Tag Archives: celebrate life

My Father, the Ninja…..

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080410_ninjaWhen I hear the word Ninja, I think of a person who is stealthy, nimble and agile and uses the forces of his opponents to his advantage.

He only fights when necessary, and then too, only to defend himself or his family, or to right a terrible wrong.

My father is a Ninja.

He never let on to any of his three children how difficult it was to put food on the table. He never allowed us to suffer the stigma of “poverty” and always found ways to provide what we needed to succeed as students and young people. He encouraged all of our friends to visit, sleep over (often in drunken hazes when we were teenagers) and never once do I remember him lecturing or making us feel like losers for our immature behaviors.

He always led with love and followed with well placed stories with metaphorical lessons that somehow always made sense.

As my father lays in a sedated coma due to a severe stroke, we his children are left to remember the greatness of the Ninja skills he wielded so magnificently and we are left to wonder IF we managed to become the adults he always believed we could be and if we told him we loved him and showed it as much as we could.

I am so grateful that he never considered that his daughters be married off at young ages so that he would be relieved of our care.

He always stressed as much education as we were capable of and never wavered in his belief in our abilities to become fully functioning members of society.

I read about fathers and mothers who sell children into prostitution as a solution to bring money to the family. I cannot even imagine what my father would say to theses practices.

I read about parents dragging their girls out of school so that they can take care of the house and the younger siblings. I cannot even imagine what my Ninja father would say about that.

I cannot imagine lots of atrocities that I hear about fathers around the world. I am grateful that I had a DAD who would have given his last ounce of blood to keep his children safe and secure.

My father was a Ninja and as he sleeps in his coma, I can only hope that his dreams are of better times with me in Texas, where he loved to be.

He loved to go to the giant grocery stores and to buy what he wanted and came home to cook it for me and my children.

He loved driving my son to elementary school almost 25 miles away from home while I took care of a new baby.

He loved to go to Target and to be able to buy whatever his heart desired and it always desired very little.

If he had two pairs of pants, it was enough.

If he had four, he would say something like, “but I can only wear one pair at a time while I wash the other one.”

He was not a hoarder of material goods. He spent wisely and knew the value of a dollar.

My Ninja father taught me so very much and most of all he taught me the value of the relationship between Father and Daughter.

A bond that should never be taken lightly.

A bond that sets up the girl for a life of happiness or dread.

A bond that cements the way a girl feels about men.

My father, the Ninja, is my everything.

He is and will always be my hero.

As you sleep know that I respect what you have taught me and I hope to continue to make you proud.

Love and light,
Daughter of Ralph Augustine Nathu.

The Gift of Understanding Jokes…

At first glance, this title seems simple enough.
Of course you can understand a joke. You crack up at Last Comic Standing and you get satire and you can deliver a nice zinger whenever you wish.
Or do you?
Can you?

I just finished Priscilla Gilman’s The Anti-Romantic Child, and I have come to appreciate the gift of this nuance called joking.

Priscilla comes to find out that her first born son has hyperlexia.
She realizes that his grasp of language nuance may be compromised. At this same time she is a Professor of English Literature at Yale.
Her two lives, Mom of Benj and Professor Gilman allow her to understand with painful clarity what we all take for granted.
“There are so many fundamental and important things that we have and take for granted- the ability to converse, to joke, to
decipher body language, to advocate for ourselves….the ability to have meaningful exchange with another person. We are so lucky!”

After reading this paragraph, I had to stop and reflect on the wisdom in those words.
I have NEVER been grateful for my language skills.
I never considered it anything special that I have quick wit and can understand satire, jokes and sense when someone might be lying. Heck, understanding that I even have the ability to lie is quite evolved. I take all language gifts for granted.

It broke my heart when Priscilla talks about all the challenges that Benj has like the ability to use the first pronoun, I and to call someone by their name is a skill. It means the brain is wired in a way that allows these things to happen seamlessly.

I look at my children and deeply appreciate so much more of all that they are.
I feel the fear that Priscilla Gilman has for the future challenges that Benj will face.

Her strength and fierce love of Benj is palpable, and when she said that she realized LOVE is the best medicine, I had to jump up and cheer.

How many of us take for granted all the little miracles that occur in our lives every minute of every day.
I invite you to take off the lens of ” yea yea, gratitude is great but” and SEE all that is within the things that we love.
Can we accept the people in our lives with all their short comings and still be courageous enough to simply love them.
Can we love ourselves for all that we are and not look first at the faults?

I am grateful to Priscilla Gilman for having the courage to lay bare the sweetness of all that she has learned.
I want a sequel, please. I am invested in Benj. I am invested in you and in me.
Thank you for turning on a light that I did not know was out.

What can you celebrate today about your own self that you did not celebrate yesterday?

Love and light

Live your life….

“Live your life”….spoken by Maurice Sendak last September during a Radio interview. Great words of wisdom from an incredible author and artist who brought us Where the Wild Things Are (an essential ingredient in most of our childhoods) as well as many other beautifully written and illustrated children’s books. Maurice died today at the age of 83… but the Wild Things will forever live on.

Celebrate your Wild Thing today for us all to see and applaud.