Stories of Comfort. Stories of Thanks.

My Uncle Red and one of my brothers, Michael (Peanut). This photo was taken probably about 5 or 6 years ago.

Today, I am reflecting on the stories from my life that lend me peace or make me laugh or send good feelings through me. My mother’s only brother, and the youngest child on her father’s side, Andrew (who we call, “Uncle Red” and all others simply call, “Red”) is my favorite uncle. He was fourteen years old when I was born and from what I am told, extremely happy to be an uncle. I was his second niece, but I was the baby for a long time.

He likes to tell the story of him visiting my mom, father, and I one evening for dinner. I was probably two or three years old at the time. As we were eating, my uncle rehashes how I looked over to him, and announced, “Are you eating your food, Uncle Red?” And to this, he responded, “I am, baby.” What came out of my mouth next definitely indicates I had been around adults more so than children.

My uncle said I looked up at him, smiled, and rebutted, “That’s a big boy. You eat your food.” He said all he could do was laugh–not that fake, silly laugh, but a belly-full laugh, and for the rest of the meal, he had a huge simile on his face. He tells this story to his wife, to his children, to anyone who will listen, and I still love to hear it.

I believe it was the moment I knew I’d always be bonded with/connected closely to, my uncle.

Caison, the little love of my life. One of my baby cousins, and the sweetest gift my cousin Akua has ever given this world.

If you’ve been reading my work for quite a while, then you have seen pictures, read poems, and know about Caison. I have a ton of stories that make me happy when it comes to this Munchkin Man, but my favorite happened about two months ago.

I had been waiting for Caison and Akua to come back home. I was sitting in their living room talking to Caison’s grandmother and watching television. Akua did not tell him I would be “popping up” to spend some time with him. Caison had just turned four years old, and I had his birthday gifts with me to give to him.

Akua recants the story so vividly and with a smile on her face each time as she tells me how excited Caison was to see my car parked in their driveway. The conversation went a little like this, Caison: “Oh! Mommy, is that Naine-Naine’s car?!” Akua: “Yes, baby. It is.” Caison: “Yay! Naine-Naine!!!”

The babies of my family call me “Maine-Maine” or “Tree” and Caison has a little trouble with the pronunciation of “M-words”, they often come out as words beginning with the letter “N”, instead. I think it’s the most adorable thing–his excitement by simply seeing my car, and knowing I had been there waiting to see him.

It makes my heart smile and reminds me how grateful I am to have the love of a young one wrapped up in me.

My kid sister, Bless. When I was 19, this young woman became my most favorite human being–a little sister, finally! I’d had 5 brothers, I didn’t want another one. Lol!

My kid sister and I communicate mostly via text message. I’ll call from time to time simply to hear her voice. I wrote a poem for a friend of mine a few days ago and I shared it with my sister to get her opinion. I actually said to her, “Read this and let me know if it’s garbage or not.”

She read it and said she found snippets of herself throughout the poem and she believed my friend would love it. Of course, being the big sister I am, I wanted to know which snippets of herself she spotted . . . My sister’s response, although simple, got a chuckle out of me. She said, “Oh, see now . . . you want the deets, sis!”

I laughed so hard and I don’t really know why. I could hear my sister saying this to me as if we were in the same room discussing the poem and its details, and I could see the look that would show up on her face. Lol. I simply said, “Of course, I want the details, kiddo!”

The simple things in life make me happy I am living. I am thankful for family and friends and sustenance and words and love and kindness and breathing.

I hope all of you will enjoy this day, should you choose to celebrate it. I will spend it knowing I am blessed and at any moment, this could change.

Peace and blessings.

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