When I pulled into the driveway yesterday,
I noticed that someone had taped a large, long sign
Over the picture window in our living room.
The sign was in three colors,
Congratulating my youngest brother
For completing his first day of new training.
I greeted him when he came home, tired but happy.
He smiled when he saw the sign,
Pulled his cell phone out and snapped a pic.
We said to him, “Tell us everything!”
And he said, “I will, at dinner.”
So we waited until the food was on the table.
Over the weekend I tried some “sides of love”
At a new restaurant, and enjoyed them so much that
I decided to make them for my family yesterday.
And we heard about the new training
And all of our respective weekends
Over sides of love at dinner.
This morning, commuting,
I thought about a little boy I saw yesterday at ALDI.
I heard him before I saw him, his bright voice over the aisle-dividers.
It was his first day of first grade
He had a new uniform (Target-red polo-shirt!)
And a zesty approach to everything:
The store had chips!
The freezer was cold on his nose!
I entered a PIN number to my debit card!
I know Detroit, though. I know that the overworked teachers
And the violence-in-the-classrooms and the illiterate culture
Might outweigh the congratulatory chicken nuggets his mom was buying.
But, I thought, how many times
Have I succeeded just because, at home, at the end of a day,
My family says, “Good work” or “Don’t worry” or
“They’re just giving you a hard time
To see if you can stick through it. You’ll see.”
Support, love, and chicken nuggets.
This weekend I visited a L’Arche picnic.
L’Arche is an international community dedicated to
Supporting/ loving/ caring for the disabled in our lives.
Brandon*, at my table, was very proud that
(1) so many people came to the party (this on happy, friendly repeat) and
(2) he was an accomplished special Olympian. (He invited us all to his next game).
Pepin*, at the table next to mine,
Arose abruptly and made his way to the microphone for a “special announcement”:
It was his birthday in a few days. (We all sang to him).
Community. Sure, it takes a little bit of effort.
On Saturday I had to go shopping, had to peel dozens of stone fruits,
Had to bake and travel and cross my fingers for some potLUCK.
Yesterday I diced and mixed and fried and cleaned. “Ugh?”
But, you know, what a payout. My family met last night, as we do at dinnertime,
And told my youngest brother that we were happy and proud of him. So, so happy.
The people who gather around you, the people you gather for are worth
These leetle sacrifices. Because the world can be dark, but those people/ these meetings are what make it brighter
A bit brighter, like the fireflies that rise from the flowers in the summer dusk.
*Names have been changed. Just because. 🙂