A Shining Moment – A Haibun

I am drinking hot coffee despite the 90 degree weather, the sweet creamy liquid warming my nostrils before I take a sip. I hold it for a moment, savoring it’s decadence before swallowing, while watching my children run through the sprinkler. The sunlight glistens off the water droplets hanging onto their dark hair and tan skin. These diamonds sparkle and glisten before being flung into the air echoing the sound of their laughter. I drink my coffee and commit this happy, shining moment to memory.

Growing up, my sprinkler was the fire hydrant in front of my neighbor’s house. Instead of soft, squishy grass underfoot, we had pavement that left our feet raw from scrapes on the unyielding surface. Our laughter gurgled like the fire hydrant while our screams matched the siren wail of the police – a warning that our water play time would soon come to an end. My mother would drink black coffee and watch us from the stoop, her worries emanating from the lines between her eyes, like the sun’s rays burning our already darkened skin.  

On this summer day, I drink my coffee, leaning against my marble countertop while looking at my children through the panoramic kitchen window and toast myself for not having wrinkles between my eyes.

Sunshine rewarding
Generations of hard work -
Suburban sprinkler
I bought this water toy for my kids to play with since we don’t have a pool. I thought it was cute when I bought it – maybe because, subconsciously, it reminded me of my childhood summers in Brooklyn.

This haibun was written for Lillian’s request on dVerse’s Haibun Monday to write a traditional haibun about One Shining Moment in our lives. Lillian has an excellent description of what entails a “traditional haibun” including resources for the KIGO (a word/phrase that alludes to a season – in mine, sunshine alludes to summer) and examples of KIREJI (a shift that adds insight). I hope that my haibun is meets the bar!

Serendipitously, this haibun also works for Jamie’s Wednesday Writing Prompt to juxtapose our life as an adult against our life as a child. I do marvel at the difference between my childhood as an immigrant to this country versus that of my children. My parents both worked, my mom during the day and dad at night. We lived in a diverse neighborhood in the city where my brothers and I would walk to school around the corner. We took public transportation and made frequent trips into “The City”. I did my share of “babysitting” my brothers and could be classified as a “latch-key kid” growing up.

Eventually, we were able to move out of Brooklyn and out to Long Island where my younger brothers were able to live the “suburban life” – taking a school bus, playing football on Friday nights, getting their driver’s license at 16. By that time, I was already in college so my experience with “suburban life” only came when I was married and about to have kids.

My kids have never had to take public transportation as their sole means of getting around. They marvel at sidewalks and when we do go on the train or bus in the “big city”, it’s a grand adventure! They have always had a back yard and have no clue what a “stoop” is. My husband (who is also an immigrant) and I have taken them back to the places where we grew up and they marvel at the “tiny houses” and wonder how we lived with only one bathroom, without a yard, and having to share bedrooms.

Race/ethnicity, social class, education, profession – these are all inter-related. My “shining moment” would not have come to fruition without the hard work and sacrifice of my parents, without the guidance of teachers, without the encouragement of friends. Yet for some, even with these current supports, the institutionalized discrimination/racism inherent in our systems in the USA keep them from reaching their shining moment, from getting their just reward for their hard work and sacrifice, and that of their ancestors.

We all deserve a shining moment in our lives. I would even venture to say, we deserve more than one. I would even be bold enough to say, that we deserve to shine as bright as we would want in every moment in our lives. Shine on, friends, shine on!

©️ 2020 iido

19 thoughts on “A Shining Moment – A Haibun

  1. delightful shared memories … the kids seldom understand the hardship and sacrifices parents make … each generation improving on the last!

    We could only dash thru the hose as the garden was being watered … a sprinkler would have been considered a waste of water. But then we could walk a few miles to a bay to paddle or swim 🙂

    Was you husband also from the Philippines?

    Liked by 1 person

    • My husband is from Vietnam, his family were “boat people”.

      It must have been wonderful growing up near water. I did use their water play to water our grass so as not to waste the water. They got annoyed when I had them move to a different area every few minutes though! 😂 Oh, these first world problems!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful story you shared here Irma…i agree that our parents and teachers and friends really play an important role in what we have become today..and with current pandemic and other political, economic and cultural issues we have; let it not be a reason not to shine and reach our dreams..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my, your descriptions and reminiscences bring back so many memories. And they have me thinking about how we see things through different lenses at different times in our lives. I’m a generation ahead of you and my parents, too, moved to the brand new suburbs of LI so their kids would have a better life. But although I had a charmed childhood in that environment (at that time in history) I saw it as too sterile an environment for grownups, especially the mothers. The City, where we were taken a few times a year (where my Dad commutes to every day), seemed to me to be so much more vibrant, diverse and alive. That’s what drew me to a city university. Maybe the grass is always greener, even when there’s no literal grass! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. i lift my coffee, creamy and always hot to your shining moment, and know you will have many more, your journey and sharing as a mother warms my heart knowing your kids are being nurtured by a fine woman

    Liked by 1 person

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