An Easter to Remember!!

I rarely shed tears on Easter, but today was so emotional for me. It was the last Easter Sunday that Paul Roberts Abernathy will be the Rector of St. Mark’s as he prepares to retire. It was an honor to serve as Verger with him today for both services. His sermon was on point of course, and he put his heart and soul into it. Herb, Kim and Kendal came to the 11:15 service as well to mark this special occasion. Because Kendal loves Paul and has spent quite a bit of social time with him, during his sermon she spontaneously announced “that’s Paul!”…. and just in case we didn’t hear her the first two times she shared her observation, on the third time she said more loudly and pointed at the pulpit, “Mommy, THAT’S PAUL!!!” Hysterical!! There were so many people in the Nave that her voice didn’t travel to the pulpit for Paul to hear her, but the folks in the choir enjoyed her mini-announcement! 

After church we headed to the house for the Veney Seward Easter Egg Hunt! Kim and Herb got there first and hid the eggs while I went to pick up Mom so she could participate in the fun too!! When we got in the car, Mom started on her usual “where are we going?” and “I don’t know what I’m doing” statements. So I just quietly answered her about 30 times that we were going to my house to spend time with Kim, Herb and Kendal, and I’d help her so that she’d know exactly what she was doing. She simply replied “ok”, but seemed pretty unsure and confused. Mom said she didn’t remember what Easter was all about or us having Easter egg hunts when we were kids. Even so, I wasn’t worried about how it would go when we got to the house. I figured it would be fine no matter what happened!! 

Amazingly our time together wasn’t just fine, it was incredible!!! It would have been absolutely perfect had Tim not been working. As our visit began, Mom sat quietly with us in the kitchen while Kendal opened her singing card, and examined her purple Easter Bucket from Tim and I, that was filled with a Dora ball, raisins, squeezable applesauce, sidewalk chalk and of course her favorite Bubbles!! Mom smiled and smiled, almost as widely as Kendal did upon seeing all her gifts. 

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When we went out to the back yard to start the Easter egg hunt, I suggested to Mom that she help Kendal find the hidden eggs. I wasn’t sure she understood, and figured she would probably just wander around the yard. But NO!!! Mom and Kendal were on a mission to find those eggs, working as a GREAT team as we provided encouragement for them!! Mom would yell “here’s one”, and Kendal would run over and grab it and the two of them would smile!! I’m not sure what popped into Mom’s mind and caused her to instinctively remember plastic Easter eggs, but something did, and it was amazing to watch!! 

 

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Then Mom and Kendal played catch in the front yard and that was simply priceless to watch!!!! Kendal threw the ball and Mom stretched to catch it. They would both clap or cheer to celebrate the great catch!! I started to tear up as my 85 year old Mom ran across the yard to retrieve the ball. I had not seen Mom that focused on anything in a long time!! 

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Mom cheered for herself too when she saw her Easter basket from Tim and I…. It was filled with Cadbury Eggs and her favorite Kit Kat mini bars, which she no longer remembers that she LOVED!! But she knew it was candy and that was good enough for her!! 

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My day was overwhelming!! On this Resurrection Sunday, my Mom was able to engage so fully with us, as if her memory had been Resurrected too!! Whatever if was, I feel grateful and blessed and have it all the amazing moments recorded!! I’ll treasure this day always!! Resurrection Day indeed!! Love and thanks to Herb, Kim and Kendal for making today special!

Love you Mom!! 

 

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One Brick at a Time!!

The last three weeks have been incredible!! After speaking on March 17 as part of a panel, I attended the final event of the Festival of the Book on March 23rd in Charlottesville, VA which was a celebration brunch for all African-American authors who participated in the Festival. It was attended by 200 people and every author had four minutes to speak about their book. After the event, you could sign books and talk to the crowd. I sold more than 30 books after the brunch, and there was even a line of people waiting for their book to be signed!! It was Amazing and I was actually overwhelmed! Another author who is a Director at the Smithsonian, purchased my book that day and has since hired me to do another event in May. She and I chatted about our love for creativity and that my first job as a kid was at the Smithsonian. She was thrilled! 

Then last Saturday, I spoke at an Assisted Living facility in Hyattsville, MD to a group of 15 folks who have loved ones at the facility and are thinking of starting a support group. During that presentation, one of the things I talked about was my love of Legos, and how much I loved playing with them with my Mom when I was a kid. I had a large baggie of Legos with me, which instantly became the hit of the event. I shared with them that when my Mom and I play with Legos today, it keeps her calm, and that she always focuses on only One Brick at a Time. 

We live in a world of multitasking, focusing on many things at once, and I’ve always believed I was a Master at it!! Then in the last couple of weeks, I’ve made a couple of silly mistakes, overlooking a few details that could easily have prevented the mistakes. I decided that I needed to slow down just a little!! The huge project I’d been working on for the last couple of months was now completed, and I needed to take a break and to catch my breath for a minute. Maybe I could read the same lines in a book over and over like Mom, or I could focus on One Brick at a Time!. 

I decided that this past weekend was the perfect time to assemble the latest Lego projects I brought a few weeks ago when we took Kendal for her first Lego store visit. It would be a great opportunity for me to just have some fun playing with bricks. So for all of Friday evening and most of the day on Saturday, me and the fam assembled some amazing projects! I had forgotten how much fun it was to focus on assembly instructions One Brick at a Time! But the most fun of course is seeing the finished project! 

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By Sunday morning, I had a dining room table full of an entire city of Lego bricks that I’ll use in my management training or security and emergency management table top exercises. My Lego city has a really cool car, a crane that works, a fire engine with hook, ladder and a fire hydrant, police cars and boats, a helicopter, a city bus, a pizza restaurant and bike shop, a police command center, a security gate, many security folks, police officers, firemen and regular city folk. I’m proud of my City, and can’t wait to show it to my Mom. I look forward to telling her that once again I’ve learned a valuable lesson from her, that I don’t always have to do things at 100 mph and it’s ok to slow down long enough to focus on One Brick at a Time! Love you Mom!