Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spring Cleaning

Mom helping me plant flowers at my own first house- spring 1990.

by Janet Sobczyk, 2013ⓒ

There's something about the first warm days of spring
that makes me want to clear leaves out of flowerbeds,
sweep the porch, clean out the cars, and
wash my windows and curtains.

I don't feel that strongly about those things
at any other time of the year, so why then?
Maybe it's because of my mom,
who set a fine example for years.

Twice a year, spring and fall, without fail,
she would go full speed cleaning the house and cars.
She washed walls, windows, and floors.
Always top to bottom, of course.

All the furniture would be moved, cleaned, rearranged.
The vacuum would probe every corner.
Sometimes tiny treasures were found
under the couch or behind the console TV.

As a child I enjoyed watching her.
Sometimes it was best to stay out of the way
before being enlisted to lend a hand.
But I always enjoyed the finished results.

Rooms that almost glowed.
Everything seemed so fresh and pretty.
I loved the novelty of furniture in new places
and clean windows open to the breeze.

This is the first year that Mom is not spring cleaning.
She talks about wanting to work in the yard
and needing to clean windows.
But she doesn't have to now; she is in "assisted living."

She can't quite adjust to having things done for her.
After so many years of spring and fall cleanings,
she still thinks it needs to be on her to-do list.
I guess a woman's work really is never done.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Monica's First Communion

It's the time of year for many children to be receiving their First Holy Communion and it brings to mind the year that Monica received it. 

For me it was as stressful as a wedding because of her contrariness, so typical of children with Down syndrome.  Would she wear the fancy dress? (Yes, but not be happy about it.)  Would she wear the flower and ribbon veil?  (Absolutely not!)  Would she process down the aisle with her classmates?  (Yes!)  Would she remember what to do when she went up to Communion?  (Sort of.)  Would she stand still for photos or smile?  (Some yes, some no.)  Would she use good manners at her party?  (Only after taking off the fancy dress and getting into comfortable attire.)

Monica with her Godparents

Monica and Peter show off her banner.

Monica and Joe celebrate afterwards.

Monica's First Communion
 by Janet Sobczyk, 2013ⓒ

The pretty white dress,
was too fancy for her taste.
The simple ribbon veil
was not to be tolerated.
But high heeled shoes
made her feel like a queen!

Now, would she perform?
Stand in line?  No way!
Smile for a class photo?
You've got to be kidding!
But add a brother or two
and her smiles were real.

She sang all the songs
and said all the prayers.
When it was finally time
she walked up with Dad
and willingly received Jesus,
her bread of life.

Mass was soon over,
it was time to party! 
But not until the dress
was hung on display,
so she could finally wear
comfy clothes instead.

The next Sunday she
knew just what to do.
No pressure, just joy.
Not standing out,
she was part of the crowd,
quietly happy and proud.