Friday, March 13, 2009

Maya Papaya

A psychic told Verna a few weeks before Maya was born that Maya was going to be a healing force. Shortly after Maya’s birth, which was six days after Verna’s breast cancer diagnosis in early 2006, we understood there might be some truth to the psychic’s vision.

Verna needed healing for a variety of emotional and physical reasons. Unfortunately, we sometimes forget Maya’s higher purpose when we are trying to get her socks on and to move down the stairs, without chunks of apple in her hands, as we rush out of the house.

When our frustration bubbles to the surface, I try to remember, “Maya is here for a purpose.”

Never mind that my naturally skeptical self rarely believes any of that cosmological stuff: Maya is a force, a character to reckon with.

She jokes and teases (where’d she get that from?) and has a beaming smile that literally illuminates nearly every corner of the universe. After listening to Bob Marley music with Miguel and me, she announced, “My name is Bobby. Bobby Marley.”

Other days she tells us her name is ‘the Little Sister’ or, simply, ‘the sister’. Last night, as all four of us sat on the living room couch, I squeezed Miguel’s thigh. He screamed. I squeezed Maya’s and she screamed. I repeated the sequence three times, with Miguel substituting his scream for a milder, different noise each time. And Maya imitated her big brother sound-for-sound with remarkable consistency for a three-year-old.

She repeats everything. If Verna or I prod Miguel to hurry up in the morning and eat, Maya chimes in, “Miguel, eat your breakfast.” She insists I dab lotion on her in the morning and wants to shave after watching me get ready for work.

Now she rides Miguel’s scooter in the neighborhood, wearing her yellow bike helmet with bumblebees on it. Last night, as Verna and I walked alongside scooter girl, Maya stopped to visit with Dylan, an 18-month neighbor who smiles adoringly at her. He is also a typical toddler, buzzing about and running wildly. When he bolted away from us, Maya called, “Dylan, don’t go in the street.”

I think she revealed again her purpose last Tuesday, March 3, which would’ve been Verna’s mother’s 85th birthday (she died last October). We went to church so Verna could pray for Chela, who was very devout, at morning Mass. I wanted to honor Chela’s memory as well, but I also wanted to corral Maya if she attempted to prance near the altar or talked too loudly.

Fortunately she sat quietly next to both of us and held our hands. Maya was leaning toward me when tears welled up in Verna’s eyes. With almost seamless movement, Maya climbed onto Verna’s lap and hugged her. She rested her head against Verna’s shoulder, a look of poignant concern etched on her face.

I was filled with a tremendous sense of bliss and blessing as I watched someone who has only been out of diapers for two months comfort her mother in such a gentle way.

Higher purpose indeed!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful post, Steve - so clearly expresses the great joy of a daughter and the wonderfulness that is Maya! You ARE blessed as are we to know you guys!