Several weeks ago, I took myself out on a date. I decided that it was time to whisk myself away from my daily family and work commitments to do something more creative and adventurous.
I ended up attending the birthday party/book signing of Poet Theresa Davis. The night included an open mic segment, the birthday poet featuring many of the audience's favorites, and a poetry slam to close the night. And yes, I am delighted to say that I tied for first place in the slam!
One by one, poets and spoken word artists came to the mic to celebrate their gifts, their art and their dear friend, Theresa, often with touching anecdotes and laughter to bless the evening.
What stood out the most for me was the sense of family and community. The honoree was there with her children sharing poems and stories of her life with them. My favorite poem of the night was, "Daughters," a fiery pledge of commitment to her daughters to love and protect them with fierceness.
In her latest book, After This We Go Dark ( 2013, Sibling Rivalry Press), Theresa thanks her children, "I want to first thank... Imani, Tia, and Zion. Thank you for keeping it together through all my changes. Mommy coming out and becoming a poet in the same year..."
Reading that statement and witnessing its truth within the room amongst the laughter and smiles and support moved me deeply. It reminded me of how resilient children are and how willing they are to love and hold on to family in the toughest of circumstances.
Often amid our challenges and hurt, we forget that we are family first, disagreement, second. Too many times we allow our differences, confusion and disappointments with fellow family members to supersede and strangle our bonds.
It is inevitable that we will disappoint, and bruise one another in our earth journey unintentionally and even intentionally sometimes in our own hurt and frustration. It is simply a part of our humanness. None is excluded despite the best intentions, focus and discipline.
Remembering that we are family first and all else thereafter helps us to navigate the matrix of pain and isolation to arrive at the place of peace, belonging and purpose. Our children see us falter often and do not dismiss us as their mothers and fathers. Why do we dismiss one another as adult family and friends?
The idea here is not to excuse inappropriate or abusive anything, but simply to put it in its place and not allow it to be any bigger and greater than who/what we really are to each other: parents, children, siblings, family, friends, neighbors, nation, humankind...
How awesome would it be if nations could put being human before being a nationality, ethnicity, race, culture, history? As with climbing any daunting mountain, it starts with one step at a time, one family at a time, one relationship at a time, climbing while looking forward and upward instead of always downward and behind us.
Many might think this too idealistic and romantic, but a poet, a mother, a life must dream and work to manifest vision. (smile)
Enjoy the holiday, folks, and may we continue to celebrate and love our way through anything that seeks to divide us. I wish you healthy, supportive, thriving family and belonging where your heart most desires to be!!!
Share your inspiration for family and relationships in the comments section of the site. I look forward to hearing from you!
P.S. No creative features this week! I’ll be back next week with a few extras! By the way, when was the last time you went to a poetry reading or stepped outside of your routine to treat yourself? Why wait?