Only If I Knew…

“I wish I was a boy, Grandma.”

“What makes you say that?”

“Boys don’t get their monthly thing and they don’t have to birth babies.”

I remember thinking the same thing. I also remember how unfair the world seemed, growing up in the era of Women’s Lib, recognizing the broad stroke of inequality.

I didn’t have any pat answer in the moment. After she left, I wished I’d said the things no one ever said to me:

Life is about choices. You don’t have to do anything.

All experience is valid.

We cannot know why we are born a certain way, but if we are patient and trusting, we will come to find purpose.

Everyone struggles; it is the nature of life. What we do with the struggle is what makes a difference.

Not all pain is physical. Enduring pain gives us strength.

The joy you will experience will far outweigh the pain.

It is easy to fear what we don’t understand; in time, your perspective will change.

Give life a chance.

(For Reena’s Exploration Challenge: If Only I Knew…)

A Child Glows

Child,
delightful youth,
my heart’s jewel,
you are light-bearer,
hope for the future –

antics haphazard,
laughter contagious,
spreading joy,
sparking imagination –

I pray that your spirit
remains joyously vibrant,
that reality dawns gently –
polishes the radiance
of your glow.

***

I wrote A Child Glows in November of 2018 in celebration of my granddaughters. I have edited here, slightly. Image from personal collection.

The focus this week was child/childhood. The topic elicited a wide range of responses and I have a feeling could serve as a prompt for a whole year without being exhausted.

Thanks to all who participated.

Proscenium
WANDERLUST AND WONDERMENT
radhikasreflection
Stuff and what if…
one letter UP
Sealing Wax Notes
Sgeoil
AWISEWOMANSJOURNEY
parallax

Preferred Fashion

Age allots me the excuse to ignore fashion,
invites me to wear bright colours, dance

in offbeat shoes, wear hats of any flair,
and announce my mood in any given moment.

Yes, being a senior citizen is most freeing –
not unlike my childish kin.

(For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: fashion. Also submitting to V.J.’s weekly challenge: child/ childhood. Photo and hair credit for featured photo goes to my daughter Sylvie. )

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #62: child / childhood

My daughters gave me a copy of this poem, surrounded by images of me playing with the grandbabies. It always brings me joy.

As summer comes to end, and the children return to school, I am already feeling the loss of our time spent together, so; I thought it might be fun this week to ponder what it means to be a child.

To participate create a post on your own site and link back here. Any form of creative expression is welcome.

Look forward to your responses.

Mother Willow

Twisted arms, Willow’s
welcome – cross child’s refuge,
Mother Nature’s balm.

There is magic in a Willow’s presence – so many hours spent, hidden in her arms as a child. Even today, the sight of a willow pulls on my heart. Just one of Nature’s many blessings.

(For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: trees; and RonovanWrites Haiku Challenge: twisted & cross.)

Into the Woods, Nostalgia

I search for her in wooded places,
where trees are guardians,
and wildlife reigns

Where light dances with shadows
and children’s hearts
are free to imagine.

Wooded areas, especially when there is a stream, take me back to childhood and the countless hours spent in search of nature’s wonders.

(For Nancy Merrill’s A Photo A Week Challenge: nostalgia.
Also linking up to my weekly challenge: green.)

The Father I Miss

Father abhorred laziness. “The idle mind is the Devil’s playground!” he’d say. Or: “What are you trying to do; win the horizontal championship?”

Well, I’m the horizontal champion now, thanks to illness. Wonder what he’d say about that? Still, I’m not lazy.

To my face he was hardcore, unless he was soppy drunk, then the he’d tell me how much smarter than him I was, and that he loved me, and ask if I knew that – all very confusing, and somewhat frightening, to be honest.

Sober, we were all goddamn idiots and didn’t know how to do anything right. “You don’t know what problems are,” he was fond of saying if I ever moaned, or: “Take that mood to your room; we don’t want any of it.”

But when severe menstrual pain would double me over, he’d sit at my bedside and apply pressure with a pillow. “Just like I used to do for my sisters.”

And when I moved away from home at the age of seventeen to escape his brutality, he called me every morning to make sure I was okay.

As I say, very confusing.

“Don’t do as I do; do as I say,” was another favourite and one that really riled me. Dad was an alcoholic, with violent tendencies: a brick wall, who declared himself omnipotent. We were to be “seen not heard” and always ushered to bed before he got home from work. He was unpredictable and impulsive, and no matter how hard we tried we could never please him.

And then he bragged about us behind our backs.

In retrospect, he likely suffered PTSD from war time combat (he was a commando on a suicide mission), plus he was born a female in a male body – something I never fully understood until after he was gone.

I know that he believed that God hated him, although he’d always profess that the “Good Lord will provide”; and I know that towards the end of his life he regretted much.

I also recognize, fourteen years after his passing, that I / we missed out on a relationship that might have been.

(The focus for my weekly challenge is: “Things my father said.” )