30

I was 26.
The year was 1992.
The photographer was my very own brother.
This is the only copy of this photo I have and it was ruined in a flood. The glass has come off in parts but I think it adds to the dimension of the photo.
I have always loved this photo so I decided to recreate it with an updated twist to represent the woman I am now…. 30 years later.
The year is 2022.
I am 56 years old.
The pieces are finally coming together.
Oh the things I would tell that young woman… the lessons she would learn, the mistakes she would make, the wisdom she would gain. I know we would have been good friends had we known each other then. I’m so proud of that girl for all she has become.
Peace
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Lilacs

I was out for a walk today….but chose a different direction. That made all the difference.
Spring has sprung! The sights, smells and colors are a feast for the senses. I love lilies of the valley, viburnum and lilacs. The scent takes my right back to my childhood.
Today I stopped near an alley at a large lavender lilac bush taller than me by at last 4 feet. As I closed my eyes to inhale the sweet aroma, I was startled by an older woman on the other side of the fence. I took a step back as I had no mask on.
“Its fine, honey…..I got my shots!” the woman said.
I laughed and said, “Me too! Your lilacs are so beautiful!”
“Thank you. I didn’t think they would ever grow. My children would always pick bunches for their teachers every spring.”
“And wrap them in wet paper towels and tin foil?”
This time it was the lady that laughed…. “Yes! How did you know?!”
“I did the same thing! I love lilacs and loved giving them to my teachers too! I am a teacher now and sometimes students give them to me! Do your kids live close by?”
“Oh no. They are long gone…..” She trailed off…
“Oh…..well do they visit often?”
“No sweetie….they are gone. I had 2 children and they both have passed away…..”
I felt like such an asshole in that moment. Talk about putting my foot in my mouth.
“I am so sorry. I didn’t mean….”
She stopped me….”Sweetie…I could not help them. I did my best. I was on my own….. and drugs were stronger than my love. Are you a mom?”
“Yes….I have 5 kids and am on my own too……”
There was an awkward silence as we just stood there looking at my panting dog beside me.
“Well, I should be going. My dog needs a drink! It was so nice to talk to you. Thank you for sharing your flowers!”
“Wait…..please pick some of the lilacs for yourself. A big bunch! Thank for stopping and talking to me. We mommas have to stick together! Hug your kids for me……you are so blessed and a blessing to me. Thank you.”
So I picked a bunch of lilacs, waved goodby to her and headed home.
The whole way I home I thought about what she said…..My kids make me crazy, giving me grey hair while they test my sanity but they are here. They are each a phone call away. I am blessed.
I never did ask her for her name but will now make it a point to walk past her house more often. We mommas have to stick together.
Peace.
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Love

I posted this photo and story last week but now it seems more important than ever.
*
This man was in front of me at the grocery store. I complimented his jacket and he told me he made it. I asked him if I could take a photo of it to share and he agreed. 
We stood, holding up the line, chatting for a bit. The front of the jacket had more words as well but the back is what tugged at my heart. 
The people behind us were getting a bit frustrated, so I turned and said, “Thank you for your patience. I appreciate the time to speak with someone about his art.”
They nodded…… and it was like a pressure valve was released. I think they expected me to get mean. 
I turned back to him and said, “Thank you again for chatting and letting me take a picture. God bless…. “
“No, bless you for taking time to get to know me….I love you”
And he walked away. And that was that. 
*
It is moments like this that again remind me of my privilege. It is moments like this I am reminded of the disconnect in society. It is moments like this I am reminded of the power of love.
This man took a chance by wearing his heart not only on his sleeve but on his body. He showed all those he met that there is strength and power in love.
I watched videos of reactions to the Chauvin verdict and what I noticed was a collective exhale. Visible and palpable relief. It was not justice. It was accountability. It was one man being held accountable for his actions. It does not solves the systemic issues of race inequities in this country. What this verdict does is begin to move the needle in the direction forward. We need to move forward towards creating a country where all people feel safe, loved and valued.
Moving forward happens one step at a time….one moment at a time. It all starts with love.
Peace
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

12

12 years.
Looking back at that girl from 12 years ago….
there is so much I would tell her
Warnings I would inform her of
Advice I would give her
She would not have listened.
Back then, she was knee deep in mothering her kids. She was busy making excuses for everything in her life. She is me…. and we learn the hard way.
The wisdom and strength I have gained over those 12 years are worth all the pain and heartache.
The time of excuses is long past. I own all of my past.
Knowing me the way that I do…. I’m only going to grow in strength, character, grace and wisdom moving forward.
Looking back only helps me clearly see lessons learned in order to focus on the path forward.
What would you tell yourself 12 years ago?
Peace,
#tutulady
#forwardisapace