My youngest daughter, Elly, married this past weekend. A magnificent ceremony filled with so much love and consideration for all who attended, that my heart aches with pride, joy, and sadness.
Funny how all emotions swirl inside as we let go and see the newness, the fresh take on love and commitment. Family and friends encased the event with their special devotion to the couple.
I marvel how my children have launched into adulthood, become independent, and forged their own path. As I write, I’m waiting for the funny line to wow you, where I’ll make you laugh. But as I cast my thoughts back into memories, see the lines of growth, I’m struck by the power of love.
I write of memories, a selection of mental images, stories told, that have stuck. When I was growing up, my mother and father told us about their first date. I don’t recollect clearly why my mother was upset on the date, perhaps something spilled on her dress. My father asked her is she’d like a Good Humor, as the ice cream truck’s bell rang in the distance. She answered with an incredulous look, “How can I be in a good humor if my dress is ruined.” The miscommunication turned itself around to laughter. I believe my mom ordered a “nutty buddy” ice cream cone and their love for each other was sealed with humor.
During my daughter’s wedding ceremony, the pastor read the vows first to the groom and then to the bride. Elly, in her enthusiasm and joy couldn’t remember the lines to repeat. Her indomitable spirit prevailed and she simply stated, “I say yes to everything.” We listened and applauded her, knowing that she sees life with joyful innocence and takes the route of truth, over formality.
Since my teenage years I’ve contemplated the balance of independence and dependence. At seventeen, I left the fold, going to college, and then to Puerto Rico, where my independence met its match of adventure and the cultural significance of family. It is here that I began to understand the difference between independence and dependence. I was on my own, making my way financially and was responsible for all my decisions, right or wrong. I learned to bend my stubborn streak, as a new culture dictated customs, that I chose to follow. Not out of obedience but realizing that my way, wasn’t the only way. That a woman had an internal power.
I already stuck out as a gringa. I had to earn respect by how I treated men. My small bookstore, with model airplanes and radio control planes put me in a different league. I passed many a weekend on the airfield, flying planes, to learn part names. I worked together with the hobbyist to order. It was the very same men who used to taunt me, who came to my rescue, when a “flim-flam” con-artist scammed me of hundreds of dollars of radio control product. Word got out across the island. I lost the money but gained the friendships.
We forged an interdependence, an alliance where we each earned the respect of the other. I didn’t change the culture, the culture changed me. I realized that it was more important to develop a relationship, to find common ground, that to be independent.
I look at my granddaughters, who move from one family member to the next. They find the best in each person and make them feel special. At five and two years of age, they go boating, clamming, dancing, and love dressing up at weddings. They are stubborn in their ways, but always respectful. They still depend on others for basic needs and have already forged the bridge of interdependence.
Family and friends extend their reach to make occasions rich. I’m thrilled to see the groups of people of different backgrounds and lifestyles that pepper my daughter and son in-law’s life. I know her high-school friends, her college buddies, and now I’ve met her colleagues, her husband’s “cross-fit” network of support. Elly gains new friends through commitment, accountability, and silliness. She is her own person, willing to share.
I believe that life is a teeter-totter. As we grow into adulthood, we move from dependency to independence bridged with interdependence. The bridge combines the laughter, the misunderstanding, the effort to love. The balance is where my heart rests. Sometimes the process aches with joy.
This month as we celebrate the Fourth of July, Independence Day, for our country. I hope for that bridge of understanding mixed with some humor.
The Magic of Words
Thanks to Wordsmith.org and A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg, I have received for the last twelve years in my in-box a “word” with pronunciation, meaning, etymology, and usage. I must confess that the words eek into my brain and sometimes into my stories. Here are two words that struck me as noteworthy:
MEANING: verb.: To pledge, pawn, or mortgage.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin impignorare/impignerare (to pledge), from pignus (pledge, pawn, mortgage). Earliest documented use: 1639.
PRONUNCIATION: (CATS pu-JAH-muhz)
MEANING: Noun: Something or someone truly excellent
ETYMOLOGY: From cat + pajamas, from Hindi/Urdu pajama or payjama (loose-fitting trousers), from Persian pay (leg) + jama (garment). Earliest documented use: 1923.
NOTES: In the 1920s, in the US it was fashionable to coin terms on the pattern of x’s y (where x is an animal) to describe something cool or awesome. Some synonyms of today’s term are bee’s knees, dog’s bollocks, cat’s meow, and cat’s whiskers.
The bride’s smile was infectious, as if she wore the cat’s pajamas down the aisle. The entire wedding party impignorated to their spouses and partners to carry a dose of their joy into their relationships.
A hand reaches out for the nimble embrace of assurance
Soft palms encased by gnarled knuckles
The steady hold of existance
Bridges the lone ones
Until time unravels the tether
Letting go to another hand hold
Over the years, I’ve distilled my giving down to two main causes: Health and education. Without either a person doesn’t thrive.
Life is complicated and isn’t always as it appears. This past weekend, emergency ambulances were called to Rosario Resort on Orcas Island, where my daughter’s wedding occurred.
My son, a radiologist and his girlfriend, a nurse, were next door to a room where they heard garbled talk. The cleaning crew couldn’t get in. They found a 53-year-old woman lying on the floor, with a head injury and broken hip. Many of the guests at wedding were also in the medical profession and rallied until the EMTs arrived. Later a helicopter transport landed and took her to Harborview.
This is not only a huge thanks to the medical profession, for their quick response but a cautionary tale. What appeared as an accident turned out to be a more difficult situation.
If you know of anyone suffering from depression, isolated, or in a bad way. Please offer an ear to their concerns and encourage them to call the National Suicide Hot Line.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The efforts of the EMTs’ and the wonderful quests, saved someone’s life and may have offered a way to get help.
I was swamped by authors and self-publishers at The Chuckanut Writer’s Conference. Representing the Independent Book Publishers Association allowed me to share best standards for interior design and cover design of books entering in the market. The IBPA is the authors next step into the publishing world.
September 14th, I’ll be speaking at the Sumas Library. Stay tune for more information, time and subject matter.
Writing and Reading World
I’m on my way. Founding Stones now has a cover design that hints at the story within. My graphic designer, Sally Dunn, melded ideas and photos that captures the importance of stones, the bay waters, the rhythms of dance, the political intrigue of secrets, and the coming of age of two young adults as they find their place in a culturally different world.
Here is a synopsis from the back cover:
Trouble simmers in a small Pacific Northwest town when generations of secrets collide.
Hannah, the daughter of the largest berry farmer in the county, searches for her voice after her twin sister dies of cancer. She jumps into the controversy around immigrant workers at the farm, and naively causes further problems. Her boyfriend Luis, forced to live without his deported family, seeks his place within the American dream. His elderly friend Joseph, an undocumented immigrant from Russia, emerges from seclusion to confront an old vendetta and protect his organic cure for cancer from sinister forces.
Part coming of age, part political intrigue, Founding Stones questions what it means to be a citizen of the world.
Those interested in reading and reviewing before publication, send me an e-mail. Publication is slated for the first quarter of 2020.
Stay tuned for my next adventure. I’ve hired a narrator to transform my three novels in the Generation of Secret Series into Audible books. Recording starts in September.
Laura Kalpakian’s book, The Great Pretenders, surprised me as my best fiction read this year. Laura expertly writes in first person and seamlessly implants difficult history with a love story that is both believable and worthy of contemplation. Hollywood’s dark side is revealed as it takes it’s toll on the talented artists and nonconformist. Laura touches on what remains controversial in today’s world.
Inspiring thoughts from others, that move me to action. Here are two thoughts that caught my eye.
Guard within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness
~ George Sand [pen name of Amantine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin], novelist.
(July 1804 – 1876-)
The reward for conformity was that everyone liked you except yourself
~ Rita Mae Brown, writer. (B. 28 Nov 1944)
Get Abbe’s Ruminations straight to your inbox and only once a month!