Crayons…

Posted in Family, Where Angels Perch on December 12, 2015 by rodzink

Crayons

Saturday morning…and much too early, but Aashir proclaimed this as “Mommy and Daddy Day” as he climbed into our bed….on Mommy’s side, of course.  And so, the day begins….crayons….cartoons…coffee… The latter is for me.

I wish I could write it, but I cannot.  His pronunciation of the word “crayon.”  To capture it in letters….impossible.  I can, however, capture his beautiful pictures… struggling to stay neatly between the lines…carefully…bearing down.  He reaches back into his box of colors often…. pulling out a variety… wred…gween…lellow…. His creations are typically people…. Baker… Belle… Mommy…. Spiderman…

…and I look at him…his beautiful dark eyes… caramel hair… fantastic eye lashes and lips… his skin… mixed baby…dominant Indian features.  the physical characteristics of a beautiful Mommy… the colors… the crayons…

Sitting near him…fumbling with a crayon that he has handed me…the crayon of his choice… I have to look between the lines… beneath the colors.. This, too, I pray…. that he has inherited her heart…and soul… and faith… for I have never known another…. like her…

Stockings…

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on December 6, 2015 by rodzink

fireplace

The tree.. the lights….the decorations…perfectly placed from front porch to dining room… each item moved…adjusted…. repositioned… strategically angled… under careful management.  Even then, no placement is final… Wise Men have their superior…Santa is not the only one making lists…checking it twice… And Risvy, our faithful…mischievous…daring Elf… his shenanigans are subject to stringent protocol before lights out..

The Stockings… the stockings are unpacked…one at a time… embroidery perfectly stitched in the trim. … Mom…Dad…

Baker…Annabelle…Aaiden Grei… Aashir Rais…

I do it every season…feel each name…… each memory…  a beautiful story… Our Christmas story…a story that cannot be put into words…. but this family knows the chapters…the theme….can turn immediately to dog-eared pages…. epilogue…acknowledgements…

To borrow some words from Seuss:

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?
It came without ribbons. It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store?
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?

On Christmas morning…when stockings are emptied.. and I listen to the voices…the beautiful voices of this household… I can be found… in a comfortable chair…coffee in hand…. collecting memories…gathering moments… and stuffing them back into these stockings.  There is a Christmas morning somewhere in my future…when I’ll wake with Faranah… and there will no longer be children in the house…. but those stockings…. will be full…perfectly placed…and hanging from our mantle.

Mischief…

Posted in Where Angels Perch on November 28, 2015 by rodzink

20151128_092141…and it begins….

I am reminded each morning… from the first shout echoing down the stairs… to the evening strolls…pointing out the moon… the way they follow each other… fight…play…giggle….hug…. misbehave.. The faint beams of light from flashlights casting shadows throughout the house as the sound of their shouts and stomping feet follow… I am afforded a glimpse into future mischief.

I  have a new journey… a journey of culture… of faith… of two little boys… of binasarati prema… their journey….

 

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….of words that only the two of them will know…phrases…hints of their Mother’s special secrets lovingly whispered at bedtime…at meals… during discipline…  cultural festivities and holy days…. long Indian movies… beautiful prayers.

…pitching tents and carrying backpacks…rolling in leaves… evenings spent on a distant brow just to watch God darken a sky…  listen for His words… His guidance…

…. of being taught compassion… and character… kindness… learning to hear a voice that is bigger than theirs…finding comfort in giving their best…to others… and knowing that there is no alternative to doing good…

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…. of embracing their heritage… understanding who they are… who they are to each other… the strength in their likenesses…and differences… what they share…and how very much they are loved…

Shakirin…

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags on November 23, 2015 by rodzink

Shakirin….Thankful… Ābhārī… we have so much for which to be  thankful… That our team won on Saturday… our car repair was less than we feared… the dinner out last night was delicious….we got a seat without a reservation…

Grateful…. grateful is different.  Gratefulness requires looking back at where we were…or seeing the mishap we’ve managed to miss…. So…. this holiday…..

I am Grateful that I’m in a home…with standing walls… heat…potable water… a full pantry…warm clothes. I’m grateful my kids have bedrooms and books…and education… and as the temperature drops this winter.. I’m not concerned about keeping my kids warm… healthy.

I am Grateful that I’m not handing my child… to his mother as she steps into a questionably safe vessel… about to set out across a frightening sea….uncertain where the current will carry them…uncertain if this is the last time I will look into their faces….

I am Grateful… my kids have a future… my wife is safe… that kids can worship God… love those that worship differently… grateful my boys will not grow up and die on the streets of their own community by an aggressive zealot…  and my daughter… I can’t even go there.

I am Grateful… my country will argue…debate….elect a leader from another party.. and everyone will grumble.. and live to repeat the same steps.. in four years.

I am Grateful… my family isn’t trudging forward in a million-man march…carrying our kids…our belongings…. hoping to find refuge….acceptance…. peace… somewhere….anywhere… other than where we’ve been….

I’m Grateful for this country.. for the freedom she provides.. for the security she has ensured… the opportunities available… the diversity…the democracy… for the people I call my family…my friends…my neighbors…

I am Grateful I can read the Bible… the Torah… Quran… or nothing at all.  I can choose whether to love… diet…convert…sing…dance… pray… vote… be silent…or speak out… friend….unfriend… extend a hand… or clenched fist….. And fear not for any of these decisions.

I’m Grateful…. that God, in Heaven… is  in control…somehow, in His infinite wisdom.. He looks down on the world…hears their prayers in a thousand languages….knows their hearts in one voice… that we were created of a single soul…and He loves us all… man…woman…child… Christian….Jew… Hindu…Muslim…. unbeliever… sinner….saint.

I am Grateful…. truly grateful…. that my God chose… for whatever reason…. to grant me this life…in this place…with such trivial obstacles…far, far from a world that is collapsing… crumbling down with bombs from a dark night… I’m not huddled in my basement with crying children… praying that the noise….the explosions…the gunfire… the heartless voices outside find another target… ……..kids….just….like….mine…

 

 

 

Growing up…..

Posted in Where Angels Perch on November 14, 2015 by rodzink

Last night….last night ended with a flashlight chase in the woods… playfully…. she roamed the hardwood…scanning the ground and trees… for the ‘possum that attempted to pass us…. it had no idea that my daughter would pursue..just for fun….  But moments prior… we were sitting near our modest fire…sipping coffee… in deep conversation.

It occurred to me last night… this was my little girl…growing up.. this was what her…my…. adult relationship… would look like.
We talked about school… politics….religion….her childhood… what she learned…and carried with her… Why ISIS?…. why refugees?…. how could anyone vote for Trump?…. We stared into a fire…talked of the hundreds of camping adventures and hiking…. and sipped coffee.

While she spoke, I realized how mature she had become… Even at 15, she put thought into life… her future… She shared with me her feelings about me… and I shared with her… mine… My deep…deep love for her.  It’s true…. we are of one soul…

Then… she spoke the words…. “So….Dad…. there’s this boy….”

It wasn’t painful…. it wasn’t shocking…. and my first reaction was not to get the shotgun out of the closet.  She is bright…. She told me the things a Father wants to hear…… The boy is smart… plays chess….rock climbs… He has written her an extremely long, apparently well-written, letter… one that she offered to share…. and, as difficult as it was…. I declined….

Tender…. memorable… sweet…. conversation…. then…. the ‘possum… I suppose, in the grand scheme of things… God, Himself, placed that critter in our yard… He knew at any moment… I would shed a tear…. or completely lose any ability to speak.

Seconds later…. streams of light pierced the scarcely leafed trees… and scanned the ground… laughter….giggles… For a moment, I saw the little girl I had raised…. scampering through the woods…. and I missed her already… I missed the previous hour… I tried to replay it…. carve it immediately into my very being, like a name on a stalwart Oak…. a place to return and run my hands across the letters…. the memory…..  I love this kid so much..so very…very…much.  Continue reading

Fifteen…..

Posted in Where Angels Perch on October 16, 2015 by rodzink

Belle II

We snuggled in her messy room…. dark… cozy… with dimly lit stars, pink… green….blue….scattered across the walls and ceiling.  I knew she simply wanted to be close to me and I swore to never let her down… I made this oath while she slept.  Each night, I asked God for an array of things…. strength, patience… guidance…. for wisdom… for a long life… for anything I thought I would need so I could be everything she needed me to be….and that her feet were firmly on the right path…. His path…. siratal-mustaqeem…

She was 5.

When I look at her, I see so much more than a little girl.  I see hope. I see love.. I see a wonderful soul with an open mind and a generous heart. I see a loving daughter that places enormous importance on her family… a sister that has found her very important place among a house of brothers.  She’s tough, but charming. She’s beautiful….. but low-key.   I’ve watched her heart break over someone less fortunate…  share stories of compassion…  She talks about her future…her plans… college…. backpacking Europe… living in NYC… and spending holidays ensuring her little brothers get to sleep in tents with her.

She’s precious to me.  One day…… and that time is approaching.. I’ll have to call her at night to check in…. I’ll have to wait patiently for her to visit me…. yearn for holidays and birthdays…. But I can rest at night, knowing that she is all that I am… and more… so…much….more.

Fifteen…. although the time has slipped through my fingers… it has not escaped my memories…. my heart.

Happy Birthday, little soul… zieltje…   Annabelle Elizabeth…

chaar…..

Posted in Where Angels Perch on September 2, 2015 by rodzink

Faranah and Aashir

Aashir Rais,

I can recall the exact place…. a hillside along Buster Creek… a stand of maples, yellow…and orange… in the October sun… shaded our campsite.  Leaning on our packs… sipping my last cup of coffee, I watched your older siblings carefully carve their names into the thin bark.  Baker….. Annabelle….

We have returned there on occasion… just to put our hands into the letters of years ago…. into the place where much smaller hands had been…and will forever remain…  I can see their young faces… can smell the smoke from an evening campfire…. can remember the sparkling young eyes.

Last week… you slipped your hand in mine and we walked into a store…. and purchased your first backpack….sleeping bag… and an all-weather hat.  I have waited… dreamed.. of the day when you and I slide packs over our shoulders… say a quick prayer…. and disappear into the mountains.  I cannot wait to name the trees and plants as we pass…. red oak….sassafras… rhododendron…. trillium.   To stare into the heavens at night and talk about life… and God… and a thousand splendid mornings.

You are four years old.  Overnight…. you began talking.. in an instant…  you were running…without warning… sitting between my knees in the kayak.  Last week, I clipped you into a harness and I was struck with the fact that you were about to climb…alone…. As you reached for the next handhold and I watched your little muscles strain to pull yourself… I found myself making a series of secret promises….. Aashir Rais.. when you climb… I will be somewhere below….watching…. cheering you on…. I will be that unseen hand on your back…. guiding…supporting… just out of sight… but ever so close…  When you feel alone… remember… when you are hurt…. listen…. I am here.  I will come running, when needed…. I will run ahead of you, when necessary… I will let you climb alone, when the time comes….

The day is approaching….  we will find the stand of maples… yellow and orange.. in a brilliant October morning…. I will watch as you carve your name…. and I will hold on to a thousand moments just like this…

Happy 4th Birthday, Aashir Rais…. Mogli…  Your future is incredibly bright…. you are loved….beyond measure…. I’m so proud of you…. so very proud.

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