My Tender Son (sonnet for my youngest)

Matt eating ice creamA tender son my loins begot
Yet peers said, “Raise him rough.
If he’s to see his chosen lot
You must make him tough.”
So on such poor advice I tried
To be rough with my child,
But found it my own heart belied
T’ward my gift so young and mild.
I found their ways too brutish so
I tried soft love instead,
I championed his every move
And poured belief upon his head,
He makes me proud it seems each turning of the Sun,
I’m proudest that my tender son is still my tender son.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

My Rugged Son (sonnet for my firstborn)

Marc cutting up as a boy-2A rugged son my loins begot.
My peers said, “Break him now,
Or you’ll regret it come the months
When you’re standing brow to brow.”
So I thrashed him ’til ’twas I who cried,
Then I reasoned deep within the why,
If God had given him a warrior’s might
Should I then set to make him meek and mild.
So I endeavored to train him then to be,
my rugged child with warlike traits,
the man only God looking forth could see,
one day His grace and love would make.
I’m proud of him now grown, and yet my rugged child,
He’s a man among men, a gentle man…unless he’s unduly riled.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

Being Dad at Bedtime

Backpack Toys version of Teddy Ruxpin

Backpack Toys version of Teddy Ruxpin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“My friend, my friend, that’s what you are to me.”
Father and toddler sang their bedtime song.
“My friend, my friend, ’cause I love you, and you love me”
Teddy Ruxpin’s song brought a bedtime calm
to the highly energetic child.
Mother and brother only made him more frantic,
Grandma and others tried also their antics
with the highly energetic child.
But when Dad went in and they sang their song
Peace soon prevailed and sleep would come on
for the highly energetic child.
That child would go on to be a grown man
But he’d never forget that song with his ‘friend’
when a highly energetic child.
So when life’s pressure would grow to a frenz’
He’d remember that song and sing it again
like the highly energetic child.
Matt at 3.5He’d remember his Dad and that’s when he knew
his ‘friend’ always remembered him too,
his highly energetic child.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

~Matt is now a graduate student at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA in the English PHD program. We remain the best of ‘friends’ and he still calls me when he is in a situation where he needs to ‘calm down’ quickly. I am most proud to be his Dad!

Matt in tuxedo

Broken Trust Hard To Mend

Let's Stay Together (song)

Let’s Stay Together (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Trust that has been broken,
seeks so much to hide;
Cares not the ‘tempt to woo it,
will not bear the light.
A timid stranger she becomes,
laughs no longer still;
Trust that has been broken
feels pain that’s hard to heal.
But, wounded trust has not sworn off all intimate hopes,
often needs affection so much more than most;
She’s a lover to be won again–only
there has to be a willingness now to take things very slowly.
Trust that has been broken truly hopes to mend,
so boldly dares to take a chance to love and trust again.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

~This poem comes from my heart that is hurting for those whom I love who are now dealing with trust that has been broken. Because of my life experiences and professional counseling work with others I know the hard work ahead as they try to mend broken trust.

Beware Cupid’s Arrow

Daily Prompt: Unconventional Love

Lightning striking the Eiffel Tower

Lightning striking the Eiffel Tower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cupid’s arrows fly like lightning through the sky
It seems there is no distinction in Cupid’s shooting eye
The heavy and the skinny may be struck with Cupid’s awe
Black and white, brown, red or yellow can make his arrows yaw
Looks are not the factor Cupid seems to see the most
The pretties love the uglies when they feel that lightning bolt
Cultures are no boundary when Cupid notches up
his arrows fly across the lines in cross-cultural love
Age is not a wall too high when Cupid’s arrow flies
What’s a few years, or many, in cross-generational ties
When asked how such an ugly man could win a beauty queen
An old man replied, “If you had only seen what I’ve seen,
You would know love is like lightning bolts flying about,
Sometimes it hits the ‘privy’ as well as the house.”

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

~The last part of this poem comes from a story my Dad told me of a lunchtime conversation between other construction workers and himself that occurred about 40 years ago. My Dad is deceased but his tales and humor live well in my memory!

Moms And Their Sons

Mom and Me, Christmas 1994, Our Last Christmas Together

Mom and Me, Christmas 1994,
Our Last Christmas Together

My Mom and I had the most wonderful relationship
And then at times it seemed we had the worst
No one else could make me feel so wonderful
and then at times infuriate me ’til it hurt.
Moms and their sons go through many trying times
in the trek of a young man growing up
Him needing at times to feel Mom close by
at other times needing to say, “Mom, that’s enough!”.
Sometimes they are the best of friends
Sometimes like enemies they fight
Just let him get attached to a girl and then
all bets are off, alright!
Yet, Mom loves her little man enough
to overcome all heartaches and pain
And the grown man regrets all his ‘stuff’
that almost drove his mom insane
-Yes, Mom, I remember the good, the bad, and the ugly
But what I remember best of all was your wonderful, wonderful snugglies!

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

~Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful moms…you rock!

Mother’s Southern Table

Mom&Dad-001r

Oliver J and Euna Mae Sansbury, my wonderful loving parents

Mother’s table was one of the hubs around which the rest of our household turned. Although Dad always sat at the head seat and said the prayer of grace at mealtime, the dining table was always Mom’s domain. Three or more times a day Mom’s table was the center of our universe. At her table we ate meals and in between meals had snacks, did homework, played board and card games, and helped in food and meal preparations. Sometimes we visited with siblings or guests over a cup of coffee or a glass of iced tea or soda; and many times sitting at her table we received some of the best counseling life affords from Mom or Dad.

Not only did our family home life revolve around Mother’s table, much of the entertaining of guests to our home happened around it as well. We lived in a nice home with a formal Living Room and a family room referred to as The Den both of which were well used when our large family with spouses, children and grandchildren all gathered for large family celebrations, especially as the members of the family aged and the family grew. Almost always these family gatherings included special guests such as pastors and/or parents and family members of some of the siblings’ spouses.

Those large family meals were the hallmark of our mother’s love and zest for family life. Our mother was a wonderful lady who loved to cook and raised six daughters who also loved to cook. Had Mom been born upper class she would have been the consummate American ‘Southern Belle’. In our eyes she was. She took great delight in hosting family and guests at her table to a sumptuous meal of traditional southern cuisine with the help of her daughters and daughters-in law.

That’s right, Southern Cuisine, southern fried chicken, potato salad, butter beans, field peas, corn, squash, turnip greens or collards, and corn bread. Most meals also included one or more meats such as ham, turkey, roast beef, BBQ or fish. Salads of various types were usually available along with pumpkin pies, pecan pies and any number of cakes, pies or other desserts that lined the counter in Mom’s kitchen.

Those elaborate meals that might seem like a banquet to others was a regular affair when we were growing up. Most Sundays Mom hosted such a meal and especially on holidays and those days special in on our family’s calendar. It was never unusual for us to have 25-40 present at those gatherings counting the guests and children who were always treated royally and served first at our gatherings. The only people present because of invitations were church related guests such as pastors and their families and sometimes a visiting evangelist, and the family members of spouses. Mom insisted that her children and grandchildren and their families never needed an invitation to her home or table for meals.

Because of such a tradition around our mother’s table a horrific void came into our lives when our mother passed away in the fall of 1995 due to a heart related illness. Our Dad continued to live another 14 years until 2009 and insisted we carry on the tradition of our family gatherings as a way of remembering our Mother, Euna Mae Gilley Sansbury. And that we did until his death.

10Sansburys-rs

10 Sansbury Siblings, the unconditional love of our Mom and Dad continues

Many of us have now moved miles away and have families and traditional gatherings of our own. My sisters who still live near each other plan meals and gathering somewhat regularly and all of us who can still gather. At least twice a year we make great efforts to meet together as a family around a large meal and remember the wonderful parents who raised us with so much love around Mother’s southern table.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

~Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms and to all remembering their sweet mothers; and especially to all my six wonderful sisters who are great mothers to their own families and still mother their brothers every chance they get.