Tag Archives: kids

Thought for the Day!

“Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told, ‘I am with you kid. Let’s go!'” — Maya Angelou


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Filed under August 2008, Eat, Pray, Run

Make Sure to Play Hard in This Game of Life

The 30-Day Challenge posts will be back soon, but I feel a need to take a brief hiatus today and address the “pray” sector of this blog with a little more of a thought-provoking post. Enjoy!

As you have all witnessed throughout the last few posts, my family and I have been on vacation for the last two weeks. This weekend, we are all journeying home and going back to our respective duties, bearing, of course, in mind that vacation is over and the so-called “real world” is an ever-present factor.

I always try to walk away from a fabulous trip like the one I just experienced and keep in mind that I should be thankful for the beautiful gift I have been given — this time with my family, this vacation and so forth. And I am so thankful. It is hard, however, to not reflect on the great passage of time that the end of a vacation represents. I, for one, very much so use vacations as a time for personal “improvements” so to speak, and the end of this summertime life-marker often feels like the beginning of a new year.

My parents ventured home yesterday, and left the four of us — me, my sister and two brothers — to spend one more day on vacation. Dan and my sister’s boyfriend, Anthony, stayed with us as well.

We started the evening with ice cream in Thousand Islands Park, a food tradition that my mother refers to as “eating backward” because you are eating dessert before dinner. It was a perfect occasion to sit outside and eat ice cream as quickly as possible in an effort to keep the hot sun from melting it all over the front of our shirts.

After we all finished, — I had a spectacular dark chocolate and mint ice cream — my youngest brother, Isaac, suggested we test out the see-saws at the town park. At first, I thought, “Definitely not my thing.” But then I realized that my stuffy notions were unwarranted — “Why not?” I asked myself.

We decided to go for it, even though I decided to swap the see-saws for a swing — more my style. I have to admit, I initially felt a bit nauseous; the ice cream and swing combo just was not working for me.

But once I was at it for awhile, I shook it off, and the swing ride felt so good. I completely forgot how freeing it was to pump your legs on a swing and “Swooosh!” into the air.

We hit a few other spots as well — the slides and merry-go-round — and I eventually made it to the see-saw as well. Dan even had a go at the sandbox, but then I reminded him that it was similar to a giant cat litter box, and he quickly stepped out. (;

I laughed watching my goofy fiancé, a 24-year-old big child, on the horse, and I sent secret messages via the “telephones” that were stationed throughout the park (apply the tin can with a string theory here) to my sister and brothers.

On the way home, Dan looked at me and said, “Whew! I played hard. It makes you wonder how kids do it all the time — I’m tired!”

And I laughed.

It’s so true: How did we forget to play as hard as we did when we were children?

Yes, we work and run errands and deal with financial stress, but where is the play time?

By the way, those things are all very valid thoughts and actions, but it seems a shame to go through life forgetting to take a ride on a swing or merry-go-round. When Isaac looked at me as we were leaving and said, “Good idea, huh?” I shook my head with a resounding, “Yes.” I was so glad I listened to his suggestion.

I know there is not always room, but try to keep it in mind the next time you are hurrying past a playground.

That see-saw might just change your world.

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Filed under Eat, June 2008, Pray, Run

Love of the Unconditional, Concrete, Make-You-Wanna-Smile Kind

flower4.jpg Unselfish love.

It really is an interesting concept. I mean, the thought of loving someone unconditionally, without abandon, no holds-barred — it seems easy and difficult all at the same time.

I was watching an episode of Friends the other day in which Phoebe and Joey are disussing about whether or not there is such a thing as an unselfish good deed. Joey concedes that there in fact is not; there is no good deed that can be done without feeling a bit of delight from the fact that you made someone’s day. Phoebe sets out to prove him wrong. Needless to say, she is unsuccessful — every good thing that she does for another makes her smile.

But what about the good deed of love? Does it really matter if you feel pleasure in the fact that you love someone so much nothing they did or said could change it, that it will never end, that you would give up anything to see them smile?

I don’t think so.

Theologist and Episcopal priest, Carter Heyward, once said, “Love, like truth and beauty, is concrete.”

The fantastic thing about unconditional love is that the finality of such a regard allows the ones you love to know you care for them with no conditions attached; no strings, no yeah buts. Your intention would be to make him or her smile at the mere thought of the love between the two of you; to feel special that you shared your last favorite cookie with him — because you love him; to feel sad or worried or excited and call on you because you are an endless source of love in her life.

I had the opportunity to spend some time with my cousin and godchild, Chloe, on Sunday. I have always maintained that kids are the most natural unconditional lovers — they don’t understand grudges, selfish behavior and things of the sort.

When I arrived at Chloe’s house, she told me she had a present for me, and handed me a beaded necklace with a large flower. I reacted with surprise and told her how much I loved it; she grinned and helped me put it on. I found out from my aunt that this necklace had actually been Chloe’s great grandmother’s. I rushed to take it off, “Oh, gosh, I cannot keep this,” I told my aunt. But she shook her head and told me I absolutely had to keep it. “It is no big deal,” she said, “And Chloe loves to share.”

And I wondered, “Do I love to share? Do I unconditionally love the loves of my life so much that I would hand over my great grandmother’s jewelry just to make their days?”

I would like to think so. And I would like to think that necklace would make one of them smile, just as Chloe’s gift has done for me.

I wore my necklace out yesterday, and every time I received a compliment, I thought of Chloe’s delighted face when she saw me put on the jewelry. She did not care that she had once less flowered necklace to play dress up with; she was happy knowing that I was happy.

And, surely, that is the gift of unconditional love — to know that you have allowed another to move forward in love with your concrete love on his or her side.

That makes it oh-so-easy, doesn’t it?


Filed under February 2008, Pray

Lessons in Love and Coolness

pgandisaac-2.jpg When my mother decided to have two more children after my sister and me, I don’t think I could have ever been prepared to understand how much her choice would impact my life. I was nine years old when Luke was born and eleven when Isaac came into my life. At the time, I had no clue how much these two boys were about to change my world.

But for quite some time now, I have told people they are “Like my first kids.” I have learned more from caring for them and fighting with them and laughing with them than I could ever put into words. Isaac, now 13 years old, is a little light, my constant, “Hey, Care, look at this!” reminder that life is so awesome. Luke, now 15 years old, is a carbon copy of me, save for the fact that I am a girl and he is a boy. He is a book nerd almost as much as I am, and he is totally jealous that I have Post-It pens and he doesn’t. But somehow he makes it all sound much cooler than I do.

They were both at my apartment for a sleepover this weekend, and while Isaac and my fiance, Dan, ran around and got goofy, Luke decided he wanted me to help him create a blog.

This kid amazes me.

His belief in himself, his thoughts and actions is so steadfast, so unwavering. He likes rock n’ roll and doesn’t really care if his friends don’t. He has the entire collection of Friends DVDs and knows the lines inside and out — despite the fact it is a bit before his time. He and his friends have started their own film production company, the cause to which his new blog is now devoted. And he wanted to start that blog because not only does he want to be as fabulous as me , but he also has no problems putting his thoughts out there for the world to see.

I would like to think I was that sure of myself when I was his age, but I don’t think that was the case.

But here is what I understand about that notion: My mother always says (How often do I start a sentence like that? You rock, mom!) that her children have taught her way more about life than she ever could have taught them.

And I get that. But what I tell my mom she also needs to understand is that she, too, has made me who I am. I am a better person for having her as my mother.

When it comes to Luke and Isaac, I know for sure they have taught me a world of knowledge. I will raise my kids better, love my life more and move forward with more assuredness for having known the two of them.

But what I hope, too, is that I have given them pieces of myself that they can hold onto forever; lessons and love that have made them better people.

And the coolness?

Well, Luke, I would like to think I gave you a little bit of that, too.



Filed under February 2008, Pray