Thursday, 28 April 2011

The Men In My Life

My previous post was dedicated to my girls.  Even as I wrote that one, I knew that the next one would be for my Dad - mainly. So much so that the title I thought of initially was: "The man in my life."  But, truth be told, I'd like to reserve that designation for my husband.  So, this one's for the "men" in my life (quotation marks explained later).

It is at this juncture that one stops, lowers one's shoulders (not realizing before that they were so tense), tilts one's head to the right and looks up at the ceiling - all in an effort to conceive where to begin to write about Daddy.  Well, maybe I could start here:


As far back as I can remember - and my long-term memory is excellent (just occasionally selective) - Daddy has been a man of principle, integrity, wit, charm and charisma, possessing the heart of a Christ-like servant.  To me, his entire life has been a simple, yet extraordinary mix of God, family, church leadership and work.  And, in that order, too!  He knows his priorities and he hardly ever gets them confused.  I find that admirable.  He has four daughters and one wife and the only time he places them before the Lord is in prayer.  Speaking of prayer, I heard him pray out loud for us at one of our family devotions last year.  We'd had an opportunity to be together by Latz Art.  I had to smile when he said stteo: "Father, remember the children."  Even now as I write this, I'm chuckling.  Guess it's true what they say.  No matter how old you are, you're still a child for them!

Daddy now has a grand-daughter (aka KiKi) and son-in-law (aka Q).  It  was a trip seeing him play with his grand-daughter!  I was like, wait! What? Making all kinds of sounds and faces to get her attention.  He'd inform her, mock sternly, that she "shouldn't say" anything to the rest of us, but "talk" to him only.  This, when she was a whopping one month old!  Nothing amused and pleased him more than when she'd go quiet when he came by, after a long stint of unpacifiable crying.  He would admonish her not to mix with the "terrorists" aka "the rest of us" as we'd only come by to "terrorize" her! And on and on it went.  What am I saying?  On and on it goes!  She's a little over two years old and they keep quite the conversation.  KiKi, in one of her earlier sentences, told him over the phone, "Grand-dad I'm hungry." (She had just eaten.)  We could hear him over the phone asking to speak with her mother, to whom was then directed a (mock) onslaught of why she starving the child! Like I said, it goes on...

But that's a peek at Daddy with the family.  What does he mean to me and why do I like him so much?

He is one of the best friends for which a daughter could ever ask.  His heart toward me is genuine.  He looks out for me; cares for me and about me.  It doesn't matter how old I am - it never has - I can always rely on him.   He doesn't make me promises he has no intention of keeping and, if I ask him and he says he will, I just consider it done. 

Daddy has never told me that he loves me and there's never a day that I would doubt it.  I am precious to him and I know it.  He doesn't express his heart in words but indeed in deeds.  Now and again I listen to him showering accolades on me or bragging about me in public and I smile a bit, not knowing how to contain the swelling of thanks in my heart.  For, quite simply, I am thankful that I make him proud.

I like him, too, because of his wicked sense of humour.  He makes me laugh.  And laugh.  And laugh.  Gotta share a recent episode that occurred on my vacation in Jamaica several days ago.  He informed me, shortly after picking me up at the airport, that we were going to head out with Mommy to the Fish-Fry at church. We got there, everything was fine.  The cooks then ran out of festival. But, this was no ordinary festival  This was festival with a twist - literally.  After kneading, they made the dough long and stringy, bent it in the middle, then repeatedly twisted each long piece over the other, before putting it in the pot of extra-hot oil to be fried.  Just before we left, Daddy asked them for the cost - for all three of us.  When the lady told him the amount, without missing a beat, Daddy replied, "Fi wha?  Fi likkle plait flowah?!"  A nearly pop up!!!  But, if you think that's something, you should hear the jokes he tells of his days living in James Hill, Clarendon - the district in which he grew up.  It would please me to write that book: Jokes My Father Tells.

Speaking of writing, he has wanted that for some time - for me to assist him in writing his book.  And I will, life spared.  He even has a title and has recently acquired a tape recorder to get cracking.  At this point in my writing journey, I have come to believe that I can actually do this!

I imagine that most children who grow up with loving dads believe that their dad is strong and can do practically anything!  I was no exception.  This was a belief bolstered by a feat that we achieved working together one day when I was about nine.  In order to get a tarp tied to a post in the backyard, he hoisted me on his shoulders, then around his neck.  And there, in full view of those cheering me on, I wrapped the cord around whatever it should have been wrapped around and secured it.  When we were done, they were all pleased, none grinning more than I!  But, that's him.  He gets things done and you just feel pleased when you're a part of it, because you know it's gonna turn out okay.  After all, he's giving his all.

He knows the meaning of giving, not just in lip service but in life service.  I have known him to give and provide for others without looking for anything in return.  There are some members of the clergy that get chewed out because, well, because they don't exhibit the heart of a servant.  Instead, they want to be served.  I don't quite know how to relate to that.   For, I have seen giving and a Christ's-servant heart in action, even though there have been some that have turned around and bit the hand.  But, Daddy has a saying, "Right must stay and wrong must go." 

These days, people hardly want to talk about right and wrong.  The risk of being labelled judgemental is very real and way too high.  But, in his mind, right is right and wrong is wrong.  It's a by-their-fruits-you-shall-know-them, thing, I imagine.  And, I admire that.  It takes courage, although he mightn't think so.  For him, it's just what it is.

He has grown into quite the gentle giant.  He mightn't stand tall in stature, but his presence cannot help but be felt.  He fills a room simply by being in it.  Respect is earned, it is said.  He gives it and he earns it - and he doesn't stand for foolishness.  He was a strict father. (All his "warnings" to beat us never materialized.  He just held our shoulders and shook us, if things got to that). He never doted on us (three then, later on, four girls) but in his acts of kindness, grew us to realize that it's important to keep your word.  Given his strength and his support - including allowing me to make some heck of a painful mistakes - I have grown into a strong, independent, happy and stable young woman.  There are some things on which there will not - cannot - be any compromise, in whatever the relationship - work, intimate, social etc.  Sometime along the journey, he became my friend.  I am comfortable talking to him about the men who indicate some measure of interest at some point.  I have his support but I also know that he trusts my judgement.  And, he is praying for me. 

You know the saying, "All girls become their mothers" and another: "All girls marry their fathers"?  I cannot even get into the couch psychology on this;  not trained even for that layman level.  What I can say, however, is that there are good qualities in my dad, that I would like to see in my husband - the other man in my life.

OK, so, we haven't yet "connected" - hence the quotation marks up top.  Still, I am calling those things that are not, as though they are!  Not looking for a replica of my dad, but a few like traits.  These include a sense of humour; sense of responsibility; knowing what's important and keeping the priorities priorities.  In other matters:

My husband, Mr. Right-for-me, is a man who will cut open the tin of cheese and then proceed to remove it from the tin, not leave it there on the counter still in the tin, knowing full well that that's the harder part. I am a strong young woman, but removing Tastee cheese from the big tin is pretty demanding!

My husband is a man who is not afraid of croaking liz**ds.  Even spelling it out freaks me out!

My husband is a man who is able to do Maths and can help the children with that and like homework.

And, I look forward to meeting my him, and for the day when he whispers those three little words, "I'll do laundry."  (I've never met a chore I hated more. To parody a Monk line: I hate laundry's guts!)

On a more serious note, though (operative term being "more"), God's gift to me, my him, complements me. Christ already completes me; He is It for me.  My husband, who is also complete in Christ, complements the person I have become in Christ, and I him.  He knows, as Prov. 31 says, that his heart can safely trust in me, so that he has no need of spoil, and that I will do him good and not evil all the days of my life. And, we honour the divinity in each other.

I cannot help but smile as I think about how God perfects all that concerns me.  He has blessed me with a wonderful father, a loving and supportive rest of family.  And, to think, there's mine to come!


Monday, 18 April 2011

This one's for my sisters - my girls!

They would not have seen this coming.  An entire blog post dedicated to my sisters!  Figure it's pretty much due and what better time to give the shout out, than the post post my birthday when I turned forty.  I hope not to use the term "4 O" as it sounds so round and full.  For-ty... sounds so pre-tty.  Hey!  That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

They were gems when it came to recognizing the day and giving it distinction.   But, this isn't about the day.  This is about why I think they are so very special.  And its certainly not an exhaustive commentary.  Just a synopsis, really.


Yes.  My mom is my older sister.  See, I'm her eldest daughter but she has long been my older sis.  Make no mistake, she was mother first.  The usual - strict, stern, and supportive.  But then, she was also fun, great company, encouraging, rock, prayer partner, cheerleader and my biggest fan. Pretty soon, she became one of my best friends.  I've mentioned in this blog (descriptor) and elsewhere, that securing my website was as a direct result of her encouragement to create my own.  Her two thumbs up constitute the vote of confidence from which I derive much motivation for cyopro.   She continues to love, support me and cheer me on!  Thanks, Mommy.


Aka Empress.  She has a quiet spirit and a pleasant and disarming charm.   She uses that charm almost mercilessly...just kidding.  She uses it, but only 'cause she is who she is.  She wears her heart on her sleeve.  While being the predominantly pleasant person she is, she has also demonstrated much kindness.  It's a kindness that allows her to share her daughter (my niece) with me.  From very near the beginning of motherhood, she has demonstrated a level of trust and confidence in my love of her and her daughter.  I admire that ('cause not all (new) mothers are like that). And I am thankful for it.


Aka Latzart.  She follows Empress.  She is rather "free spirited" in a cautious (!) use of the term.  She wears her heart on her sleeve, too.  But, what I really admire is that she loves us fiercely.  Do not mess with me.  She will cut you. (In a manner of speaking, i.e.)  She makes me feel that there is a special place in her heart for me.  I know that there is for each of us, but, I feel it.  And I am thankful for it.


Aka Zap.  She came along when I was just fourteen.  Shortly after she was born, we went to visit a neighbourhood that we'd left many years before.  I overhead someone ask my dad whether she was my daughter.  (He was used to only three of us.)  My dear dad explained she was their fourth.  Still, that never left.  Like, never.  Whenever the two of us are together - away from the rest of the family - almost invariably, someone will ask whether she's my daughter.  And almost invariably we add, "We get that a lot!" to the usual response, "No. We're sisters."  Zap has given me much practice for when my time comes for real real motherhood :-)   The fact that we've lived together - just the two of us - a couple times, has helped us to learn each other.  I really admire that she gets me. Period.  We know the difference between (and the sources of), "I don't recall" and "I can't recall".  She knows when it's time for us to build THE circle, close it around ourselves and exclude present (and usually annoying) company.  Zap continues to be an honest critic, yet loving supporter, on my writing journey.  We've already agreed that she'll get front seats to my first play!


For all of them, I am thankful - ever so thankful to God - for the love that they continue to show and the respect that they continue to give.  Thankful, too, that they get it that I am looking out for their best, even when I'm being anal.  A so di ting set!  (It is what it is!)

Girls, how wonderful life is, [that] you're in my woooorrllld!

Love you, lots!  Muuuaaahhh!!!


Friday, 8 April 2011


Today's edition of The Gleaner carries a story entitled: Day of Death.  I read the story and found that the reporter, Daraine Luton, wrote with such vividness, while displaying sensitivity toward the remaining family members. 

I imagine that anyone who's been privy to this story has come away believing that it is, in fact, something tragic and beyond sad.  It is not possible to rehash here the kind and number of comments that have been made in other media.  Nor, for that matter, do I want to.  At the very least, it makes you stop and think.

I wrote a letter to the editor of The Gleaner late in the afternoon, in the hope that it will be published.  The key messages? (1) be prepared for comments of all kinds when you make yourself present online and (2) let your family know that there is a way to delete your account (in this case, from Facebook), if you, or they, so wish to have that done after you die.   (The shortcut to the deletion, which I hadn't mentioned in my letter, is simply to provide your password to someone you really trust.  But, maybe not many people enjoy that luxury.)

My prayer is that God will give all the remaining family members - on both sides - the strength and peace that only He can give.  I also pray that Ms. Joan will be blessed with a speedy and full recovery - the kind that defies all logic.