monday’s muse

Monday’s Muse: Landslide…

Monday’s Muse: Landslide…

This weekend my friend turned 50 and his wife invited friends and family over to celebrate his birthday with him. It was great to see his face when he came home and found us all there, but you could tell when we toasted to the big 5-0 he seemed to be a little shocked to have reached this particular milestone.

I talked to him about it and he told me he doesn’t feel a day over 30, and he doesn’t know how 50 happened. He doesn’t know how his children have gotten to be so grown. You could tell he had to pause to really take it all in.

It reminds me of the line in “Landslide”:

Can I handle the seasons of my life

I find something so beautiful about this version of the song. The song and the video are both gorgeous and remember the first time I saw this video I needed to watch it a few times to make sure I had really seen a pregnant belly. I couldn’t recall seeing a pregnant artist performing in their own music video before…

It really brought home to me the difficult task of a woman to maintain her own identity while still committing to the self-sacrifice that comes with the job of Mother. But really, even if you were able to maintain your own identity wouldn’t there still be this gaping hole when the children do go off on their own?

I am already dreading the day when I find out firsthand…

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Monday’s Muse: Wild World

Monday’s Muse: Wild World

Certain sounds, or sights will bring back memories so strong that I’ll remember how I felt, how things smelt…. Almost as if I’ve literally been transported back to a different time.

When I was pregnant with my second boy, my husband got Dengue Fever and had to be admitted to hospital for days. His platelet count was very low and it was a really scary ordeal. I had my 2yr old son at home so I couldn’t stay at the hospital, and with my extreme nausea and how hectic things got, I was grateful for “Playhouse Disney” to keep my little one occupied for small stretches. I’d park him there to watch Roly Poly Olie while I scrambled to get us out of the house so I could go check on his daddy at the hospital. To this DAY, seven years later, I can’t hear the sound of that show, because it brings back the nausea and stress I felt back then.

Other sounds bring back different memories. Certain songs bring back vivid snapshots of a view from a balcony overlooking trees and grass blowing in the breeze, with some kind of sugar industry close by. Another song, an image of a dimly lit room where the sunlight outside barely came through the open doorway, lovely steps to someone else’s apartment beckoning me to come and play outside in the sun and watch the palm trees dance.

Some songs are recurring. They hold possibilities of different portals – different moments in time connected by the same song. This is one of them.

This song takes me back to my childhood. My mother loved Cat Stevens. I loved him too. There is something so heartfelt in his music. Human emotion captured precisely and transposed into melody and chords. This part of my childhood is full of emotion. And it was followed by life-changing moves and much turmoil for years to come. I remember that one of the few lines I could understand and sing along with was “Don’t be a bad girl” and I would sing it with conviction and promise as if to reassure my mother that I would indeed be a good girl.

She would be lost in thought. I imagine she was contemplating the Wild World out there, and thinking that she never imagined how Wild the World we ended up in would have been.

We would leave that Wild World behind and many years later, in my tumultuous teenage years, this song would make a comeback. The memories of this time are of myself debating my own choices and reminding myself that the World was not always a welcoming place. Logically, I knew about the wolves out there. But I knew I had no choice but to take that Wild World on the only way I could. With blind faith, a little luck, and friends by my side. Despite my mother’s realized fears magnified now in the prospect of her girl child about the fly the nest. And even though it brought much distress to our relationship, I’ve never regretted that decision. It was the only one I could make.

But perhaps the most powerful memory that song is tied to is the period in time when I walked away from my first serious relationship. Despite the “he done me wrong” the decision was mine to stay or to leave. To choose to try to heal and mend certainly, but under what terms… I chose my terms. I wanted out, because I knew I deserved more. And after years of trying to show that love was enough, I stood up and took the opposite position… That sometimes it just wasn’t….

Because our relationship changed on that day that I demanded and took my respect, and because we have remained friends to this day, I know that he felt the words of this song. And I sang it to myself over and over in my head. With conviction. Understanding the words in a way I never could have at 16. And I sang it for myself, to myself, creating a bittersweet memory I hope I never forget.

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Monday's Muse – Behind the Mask

Monday's Muse – Behind the Mask

We walk through this life behind masks of our making.

When we interact with others, we do not always allow them to see the effect their actions truly have on us. To do so would show our weakness. Or allow us to feel emotion we choose not to feel.

And to give in to that emotion would cause us to lose control. So we keep on going. Masks firmly in place.

Behind masks that protect us.

There are other less noble masks.

Masks behind which we hide.

Masks of thinly veiled hypocrisy. Masks constructed of the letter of the law, not the moral conduct those laws were intended to protect.

Masks which we weave ourselves to hide our greed and our vice.

What will you do behind your mask?

This was my Monday Muse, hosted by Cinnamon and Honey. Check her out for more Monday Muses.

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Monday’s Muse – Moko Jumbies

Monday’s Muse – Moko Jumbies

When I was a child, I was exposed to a myriad of traditional local characters that were part of the culture of Carnival here. Born of circumstances where slaves mocked their “owners” and yet deeply associated with the idea of religion vs spiritual temptation, the masks and disguises of these characters could range from comical to downright frightening.

Some though, were simply mysterious. As if they hid some knowledge or awareness that we weren’t privy to. Some secret cultural symbolism that we could sense, and observe in awe, but never truly be a part of.

One of these was the Moko Jumbie – the stilt-walkers. They were awesome – in a more literal sense of the word. They embodied Power and Grace – with their height and unexpectedly fluid movement, their size emphasized by the flowing garments they wore.

Of all the traditional characters, the Moko Jumbie is the only one popular enough to be in demand not only during the Carnival season, but year-round.

Moko Jumbies practicing in Cocorite, Trinidad

And now immortalized on children’s educational television.

On Noggin
Today’s Monday Muse – the evolution of the Moko Jumbie from feared symbols of “heathen” cultures to mainstream representation of the balance of Grace and Power.
his was my Monday Muse, hosted by Cinnamon and Honey. Check her out for more Monday Muses.


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Monday's Muse – Perspective

Monday's Muse – Perspective

Inspired by Mama Kat’s interview of her own kids and based on Scary Mommy’s contest, I thought I’d see what kind of response I’d get from mine.
Boy was I surprised….

Boy, the younger (1st pass)
Is mummy a scary mummy?
Yes.


Why?
No, you’re not scary I was just playing. (Giggle.)


Mummy doesn’t do anything scary?
No! Do you? I dunno! (Giggle.)


Boy, the older
Is mummy a scary mummy?
No. (thinks) Not really. (thinks some more) Kinda.


Kinda how?
Like you’re kinda nice and kinda scary.


What’s scary about me?
Well when you get angry with us. That’s scary. When you yell bad that scares me. (Giggle.)
(Told yall I am a yeller!)


Boy, the younger (2nd pass)
Oh me! Me!


Ok, is mummy a scary mummy?
No. Mummy makes me laugh sometimes. Giggle.


I’m never scary?
No.


Really?! Not even when I yell at you?
No.


(Surprised) Hmmm…. Are you sure?
Yes!


Is it just that you are not scare-able?
Giggle. Yes. Sometimes I’m scare-able.


So what is Mummy, then?
You are nice! You are…. I love you!


Baby
Ok your turn! Is mummy a scary mummy?
(Smiles and claps.)
(You interpret that whatever way you like! Lol.)


And just like that, my inspiration for today: Motherhood, of my own special brand.
Sometimes it’s overwhelming. But it’s always rewarding.

I’m no longer the girl I was, and I’m not sure when that happened. But I’d guess it was the day I first laid eyes on Boy #1.

When I step out of the house, I don’t have eyes for anyone but my babies – making sure they’re safe while at the same time not causing a riot. I cringe when I bump into old childless friends in the store, all glammed up like I used to be. I feel a little small, for a moment. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My credentials haven’t had me highlighted in the news, but I’m pretty damn proud anyway.
My house might be messy, but I have a happy family.
I’ve never heard of that latest club, but I have kids that know love.
I have a budding athlete, and a budding engineer… and a sassy little one who knows the world is her oyster. I know what my priorities are.

It might make me “Scary Mommy” to you… but not to them.
And that tells me I might be doing something right.

This was my Monday Muse, hosted by Cinnamon and Honey. Check her out for more Monday Muses.

Monday's Muse – I'll be there

Monday's Muse – I'll be there

I woke up this morning and looked at my three sleeping children. I studied their little faces before they woke up and got involved in the issues of the day.

Little princess. You have already brought so much positive change and joy to our lives. They do say that good things come in small packages. :-) Your smile has the power to distract me from anything else going on and make me laugh with you. I can tell already that you’re going to be a bigger handful than your mama ever was. Grandma did always wish I’d have one just like me…. hmmm gonna have to keep an eye on you!

Little man. You’re an amazing little dude. You’re tougher than most realized. You’re brilliant and kind and… when did you get to be so funny! I love that you’re comfortable enough with your mama to be you. And I love that you are always looking out for me. You’ve got great things in your future. Mama believes in you!

Firstborn. You grew up on me, Mister! I got the chance to look at you yesterday when you didn’t know I was looking. Sneaky me. :-) You’re not the child you were a month ago. You’re turning into a young man, and I know all of a sudden that your questions are not the precocious inquisitiveness they were just the other day. I know that they’re going to a deeper place now. Don’t grow up too fast baby. And remember, even if you think you can do it on your own, I’m here if you need a hand.

I’ve been a mother for eight years now. But this past week has made me reflect a lot on what that means. So much of what we do, we do without thinking about it. I’ve had the chance to really think about it, and re-commit to each of you. And it really comes down to three little words.

This is a part of Cinnamon and Honey‘s Monday Muse meme.
Please check her out for more Monday musings.

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Autism from the perspective of an autistic: The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger’s
Monday’s Muse – Progress

Monday’s Muse – Progress

This song has been playing in my head for the past few days. I thought I’d use it for Flashback Friday this week, but the truth is that it’s not a flashback for most of you. :-)

This is a calypso performed by King Austin in 1980 but it is timeless. And the lyrics seem hauntingly relevant today.

In a day when we can witness greed embraced and justified! Without a second thought for those for whom the rolling impact of that greed is a sentence of lost homes and lost retirement… When I see that places like this that make life a little better, are gone. Along with the generational history they proudly carried. Because we wanted more of some intangible, unsustainable and ultimately TEMPORARY earthly reward. When does common sense and integrity prevail?

To see the lyrics, click here.

This is a part of Cinnamon and Honey‘s Monday Muse meme.
Please check her out for more Monday Musings.

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Monday's Muse – Father and Son

Monday's Muse – Father and Son

There’s not much I can add to my muse today – it is so eloquent in words both spoken and unspoken.

I will say this – Cat Stevens is one of my favourite performers of all time. He sang with the passion and emotion of a true artist, and in this song he captures the age-old struggle of coming of age. 

In my mind, I know that I will have to face the flight of my little ones from the nest all too soon. 

With all my heart, I pray that they will not fly too far, and that they will be satisfied that I have done my share of listening.





This was my Monday Muse, hosted by Cinnamon and Honey. Check her out for more Monday Muses.

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Monday's Muse – Reflections

Monday's Muse – Reflections

With your sister’s first birthday just 2 weeks away, you’d probably expect this to be about her. But this is about you, my oldest child. And me, struggling to be the best mother to you that I can.

You amaze me. You are so generous with your kindness and your smile lights up a room. Your are the happiest child I know. But your big heart is fragile.

We had a rough day yesterday kid. We had some laughs, but we had some tension too. You know, as smart and independent as you are, you still need guidance. Trust me and I promise not to steer you wrong. Sometimes I don’t have the words to explain to you, although I know you would understand. And sometimes, I don’t want you to have to understand. I want you to relax and go play, and be a child, and… just trust me.

And sometimes, I just don’t have it together. Sometimes I’m just trying to deal with the biggest emergency of the hour. And because you’re so good, that puts you down on the list doesn’t it. But that doesn’t mean go acting out for the attention, cos it won’t be good attention. And I expect better of you. And my heart breaks for you, because I know you deserve more.
But I’m doing my best.
I tell you lighten up kid, and it’s because I’m saying it to me. Because I see in you, a mini me. I see me at 8 – people-loving and precocious. But I also see the me I am now. I know you want to be grown up and help, and so you try to marshall everyone into line, protecting your mummy. When you’re anxious and you snap at your brother, I know where it comes from. I try to set you a better example, but… I got my moments. Don’t pattern on those. Mommy’s wrong sometimes. :-)
I’d like to think that your easy laugh and your love for your family and your fearless determination to protect those weaker than you… I’d like to think that that comes from me. You’re a joy to be around. I want you to know that even when I have to put your sister to bed and I can’t have you with me, that it’s never that I don’t want you with me.
One day you’ll understand the cliche that “parenting doesn’t come with manuals”. You’ll understand that your Mom loved you even when she was yelling at you. That climbing the mossy trees in the rain didn’t make her angry, it scared the crap out of her. And that I have come too close to losing you once, so I know I’m not strong enough to do without you.
So do me a favour. Go be my little ninja-tarzan-athlete. Be happy. And know that I am always there for you, even when it seems that I am far. :-)
Check out Cinnamon and Honey for more Monday Muses.

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Monday's Muse – Something about a child's love

Monday's Muse – Something about a child's love


There’s something about the love of a child. Something in the way that eyes light up, when Daddy enters a room. In soft peaceful breath on Mummy’s breast when drifting off to dreamland. Words unspoken that whisper their faith in you.

The trusting casual way a tiny hand, slipped into a larger one -cracked and worn – can melt away the years of worry and warm even the iciest of hearts.
Children are our miracles we are blessed with every day.
Check out Cinnamon and Honey for more Muses.

**EDIT**
I’ve also linked this to 7 Clown Circus‘ Wordful Wednesday.
She’s asked for a photo that represents Motherhood, and this one is one of my favourites.
It was taken when my baby was very very sick. She was 2 mths old and had a very high fever for days.
That fever wouldn’t break, and the best thing I could do for her was to breastfeed and hope to pass my immunities onto her.
My mom took this picture, but it was months before I could look at it.
All I could see at the time was the little angel that was almost taken from me.

Now I see the little angel that I’ve been blessed with to bring me so much love.

Holiday Surprises coming soon!

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