On Dec. 14, 2014 I had one of the best visits ever!
My sister Tabatha, my brother-in-law Justin, and my niece Hudsyn, all came to see me.
This was a special Christmas Event. I had to submit an application just to be considered. Once approved, I attended six workshops.
At the workshops, we talked about what family means to us and how being locked up might affect them. I have to admit, I got a little emotional at times.
We also picked out gifts, and wrapped them for the kids coming to see us. I picked out a Barbie Bath kit for Hudsyn.
At 11:30 AM I was called to the visiting room. As I walked in I saw Tabatha and Hudsyn. They’re in line, waiting to use the restroom.
Tabatha says, “Look Hudsyn, there’s Uncle Steven.”
I smile and wave, “Hi Hudsyn.”
She’s shy. She hides behind Tabatha.
I walk up to my sister. We give each other a big long hug. My heart is instantly filled with love.
Hudsyn runs away a few feet, then stops. I see a guy walking in my direction, but I think he’s just passing by. When he stops, I realize it’s Justin! I almost didn’t recognize him. I shake his hand and give him a hug as we exchange pleasantries.
Within minutes we’re all at our table. Hudsyn sees the crayons and paper. She wants to color. I open the box of crayons and ask her, “What color is this in Spanish?”
One by one I hold up a different color and she says the color in Spanish. She easily knows them all.
Then she takes a crayon and writes her entire name. Her printing is very good. I’m impressed! She’s only 3 years old.
Tabatha asked her, “Where do you live?”
Tabatha then asks her, “What planet?”
“Planet Earth” she says with a smile.
Before long we’re over at the kids section with all the toys. There’s a little two-foot plastic slide. She’d rather jump off it than slide down it. I catch her in mid-air then extend my arms over my head before bringing her down to her feet. She runs back around, and climbs to the top of the slide again.
Soon there are five other kids in the rotation. One kid says, “Do that to me. Do that to me.”
I want to, but I don’t know that child. I don’t want to cross any lines. So I say, “You’re too big. Let’s see if you can jump to this line.” I point to a crease in the mat on the ground.
As a new kid tops the slide, they look to me for instruction. Before I know it, I have them doing 360 degree, air walks, spread eagles, daffies, and back scratchers. Except for Hudsyn. When she jumps, I catch her and lift her to the sky.
As soon as I set her down, she runs to the end of the line. I take this opportunity to slip away back to the table to talk with Tabatha and Justin. This visit is AWESOME!
Within minutes Hudsyn is by my side, “Come play with me. Come play with me.” Awww! How can I say no? Off to the slide we go.
Remember all the workshops I had to attend for this event? There’s a reason for that.
Dawn Taylor gets on the microphone. She’s the event coordinator who puts all her heart and soul into all these special events. She says, “Who in here has seen the movie Frozen?”
All the kids shout, “Me, me, me, me…”
She then points to life-sized cardboard cut-outs of all the Frozen characters and asks the kids, “Who’s this? Who’s this?”
All the kids yell the character’s names as she points to each one.
By now a few kids have gathered around Dawn Taylor. She asks, “Whats your favorite Frozen song?”
The kids say, “Let It Go.”
All of this Frozen “talk” has created some type of a buzz amongst the children. Even Hudsyn stood up on her chair to get a better view.
Then…over the PA system…the music starts…”Elsa? knock, knock, knock, knock, knock”
That’s my cue!
I stand up and sing, “Do you want to build a snowman?”
And the next guy continues, “Come on lets go and play.”
IT’S A FLASH MOB IN PRISON!
For the next 10 lines, various men stand up and sing it loud.
About 15 inmates are in on it. All the visitors are clueless!
This is what those workshops were all about. We were choreographing, practicing dance moves, learning the lyrics, and trying to get in sync.
As the song, Do You Want To Build A Snowman, transitions to the song, Let It Go…all of us guys move to the center of the room. Then we split, half to the left and half to the right. We’re singing and dancing as we show off the moves we learned from the movie.
The response from the kids and parents is amazing!
By the 3rd and final song, Happy, everyone is clapping along and laughing.
I loose myself in the moment and bust out my self-taught, top-notch dance moves!
I have to admit, this is one of life’s greatest moments for me.
(The flash mob was recorded. I’ll try to get the video to share with you all.)
After the dancing, we all gathered around the big screen and sang, Let It Go.
In that moment, the love and harmony I felt was at an all-time high.
As I reflect back to those moments of pure joy, it validates the truth within the scriptures. I can talk about love and joy all day long. And sometimes I do. But only through experience does it offer true liberation.
Let It Go is a perfect song. The past is in the past…let it go, let it go. My spiritual awakening has created a new life for me. I absolutely love it!
After all the singing, I gave Hudsyn her present. I got a feeling of longevity. Thoughts of Uncle Steven will linger in her mind every time she plays with her Barbie Bath kit. It feels good knowing this distant memory won’t be so distant that fast.
All too soon, it was time for my family to leave. I get a big hug and kiss from that same shy little girl. I hug my sister as I thank her for all her love and support. I shake Justin’s hand as I hug him. I simply look at him in the eye and say, “Thank you.” He says, “Your welcome” and encourages me to remain on the good path. I absolutely will.
Thank you to everyone for all your love and support.