Shane Kimba Tommy

Several years ago, Max and I were having a conversation about what it would be like to achieve your most amazing dream and how you would live your life after achieving it. For example, if you got to walk in space, how would it be to come back to earth? You wouldn’t ever want to forget how it felt to walk in space, and what could possibly compare to that feeling?

I asked Max, “What do you think would be the most amazing thing you could ever achieve or experience?” He said, “Riding on a rocket that was also a bunny that could shoot hamburgers out of its eyes and they would be the most incredible hamburgers you ever tasted in your whole life.” And after that, I didn’t even want to mention mine. Not much can follow how amazing a flying eyeball-hamburger-shooting-bunny would make you feel.

This past weekend, Max’s brother Shane was back home for a visit from Oregon. On his last evening at my house, we were all sitting at the kitchen table, talking. Max told us that he was working on how to communicate a problem to his friends. Max explained that he was feeling like there was some drama and sadness in his group and he felt it was important for him to communicate the importance of  love and acceptance. I said to Max, “I think that you are an empath. You actually can feel what other people feel and it affects you, and you want to help fix people’s pain.” Shane said, “Max, that’s your superpower.”

Max’s face lit up. As I watched my sons talk, I realized what Shane had done. In one word, he took all the negativity Max had associated with how he felt about his friends and their well-being and he turned it all into something powerful and positive. He named Max’s empathy his superpower.

When he was in daycare, Shane’s teachers used to write on his report cards, “Shane is going to grow up to be a superhero.”  It’s possibly my fault because I let him wear a Batman costume for a year when he was three years old. But that kid will always be like my favorite superhero, Batman, to me.  Batman is my favorite superhero because he doesn’t have special abilities, like Superman. He has a moral compass, he has strategies, he has intelligence. His heroism comes from a belief in the power of good and a willingness to keep fighting for justice. Those are actually Batman’s superpowers. My Shane’s superpower is his steadfast willingness to look for and name the best in every situation and in every person, no matter how difficult. Batman would be proud.

We all have superpowers, I believe.  We all have the ability to hack more love and acceptance into our lives and the lives of those around us. None of us can exactly know what another is thinking or feeling. But we can have each other’s backs, for sure. We can lift each other up, help each other get to those amazing experiences and feelings we so richly deserve.

Maybe it’s a ride on a bunny rocket shooting delicious hamburgers out of its eyes. Or maybe it’s helping someone in our lives feel better and do better. Maybe it’s helping yourself. Maybe you need to love yourself a little harder and forgive yourself a little more.  Everyone deserves a superhero. And anyone can be their own superhero. I hope you find yours – or that you realize you are yours.

“Everything’s impossible until somebody does it.” – Batman



Music = Love

Me and my boysA few years ago, Max examined my face and told me, “Mom you don’t have those pigeon tracks coming out of your eyes. That’s good.” I said to him, “What?” Then I realized what he meant. “Oh, thank you, honey. You mean I don’t have any crow’s feet.” “Yeah,” he said. “You just have a lot of dimples in your face.”  My son is observant and yet so kind about it.

Today my sons and I went to our favorite used and classic book store and a pawn shop in downtown Santa Rosa.  We wandered through and found books for each of us.  At the pawn shop, Max found a flute and asked me to buy it for him. I said to the pawn shop clerk, “I sure hope this isn’t a hot flute.” He told me that they run a police report on everything.  I said, “Good because we don’t want Yanni coming after us for stealing his flute.”

After we got the flute, Max said, “I just remembered that I actually don’t know how to play the flute.” He spent a couple hours teaching himself how to play on Yanni’s hot $100 pawn shop flute. And he’s actually really good. I don’t know why I’m surprised. He’s taught himself to play everything else.

On our way to Santa Rosa, my Shane shared a playlist with us that he named “mom.” He said, “It was only appropriate to name the playlist after the person who taught me about the music on it.”  I listened to “mom” tonight. After I practiced my cello. Which my sons encouraged me to begin playing again.

I cannot begin to explain how important music has been and still is in my life.  It’s like explaining how important breathing is to yoga. When my Shane shares new music with me. When my Max practices his drums, ukulele, bass, guitar, and now – flute. My heart is full because of their music. And it’s full because of my own.  That is the gift my sons returned to me.

Today, my sons (as they always do) said thank you, Mom, for the books. Thank you, Mom, for the music. Thank you, Mom, for dinner.  And I gotta say – Thank you, my beautiful boys.  You are worth every dimple on my face. Every scar on my belly. Every moment of my every day.  You are the music of my life. May you have and hear the music of your life, every day.

“If music be the food of love, play on.” W. Shakespeare.