reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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beaky’s text. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

beaky text copy.png

at 93 these words were texted by my sweet momma on her iphone, about a week before she died three years ago.  she was amazing.  and damn strong.  “whoa!” i think, re-reading this text, “you go, momma!”

“…more than i say…more than i speak…more than you realize…” like every mom she walked the thin line between not saying enough and saying too much.  The Girl and The Boy are practiced at rolling their eyes at me and, i guess, i must have done the same to my momma.  so there’s that moment you dig in and, ignoring every quivering fibre in your body, you do not say anything.  you notice, you think, you know.  but you remain quiet.  for you also know that the lives you have gifted into this world are not yours to live; they are only yours to love, to hold closest to your heart, to support in every way you can, to lift up when they stumble or fall.

“don’t. underestimate me.”  so true, momma didn’t want to be under-estimated.  her spirit in the world accomplished bigger things than most professions can tout.  her kindness was rippling, her curiosity abounding, and her fortitude…that sisu.  you don’t want to be the retail/corporate/organization recipient of the “write-a-lettuh” vindication; momma was going to win.  she “wasn’t born in ny for nothin” as i say.  the day after the extra surgery she had just one day after her double-mastectomy a few months before this text, she sat on the edge of her hospital bed and called us “idiots” for not getting back on the road home.  she was going to be “just fine” and she was more worried about us on the road than herself.  that’s a mom for you.  that’s my sweet momma.

beaky dug in.  she was engaged and big in the world. and her sisu made her powerful.  she was wise even in silence.  she knew, even if i didn’t tell her.  like moms everywhere, she was tuned in, in ways that made her ever-present.  i always counted on that.  i still do.  she is on the edges of this earth, where the wind carries her to me.

i can only hope that one day my own children realize that – no matter what – i am right there.  i know more than i say.  i think more than i speak.  i notice more than they realize.  and never, ever, underestimate me.   because as their momma, i will go to the ends of the earth for them.  just like my mom.

read DAVID’S thoughts on BEAKY’S TEXT

momma, d & k website box

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time together. [k.s. friday]

time together song box

the air coming through the windows this morning felt cool.  almost chilly.  it has been a long while since the last time i could say that of a morning here.  we have had a very hot, very humid summer…not my favorite combination.  but today.  it was different.  and it made me feel immediately homesick.  that happens every fall for me.  maybe it’s a melancholy recognition of the passing of time, years zooming by.  maybe it’s the season-change-thing…we know grey days are lurking right around the corner.  either way, i feel homesick.

it’s a time when i miss long island the most, recall my growing-up years, pine for the autumn at millneck manor and long deserted-beach walks at crab meadow.  a time when my sweet momma and poppo are really present for me in their absence, if that makes sense.  i yearn to talk to them.  a time when The Girl and The Boy seem oh-so-grown-up now, steeped in their own adult-lives, having adventures and being a dynamic part of this world, far away, without the benefit of hearing ‘good night moon’ every night.  i know that every evening they roll their eyes at my goodnight texts to them, but i figure that someday they will understand.  homesick.

yesterday was my father-in-law’s 85th birthday.  we called columbus and sang ‘happy birthday’ to him.  my momma and daddy did that every year for me and i try to carry on the tradition with the people i love.  he laughed and told us he had gotten back from dinner at texas roadhouse and was listening to an old record.  he listens to old records a lot.  i suspect, because he is the man he is, that he gets homesick.  i can tell by his eyes that he would totally understand me if i told him how i felt.

so today, if you are spending time together with someone, memorize it.  if you are lucky enough to spend time with your momma or your daddy, please hug them.  if you are one of the fortunate parents who have their children nearby, hold on just a little tighter and look into their faces when you say goodnight.  relish it.

there is nothing like it.

time together.

 

download TIME TOGETHER track 3 from THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY on iTUNES or CDBaby or PURCHASE the ALBUM

read DAVID’S thoughts on this K.S. FRIDAY

K.S. FRIDAY – ON OUR WEBSITE

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TIME TOGETHER from THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY ©️ 1997, 2000 kerri sherwood


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two artists tuesday #1

SWEET POTATO copyvery early one cold december morning, a few years ago now, my sweet momma called.  it was early even in eastern time.  but momma had something to say.  she had had a heart event – cardiomyopathy – an event that mimics a heart attack and is dangerous – but is called “the broken heart syndrome”.  my momma’s heart was broken; my dad – her husband of nearly 69 years – had died.

on this pre-dawn phonecall with her she told me she just had one thing to tell me.  “live life, my sweet potato”, she said.

i knew she was fearful.  that was why she called so early.  her message still rings in my ears.

when we were playing with designs as TwoArtistsMakingStuffForHumans this saying found its way onto a sweet-potato-orange field.  later, david purchased it as a framed print for my birthday.  it hangs in a cherished spot as you leave our front door, reminding us – as we go out into the world or as we come back into our home – to live life.

we chose it to be the first of our two artists tuesdays to share in the melange.  not because we hadn’t already shared it.  but because it bears repeating.

thank you, my sweet momma.

LIVE LIFE, MY SWEET POTATO

two artists tuesday

www.kerrianddavid.com/the-melange

live life, my sweet potato ©️ 2016 kerri sherwood & david robinson


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what moms (i) want.

childrenarethebestwithframe-jpegdear moms everywhere,

i want what any mom wants. the moment that baby is born or you wrap your arms around your daughter or son, your heart catapults you through a lifetime with that child, your brain step-stoning through time.

my children are no different than yours. i want for them what you want – peace, relationships of love, learning and work that will make them responsible and open-minded, forward-thinking people in the world, good health and choices that will keep them in the best physical and emotional health, a community of friends that will support them, challenge them, engage them, play with them, a world that recognizes them with respect and that expects no less of them than to recognize others with respect as well, the willingness and desire to help those with less than themselves….the list is actually endless….

i woke up one morning recently (the Unbelievable and Jarring has happened in the last two weeks) and looked at my news app….suddenly i am addicted to this app. one of the headlines was referencing the “religious freedom executive order” which “signals major win for conservative christians”. it addressed, among other things, that, were this to be adopted, the government would protect the tax-exempt status of any religious organization or privately held company that “…believes, speaks, or acts (or declines to act) in accordance with the belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, sexual relations are properly reserved for such a marriage, male and female and their equivalents refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy, physiology, or genetics at or before birth…..”(draft titled “establishing a government-wide initiative to respect religious freedom” as quoted in huffington post, washington post)

i cried. and not just a little.

this would potentially cripple all the anti-discrimination protections and forward movement our country has made for the LGBTQ community in recent years. and that, in the heart and mind and body of THIS mom, makes me react with fervent opposition.

because i want what any mom wants. i want to share in the relationships that the boy and the girl, my beautiful son and beautiful daughter, have in their lives. i want them to feel free free free to have these relationships, no matter where they go. i expect them, as i would were their relationships to be heterosexual, to be respectful of each other, communicative and affectionate, gentle and loyal, involved and supportive and kind, compassionate and loving; i expect the same things you would expect your children to exhibit and have in a love relationship.

i want to, someday, attend their weddings, should they choose to marry….just like you. i want to ponder what to wear as the mother-of-the-bride or the mother-of-the-groom. i want to have a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, families-in-law, just like you. why should it ever matter if the daughter-in-law is married to the son or the daughter?

i want what any mom wants. i want the opportunity to one day have grandchildren – are you two reading this? 😉  – should either the girl or the boy decide that they would like to expand their family to include a child. just as you have put time into deciding what you’d like a wondrous new baby or adopted child to call you as their grandma, i want to have this same chance.

i want my children’s world to be open-minded and accepting, two of the descriptors i would overwhelmingly use when asked what my faith is about. because my faith isn’t about exclusion. it’s not about fear of what’s different than me. i want the world the girl and the boy live in to be embracing and to find discrimination and unfair treatment of people – because of their race, their religious background, their sexual orientation, their financial status – egregious. just like you, i would think.

so I ask, what mom wouldn’t want these things? am i different than you? can you honestly say that you wouldn’t want these things for your children were you to be in my shoes? how hard would you fight for the right of your children and their choice of partner to not be discriminated against?

being a mother is being a mom. the definition goes beyond that of webster: mother: a female parent. that merely requires a contribution of DNA.

being a mom is everything from breast-feeding or waking in the middle of the night to warm a bottle, to tucking a toddler into a big-boy bed, to cutting the crusts off the peanut butter sandwich, to packing notes in the lunch, to kissing skinned knees, to listening to playground travails, to sitting, with great restraint, on the sidelines of the soccer/little league field, to last-minute making cupcakes to bring to school, to going to school administration to sort out issues of disagreement, to instructing small children to ‘sit on the steps’ in time-outs for improper or out-of-control behavior, to saying “no”, to letting them dye their hair red, to parent-teacher conferences that aren’t exactly what you wanted to hear, to behind-the-car-steering-wheel lessons, to hard conversations about cliques and even harder lessons about exclusion, to late late nights at the dining room table while projects are being completed last minute, to moments – just moments – when you revel in a hug or something positive this child has said to or about you, to waiting up to hear the front door open as they safely return home, to making decisions about college and packing up the dumped-out-onto-the-living-room-floor dresser drawers full of clothes to go while tears fill your eyes, to helping discern what interests really are, with no regard to what you might want them to be, to answering hard questions or simply listening when they call in the middle of the night with news of something that has happened in their world, to allowing them to separate out but still letting them know you are there Always, to being a fierce protector of their rights. AND the rights of the children of moms everywhere.

because what i want as a mom is really no different than what you want. if you can, and i hope you can, see that.

with love, respect and in mom-unity,

kerri

 

 

 

 

 


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liverwurst for lunch.

me and momma talkin

each load of laundry i put in today i am thinking of her. it’s been a holiday weekend with tons of things going on plus a busy week prior to that so the laundry has piled up. my sweet momma loved those piles and took great solace in the act of doing the laundry and having clean, fresh clothing and linens. so today, the day that would have been her 95th birthday, i also am taking great solace in doing the laundry and having clean, fresh clothing and linens.

we sat down together on the deck a little earlier and had a big bowl of fruit. what is it about already-cut-up-fruit that makes it taste so much better? i am vowing to make a huge bowl every week – spend some time cutting it up early in the week so that we can pick off it each day. watermelon makes me think of her, so each of these bites we take we chat about her. i wonder if there is lemon meringue pie or cheesecake in heaven; he wonders if she is having liverwurst for lunch. liverwurst is one of her favorites so i’m pretty sure it would be on the menu. not on my menu though.

liverwurst lunch

the last time i saw my sweet momma enjoying her liverwurst.  i always teased her about it.

that was one of those weird lunches i used to have in elementary school. i was the only one with an off-brand white bread or even -sheesh- rye bread, liverwurst and mayonnaise sandwich, all wrapped in wax paper. everyone else had cutesy sandwiches with fixings from the deli all wrapped in a glad bag. i had a sandwich bag of chips; they had pre-packaged lays or fritos. i had a whole apple, vying for the opportunity to get stuck in my teeth; they had oranges all sectioned in a baggie. i had a re-purposed bag of some sort (from a trip to the hallmark store or genovese drug store); they had the traditional brown paper lunch bag. but…now i’m thinking…what i wouldn’t give for a sweet-momma-packed-lunch these days.

we lit a candle earlier for her and we are leaving it lit all day. i want to feel her close by. i miss her. she would have loved the fireworks last night; her oohs and aahs would have momma effusive at shaynebeen cheery and boisterous. i learned about being effusive from her. she is the reason i know it counts to be effusive. each time i walk past the candle i cheer inside and i think of her.

we have a new grill. the last grill i had was put out to the curb a couple years ago. i’m astounded to think it has been that long. i put that grill together all by myself. i wrote to my friend frangelly that there were a zillion pieces, all in shrinkwrap, covering my dining room table. it took me three and a half hours to put it together and when i was done i stood back and thought, “wow…it looks like a grill!” the first time i lit it i took it into the middle of the street…i didn’t want to take the chance that some little piece i had misplaced or forgotten or something would make this new grill blow up in my backyard. (it didn’t blow up, by the way, and it lasted the next several years, so i am chalking that one up as a success – and – i am crossing putting grills together off my bucket list. from now on, we will buy them assembled.) i am the type to grill year-round, shoveling snow to the grill so that veggies and chicken and burgers and yes-i-live-in-wisconsin-brats can have that “grill” taste. what have i done for the last couple years without one? anyway, we have a sparkling new one now. we were going to use it yesterday but then i thought (in true thready fashion), “wait, maybe we can get some great steaks and grill them on momma’s birthday tomorrow. she loved a good steak on the grill and that will be a great way to christen it.”

now that it is the tomorrow of yesterday i am not feeling so much like going to the store to grocery shop. momma cutie-pie faceinstead, in my quieter day at home, surrounded by laundry baskets, my at-his-drafting-drawing-table-husband, dogdog and babycat, still in sweatshorts and a tank top, no shoes and no makeup, i’m thinking that maybe yesterday’s leftovers would be a better idea for dinner tonight. momma loved leftovers. they will make me think of her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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the right place.

allLoveCountswe were on a serene lake…no waves, barely a ripple. the oars sliced into the water next to the canoe with hardly a whisper, the loons in the distance calling. the gunshots in the distance rang out over the still lake and startled us; the loon answered. i counted the number of times in a row the gun went off…not sure why i was doing that, but hoping that it would make more sense if i knew how many times i heard a gunshot. i asked later if there was a firing range nearby and was surprised to hear that there wasn’t. i’m not aware of any particular hunting season right now, so i am guessing that someone was just out there…somewhere…firing a gun just to fire a gun. the juxtaposition of absolute serenity and gunfire was unnerving. it seemed that northern wisconsin wasn’t the right place for that.

we hike there often. we take the blue trail with dogdog; it’s about 4 and a half miles the way we go. we know it well now, but every time we go we delight in the changes each season makes, the changes the weather makes, the changes we can see, smell, touch, hear. we often hear gunshots reverberating out there. i guess there is a firing range somewhere nearby. so people gather to ‘practice’. not having grown up around guns, i wonder what they are practicing for as i hear a rapid fire of shots, something that doesn’t sound like the measured shots of a hunter.   a state park doesn’t seem the right place for that.

my beautiful son is gay. also, he was on the high school and college tennis teams. also, he likes v-neck fitted t-shirts over round neck. also, he used to love ramen noodles. also, he was a fantastic pitcher and an ace shortstop. also, he doesn’t drink the bottom inch from a 2 liter bottle of soda. also, he loves chocolate chip cookies with mint chips in them as well. also, he was the only one in his fraternity who could drive a stick shift. also, he likes to be at the airport well ahead of his flight. random factoids. none of these define him totally as a person. all of them (and a whole lot more) make him who he is.

i remember the day he called me to tell me he was gay and that he was in a relationship. i don’t know if he was nervous or anxious about it, but i suspect that many young men and women have anxiety about telling their loved ones of their orientation. now, i don’t remember having to call my momma years ago to tell her i was heterosexual. why would that be any different?

i cherished his trust – his knowing that nothing i felt about him would change. his choice of who to be in relationship with was just a part of him like his choice of cookie. it changed the picture in my head of the future, but it didn’t change my support of him or my excitement about his future or my love of him.

they – young men and women – were in a bar. in a vacation destination town – orlando, florida. i would anticipate that there was much laughter, much talk, much dancing. maybe there was an expression of physical attraction between people there – a public display of affection. i hope so. i cannot wrap my head around the kind of hatred/discomfort/bigotry that would push a person to take a gun and kill people. shots rang out. people (sons and daughters of moms just like me) died. the surrealness of an individual’s hunting season that had opened at this venue make my blood run cold. a gay bar isn’t the the right place for that.

i am the very proud mother of a gay son. and i, like all mothers, want to believe that he has the freedom to be who he is as long as he is not harming anyone else or himself – just like my rule for my daughter. there is no right place for this kind of maiming and killing. i want to protect them both – my girl and my boy. i try to trust the world around me, around them. i pray for them to always be safe.

and i ask – where is the right place for that??

 


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you can still do it.

dandelionsthe girl jumped out of a plane last week. i look at the sky and think about being 10,000 feet up and stepping out…..

skydiving was on my bucket list at her age. that and hang-gliding, a hugely-70’s thing. growing up on long island, i was hanging out with people who surfed and camped in the dunes, fished in the middle of the night and scuba-dove into wrecks off the beach. and so it didn’t surprise me when she wrote to me that she had ‘just jumped out of a plane’. i celebrate her adventuring spirit.

the boy bought a grill this week. when did he grow up enough to own his own grill? his adventures are all about his spirit – with an ever-growing circle of friends who support him and let him be in his own skin. i celebrate his adventuring spirit.

wasn’t it yesterday when the boy and i walked hand in hand to the girl’s school to pick her up from kindergarten? wasn’t it yesterday when he ran around the field and picked dandelions, dirt flying, and reached up to me with them in his fist, saying “woses for momma”? wasn’t it yesterday when she carried over big piles of books for me to “wead, momma, wead”? wasn’t it yesterday i rocked them to sleep at night after the perfunctory ‘good night moon’ reading?

so many adventures. it has all flown by. i talked to linda yesterday and she laughed when i said, “we realize we actually don’t know anything. time just flies by and we know nothing.” she is gentle and wise and an amazing adventurer, taking on new stages of life with grace and generosity.

every single one of these moments weaves into my heart – yup, that thready heart of mine. i hold them close to me and give thanks for adventures that are big, adventures that are small. adventures that have taught me patience, adventures that challenge me. i try not to have fear or hold on too tight, but…well, i’m human.

hesistantly, because moms just sometimes seem out of the running when it comes to children thinking about people adventuring, i wrote to my daughter that i had always wanted to skydive at her age. she wrote back, “you can still do it.”

you can still do it.

true.

itunes: kerri sherwood: fistful of dandelions

www.kerrisherwood.com