Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Here he is.
Diploma in hand.
All 200+ kids in his eighth grade graduating class were required to write a speech for the ceremony. The individuals that checked the box to 'compete' for the honor of actually delivering their speeches were many. Riley made the semi-finals, the first cut. And then the finals - down to the last eleven young men and women. He called me to tell me the news of how the final round went before he even got to our front door, "I did great Mom - I feel really good about this no matter what!." I hung up and did my crying right there and then - not worried about the outcome - just proud of the remarkable being he has become. Yet pride really is far too insignificant a word at times like these. He got the news the next day. He was not destined to be the final one this time. He handled it beautifully, was asked at the ceremony to stand with the other finalists. But the most beautiful thing happened. He asked if he could deliver it for the family at the lunch we were to have before. He did deliver it to us, at home, over half eaten plates full of goodies I had lovingly prepared. And we sat with our mouths open, all affected differently yet profoundly by the words of this thirteen year old being who I call my own. I promised him that I would share his words with all of you, too...
Determination. Willpower. Perseverance.
They mold your life.
Throughout a day, a year, or a lifetime, if accomplishment is your goal,
The largest component is you.
But do not feel alone, there is an entire Universe in your mind.
Test your limits.
Run with it.
When it all seems to stack up, take it easy.
Take it one step at a time and you can accomplish anything.
Puncture the film of distraction.
Crash through the wall of cowardice.
Shove away your anxiety and make room for something beautiful.
There is power in numbers but also power in the individual.
You can get what you want or get what you need.
You can make dreams real.
Trust in your ability to make a difference.
Choose a cause.
Do everything you can.
One who does not try does not truly live.
Don’t float by.
Don’t be average.
Scare the bejeezus out of the competition.
But most importantly,
Throw yourself out there.
You were not created to do nothing.
Be exactly who you are.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Monday, June 09, 2008
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
I was in my late twenties. We had only one car and a boy not yet three. Our return to California - a State not exactly known for being very public transit friendly - necessitated the search for a second vehicle. One day shortly after our return, in the little country town we had moved to, I saw her for the first time.
She was a faded gray, all big rounded squares, seats like faded vintage couches - a For Sale sign taped to her back window that told me she was born in 1963. I was in love. I called the young guy who was selling her. He was learning to fly small airplanes, needed the extra cash for more lessons on how to fly away. Two days later and for pennies she was mine. I strapped the toddler seat in the middle of that big back seat and learned to drive a manual column shift - 3 speed on the tree. She was smooth and bouncy all at once. I named her Pearl.
About a year later, the inevitable dividing of goods that comes with the dissolution of a marriage. I was the one with the better job, the steady income, the one who could make payments on the reliable and unbelievably boring 'other' car. So my Pearl went to him. And I will admit that when the nasty old diesel Rabbit that he had traded my girl for imploded, well, I felt like it was Pearl's way of sticking her tongue out at him. How or who could have given that big gray beauty away?
But the years rolled on, things smoothed out. I got over so many things. Though I never have forgotten that car. The way I felt behind her wheel.
Then, several weeks ago my girl B and I were headed to a photo assignment up in that little country town where I used to live. We took B's little red beauty, the weather was so nice. An hour later, as we slowed and came closer to the center of town, there she was. I shouted, a quickly whipped u-turn from B, and I was out and standing in front of what looked to be my long lost car. It took me a full five minutes of staring, studying, rounding around to realize that this was not my old Pearl. A few years newer perhaps, the deep gray paint so much shinier, the seats a different fabric, in better shape but she had one very important thing in common with my old girl. That same For Sale sign taped to the inside of the window. I edged closer, afraid to look at the number and nearly started laughing. A little indulgent for this working girl but close enough to an amount I could swing. So with great encouragement from B, a few negotiations, and two more days, Pearl (the Second) is mine.
Turns out this Pearl was born in 1966 - one year before I. She has the same manual column shift but one more gear than her predecessor. The man who originally ordered her had her deposited in Italy where he flew to tour around in her for several weeks. Then shipped her back to Northern California. She has lived here ever since.