Thursday, April 11, 2013

At Seventeen

She's Seventeen today.  Wow.  Wait...How can that be true?  That went by so amazingly fast.  I know every parent says that.  But it seems it all only lasted a heartbeat's length.  I am trying to wrack my MS'd brain...trying to fumble for the 'Rewind' button so I can go back and watch it all over again...being careful--this time--to pay attention to all of The Sights (her sleeping heavy in my arms--all stuffed and drunk on milk--all of  "The First's"--the First Time I saw her face, her First Steps, her First Day of school), The Smells (baby powder kisses and fresh out of the dryer hugs), The Sounds (her musical, infectious laughter that bubbled up out of her little body and had the power to instantly cause a smile on every set of lips within earshot).  Can I just see it all again, just one more time?

She's a young Woman now....and what a fine one she is.  She is Wise so far beyond her years--and ancient soul in this young, healthy body.  Yet, her Kindness and Consideration for others harkens back to a simpler time, many decades ago.  Her Nana would be proud.

She is Brave.  More brave than anyone I've ever met.  She has seen hand to hand combat, looked evil in the eye and stared it down.  She has known both Loss and Death.  She has felt Pain that would have caused someone three times her age to cry for mercy, yet she set her jaw and kept going.

She is Beautiful.  Not restricted by the conventional...she radiates a Light from within.  She is His, and it shows.  She is Grace...even when she stumbles in her high heels.

She is Love.  She's filled with it to the point that it almost oozes out of every pore.  The world has tried to stamp this out of her.  She had every excuse to become angry and bitter and to replace her love with hate, but the world was unsuccessful in it's efforts.


My Dearest Talia Beth, 

I don't have a lot to give you, on this, your seventeenth birthday.  I won't be able to throw you a huge party or give you the keys to a new car or a diamond (your birthstone)---all of which you deserve, and so much more.  All I have to give you is my words and all the things that have been yours since the moment your little heart started keeping rhythm with mine--my Gratitude, my Trust, my Admiration and undying Devotion and Love.

This seems so unfair to's your birthday, but it was I who received The Gift 17 years ago...and every single day since then.  I got to be your Momma. 

You are this lovely multifaceted little creature dipped in honey and sprinkled with star shine.  If I live another month or 50 more years I will never do anything greater with my life than bringing you and your brother into it.

This song is for you.  I know you don't always see your extreme Beauty and your priceless Value and Worth, but making you aware of those gifts--and all the gifts you have been given by God--is the greatest thing a mother could do for her child At Seventeen...and beyond.

Happy Birthday Talia.  Your happiness remains my Joy, forever.

I love you,


By Janis Ian
I learned the truth at seventeen
That love was meant for beauty queens
And high school girls with clear skinned smiles
Who married young and then retired
The valentines I never knew
The Friday night charades of youth
Were spent on one more beautiful
At seventeen I learned the truth...
And those of us with ravaged faces
Lacking in the social graces
Desperately remained at home
Inventing lovers on the phone
Who called to say "come dance with me"
And murmured vague obscenities
It isn't all it seems at seventeen...
A brown eyed girl in hand me downs
Whose name I never could pronounce
Said: "Pity please the ones who serve
They only get what they deserve"
The rich relationed hometown queen
Marries into what she needs
With a guarantee of company
And haven for the elderly...
So remember those who win the game
Lose the love they sought to gain
In debitures of quality and dubious integrity
Their small-town eyes will gape at you
In dull surprise when payment due
Exceeds accounts received at seventeen...
To those of us who knew the pain
Of valentines that never came
And those whose names were never called
When choosing sides for basketball
It was long ago and far away
the world was younger than today
when dreams were all they gave for free
to ugly duckling girls like me...
We all play the game, and when we dare
We cheat ourselves at solitaire
Inventing lovers on the phone
Repenting other lives unknown
That call and say: "Come on, dance with me"
And murmur vague obscenities
At ugly girls like me, at seventeen...

Watch the video of "At Seventeen" here

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Littlest Hero

By Guest Blogger: Scott DeWitt

I need to get this out so bear with me. Today we went to court with a friend. I saw both the rational, fair side of justice and also the side that the victim should not be made to suffer. Please dont ask for names but I feel I must speak about this so that it makes a little more sense, at least to me. Our friend and her daughter sat in the courtroom and listened to the "person" who raped the child, try and express his remorse and explain away his actions ( he spoke first). He never took his eyes off of the judge's bench, he never changed the inflection of his voice, not wavering, not angry, no detectable emotion. When my friend spoke, she gave a detailed accounting of what she understood, the why's and how's of coming to her opinion of the rapists' sentence and was heartfelt and upset as a good Mother should and would have been. 

This part was hard for me to watch. I saw a small slip of a girl, both trembling and digging her nails into her fists the ENTIRE time everyone was speaking. When her time came, she was hesitant to talk and the judge urged her "because it had been her experience that the victim's healing process" would be speedier and forthcoming if she DID speak. Her small hands clutched a ream of papers with her account. She shook like a dry leaf in the wind, her voice wavered and was so small. The absolute worst part was that child trying to get out the things that had been done to her. I cannot and will not relate them because it gives me chills and angers me to the point of wanting to harm someone. She reminded me that hers was not a lone burden, there are far too many like her, bearing the pain and humiliation and guilt that come with being raped. My heart was breaking and yet I was so enraged at what he had done and that she was being subjected to it yet again, this time by the court. A necessary evil, I suppose.

He will serve a mixed sentence that is by no means easy. I will not disclose the particulars but suffice it to say that justice was served, although some may not agree with the method. He will forever be reminded of what he did, he will suffer for several years a mental strain and anguish by the judge imposing severe restrictions and impositions on him. The Mother forgave him, the child was to sick and frightened. I cannot forgive him or any of the others that do these heinous acts. Most are not remorseful and never will be. Perhaps someday he will TRULY pay for what he did. I am going to bed now and I will leave this space for you all to write your thoughts and comments but again, please don't ask me for particulars. Tonight my friends, I truly pray to my God after what I witnessed, for peace. Peace for that little girl, her Mother, family and friends and I pray that justice be served to the monster that caused this and all of his kind.

Here is a wonderful blog post written by my brother in Christ of 20 years, Robert Mauti. We are also both figure skaters and have coached...