The Powdered Donut Manifesto | Raising the Walls on Love

“Hey dad. There is a full moon today.” My son, Taylor, said this to me several times last Saturday, as he started to raise the walls on his dream, his dream to build a home with Austin Habitat for Humanity in memory of his mom, my bride, Maureen. It was a busy day last Saturday. It was a day full of powder. It was a day full of love.

12507311_10153389123745866_7554188143852389030_nFor those that don’t know the story of the powdered donut, we have to go back to the weekend before October 21, 2014. That weekend Maureen’s oncologist had prescribed donuts. He wanted Maureen to add a few calories. Put a little weight on. This is one prescription we filled quickly. There was a donut shop next door to his office, and I popped in while Maureen waited in the car. I brought her one of her favorite powdered donuts. Since she was having a little trouble breathing and had an oxygen tube, she liked to turn up the A/C and have cold air blow over her. With powdered donut in hand, she leaned forward, turned up the air, and blew powder everywhere, just like she blew love over all of us. I tell the whole story in my love letter to Maureen which I shared at her celebration of life a few days after her passing that Tuesday morning, October 21, 2014.

On the 21st of the month for a year after my bride, Maureen’s passing, I took powdered donuts to special places around Austin to say thank you and to share love with those that made Maureen’s life and ours special, to places like Texas Oncology and Seton Hospital that were our partners in the fight with cancer, to places like her office, O’Connell Robertson, where for several hours each day, she was Maureen the architect. Her cancer never passed through the doors of these offices. It was her sanctuary. It was where she did the work she loved with people she loved.

IMG_5197I had shared the story of the powdered donut with Mrs. Baird’s the week before this wall raising, and when the kids and I arrived at the build site for Annette Lopez’s new home, we were blown away. Mrs. Baird’s had not just delivered donuts. They had delivered love, love stacked up in palette upon palette of these magical powdered gems. This is the power of love. It doesn’t run out. It never runs out. Actually, the more of it you share, the more of it there is, and on Saturday, Taylor shared his love with Annette. I will never forget them walking side by side as they were both interviewed by Fox 7 Austin.

Annette quietly said to Taylor, “all I wanted was a house. I’m a little nervous about these interviews.” With the same gentle spirit as his mom, he told her it would be OK. She would be great. As the new CEO of Austin Habitat for Humanity, Phyllis Snodgrass, dedicated the house with a prayer, we all broke bread together and raised a powdered donut, celebrating love, celebrating Maureen, and celebrating Annette and her new home. Looking at the photo below of Taylor from the page with Joy Diaz’s interview for Texas Standard, I can tell that Taylor is thinking about his mom as he raises the wall. For all the media last Saturday, Taylor wanted nothing more than to get his hands dirty and start building.

IMG_4178-e1453737223151I have written frequently over the last year about the powdered donut at our blog site in honor of Maureen, http://theloveofmylife.us, however, it was on my drive down to San Antonio the next morning, Sunday, that the full meaning of the full moon Taylor kept mentioning dawned on me. Kyla, one of Taylor’s sisters, and I were up early to drive to a volleyball tournament at a sports park right next to the first mission Maureen and I visited 21 years ago. During the first Thanksgiving weekend Maureen and I spent in Texas after moving to Austin from Chicago, we visited Mission Concepción and others. As Kyla and I headed down 35 South for the tournament in the still dark sky of dawn, I looked to the southwest, and there it was, the full moon.

Big. Beautiful. White. Shining. My body quivered. Goosebumps formed not just on the outside but on the inside. There it was. There was the full moon. A Big. Giant. Powdered Donut. Yes, Taylor, there was a full moon on Saturday. It was mommy’s love. Her powdered donut, still blowing over all of us.