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Abstract Structure

This week I started thinking about how much times have changed since I was kid. During the holidays, it wasn’t unusual to find 3 coconuts, husks on, in the grocery bags. We all knew that meant. At some point, could be as immediately as while unpacking the groceries, we were going to get my dad’s industrial-weighted heavy-duty wire-locking pliers out. Then, one of the adults (until we could eventually do it) would hold each coconut in the palm of their hand, and with a solid “whap!” crack each open. Sometimes, you would hear, a kiss teeth and “How old is this coconut anyways?’’ Since it seemed incredulous that three coconuts couldn’t really make just one less-than-half-glass of coconut water. Preparing coconut, in the dead of winter, with the view of snow falling from every window, had its own irony. But, our house was like that. Music playing, soca, oldies, disco, classic country like Patsy Cline, or some gospel soul like Mahalia and Aretha. At some point, we switched to frozen coconut cream. And if my mother forgot to thaw it in time, she would let it partially unthaw under warm water and slice off a section.

I miss the time we used to have built into living. Time we used to make our food from fresh and to make it layered with flavor. Time we used to spend together.


Last night, at almost 11, I was ready to tell our son he was busted for: after bedtime TV watching. His door was shut. The lights were still on and yes, he was so busted! I opened the door expecting to startle him but he was so into that little device screen. He didn't even turn around or budge. It doesn't take long to get to fuming. The room is a mess. I'm on a diet. And, by three steps closer to him, I thought the nerve of this guy. "I can't believe you are still up. It's time to go to bed. I know it's Friday night but you have big day tomorrow..." Only at the moment that I get to his bed that I realize, his eyes aren't even open. He's sound asleep. So, I removed the screen but the ergonomics of the hand had to be fixed. Imagine being stuck in screen-in-hand posture like that all night. So, I took his hand and shook out his fingers and tried to get the hand to relax. He stirred enough to move around and finally tuck his hand under his head.

I turned off the lights, turned on the ceiling fan, and took the phone with me.

On a more serious note, many of us are falling to sleep with and even on top of our screen technology. In extreme position for our bodies, as we position them awkwardly (position itself, length of time frozen in the position). It's sleep disrupting in ways we don't even know yet. So much for falling to sleep on the couch with the TV on. The TV isn't in your hand or underneath you.

We aren't the only family in this dilemma. But, from what I can tell, even though, we are aware that checking our device last at night is not recommended.

No one is is talking about being frozen in those awkward screen-in-hand positions all night. I mean, our son's hand didn't even really relax when the phone was removed. I think it's just light enough that the body wasn't impacted by the loss of weight when I removed it. All the muscle force stayed in the hands posture.

That's something to think about.


I have an odd habit of taking snippets of video. The moments before a posed picture or just a survey shot of a room. The snippets are mostly of people when they are just living. Most are 3s to 20s. I remember talking to my Dad about a ten second video; one of my daughter as a newborn. Right after my sister had said to me “that was all the video.(sigh)” Well that was all you could manage to send digitally, easily, to normal, non-tech folks at the the time. Her comment of frustration and disbelief to a post partum me had me on a brink of my new om tipping point. You know, the type that ends up with you standing in a barrel of tears. Then, my Dad said, if he could have sent even just 3s of us home to him parents. Well, he choked up. He said “you know, I would have loved to have done that” and he continued “to send a video like that to my mother.” So, neither kid was at home this Mother’s Day morning, no Mom to call. Our son was on a school trip abroad, our daughter was at a prom sleepover, and my mother resides in a better realm. I thought I would be sad, I was not. There was a touching moment in a prayer that Kevin said over the Junior Prom goers last Saturday. His prayer reminded us to be thankful for all parents sacrifice and all the gifts we are given. Ahhh...the clarity. Life is about those tiny moments, sacrifices and gifts, especially those moments where all is well. So, I spent my quiet morning going through some sweet, snippet videos. Marveling at moments. Remembering the dearness of people. Being grateful for memories and thankful for all of the mothers who brought each of us here, especially for their sacrifices and their gifts. And, then of course, we went to the nursery to get some wonderful flowers.

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