What Matters


When I was tossing and turning in the middle of the night I managed to doze off and then there he was, standing in front of me was my grandfather.  He looked amazing, so healthy and well.  His skin was smooth and a glowing flesh tone.  He wore a navy blue button down shirt, short sleeved.  He had an easy smile, a peaceful facial expression and he came to tell me that none of my worries mattered.  I didn’t only hear this I actually felt it and I was so grateful to him for this message, so comforted to be with him in my dream.  When he gave me this message I had a vision of this life being made small into a little compartment that I could hold between my thumb and forefinger.  Inside of that little compartment was a lot of noise and chaos and from the outside it was just a small bubble.  Then he reached into his pocket and took out a crumpled zip lock bag.  He reached into the plastic baggie and took out a broken piece of white cracker like a piece of the ones that are given out at Holy Communion services in Christian churches, a broken piece of Eucharist.  My grandfather reached over and put that broken piece of a cracker into my mouth and I chewed down onto it and started crying in my dream until I woke myself up with real tears.  My grandfather passed away 17 years ago and I have not had a dream with him in it for many years.  When he was alive he always wore short sleeved button down shirts.  I miss him very much and I appreciated seeing him in a dream, for a few moments.

Moved To Tears


The last time I was moved to tears was a few nights ago when my son said “I love you,” to my husband.  These unsolicited “I love you’s” are maybe one of the best sounds on earth.  I got one about a week ago while in the living room with my son and I gave him a bear hug, feeling like my heart would burst from joy.  The “I love you’s” come out of nowhere and when you least expect it.  When my son did it to my husband, they were watching late night TV together.  My husband was using the opportunity to relax after a long day of work and dinner time chores.  My son was thrilled to be hanging out with his Dad.  I was sitting at the kitchen bar, tending to something on my laptop.  The only noise in our home was the sound of Tree Fu Tom (a Sprouts show for kids) and then from down the hall I heard my son’s little, happy voice say “I love you Dad,” followed by a pause.  Then I heard my husband’s moved voice say “Aw thank you son, I love you, too.”  I know my husband had a lump in his throat as he responded and I instantly got a lump in my throat, too.  My eyes welled up with tears and I felt the full force of the beautiful love shared by parents and children.  Having older children I am fully aware of how this love goes through different phases, evolving differently with each child.  When was the last time you were moved to tears? -smilingbug

Life and Relationships


I phoned my father and right at the start of the call he said “so listen to what is going on here.” I heard the excitement in his voice that I had heard other times, it’s awesome to me in a way that few things are.  My heart filled with joy and love for his happiness.  How many people in our lives can touch our heart in that way? And what makes it so with some and not so with others?  It takes me back to being a small child and it also makes me think of my children and how they view me.  Like a lot of people, my parents were larger than life to me when I was a kid.  Also like most people, by the time I was an adolescent I started to see them with their strengths and weaknesses.  As a grown person, I can admire and feel for them on many levels.  Meanwhile I think of my kids’ view of me.  It’s a foreign thing to imagine I’m viewed by my children the way my parents were viewed by me, being that I never feel like a grown up no matter how old I am.  I remember thinking that my parents looked the same in every old photo when I was a kid.  Even if they were ten years old in the photo it seemed the same grown parent I knew was staring back at me in that photo.  It’s been said that life is all about relationships and if you think about it, what would this life be without them? -smilingbug

She Loved Us & We Loved Her

Make up, looking in the mirror, is that me?
Children in black clothes, rushing, formal attire
Sad faces, serious faces
Where am I?
This is it, this is really it

Dad’s face, my face
How old are we?
I feel twelve, we look so much older
Many, many people
Friends, Strangers, stories

“To this day when something big happens in my life I wonder if she would be proud of me”
“I’m lucky enough to have been her god daughter”

“We had just met and she threw me a baby shower, at her home”
“She wrote a note to say she would miss him”

Shaking hands, hugging, smilng, crying
Faces that cause crying, words that cause laughter
We aren’t meant to stay here forever
It still hurts

Black dresses, black suits, driving rain
Ushers, ties, jackets
Kneeling down, crying
“I’m so sorry, I’ll see you right away when I go there”

Cars driving, how could this be?
Prayers, words, trembling voices
Loud organ music, suits, hugging, crying
A photo being handed around, brief smiles
A handkerchief, wrinkled and held tightly

“She loved us and we loved her”

People gathered, words, tears, laughs

“A second mother, an honorary grandmother”
A child speaks, then there are chuckles
I do not want to say goodbye to the casket
I touch it as it passes, want to stop it and hold on to it forever
Do not leave, please stay
But now it is carried away

Cold rain, mud and ice, umbrellas
Tightly crumpled handkerchief, like a child’s blankie
A crank lowers, flowers are removed
Staring at the casket, keeping my eyes on it
Maybe it will stay forever if I keep my eyes on it

It is too low to see
Silent Sobs, cries, tears
With God now, safely wrapped, cradled

“May the angels take you to paradise”
“Rest with God, rest in peace”

White table clothes, silver platters
Sliced beef, warm rolls
Framed photos, black and white memories
Wine, cocktail napkins, music

Somewhere over the rainbow 
Slide show flashing, a life of wonderful times
Talks, reconnecting, sharing
How they got the news, how we met
Who traveled from where, when we will see each other next

“Thank you for being who you are, she loved you so much”
“I got all of the updates, she loved those little boys so much”

The sun comes out, the circle of life goes on
“She would have loved this party,
Don’t you think?”

Gifts, …the power of giving


Tis the season to buy gifts.  I usually leave the gift giving for my children to our families since grandparents and relatives are eager to give them wonderful things and they don’t really need more from me.  This season we won’t spend the holidays with family and since my older kids are growing up, I felt ready to give them something big on their wish list.  I saw an efunny that said something like “America, where we get in line in the middle of the night to buy things the day after we gave thanks for the things we have.”   I never cared for Black Friday but I also never bought my kids an expensive electronic and this season (with no holiday travel on the calendar) I gave in to an Xbox for my son and similar special gifts for my daughters.  My son told me we could save $150 by going to buy it at 5AM.  Then my daughter told me Black Friday was on her bucket list.  (go figure!) So we did it.  There was no crowd, no lines where we live.  As I looked around I recognized the experienced Black Friday-ers who had the eye of the tiger and asked sales associates for certain discounts.  As for us, we were newbees, looking around for what we could get on sale but in reality we bought what we had come for and we left.  It was still dark when we walked into the parking lot feeling like consumer warriors– being at Target at 5am. -smilingbug

Give Thanks


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day.  I am so happy to be home with my family, not running out the door, not rushing to the bus or practice or lessons.  This is it, this is the best.  Free time with my kids, sleeping in, hanging out together, making menus and arts and crafts, loving life.  The reality for three days… For them: fighting over who cooks what, arguing about the arts and crafts being in the way or the muffins not being browned enough, screaming because they don’t get to spend days at their friend’s house, throwing things at each other when they’re frustrated, being bored, being annoyed, not wanting family time, hitting, swinging, hollering, picking, bickering, critiquing, crying, sitting in front of the computer for hours, staring at their Iphones, banging on doors, slamming doors, whining, screaming, hurting.  For me: up at 5AM with my toddler, up at 6AM with my baby, up at 7AM with a headache, talking, punishing, coping, helping, explaining, refereeing, washing laundry, folding laundry, shopping, unloading, taking a hot shower, taking Advil, coloring my hair, sending them to their room, hugging them, loving them.  For both of us: growing, feeling, healing, loving, hugging, sharing, experiencing, making up, baking, decorating, making crafts, watching funny movies, getting excited about the holiday and the fun it brings.  But “Wow” and that is a Clare Dumphey silent “Wow.”  Today I heard a newscaster say “let us give, let us forgive, let us give thanks” while wrapping up a story.  I look outside of our window and see the beautiful pink sunset sky.  I look around my home and I see my family I adore.  I remember the sadness for people who are ill, the violence in Gaza, the suffering in hospitals, the real misery for people in bad situations around the world.  Then I remember what Gloria said when we were laughing our pants off watching Grown Ups last night:

”Life can be difficult sometimes, it gets bumpy. What with family and kids and things not going exactly like you planned. But that’s what makes it interesting. In life the first act is always exciting. The second act… that is where the depth comes in.”

So “let us give, let us forgive, let us give thanks.”  Thank you. -smilingbug