To know love, bell hooks, once suggested that we must first surrender to it. Discover it. Choose it. Practice it. Respect it. Voice it. Listen to it. Nurture it. Admit to ourselves that we want to know love, be love, and dwell in it. I have spent the past week doing as bell hooks noted and loving every single moment I discovered love in the city of love. I have walked steps I once walked in love over 10 years ago. Touched faces and places long forgotten, all to rediscover for myself and my love, why our love matters. It’s the eve of our birth. I am still full and choosing and nurturing and listening to love with my Belle.

A mother’s love!

I went to Bamileke Kingdom today. It was of course at Musee Quai Branly. But honestly, I went on a journey to ancestors and beyond. So much to tell but for now, I learnt about beads and cowries today. Their connections to queens, and all things powerful and of value. I learnt about how their techniques are always the same, always the threading of beads or cowries, few at a time, then stitched together in time. I saw how inspirational the colors and patterns of beads can become. Always together, always in awe. Truly I saw you.

I find myself spurred to relieve moments long forgotten with you. Day and night in June in Paris seems like eternity with you. Like resting underneath canopy trees at Bercy gardens with you. Or running our hands through silver-colored birch trees with you. Reuilly Diderot, Avenue Daumesnil may sound strange to you. But they hold memories of times with you, the beginning of you too, I will never forget. Thanks to dear friends like Richard who love you just as you are, our dear Belle.

At Bercy gardens then!
Same spot now!
Love you to the moon Richard! Thank you for being there from Day 1 through pregnancy with Belle and now

We are kicking off this summer with 100 days of books, books, and more books with my kids. I believe in leading by example and so to kick off, I just finished reading Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes. It was a beautiful, easy, effortless story of how a girl who loved to day dream turned her day dreams into words. She was of course aided by a teacher who saw the magic inherent with day dreaming and flipped his classroom to accommodate the girl and her day dreaming behavior. I loved this because I saw myself in Gabby. I am a day dreaming girl to the core and these days I turn them into grants. The one I am currently working on began as a day dream and it took 4 days, yes 4 days to put a draft together before we travelled out of town. I was able to travel and rest simply because my day dreams turned into words which then turned into a very rough first draft of the grant. Of course editing is the toughest part of any grant, but I am happy this one began as a dream. Only time will tell if this dream turns into reality.

In the meantime, my kids read if I had a tail and according to my 8 year old if he had one, he would use it to write. My 9 year old will fly with her tail while my five year old will wag his tail around just because. Happy summer days of reading.

We are also painting and drawing this summer!

They say there will be mornings like this. Meltdowns too like this. Toothache pain from nowhere. Tears flowing non-stop. Listening to Favor. All of us wondering. Whether we will prosper. In this space where horses roam free. We will. Not when blue skies greet us good morning. Grass the perfect shade of green too. And air as gentle as can be, reminds us that everything will be alright. Everything will. Now that we choose, choose and choose rest!

On a morning walk.

Many times we begin and start, a new day, a school year, time again. Many times, we were bitter, sad, joyful, glad again. That this time, this year, this day, ends, just as we prayed it would, is the bittersweet, joyful thing, I hope greets you this time, this year, this day again and again.

My heart still bleeds for Uvalde. But I am thankful for today, this time. Hug those you love.

I have been numb since last night. Trying to make sense of unrecognizable children, parents giving DNA samples, the horror within grounds that are supposed to teach and not kill will keep you numb. I am still at loss of words even as I try to make sense of what happened in Uvalde with words. We were just here last week. Just here asking anyone who come to this space if for a second to keep Buffalo in mind. Keep track of empty promises. Keep even how we collectively make sense of lives gone so soon. To think some of the graves are not even cold, keeps me numb. Some of the dead from before warned us about this failed state we call ‘We the people.’ This isn’t is about we or the people or the rights you think belong to you because you live in this moment, this phase we call life. I have seen chickens die, in thoughtful ways than the children at Uvalde. I have seen birds live and die with dignity than 4th graders and their teachers in Uvalde. I have even seen ants be treated with compassion, worms too with love, than children who lived and died as children, our greatest treasures because of our failure to act.

This is more than a fight for life. Guns and people are killing people with guns. The sum of us had it right. We have been socialized into becoming a society where shooting in schools is normal. The same goes for shooting at the grocery store, shooting at a church, shooting at a movie, even shooting of our neighbors simply because we have the right to bear arms. Our systems of rights, the one focused on guns, is the beginning of our downfall as a people. We can never be for and with people, if we believe in rights to kill people. That’s what we do everyday when we do nothing.

We did nothing ten years ago after Sandy Hook. We did nothing 10 days ago after Buffalo. We cannot in good faith do nothing after Uvalde. 19 parents will go home once again without a chance to say goodnight to their children. So pardon me, but I am angry that we live like this. Angry because I live in a system that continues to allow this to happen. Angry because we are traumatized and retraumatized everything another shooting occurs. Angry because empty promises are not enough. Angry for our children who deserve the right to be children and not face school drills focused on mass shooting. Angry as a mother, a teacher, a human being for the way we continue to treat human lives worse than dogs. We cannot shut up and accept this. We have a right to fight for we the people. Otherwise the next shooter will come along. He or she will bear those guns again and we will find ourselves here once more, numb to what we keep allowing. Uvalde could have been prevented. Buffalo too and certainly Sandy Hook.

I want to breathe free and live and not die by guns that I do not bear. I deserve that right too. To not bear arms, and still live. We have ignored this hidden wound for so long that maggots are now coming out of the carnage we brought on ourselves. The pain inflicted by guns is real. Ask any of the parents in Uvalde right now. Ask anyone in Buffalo. Ask those in Sandy Hook. Ask those in Columbine too. Truth and healing is what we all need right now. And the truth is, we are a failed state if we continue to live by guns. Otherwise what kind of country allows children to die in a senseless way. What kind of country allows people to die at grocery stores too. We the people or we the guns!

Memories like from this weekend, sink deeply into my soul. Good people are rare. Good food too. A belly full of laughter from boys cheerful with their joy, is forever etched in my memory. Black boy joy surrounded by grey elephants is truly magical. I am walking into this week full of thanks for being among people so good, boys so delightful too, for whom memories of doing together will forever linger.

Here is a truth. Cherish your failures. Bury your doubts. Protect your power. Knock on closed doors. Put a stake through your fears. Take what you want. Respect your pain. Let your spirit rise. Stand in your light. Speak with love. Do what stirs your imagination. Never forget that anything is possible. Find the time to dream. Know your words have transformative power. Use it for growth. Seek real and supportive relationships. Come together often. Learn to belong fully and truly to spaces you call your own. Let nothing, not even a sleepless night go to waste. Love deeply, as if it were forever. Survive all your freedoms.

I watched my baby at a family picnic dart back and forth a multi-colored block unafraid. Even when he fell, he kept going back inside, climbing up and down, until he found himself in the middle, just as he wanted. I figured there was a lesson in his ways hence why I wrote the above. Of course I took the time to dream, and watching a little boy cherish his failures will make you do the same.

I’m learning his ways. His voice is his own. He knows his hearts desires. Recalls promises made in silence. He will share his dreams if you ask. Plus he is only five. I keep asking when will he know. That birds called Sky are meant to fly free. I keep wondering when the fragrant air filled with roses and lavender became his friend. He is only five but wiser than ants strolling aimlessly in daylight. Honesty is his thing. Tell the truth and don’t cry. That and his voice. Everything he declares forces you to remember he his only five. Yet he touches every single edge of me. Like young seeds that know the sun. His eyes are like the sun. Bright, beautiful, big like his world. He breaks off many branches in me that does not bear fruit. He makes me live to many lives high above mountains that I become. He is my son. God, he is mine.

We were talking yesterday, my son and I about why I love him so much. I told him I would put it into words and read it out loud so he will know what he means to me always. The words above were my attempt at letting him know why I think he is loved and how I hope he remains forever. Keep sons that remind you of the sun, bright, beautiful and big, like their world.