She felt sad for you wanting to be that light for you, but she learned that you can never light a puddle of wax that burned pathways of scars connecting to who you really are and so she layered her smile one shade at a time hoping that each color shined brighter than the last to compensate the weight of her heavy heart that melted permanently on her arms so full that sleeves wouldn’t suffice in covering it all. There’s no way. No way of knowing her seal of a kiss due to the lip liners of those who deceived her. It stained so red it disguised as love as each label rose from one disappointment to the next. In time tissues no longer carried her tears, instead, they smudged away the spectrum of insecurities until her lips chapped into its honest color – a natural shade of beauty.
A week ago they gave us two-inch binders filled with schedules, content, and assignments. We were placed in a small group with instructions to
share best practices,
and learn about the profession.
That’s how our week started.
Uncertainty of what’s to come or how to even get started.
We sat silently on the patio eating dinner with the sunset, humidity, and the San Diego view. I think my sweat revealed more of my awkward energy than anything else. The first words I said to my small group was, “I promise I’ll be more social after I eat. I’m just so hungry y’all.”
Just my appetite and constant regret of portion control, especially when there was so much food left over.
That’s how our week started. However, our week ended with more than what I expected it to be. Getting our presentations done was only the bare minimum.
We not only worked together, we laughed together.
We shared best practices like every professional development opportunity, but we also shared encouragement for our futures.
We learned about the profession and learned even more about each other’s stories.
I get to make a difference in the world and do good work with these beautiful souls by my side. That holds more value than any price tag. This is why I do what I do.
To my small group,
you will forever be the ferocious, fighting orcas in my heart.
(Cue whale wave) – Mendoza
Mama Liza gave us nicknames that perfectly made no sense, but we kept them anyway. She named her grandchildren: Lee-Lee, Baby, Ri-Ri, La-Li, Baby (again), Bu-boy, Lee-Lit, Baby (once more), and Tu-Tu. There were times when these nicknames were used interchangeably between my cousins and I, but we went along with it. No questions asked.
I remember one typical day at grandma’s house Angie, Gail, Laurie Lei, Erika and I were watching tv in the living room and then we heard Mama Liza shouting, “Lee-Lee, Baby, Ri-Ri, Lee-Lit, Baby, La-Li,” then whatever else her voice trailed off to toward the end of that sentence. We were so confused to who she was calling so, of course, we said, “Erika (the youngest one) Mama’s calling you,” and then we continued to watch tv as Erika humbly tended to whatever Mama Liza needed.
Perks of being the older ones in the group.
Our nicknames still carried on with us just like our love and memories of her.
I still miss her more than my heart can handle, especially today.
It’s been five years since God called her home and within those years
I learned how to be less selfish in wishing she was here calling my name
and more grateful that she is no longer in pain.
Missing her doesn’t get any easier over the years, but it hurts less.
So today I will celebrate Mama Liza with two things she loved: coffee and word search puzzles.