)

(No, Tariq didn't do anything.)

(Out of the ordinary.)

(Kidding.)
Friday
Jul182008

Running on Empty

Did I mention that Tariq is training for a marathon?  Oh, well, he is.  And, frankly, I'm getting a little jealous of all the attention and admiring looks he's getting in our COI.

I mean, come on, it's running.  Like it's hard.  All you do is put one foot in front of another over and over again for an hour or two.
I spontaneously decided to start running today.  No plan, just decided.  I googled "running programs," and it turns out if you have never run before, you should walk five minutes at a moderate pace and then run for a minute at a light jog.  After a week, you increase to two minutes and so forth.

Like I said, is that supposed to be hard or something?

It went a little something like this.

1:15p.m. Google search took place

1:20p.m. I geared up for my first running outing since I was about five years old.  Oh, did I mention that it was 1:20p.m.? In the afternoon? In Florida?  Now, I'm no meteorologist or anything, but I'm pretty sure that the Florida sun is at its hottest at precisely 1:20p.m.

1:21 p.m. Moderate walking

1:25p.m. Break into a run.  Hey, this isn't so hard.

1:25 and 1/2 p.m. Could it be any hotter out here?!  Thank the Almighty I downloaded Van Morrison on my IPOD last night or I would have to do this and listen to "Pocket Full of Sunshine."

1:26p.m. I'm still alive and it is truly only by the grace of the Almighty.  Resume walking at moderate pace.

Oh, did I mention that I am pushing N. in one of those running strollers while I'm doing this?  I made sure to supply her with a Ziploc full of Teddy Grahams and a juice box so as to minimize any complaints of being hungry and thirsty.  The juice box and Teddy Grahams lasted about five minutes and now she's decided that she's training the Pakistani cricket team for their next match in India and she's yelling, "Faster, Mama, Faster!!"

1:50p.m.  I almost passed out three times before the end of the walk/run, but it's over.

I'm pretty sure that I saw my neighbor's lawn guy whip out his cell phone to call 9-1-1.

"Hello, 911?"

"Yes, sir, what is your emergency?"

"Umm, there's this Indian lady lying passed out on the lawn that I mow on Fridays."

"O.K., sir.  Is she Indian or Pakistani?"

"Umm, I'm not sure.  Is that important?"

"Well, a lot of people think it is.  Never mind, what was she doing before she passed out?"

"Running."

"Running?  Is she crazy?  It's 150,000 degrees outside.  What an idiot."

"Umm, 911?  Her daughter keeps yelling, 'faster, mama, faster.' What should I do?"

"Huh.  Do you have a juice box and Teddy Grahams handy?"
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