loving what you've got

The culminating event of last month's travels -- and the reason we planned a Mississippi trip in the first place -- was a family gathering to mark the occasion of my cousin Carol's retirement from teaching. 

Carol taught second grade for 29 years, and then became a librarian for another dozen. Any way you slice it, that's a lot of years in the classroom, and a lot of lives touched by an extraordinary teacher. I made the cake.

Everyone pitched in to make a marvelous meal, kinfolks arrived, and, once again, generations came together, the way we do.
Pass the babies, exclaim over the children, enthuse about the meal, praise the cooks, recall family history, get a staircase photo with the lingerers, take a picture of the three Jims together, play a little jazz for the youngest aficionado, catch up and lift up: we choose one another, even in all our quirks and differences. We appreciate one another. It makes the loving world go 'round.

And that's a good thing. It's what I write about as well: Families that see beyond a lifetime's disappointments and shortcomings and expectations and pain, people who, in the end, swallow their pride and see themselves -- and others -- for what they are... beautiful, fallible human beings... and embrace what's joyful, what's funny, what's delightful, what's lovable -- because there is so, so much that is lovable.

It's a right-of-passage to come to this place in life. It's the jackpot, if you're lucky. It teaches you to love yourself.

This particular right-of-passage is a theme of all my fiction. The story may wrap around 1964 Mississippi, but at its heart, book two is a story of loving what you've got. Who you've got. And seeing that it is good.


  1. "...story of loving what you've got. Who you've got. And seeing that it is good."

    We'd all do well to live out lives following those words.

    Good thought.

  2. Debbie -- I wish I'd had this wonderful blog post before I finished my thesis!
    May I quote from it in my presentation?

  3. Hi Debbie,

    Thank you for this post. You have such a great time living your life!

    Love the photos. Also love philogophy -- can I call it that?

    My dad's memorial service is in a little less than two weeks; it'll be a gathering of the clan. I need to remember what you say -- get beyond the shortcomings and disappointments, the irritants, and love what'cha got. And also to take lots of pictures!

    Let us know when you're up this way.

    Judy Hijikata

  4. Dear Judy, here are some big hugs for you. I'm so sorry to hear about your dad's passing, and I'm so glad you're going to be gathering with the clan, in all it's what'cha got -- it's really what makes us human, isn't it? Take photos. Gather stories. Much love to you. Debbie

    1. Debbie,

      Thank you. It was. . . I'll go so far as to say pretty good. Yes, lots of pictures and yes, I heard some stories I had never heard before. Learned new things, met new in-laws. You can see the pix on FB.

  5. So glad it was pretty good, Judy. I'm headed to fb to take a look. Hugs. xo


Howdy. Moderating comments to prevent spam. I'm sure you're not that. Thanks for your thoughts! Write on, warrior on. Make art.