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Multigenerational Mom Muses on Twin Toddlers & Twenty-Something Daughters

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prayers

Giving Thanks and Giving Gifts

This time of year – this week in particular – is my favorite time of all.  When the warm hues of Thanksgiving, the ambers and pumpkins and wines of the fall, begin to fuse with the rubies and emeralds and bright whites of winter. This week, my two favorite holidays meet and marry.  This week, everywhere I look, whether store front or home front or big screen TV, I see Thanksgiving and Christmas mixing and mingling in wild, jovial abandon. It’s a riotous party of flavors and jingles, snow men and smoked turkeys.

And amidst all the colorful, flavorful, frantic confusion, amidst planning for the sweet potato soufflé and shrimp and grits dressing, the pomegranate punch and cranberry bliss bars, my feverish excitement grinds quickly to a stop as I catch my newsfeed…

There are so many sad songs, near and far, both local and global, all incredibly personal and profoundly painful. And the holidays make the pain that much greater, the suffering that much stronger. There are so many lonely and broken souls.

I want to wrap up the world in a great big mama hug and serve it shrimp and grits dressing and warm pecan pie. I want to give slippers and smooches and soft flannel sheets. I want to soothe the suffering and swaddle the sad.

But I can’t. I’m not big enough. And it wouldn’t be enough.

And I want to fight the world’s evils with a wooden paddle and some feisty written word. Take aim at the evils with spirit and spunk and a good dose of mama rage. I want to call out the injustices and eradicate intolerance. I want to convert the callous and shame the shameless.

But I can’t. I’m not big enough. And it wouldn’t be enough.

I feel like the grouchy ladybug. None of us is ever big enough. We are never big enough to end the world’s suffering. To take away the pain and the loneliness and the fear and the sadness.

But I can love. I can love on those closest to me.

I can pour love and prayer into them — into my family, my friends, my students, my husband’s players. I can love them, and I can pray for them.

And I know sending love and prayers has become much maligned in recent years…

But I believe in the power of love and prayer. They are gifts that can move mountains, mend fences, heal heartbreak and soothe souls. They are the tender mercies that speak to and comfort the weary.

And those, plus food, they are my gifts. They are my gold, my frankincense, and my myrrh.

They are what I have to give.

I give my thanks, and I give my gifts.

 

A Wish is a Prayer Your Soul Makes

I love wishes. I’m a big believer. They are my favorite form of prayer — tiny little heart’s desires in a single sentence — sent out into the universe. They’re like a mantra. I wish the same one over and over until it is granted. And it very nearly always is.

And the universe gives so many occasions to speak our dreams and desires: on birthday candles and shooting stars, on eyelashes lost and pennies found, on coins in fountains, and wishbones in hand. They ride dandelion fluff and ladybug wings.

I learned their power and value way back when, on Sunday nights in front of the television while watching “The Wonderful World of Disney.” Tinkerbell would wave her wand and Cinderella’s castle would erupt in festive fireworks and Disney’s tinkling instrumental theme song would whisper the power of wishes… Jiminy Cricket’s “When You Wish Upon a Star,” Snow White’s “I’m Wishing,” and Cinderella’s “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.”

I was indoctrinated at an early age. And then my wishes merged with the evangelical movement of my childhood, and I latched onto the promise of “ask and ye shall receive,” “seek and ye shall find.” And I found myself a believer.

And I decided, if a dream is a wish your heart makes, then a wish is a prayer your soul makes…

And ever since, I’ve sent so many wishes out into the universe – a series of one-sentence mantras repeated until they come true.

And they usually do.

Mike and I came true. And so did the boys. And my girls. And their blessings. So many blessings. So many wonderful wishes have come, and are coming, true.

Yes, my track record is solid… but not undefeated.

There have been wishes I’ve repeated like mantras for months. For years. And they never seem to materialize.

Sometimes I think wishes are only granted for the Disney-type-desires. The tiara and taffeta kinds of wishes, the happily-ever-after, against-all-odds-imprisonment-and-sorcery kinds of dreams. Things that end in freedom and love. In new lives and sweet loves and new babies and fresh starts.

But the ones reserved for sickness… or, more specifically, cancer… those seem not to take as well. Those seem not to get answered. And I don’t really understand why.

Cancer sucks. That’s the meme; that’s the hashtag; that’s the absolute truth.

It sucks.

And its cells keep stubbornly replicating harder and faster than my wishes on lashes and ladybugs can fly. And it sucks the joy and the freedom and the energy out of my friends.

Cancer is an angry, aggressive, harsh vacuum. A black hole that targets the gentlest and most generous amongst us. And so very often in my life, it’s targeted women. Women who have nurtured and loved and saved and sacrificed. Grandmothers, mothers, teachers, and friends. My grandmother, my best friend’s mother, my two dear teacher friends. They’ve all battled or are battling cancer.

And my wishes all seem to fall flat. And make me question my faith.

Even my more traditional prayers –long and devout and completely dedicated to destroying the wide, gaping mouth-of-a-black-hole-on-Satan’s-backside that IS cancer — seem not to have the stamina to soar and succeed against this vile foe.

But there’s got to be a way to defeat it. There just has to be.

My physician daughter is currently doing cancer research. She is AIKA-deep in clinical trials and focus groups and data pulls and cross-discipline conferences. She is a part of an army of physicians all over the world who are currently spelunking Satan’s arsehole, searching for ways to destroy its ability to suck.

And I know this war has been waged for decades. But I know that we’ve got to be getting closer. We just have to be.

And then I think about all those wishes I’ve made. All the ones that HAVE come true. They’ve been positive ones. Focused on love and goals and abilities. They haven’t had any negative words, no Defeat or Destroy or Kill words. They house words like Help and Grow and Love and Learn.

And my evangelical childhood taught me that God helps those who help themselves.  And mankind is working hard to help themselves, my daughter included amongst them. We just need a little more time. Just a little more time to deactivate Satan’s anus, to ratchet down his rectum, to strip mine his sigmoid. To render his sphincter suction-less. The doctors are on this.

So I will refocus my prayers to positivity and light. If a dream is a wish your heart makes, and a wish is a prayer your soul makes, then I wish for Happily-Ever-Afters. No more “Defeat cancer” and “Destroy cancer.” Leave that to the doctors. Now my dandelion mantras and pennies-found prayers will be: “Help us find the way and the truth and the light. Help us find the cure.”

Over and over. And over. Amen.

 

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