Monday, September 19, 2011

I've got a bird that sings

You start singing in the night, because you need to hear your own voice. You sing to your baby the songs you know. You change words, you forget words. Then you just keep singing these little songs you think you made up yourself.

Ramona, Ramona where you been so long?

Ramona, Ramona girl, where you been so long?

I been worrying about you, babyBaby, please come home

I've got a bird that whistles

I've got a bird that sings

I've got a bird that whistles

I've got a bird that sings

But if I ain’ got Ramona

Life don’t mean a thing

One night, after singing this silly little song for two years, Ramona interrupts. "Mama, I am home." I start to laugh and she laughs too. She says, "sing Ramona song" and her little mouth opens and she sings to me in a scratchy, squeaky baby voice. I been worrying about you baby, baby please come home.

And we sing together. And the sound of her sweet out of tune voice, it makes me laugh and cry. I'm smiling so hard I can hardly form words. We sing at each other's faces. And it's moments like this, I don't want to change her. Or teach her. I don't want to worry about her. Or plan for her. I just want to sing with her and never, ever doubt her.

Monday, September 12, 2011

into the morning

Today as we were getting ready for school, Ramona decided to eat a plum. She watched me throw it into my lunch bag and requested one for herself. I handed her a plum, wondering what she would do. She bit into it. Not like a baby eats. She bit into it like a person who knows their way around a plum. She ate the whole thing, smiling, laughing through every bite.

When I drop her off at her school in the morning, I open the gate to the yard and she runs in. I call her back for a kiss and a hug. And then she's gone. Into the cool morning air, she runs. I wave at the other kids. Because mine is long gone.

This afternoon, I ate my own plum. It was so sour and cold. I thought of her the whole time.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

happy heart

I went on retreat yesterday morning.

The monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery were visiting and led our half day retreat. There was only a small amount of meditation practice, but we were fortunate to be able to receive teachings on meditation, the life of the Buddha, and The Four Noble Truths.

I needed my attention brought back to Buddhism. Lately I've been feeling terrible. Crazy, and in need of help.

As I sat and listened to the loud horns, the clanging bells, I surrendered. I push away Tibetan Buddhism because of its mysticism. Its talk of ghosts and the ceremony that means nothing to the western me. But as the horn blasted into my ears, the ghost in me was moved away. The cobwebs cleared. And I just listened. And I sat.

There are ghosts all around me. Hungry ones. Ghosts that make it impossible for me to see the world as it really is. Ghosts that take me away from the ones I love. Ghosts that fill my heart with panic.

Yesterday, I was blessed to sit on a cushion in the heat. Fortunate that the path led me to retreat, where I sat in the heat to listen to a Tibetan monk teach the simple and confusing Dharma. Fortunate that the horn and prayers swept my thoughts away and I was left sitting. Sitting and listening.

This morning as I played with my daughter, we looked at each other in the mirror. She said, "whole family, Ramona and mama." Our cheeks pressed together, our smiles bright. And my smile matched hers. It matched in its reach, its happiness real and not manufactured.