An entire month has flown by with time travelling on wings and not feeling the need to pause, even for a moment, but leaving me completely breathless in its wake.
So much has transpired in these days and weeks, and there is so much that I want to share with you, but writing to you today feels as if I am meeting a beloved friend after a long, long time. There is much to be said and shared, but the words simply won't come. Now that we are actually here, everything that I had wanted to say, everything that I had planned to share with you, feels insignificant somehow, unnecessary in fact.
Instead, I want nothing more than to sit beside you and hold your hand and look into your eyes and smile, and
tell you show you how delighted I am that you've yet again opened your heart to mine, that together we've yet again made space for my presence in your life and yours in mine,
so here we are,
heart to heart,
in hushed words
in soothing silence.
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having allowed for that pause,
for that momentary stilling of time,
when even the Universe turned around to bear witness to our joy,
and now, having soaked up the moment of seeing you again at long last,
I can share with you all that I have in store for you today. Read on!
Last month, I was raving about Bridgerton. This month, it is Heartstopper. Originally a webcomic created by Alice Oseman, it is a simple love story, a queer coming-of-age story, set in an all-boys school in England. Charlie Spring (played by Joe Locke) is an openly gay Year 10 student who has a crush on a popular Year 11 student and rugby star, Nick Nelson (played by Kit Connor).
This is such a feel-good, romantic story that cuts out all the other drama that YA (young adult) fiction has now come to be replete with – drugs, murder, sex, nudity, political scandals. Not to say that these don't exist in the real world but when I watch something like that, it only amps up my maternal anxiety by a factor of several hundreds or thousands, because it sends me down the rabbit hole and I can't stop panicking, worrying and wondering about the kind of world D is growing up into.
Heartstopper was like a breath of fresh air. About having a crush. About exchanging looks and smiles. I swooned every time Nick and Charlie met each other and said "Hi". I had forgotten how potent that first, shy smile could be, how secretive too, so full of unspoken longing and hope.
Heartstopper is also about friendships. About growing close, growing apart, only to spring back together once more.
But what fascinated me the most was Heartstopper's relentless yet gentle focus on how things can go right instead of how things could go wrong, be it discovering one's gender and/or sexuality, finding acceptance in the form of supportive family and friends, facing difficulties, standing up to bullies, and finding the courage to own up to our mistakes and wrong decisions and do what's needed to make them right.
Somehow, it was a much-needed reminder that we can find in ourselves the courage to do what matters to us, and that we will be OK, no matter what.
This is something that has been playing on my mind lately, especially as May has been a month of many happenings. Of old neigbours leaving and new neighbours taking their place, of Mothers' Day and D's heartfelt thoughts, a weekend jaunt to Ottawa, of D falling ill, of D losing his first tooth, of his letter to the tooth fairy and her response. (I had wanted to write about all of it, but I offer you a gallery of images instead.)
It wasn't so much the incidents themselves, but the truth that had been staring me in the face all along.
That I can be OK, no matter what. That we can be OK, no matter what.
Because despite all the upheavals that came our way this past week or month or these past few years, despite all the losses and griefs and heartbreaks and misunderstandings and lost opportunities and failures that we have seen in our lifetimes so far, we can somehow find the ability to value and cherish ourselves and this one, precious life we've each been blessed with.
When D first felt his tooth wiggle, he didn't quite like it. Eventually he found himself being OK with his wiggly tooth and with the fact that his milk teeth will fall out and be replaced. When the tooth fell out, that prompted another bout of worry for him that lasted a few minutes. Once the tears were out and the questions were asked, even if not answered to his liking, and the letter to the tooth fairy was written, he found he could make peace with this fact of life. And now he simply can't stop flashing his beautiful smile every so often.
A few days later, I was very heartened when I heard D talk to himself while playing and he said, "It's OK that I felt nervous. I lost my tooth. It was a big change for me."
But even as I say this and admire my child's grit, I must admit I am no paragon of virtue myself. I worry endlessly, and knowing what I know, I worry about my endless worrying too! It's rather a frenetic loop.
May the words of Mary Oliver in her poem, I Worried, serve as a balm to soothe and comfort our souls.
I WORRIED by Mary Oliver
I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
Finally, I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
A Benevolent Goddess
Chapter 7 – Reimagining
A Benevolent Goddess went out into the world at the beginning of April. A dear friend and long-time reader and sharer of writings and poetry and dreams and feelings read it promptly and wrote to me saying how beautiful it was and yet how sad she was that the tale ended on a tragic note. And she asked me if somehow the Goddess could find a happier ending. I promised my friend another chapter though I had no idea how the story could possibly be any different. Yet, when I sat down to write that new chapter, the words flowed. As if the Goddess had merely needed a nudge, a little prompting, an encouragement, in exactly the same way my friend had given me.
Shreyasi, this one's for you!
(If you plan to read A Benevolent Goddess and haven't done so yet, I'd suggest you read this bonus chapter after you've finished the book as it picks up from where the book ends.)
Tales for Dreamers
A Temple for the Gods
They are building a temple for the Gods. But something hinders their progress. Perhaps you could help?
This month's tale is inspired by a structure under construction that we came across as we made our way around Parliament Hill in Ottawa. I couldn't find any details on the structure itself but it reminded me of a Japanese temple, and the story fell into my head from the Heavens. But it wasn't until we returned to Burlington that I sat down to pen the story. It isn't any different than the one that the muse had given me at the site. I'm happy to be able to present it to you in its original, unadulterated form.
Books You May Love
I had fallen into a strange pattern of reading two or more books in parallel; one on my Kindle at bedtime and the other in paperback or hardback format when daylight and leisure are aplenty. And if I was reading non-fiction alongside, I occasionally found myself in the midst of four different books simultaneously, unless I made a conscious effort to avoid it.
Needless to say, my lack of commitment cost me much reading pleasure until I forced myself to course-correct and am I glad I did! Because it led me to three amazing works, each vastly different from the other, and each extremely enjoyable.
I've learnt my lesson now. No more multi-timing, and certainly not when it comes to books! ;-)
And now it's time to say goodbye, dear dreamer. We must part ways now. For there is an entire spring-summer (or autumn-winter if that's where you live) right outside our windows, beckoning to us.
Thank you for this rendezvous. The next time we meet, it will be in a different month.
But perhaps you could write to me in the interim? Tell me about your days. Tell me if you can see the moon and stars from your window. Tell me if you stand there and dream grand dreams. Tell me if you are travelling, exploring new worlds, and leaving a piece of your precious heart wherever you go.
May this be a month of dreams coming true!