Jumping into the Sky

(From 12/4/08)

"Mommy?" she calls to me from around corner.

I am upside down on the yoga ball, ignoring Lou Dobbs Tonight.

She finds me, then asked, "Is today one year since Tata...?"

I wait a beat to see if she's really asking what I think she's asking. When she only blinks at me, I take a deep breathe, give her another second still, then offer up, "....jumped into the sky????"

She nods, then tilts her head. "Let go of the grass!"

"Let go of the grass?" I understand it immediately.

When someone dies, gravity reverses.

The body that held them here and kept them from being part of the universe suddenly stops, and they let go of the grass and fall back into God.


"Oh Zoe! I wish I'd thought of that! If I say that you said that, can I write it?"

She nods, I get my pen.

 Instead of just letting me jot down that line, she follows me and continues her story.

"One night Tata came to me and we were laying on our backs under a Palm Tree, looking at stars. She put her arm around me and pointed up, and said, 'Zoeita, see the stars? Those stars are angels, and when we die, we become one.' And after that, she hugged me."

I nod, not looking at her, still trying to write "let go of the grass" in my journal in a meaningful way, so that no one looking through my pages would think I was writing a to-do list.

Across I line I scribble, jumping into heaven, let go of grass, Zoe, 12/1, upside down on yoga ball.

"And THEN she let go of the grass?" I ask Zoe, ready to listen more carefully to her story.

"No, Mom, she hugged me that night and she's never let me go."

"Tata never jumped off the grass?"

Zoe shakes her head, "No, she never jumped off the grass! She's with me!"

"Abuela is with YOU? So she didn't jump into the sky? She didn't let go of the grass?"

Zoe shook her head. "Nope, neither."

"Fine. You're saying I was wrong about the jumping into the sky?"

She nods, solemnly, patting me on the arm.

I turn back to my journal and start to cross out what I'd written, then stop.

I get my Mac, turn it on, and with Zoe tucked under my left arm, type this story one-handed, grateful for the fantastic mystery of it all.

Looking back on simpler times

I am working on the last lecture of the semester and fondly remembering that 5 years ago I ended my history classes with these images  about the world ending on 12/21/12 via the Mayan calendar.

The goal posts have moved since then.  

Would You Like to Teach Today?

The best part about research is following whatever shiny fact catches my attention.

There is no right or wrong on this journey, only information.

I am thirsty for more and more, and I will keep going until I get the signal to stop.

In between all of this, life goes on.

 I am on the phone with my Mom telling her this and that and the other thing, then saying how I just have to know more about our DNA.

If you didn't  know, in case I don't discuss this, I was obsessed with DNA as a pre-teenager, reading everything I could find about it at the (tiny) Pompano  Beach library.

 I remember taking a Health class in summer school which was being taught by a coach who mostly read out of a textbook.

One day he read to us that an amniocentesis (pronounced by him "Ammocensus") "was a disease pregnant ladies got."

I threw my 14 year old hand up into the air and explained how it was a procedure to collect amniotic fluid to be used for.... before I could finish my articulate explanation of my life passion the teacher interrupted me to ask, "Oh well, would you like to teach today?" and I think I might have said YES but I equally might have known to look down with shame and just sit in the chair and make the time pass quickly earn the credit to graduate.

Maybe some of you guys had awesome science teachers as teenagers, but I remember being the girl in the back of the room reading the textbook while the biology teacher talked football with people walking in and out of his classroom.

One day the teacher stopped his football talk and asked "Soldani! What are you reading back there??" and I held up the book and said "Chapter 8, there are cells dividing and I love it!" and he said, "Don't let me interrupt you!" and talked more quietly about football.

So then last night I am pretty sure I found -- was given??? ---  the biggest, shiniest treasure in my family history.

 I  might have found the thing that is making me see myself and my ancestors' place in all of this differently.

I am following every lead on this, and I will bring it back to you when I'm sure (meanwhile I'm like YES YES THIS HAS TO BE TRUE LET THIS BE TRUE).

It wasn't what I was looking for and it wasn't even where I was looking and as a history professor I laugh at myself for not seeing this sooner.

I  have been lecturing on this topic for years (omg decades, what?) but I  never once considered it was my story, too.

Our story.

AMH 2020 Exam #4 Images

*Not including 11/29*