|Happy Anniversary, Jackie||To Three Warrior Women on Mother’s Day||To Jackie With Love||Lunch with Heather|
|A Walk Before Dawn||Sylvester||Pangur Bán||d’Artagnan||First Light||Boone and Squirt|
|Pile o Pooches, Pair o Pirates||Christmas 2015||Shepherds Wearing Flying Goggles|
To Three Warrior Women on Mother’s Day
It has been my destiny to love and be loved by warrior women all my life.
It is my honor just to be a distant relative.
Three o’clock in the darkness of early morning. The moon is half, the wind is still, an owl is calling. First light is a few hours east of the San Jacinto mountains, spreading softly through the great plains, heading my way. I sit in the soft embrace of my chair, rocking quietly. A little white and black dog snores contentedly in front the dancing fire. We have been friends a long time. A hot cup of spicy orange and cinnamon tea warms my hands.
Within my reverie, flashing moments remind me of how generously the Maker of All Things has cared for me. Life is truly a sacred blessing. Something inside pulls and turns me to think of the three most amazing women I know best in my life. All three are mothers, so I know their goodness is well known to others also. Although I honor them out loud this Mother’s Day, I honor them in my prayers every day, because every day is mother’s day. The air inside me stops moving for a while.
I honor my mother, Maria Socorro Rivera, who married my dad, Donald Smith. Mom was a fireball sacrament, a high energy Puerto Rican lady of tremendous strength and velocity. Mom was also the embracing, loving presence of Mother Earth, reassuring, trustworthy, nurturing, protective, over flowing with endless generosity. Mom was the power presence in my life, a warrior woman of undaunted courage, honor, loyalty, and dignity. My brother, John, and I knew without any doubt that mom was the strength and stability of the world, and she was always on our side.
My mother’s middle name is Socorro. In Spanish, Socorro means “help”, but that is not a big enough word to contain the person who was my mother. “Rescue” and “Salvation” were her real names. My mother was a cup of cold water in the desert. My mother was the sound of choppers, low on the tree line heading our way across glistening rice paddies. My mother was a torrent of wind in the night leading a flight of angels racing to help a child in trouble. My mother was a warrior woman armed with love, and she and the Maker of All Things were really good friends. They loved me first before they taught me how to love them.
This Mother’s Day, I honor my spouse, Jacqueline Janette Crawford, you who are the treasure of my life. You too are a warrior woman. I can’t help smiling about how you drove nonchalantly through the middle of a flaming bonfire at a street intersection in Belfast, Northern Ireland the night of the Twelfth of July celebration, commemorating the 1690 Battle of the Boyne. “Well, it was in the way!” you said. None the worse for wear, you pulled up beside a small gathering of people standing on the grass to ask directions to the nearest beer party. I’m guessing those people couldn’t help noticing the Republic of Ireland license plates on the slightly smoking rental car driven by that crazy lady from America. That was a night to remember.
In the ancient Celtic imagination, the anam cara is an intimate soul friend. Beginning with friendship a long time ago, you and I were meant to touch each other. Somehow, an ancient circle was closed, click, and I have been touched by blessing unlooked for far beyond my wildest imagining.
My soul is at peace in the presence of your love as surely as my body breathes in the presence of air. Now, we ourselves are becoming ancient, at least on the outside. Though I do pay close attention, you still find ways to surprise me, and I am delighted to relearn things about you all over again.
You are my trust in the future and the reflection of my memories without regret. I thank you, anam cara, for seeing for me what I do not see for myself. As love is the essence of God, you are the evidence of His divine blessing in my life. I love you, Jackie Crawford, anam cara. You have always loved me best, even as I have tried to love you more.
This Mother’s Day, I honor my daughter, Heather Renée Hughes, you who are also a treasure to this world. You too are a warrior woman, a decidedly vocal warrior with a rather competitive history of loyalty to the North Dakota State University Bison among other family members who are equally vocal warriors of the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux.
The Lakota people are among the great nations of the Great Plains. The more I learn of their history the more I admire their accomplishments and their friendship with the sacred and holy. One who knows said if you want to see a lot of combat veterans in one place, go to a Veterans’ Powwow in Pine Ridge village on an August afternoon. There’s probably more foreign shrapnel walking around the small towns of the reservation than there is in similar towns anywhere else in America.
Heather, you have been a most significant person in the lives of many people so far in your young life, even a hokSHÍuzA, in the language of the Lakota people, a midwife, “she who catches the babies.” I was thinking that if you had a Lakota name, it might be Pathfinder, Opener of Roads, not only for helping at the beginning of new life, but also for helping at the completion of life on this earth. It was you, Heather, who invited your mom and me to leave North Dakota and come to live in Hemet, California for the rest of our lives. You and Sandy, I believe, even found the exact house in which we now live. Yes, Pathfinder, Opener of Roads is about right.
To be born is to be chosen by the Maker of All Things, Himself, for a special destiny on this island, Earth. The major factors of life: when and where we are born, and who will be our family is not of our own choosing, but this is where the journey begins. Freedom of choice fills in the rest of the story. I think it was C. S. Lewis who said, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God, and an even more fearful thing to fall out of them.” It has been my destiny to love and be loved by warrior women all my life. It is my honor just to be a distant relative.
Among all men on this earth, I am most richly blessed.
Warrior Women, thank you for life, and love, and time to share, and days to remember. “Happy Mother’s Day” is far too small an expression of awe to contain the majesty and power and commanding presence that you three Warrior Women have in my life, and in this world.