Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Where The Real Magic Happens

“Magic happens—but it often requires some planning.” —Neil Peart

I sat less than two feet from the TV. Fixated. My butt glued to the floor. Nothing else mattered except for the singing and dancing monsters, children and adults on the screen. The chill of foggy frosted winter mornings or the scorching summer Central Valley heat made no difference. My mom would vacuum all around me and I still wouldn’t budge. I didn’t hear or see anything else except for my special show brought to me by the letters A-Z.

“…can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street…”

That blessed little Children’s Television Workshop creation (now Sesame Workshop) that launched learning and imaginations not only for the Mama’s and my generation, but also for the subsequent generations since – including our girls. Over 45 years of Jim Henson furry Muppet fun on an imaginary inner-city street in New York City.

The Big Apple idea that shared big yet safe, sometimes socially and culturally sensitive, accessible information for toddlers and children (and their parents) about learning and life. So it was only appropriate that when we planned our big family vacation adventure to New York City and beyond, that we’d end where it all began for us as children – Sesame Place – the amusement park that celebrates all that’s huggable Muppet and more. To sit on that beloved corner of 123 Sesame Street with my girls

We’re West Coast folk for sure, but we decided that for this adventure we wanted to go east, to do something different and give the girls some travel sea "land" legs for a future of continuous discovery. We’ve traveled many different places with them prior to this, but this was the longest duration we’ve done “on the road again” since before they were born. The Mama architected the journey and I helped with a few finishing touches and then we were off…no step-by-step planning, just enough of an outline to guide us on our journey and make some magic.

Because that’s what travel is for us, experiencing new locales and their locals who light up synapses we never knew we had like exotic fireflies on a sweet summer night. That includes those across town or across the state or across the country or around the globe. As much as our budget bandwidth allows, and even then the Mama is quite creative with a dollar.

It’s important to us that our girls eventually find it important to them that there’s a whole world of adventure and experience out there, easy and hard lessons alike, spacious views and painful realities, that will give them a rich tapestry of perspectives and worldviews. We can only hope that these experiences, along with the mindful presence we try to impart on them over the years and the spirituality they may find, will help them hewn the strongest of life staffs for their journeys far and wide.

Oh, and there’s the fun. Tons and tons of fun.

So now after over 6,300 miles of planes, trains and automobile through three states, five cities, a cave and visits with family and friends in less than two weeks, we’re home.

And that’s where the real magic happens anyway, when the blur of what we've experienced pools in our busy heads and hopeful hearts like summer rain in Central Park.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

To Those Fathers Lost Loving What They Do

The voice mails knocked the wind out of me. Literally. After only hearing a few of them back to back I had to move on in the memorial and quickly. I've heard some of them over the years and of course have read, viewed and heard the countless tragic and heroic stories about what happened that beautiful blue sky morning.

But the voice mails, they really tore me up inside (with the "missing posters" coming in a close second). On this Father's Day nearly 14 years since it happened, I imagine those fathers (and everybody else that day) going to work that morning to do what they loved to do so they could help take care of their families. Of course not everyone feels this way, but I like to believe that besides bringing home a paycheck there's something or many things inherently motivating for us in the work that we do.

I talk about that a lot of late -- the fact that we're loyal to the work we love to do. But that's not quite the complete picture, only snapshot from the industry I work in and the work I love to do. Most of us are loyal to the family and friends we love and care about first, then the communities we share with other families and friends outside of ours, and then the work we love to do and/or the business we create that brings work that gives us meaning and a means to an end in those communities we share with many others.

There were those fathers (and everybody else that day) who worked on every floor of the World Trade Center twin towers, and those who worked in and around the streets below, and those who worked as first responders that fateful day.

During our family vacation this week we visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum. At first, the Mama and I were okay with our solo tours (we didn't bring the girls through the whole thing together, but we talked with them about it). But then, it became overwhelming, our own emotions from the memories of 9/11 pulling us under like a riptide.

But it was a double riptide for me listening to the voice mails of those calling loved ones from the planes or the buildings, telling them what was happening.

Then there's the part when the husband leaves his wife a voicemail that says, "I'm going to be okay. I'm in the other tower."

The second riptide is the automated voice at the very end of the loved one's message.

"End of message."

That's it. It doesn't matter which god you believe in (or not), or what part of the political spectrum you fall in, that's it. That automated part of the message marked the tragic end for so many people, eerily punctuating the end of their stories. And to the fathers (and everybody else) who tried to save so many others, God bless them all -- those lost and those who lost and those who live with the memories of horrific terrorism.

Because that's what it was. Crazy and not so crazy people who hated us willing to die to kill innocent Americans and many others from other parts of the globe. It doesn't matter what came before and what role our government may or may not have played in what led to it. What matters is how we mobilize to heal.

Like terrorist acts all around the world for thousands of years, they're crazy and not so crazy people who hate other people and would rather have them eradicated than actually have to co-exist with them. It's also about power and control and keeping those despised powerless and in constant fear of injury and/or death. These acts span a myriad of civilizations, religions and political factions, and do not fit neatly into any world view no matter how hard we try (and dear God, we certainly try).

Then there's the part when you're on vacation meeting decent Americans from diverse backgrounds and tourists from all over the world in one of the greatest cities in the world, New York, and then you hear about the terrorist attack in South Carolina, one where a single person took the lives of nine others in what is supposed to be a safe haven -- a church. Call it what it is, kids. This was terrorism, something we avoiding calling our own in this country, and thankfully many reputable media outlets are calling it just that. Terrorism against a black congregation because of a hateful white man's vendetta that blacks and whites should not live together in the same communities, a racist pox this country has yet to be able to cure, much less eradicate. The terrorist brought this pox and sat at with the Bible study group at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina, and then he killed them.

I'm writing this today, on Father's Day, to call for the same kind of mobilization we had on 9/11 for these terrorist atrocities in our own cities against decent Americans, whether in the North or South, East or West, Right or Left, Black or White, or any of the ethnicities that make up supposedly still one of the greatest "free" nations today. I call for us to mobilize and help this community and others like it and treat them with the same respect and reverence that we did on 9/11. The 9/11 Memorial Fountains are perfect metaphors for this kind of loss, the endless tears that flow into dark abyss after dark abyss -- while the people who gather around it pay their respects and many hope to make a difference for our future.

Because then I imagine the part when Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of the nine victims who perished in the SC terrorist attack, leaves voice mails the morning of June 17 for his beloved wife and children while on the way to doing the work he loved to do for the community he loved doing it for. I imagine his family listening to it over and over again, mourning there loss, punctuated painfully by the automated voice saying, "End of message."

The other morning while on vacation our youngest daughter Bryce brought the Bible from the hotel room to breakfast. She doesn't really know what it it is, and we're not church-going folk (although I was raised so), but it was sweet how she called it her book of charm bracelets.

As I celebrate Father's Day with my wife and daughters in a hotel in New York City, I am so very grateful and draw upon my early Christian roots, sending healing thoughts and prayers to all the families who lost loved ones in Charleston, South Carolina, this last week.

My affinity is to those fathers lost loving what they do to make a positive difference in this world, and today I choose to celebrate them.




Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Not Really A Miracle On 34th Street

"Wait, why are you closed again?"

"Because we're moving stores soon."

No signs posted anywhere. No automated message when I had called the store. Nothing.

We were soaked completely through from the rain, although we now had umbrellas. The two young women who said they worked at the store smiled at us as if we should've known, like maybe we simply neglected to read the imaginary memo sent to us from afar.

"Sorry girls, no Promise Pets," the Mama said.

I looked up and cried out to the vacation gods in vain, but they only answered with more warm rain.

***

Six weeks earlier the Mama had launched the plan. We were in the midst of finalizing our big summer vacation to New York City and the girls really wanted Promise Pets -- these cute, floppy-eared Beagles you can get from Build-A-Bear Workshops. Since there was a flagship Build-A-Bear workshop in NYC, we were going to take the girls there, but they'd have to earn "stars" by helping around the house in order to get the beloved Beagles.

Beatrice gets the value of a dollar, or is at least starting to understand. Bryce, not so much, so the star idea was a good one. Week by week the girls helping the Mama around the house, unloading the dishwasher, folding the clothes, feeding our fish, and other helpful tasks. Bea worked hard to get all her stars, and although Bryce struggled for most of the time, she came through in the end.

And so just a few days ago we flew to NYC and our summer adventure began. It had been over 12 years since Amy and I had gone to New York, but even then we remember walking through historic and iconic Central Park for the first time. This time with the girls it was just as memorable, and being summertime as opposed to early spring the first time we went, the park was lush and emerald green, with the trees and vegetation offering cool refuge from the muggy hot City streets. But even in the park we wilted quickly, me and the girls more than the Mama who had grown up with humid summers in the Midwest.

With the girls in tow, we visited the Central Park Zoo, and then the Children's Zoo, and the historic carousel, and then one of the playgrounds and splash parks where the girls got to cool off. At times the humidity was unbearable for me, but I survived, even after we each had to carry Bryce for part of our journey. We came across a pair of park musicians who were amazing, playing guitar and violin and singing classics such as "Dear Prudence" by the Beatles.

“…the sun is up, the sky is blue, it’s beautiful and so are you…”

Indeed. All in all a fantastic first visit with the girls to Central Park. Then it was time to find the Build-A-Bear Workshop, the flagship store located not too far from Times Square. The subway took us part way and then we walked, and walked, and walked in and around Times Square, taking in all the sights and sounds and smells (good and bad) and aggressive migrant street performers dressed as Elmo, Pooh Bear and Minions, hawking hugs and pictures for money.

But we loved it all and the end game of course were those hallowed Promise Pets. However, even with GPS, we kept going up and down and in and around Times Square without finding the Build-A-Bear. Then, it started to rain, and immediately there were street hawkers galore selling umbrellas.

Which we didn't buy. At least, not at first. No, we kept trudging away. The Mama found the scent of the trail again and there we were, the B-hive marching through the Big Apple, block after block, until within 10 minutes we were completely soaked.

But, none of us were squawking, not even the girls. Nope, we just kept on and on until finally we slipped into a little side street store and purchased two cheap umbrellas and ponchos for the girls. Bryce didn't like the poncho at all but thankfully cheap umbrellas worked.

Suddenly there it was, shining like a warm beacon in the heavy summer rain, after hours of NYC adventure behind us -- the Build-A-Bear Workshop on the corner of 5th Avenue and 46th Street.

We crossed the intersection and stood perplexed because we couldn't find the door. And when we did, the doors were locked, although the store was lit from the inside and there were people moving around. They were difficult to see however because the entire two sides of the corner store were blocked out with a white covering; we couldn't see a thing except for said cracks where the locked doors were.

So I called the store that only led me into a mousetrap game-like phone tree experience and never to a live person, and the rain still hadn't let up.

"I want a Promise Pet," whined Bryce.

"Me too," said Beatrice.

Finally, two young ladies came to the locked doors near where we stood. They had an empty flat cart and knocked on the door, so we assumed they worked there.

"Do you work here?" I asked.

"Yes," one of the women said, smiling.

"Are you open?"

"No, we're not."

The Mama and I couldn't believe what we were hearing.

"What do you mean you're not open?"

The other woman spoke. "Oh, sorry. You can try our other store at [undecipherable]."

We just looked at each other.

"Are we getting the promise pets now?" both girls asked.

I shook my head in disbelief. "Wait, why are you closed again?"

"Because we're moving stores soon."

No signs posted anywhere. No automated message when I had called the store. Nothing.

We were soaked completely through from the rain, although we now had umbrellas. The two young women who said they worked at the store smiled at us as if we should've known, like maybe we simply neglected to read the imaginary memo sent to us from afar.

"Sorry girls, no Promise Pets," the Mama said.

I looked up and cried out to the gods, but they only answered with more warm rain.

That's when things went really fast--

We tried to hail a cab, but none would stop.

I said 'Let me use Uber.'

'Great,' the Mama said.

But then I realized I hadn't used the app for a while and had deleted it. 

I downloaded it again, but then couldn't remember my login info. 

I tried to connect with Facebook, but it tried to create a new account.

The rain kept coming. 

You've got to be kidding, I thought.

'Are we getting a promise pet?' the girls asked again.

Then a cab pulled over and got us.

I called the other [undecipherable] Build-A-Bear location, but it turned out to be Macy's.

So I told the cab driver to take us to Macy's on 34th Street (yes, the famous one), because we figured we could find toys there and we couldn't find the other Build-A-Bear anyway.

More rain. Traffic jam.

Time ticking.

We finally get to Macy's and we get inside and ask two other young ladies:

'Excuse me, where is the toy section?'

'Oh, I'm sorry. There aren't any toys here at this Macy's. We only carry toys at Christmas.'

We couldn't help but laugh. 

The girls were disappointed but kept the faith as we moved outside again, the rain finally stopping.

We found the Manhattan Mall just up the street, which actually had a Toys "R" Us Express, and was actually open, and actually had toys the girls wanted.

And me too.




Not really a miracle on 34th street, but the B-hive takes Manhattan nonetheless.


Right on. #BhivePower #NYC













Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Unapologetic Parents Who Integrate It All

There we were, sitting at dinner, talking away, while the girls watched shows on their iPods. One of us asked Beatrice a question, but she didn't respond. We asked again, and then she quietly and reluctantly answered with one clear disclaimer: "I'm watching my show."

Dinner with friends and family at restaurants has included childhood distractions for decades. I remember getting crayons and coloring pages when we'd go to Sambo's or Bob's Big Boy, whether supplied by the restaurant or by my parents or grandparents. Usually both.

So, with iPods active, I made the definitive statement: "Yes, we unapologetically bring our devices everywhere we go."

Then I added: "Amy and I grew up with the TV on all the time, and our brains didn't melt."

Which is not entirely true, for us or for our children. The Mama and I are big readers, always have been, and this is one of many activities we encourage with Beatrice and Bryce. In fact, every week they go to the library and bring back a big bagful of new books to read, which we do every night before bed.

There are those child development experts who agree all things in moderation and integrated into everyday family life that includes talking with your children, doing arts and crafts projects together, reading together, writing together, drawing together, engaging in make believe together, or build forts (and even buy one once in a while), or watching a show or playing a game together. In fact, Bryce and I designed a unicorn video game together recently and then imagined we were actually playing it.

And think of it from the kids point of view while out at dinner. Having to listen to adults blather about this and that as they eat painfully slow with no consideration of the fact that the kids are missing out on valuable play time and reading time with the Mama and the Daddy.

As I write this, the girls are watching Little Einsteins on Disney Junior learning about music and art. And then we'll watch some more, and then they'll play on the devices, and then we'll do some art projects together, and then we'll read some new books, and then...

We are the unapologetic parents who integrate it all into some semblance of family time, even when they want to draw daddy's foot when he's working.

Amen.







Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Part When Daddy's In Charge

What a difference time in a child's world makes. 

One minute they're bubbly molten lava: "I don't want to go anywhere!"

And the next, they're outside happily staring down a moth resting on the house.

The Mama had gone to visit a friend and Daddy was in charge. The idea was for the girls and I to pull ourselves together after playing iPad games consisting of baking cupcakes, dressing princesses, and riding horses, all the while watching the Mother Goose Club recently discovered on Netflix.

This old man, he plays two
He plays knick knack on my shoe
With a knick knack paddy wack
Give a dog a bone
This old man comes rolling home

Ugh.

I, of course, wasn't baking cupcakes or singing nursery rhymes, but rather, doing a few house nips and tucks that had been on my honey-do list for weeks. Then came the time to wrangle the B's and buzz them out the door to the park for fresh air and outdoor playtime.

Unless you're a full-time daddy, mommies are the ones who usually wrangle the kids, wrap them in clothes and wrestle them out the door -- day after day after day. Yes, there are those of us in the daddy realm who help with the child rearing, but mommies know the subtleties and the score when it comes to inspiring the lovely spawn.

Beatrice isn't a problem anymore to get out the door. Socks and shoes loaded, she was ready to go. Unfortunately Bryce was not. She launched into a passive-aggressive tirade about what she wanted and didn't want to do. 

"I don't want to go anywhere! I want to go somewhere!"

Then flip to me with the gruff daddy to positive parenting to gruff to positive slingshot approach. Here we go again: a battle of pure impulse, temper tantrums and reactive wills. I tried to get Bryce's socks on while she kicked away at my chest. Bryce held me fast with her eyes, defiant fury unleashed over and over again like rapid-fire solar flares. Shards of melting self-control rained down upon us (again).

I gave up. "Bryce, Bea and I will be playing out front and you're welcome to join us when you're ready."

"I don't want to go anywhere! I want to go somewhere!"

We went outside and one of Bea's kindergarten classmates rode up on her bike with her parents in tow on their bikes.

I explained we were waiting for Bryce to simmer down so we could go to the park and play, and they of course commiserated with me. While we talked, their daughter, Bea's best friend and a sweet friend to Bryce too, snuck up on our front porch for some quick playtime with the girls. 

I went to investigate. The three girls stood together fixated on something on the side of our house. It was a big brown moth. Bryce's meltdown gone, she ran to retrieve her bug catcher from the backyard and then somehow got the moth into it without mutilating it. All was well again with the world of B-hive power. Hey, don't look at me -- I only work here. I had nothing to do with it.

After that, getting them to the park was a breeze, where it actually was way too breezy to play for very long, but Bryce did release the moth safely again into the wild while we were there. Afterwards I took the girls to get a rainbow sherbet cone, or "rainbow sugar" as Bryce likes to call it. Meltdown behind us (for now at least), we came back home to play, and play, and play some more.

And make a big friggin' mess. Yep, the part when the Daddy's in charge. Right on.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Our Unfathomable Love Abounds

A dear old friend just lost his son, a young man at the beginning of his adult life.

We say we can't imagine, but deep down we can and do. When you have children, you want to believe that they'll live a long life, and of course outlive you, their parents. But we worry every day on some level that something tragic might happen to them. Not consciously most of the time, although sometimes our fears break the surface tension like horrid mythical creatures that consume our very souls and obliterate the universe.

We say we can't imagine, but for those who have grappled with loss, we cry out from its belly, the darkness a black hole where no lights escapes. We cry out and ask why; maybe we blame ourselves, or we blame others, or we blame God, or we blame the abysmal soul-eating creature. Or we blame all of the above in vicious cycles that eventually unravel into some semblance of acceptance, a modicum of peace.

We say we can't imagine, but what else should we say? That we can and do imagine and this tragedy has reminded us it can happen to any of us, and that's why we're so sorry for their loss? Each death has its own context, but the resulting loss is the constant. It never varies other than the degree of painful remembrance and sorrow, but healing reconciliation is always in the long-tail of beloved memory. 

That's why it's the very collective outcry of sympathy, empathy, and the outreach of those family and friends within reach that can and does help ease the pain, whether the loss be a child, a parent, a spouse or a friend.

I say can't imagine, but I can, and I embrace the scripture my friend shared with us online:

"Out of the depths I cry to You Lord; Lord hear my voice. Let Your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope. Put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption." --Psalm 130

God bless you and your family, my friend. Our hearts ache and our unfathomable love abounds.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Effectual Stretch of Imagination

“He's got a road map of Jupiter
A radar fix on the stars
All along the highway
She's got a liquid-crystal compass 
A picture book of the rivers
Under the Sahara — 
They travel in the time of the prophets
On a desert highway straight to the heart of the sun
Like lovers and heroes, and the restless part of everyone…”

—Neil Peart


It wasn’t exactly the romanticized version of backpacking through an exotic land, especially if you consider a cheap roller suitcase a backpack, which unfortunately I did. But that was me then in 1998, when my then girlfriend (now wife) had bitten me with the travel bug. Prior to that my travel was limited and relegated to a few States, and then once to Hawaii, which when I was 13 I actually thought was another country, and then years later once to Mexico and once to Canada.

My wife had traveled extensively prior to us meeting, including the romanticized version of backpacking through Europe after college, only to get most of her belongings stolen in Prague after only two days into her trip. She could’ve got home after that, wanted to go home after that, but regrouped, bought a few new things, and went on to travel for another few weeks.

And so our first big journey together was to Costa Rica, about a year after we had met. A lovely country, it was the first time I had been to such an exotic land, and to travel with someone else who lived boldly, to experience such visceral sensations I had never before experienced was amazing in and of itself. But the meeting of people I had never met before, some of whom had alien worldviews compared to mine, and exchanging those worldviews with one another, was the epitome of the “effectual stretch.”

The “effectual stretch” meaning pushing oneself to learn and expand beyond what’s known and comfortable in a way that’s produces desired yet diverse effective results, whatever those results may mean to each person. It could mean the literal extremes of success or failure, or that fatty layer in between that gives sustenance to our tenuous journey of sinew and bone.

We’ve attempted to impress the same approach and attitude on our daughters, teaching them to be bold yet aware, to protect themselves but not live in fear, to keep getting back on the bull like they own the beast, horns held tightly in hands. This includes exposing them to travel, new locales and people, experiences that we hope will shape their adult lives and those they interact with for the better.

Listening to a recent Freakonomics podcast about empowering a better workplace and the cities where those workplaces are, which will take another article I'm writing in a tangential direction, I had to smile when I heard American economist and Harvard University professor Edward Glaeser talk about how he was taking a sabbatical while “…attempting to civilize my children by taking them to a variety of different cities.”

Yes, that's the idea of "civilizing" through the effectual stretch and why we're now taking the girls to the island of Manhattan and beyond this summer for our next family vacation. We've flown together already to visit my parents in Oregon and the Mama's family in the Midwest, flown to Sea World and the Zoo in San Diego, ridden trains together to San Francisco, ridden city busses in Santa Cruz, driven to Disneyland and back a couple of times already (and a few other road trips to visit our sisters in Nevada and Central California). And there have been a couple of international trips for me when I've extended the stretch of imagination for the entire B-hive by getting to go to Australia and more recently Ireland.

In every place any of us goes individually or as a family, the idea is to learn something new about other people and ourselves, and to suspend our disbelief about the lore of the land we're upon, especially for our girls. There ain't nothing wrong in believing in magical things. (And yes, I kissed the Blarney Stone in Blarney Castle.)

You can't get any more excited about something as magical as fairy doors. Really. The girls have been immersed in the Tinker Bell and her fairy friends reboot for a few years (great girl power stories by the way) and when my new friend, Gina London, whom I met in Ireland (an Emmy award-winning veteran CNN anchor and correspondent turned international executive communications consultant, one of many amazing people I met while there), told me about how her daughter Lulu adores the fairy doors, I just had to have them for Beatrice and Bryce. Fairies originated from European folklore and Celtic, Germanic and Greco-Roman beliefs.


These particular doors are made by the Irish Fairy Door Company and come complete with door, key and wooden steps for the front of the door. You then give your fairy a name, and this is how it went with us:

"Beatrice, what name do you want for your fairy?"

"Tinkerbell, because I love her."

"Bryce, what about you?"

"My fairy's name is Barry."

In all fairness Bryce most likely meant "Berry," but Barry is funnier, so that's what I'm going with. You also get a fairy lease agreement, which is really cute and comes with stipulations such as:

“If pets live with the home, please that they do not tinkle against the fairy door. Having a wee-covered door can cause your fairy to get quite upset.”

You then find a place for the doors in your house and decorate around them, leave the keys out overnight, and if they're gone in the morning, the newly named fairies are the family's new friends and will visit regularly. Tinker Bell and Barry not only have new homes within ours, but they have the makings of a new fairy garden in the backyard courtesy of Bryce. And yes, the fairies have visited more than once already.

What the Mama and I love about the whole idea is how stretches their imaginations and gets them excited about new experiences both near and far. Ever since we met one day at the beach nearly 18 years ago, it’s been one new experience and growth opportunity after another. Not always travel related, and certainly not always successful, it’s been more about having an explorer’s mentality and approach to the mindful and agile living of the effectual stretch.

That is the gift the Mama gave to me and now our girls, and I couldn't be more thankful and grateful. Here's an excerpt of a poem I wrote her on my way home from Ireland that sums it all up:

The moment we met that day on the beach became a stunning ache
That has never left me — the soft light of your moving presence, 
A welcome sun that never fails to rise and lift my heart, hold it high 
In the sky and remind me this is how it feels to live life with love,
To be in love, to live boldly and burn brighter with the happy ache of 
Never wanting to be without, for that would mean we were never real, 
that our fated meeting had never happened, our heartmeld fusion that had
Never transformed two halves into two wholes, birthing two celestial
bodies locked in each other's gravity, a brilliant sun and moon, lovers 
And friends who can't look away from one another, who look out for
One another, who live life unabashed and empower their children in kind...

Happy Mother's Day, Mama. We love you.