We’ve recently moved, so we are just locating all the nearest locations of the stores we frequent.
We chose one particular location of Toys R Us and hit the road.
As we drove, I got very excited.
I began to think this was the very same Toys R Us where we shopped (when we did) as kids.
I remembered the time we went there, and my father bought me a bike – my first brand new bike.
I was in 6th grade.
I’d had bikes before, but being the 3rd of 4 kids, I often didn’t have brand new anything.
This was a big day for me, and I was surprised to see that enthusiasm hadn’t waned with the years.
I remember the day.
Dad said it was time for me to have a new bike, all my own.
We drove to the Toys R Us and there were many bikes displayed outside the store.
I eagerly jumped out of the car, and ran to the display.
To me, it was the best day ever.
I picked out a light blue 3-speed, with red racing stripes and a white seat.
I loved that bike.
It was mine, and no one else’s.
I think I had that bike for 15 years.
I recall that day fondly, and I could feel that same excitement, as I took my girls to the SAME store.
I sprang out of the car, as I did on that day so long ago.
I thought, is this the same building?
The sign was obviously a more updated version.
Who was more excited? Me or the girls?
As we walked in the doors, I knew. It was the very same one!
Searching through the store for the princess aisle, the anticipation shot through me, just like the day I got my new bike.
Was that even possible?
The girls picked out their toys, and if I didn’t know better, I’d say I almost started to skip inside the store, just like a little girl.
It never ceases to amaze me, how some small, insignificant thing can trigger a memory, a feeling.
That old bike is long gone.
But I will never forget that day – getting my very own brand new bike, one I could select, and it would be only mine.
I’ll never forget the freedom I felt as I rode my bike through the neighborhood—wind in my hair, the speed, the independence.
That bike brought me such happiness.
And obviously still does.
Has any activity with your kids brought back very fond memories and feelings?
Today, around the US is the Million March Against Child Abuse.
In cities across the country, people will gather to be a voice for children.
For years, I’ve been saying, who’s protecting the children?
I’d hear these awful stories and wonder why something more wasn’t being done.
Kids can’t protect themselves.
They look to adults for protection, for shelter, for everything.
Sure kids can be rambunctious.
Sure they can drive you nuts.
But to abuse them?
I’ve often said, anyone who abuses a child should be punished to the maximum penalty of the law.
And released to the masses to be tortured.
I look at my own kids and I know, if someone threatened or actually harmed them, I’d go crazy on them.
What about all those kids who don’t have anyone to protect them? To shelter them? To give them love?
As a community, as a society, as human beings, we have an obligation to be a voice for the children.
They need us.
We can’t allow anymore abuse to take place.
Today, we are asked
TO BE THERE, TO BE A VOICE.
Americans across the nation in over 100 cities and 45 states will gather to raise awareness of child abuse and crimes against our children.
We gather to put an end to the enormous amount of lenient sentencing passed down from judges.
Please join children’s organizations, churches, all child advocates and groups in this never before history making event.
Our children are screaming out for help!
The peaceful walks will take place today, all over the US.
Who will protect the children?
Join MACA even for one hour.
On Facebook, search “Million March Against Child Abuse.”
Info on Chicago event is here.
Posted March 12, 2013on:
By no means do I wish to dissuade anyone from the institution of marriage.
It’s challenging, but it’s worth it.
Sometimes, we do make it harder than it has to be.
While I never expected the fairy tale, I didn’t expect it to be so hard.
I got pregnant very early in our marriage, so there was little time to really explore these new roles of husband and wife, how that affected our lives and who we were as individuals.
Fast track to parenthood –and without any help –led to much stress and strain on our marriage.
Our kids are now 6 and 4.
Has it gotten any easier?
The challenges are different and ever-changing.
So is this a rant or complaint about my husband?
This is a reality check.
As I ponder what has happened during our marriage –good and bad—I realized something very important.
Neither of us was raised with the tools to be a good spouse.
Think about this for a moment.
We are taught to be good people and kind to others, and yes, all that helps.
But, like many of you, we were not taught how to be a good husband or wife.
And that doesn’t mean cooking, sex or making a lot of money.
It’s about relationships.
It’s about respect.
It’s about listening.
It’s about being unselfish.
Putting someone else first, but NOT always putting yourself last.
You know what I’m talking about, Ladies.
That last one really hit home, yes?
We always put ourselves last.
We watched our mothers, aunts and grandmothers do this.
These women did not have the same opportunities that we do, or the same education or motivation to do anything outside the home.
But we all have an inner drive, a wish to accomplish something in our lives, to be a unique individual.
Sometimes, this gets squashed in marriage and parenthood, and it brings about feelings of resentment.
These feelings are not always recognized, but they are there.
What about communication?
This is vital.
I grew up in a house where children were to be “seen and not heard.”
We were supposed to be thankful for what we had, not complain, and just deal.
This did not serve me well in my dating years, and certainly not now in my married years.
It didn’t help me in my career, either.
I was conditioned to not ask for what I wanted or needed, to make do with what we had and to just deal with the way things were, as unhappy as they made me.
I’m still struggling with this as an adult.
Things get overwhelming and you fall back into old patterns.
Think about what is going on in your life, in your marriage.
Are you personally happy? Fulfilled? Motivated? Inspired?
Do you embrace the individual you are and not allow yourself to get lost in the everyday of marriage and parenthood?
Do you take time for yourself to work toward your own goals?
Do you observe couple time? (Not talking about sex, sorry. There will be more of that when you work toward these things!)
Think about how the lack of personal time and couple time affects your parenting.
We all could use a break.
We can break the cycle.
And enrich our own lives.
It’s not a fairy tale. There’s no automatic “Happily Ever After.”
It’s important for us to raise our children to be good spouses.
If they choose not to marry, these skills will also serve them well in their lives.
Think about what traits a “good spouse” has.
Next time, we’ll discuss some things we can do to help raise our kids to be good spouses.
I hope you’ll share your thoughts as well.
I read and hear about babymoons, people planning when they’ll get pregnant, outlining every single moment of their lives.
And I laugh.
I laugh really hard.
Have you ever heard the saying about the “Best laid plans?”
Or what about the one that says something about we make plans and God laughs?
When I was planning my wedding, a well-meaning friend lectured me extensively about how you’re supposed to wait two years before you have a child.
I was 36.
There was no waiting two years.
She got married at 30, so she had two years to wait if she so wished.
I explained this to her, insisting that if I waited two years, I’d probably only have one child.
Well, as it turned out, I got pregnant at the end of my month-long honeymoon.
We thought we’d settle in, and after a few months start “trying” to get pregnant.
Well, what do they say about the best laid plans?
So we jumped into the fray, fast and furious…
You know, marriage, children – in the immortal words of Zorba the Greek…
The full catastrophe.
Add to the mix that my husband decided we needed to start a gut rehab on our home BEFORE the baby was born.
And that house was about one hour away from the nearest family member.
Did I mention that my mom’s health took a huge downturn about the time I discovered I was pregnant?
To tell you it was a tough few years, I wouldn’t be giving you the whole truth.
There have been really difficult, painful times, with many obstacles thrown in the mix.
I have two children. I lost the third.
Spent more time solidifying our relationship and learning to be a couple.
But we got married older.
And one of the problems with marrying older is that when you have kids, there’s not a whole lot of support from the grandparents.
At that point, they are often older, ill, or already passed on.
My mother-in-law passed away the year before we married.
My mother is not well.
My sister lives in another state.
So there was no chance of help.
Unless we paid heavily for it, and since we decided I would keep my part-time job and be a stay-at-home-mom, this is one of the things we couldn’t afford.
This makes things even more difficult for a couple, and can strain the strongest of relationships.
Would I change anything?
Well, sometimes I wish I would have married younger.
But more than likely, I would have married someone else and would probably be divorced.
And I wouldn’t have my girls.
So things happen as they are supposed to.
We all have an “ideal,” a way, a sequence that we think everything should happen.
Life has a way of laughing in our face.
Things happen in spite of our best efforts otherwise.
The second time I got PG, it took 8 months to make that happen.
The third time, we really didn’t even try – and that pregnancy turned out to be a molar pregnancy.
Life comes at you fast.
Don’t make too many plans.
Be grateful for your blessings.
CHOOSE to be happy.
You can plan and “try” all you want, but inevitably, things will happen when they are supposed to.
Make some plans, but don’t get your heart set on them.
Remember – things will happen as they will.
The challenges, the stumbling blocks will make you even stronger.
Life is too short.
Don’t waste too much time planning.
Just enjoy your life.
Then you will be the one laughing.
Boo has always been a very sensitive, very spiritual child.
She fully recognizes the role of God and saints and angels in her life, and she embraces them.
We’re starting to see this in Bebs as well, as evidenced the other day when she asked me for a meeting to discuss Jesus’ love for us.
This morning, Boo asked me if I knew what she did before she was my baby.
Intrigued, I asked her to explain.
This was our conversation.
Boo: Mommy, do you know that before I was your baby I was a little angel? I lived in Heaven and had these teeny, tiny little wings.
Mommy: Really? What did you do in Heaven?
Boo: Mostly I flew around, but I got ready to be your baby.
Boo: Well, I got my wings and then I flew around, then I met my saint, St. Eleni.
Mommy: Did she talk to you?
Boo: Oh yes! She told me what my name was going to be, and that she was my saint and she’d watch over me too. She told me that Jesus was getting me ready to send to a mommy and daddy.
Mommy: What else did she say?
Boo: She told me that Jesus had been building me and getting me ready, because he chose the best mommy for me.
Mommy: Then what?
Boo: Then St. Eleni sent me off, and I flew over your wedding, and watched it.
Mommy: You did?
Boo: Yes. That was the first time I saw you. You looked so beautiful! St. Eleni told me you were going to be my mommy, and soon I would go down to Earth to grow in your belly.
(I got pregnant with her at the end of our month-long honeymoon)
Mommy: Then what happened?
Boo: Then I came into your belly. My little wings disappeared because I didn’t need them anymore.
Mommy: Did you see your sister in Heaven?
Boo: No, because Jesus was still building her. He was getting her ready so you could be her mommy too.
Mommy: Wow. Did you ever see her before you were born?
Boo: I did. But I just got a peek.
Mommy: Hey, Bebs, did you fly around in Heaven before you were my baby?
Bebs: Yes. But I will save that story for another day! (giggles)
Boo: Mommy, you see, Bebs loved to fly so much. She flew for long periods at a time. This is why it took so long for her to get in your belly.
(Hmmm. I never told the girls that it took me 8 months to get pregnant with Bebs.)
Mommy: I see.
Boo: Then when she got in your belly, her wings disappeared, because she didn’t need them anymore.
Mommy: OK. Anything else you want to tell me?
Boo: Well, we saw Baby Dimo flying around with his little wings. He came down to your belly, but his wings didn’t go away, because Jesus called him back up to Heaven. That’s why he isn’t here with us.
(I named our lost little one Dimosthenis, after my father-in-law, which would be his name even if he were here with us. It was a way to verify his existence, however short.)
Mommy: Do you see Baby Dimo anymore?
Boo: Sure. He checks up on us sometimes. I wish he was here with us. Then we’d have a little brother. But Jesus knows what he’s doing.
Mommy: He does.
Boo: Mommy, I think we should save some for another time. This is not stuff that mommies usually learn about.
Mommy: I’m so glad you told me. It’s a nice story.
Boo: Jesus made me just for you. He told me He chose a very special mommy for me and He did. I love you.
Mommy: I love you, too.
Bebs: I love you too! And my sister and little brother angel!
Mommy: I love you, too, Honey.
Interesting and revealing conversation.
It touched my heart in so many ways.
I do believe that things are predetermined by God.
Boo’s revelations are stunning.
Could that really have happened?
Lord only knows.
Many mysteries are revealed through the eyes of a child.
These stories are precious.
I’ve heard people say that children are innately spiritual, and somehow it gets “beaten” out of them as they grow older.
Some say that children regularly commune with angels and saints.
Their innocence, pure love and faith allow it.
I hope she will continue on her spiritual path.
It brings her such joy and it seems to ground her.
What amazing little girls I have and what a blessing to learn these things that most mommies “never do.”
A little late…but I wish you all a Happy and Healthy 2013!
It was shaping up to be the worst Christmas ever.
Three days prior, we were just about to sign on a new house,
When we received notice that the deal to buy our house had fallen apart.
My mom wasn’t feeling well, and all holiday plans were up in the air.
A dear friend who is undergoing radiation right now, helped provide some needed perspective:
“At least we aren’t going through chemo right now!”
She was so right.
Christmas 2010, I was still undergoing chemo for complications from my complete molar pregnancy.
I’d caught a nasty cold/cough that no doctor would treat.
I coughed so hard that Christmas Eve, I thought I was going to cough up a lung.
I ended up fracturing 2 ribs, which are still not healed…
But I digress…
So yes, thank God we weren’t going through that.
We made the rounds on Christmas Eve and ended the evening at my parents’ home.
My mom was listless. She was weak, slumped over. She looked so old.
Just a shadow of herself, she barely spoke, wouldn’t eat.
We asked if she’d taken her meds; she said she didn’t know.
Normally, she kept her pill box beside her at a nearby table.
It was nowhere to be found.
I searched for the missing pills and discovered them hidden away.
She hadn’t taken her meds in more than a week.
No wonder she felt—and looked—so awful.
We gave her the evening meds, put a cold washcloth on her head.
She said she wanted to go to bed, but couldn’t get up.
Mom lay back on the couch for awhile, then finally got up and went to bed.
When we arrived at home, the call came.
Mom began vomiting and wheezing.
Paramedics gave her a breathing treatment, and took her to the ER.
Now it was 1-1/2 hour drive for me, so my sister, brother and aunt rushed to the hospital.
I participated by phone, providing medical history and other info.
They couldn’t find any issue.
Other than refusing to eat or take meds.
She spent the night and went home the next day.
Many revelations came out on Christmas Eve night, startling changes in Mom.
I wondered, would it be her last Christmas?
I was sad, remembering that we’d lost another of her brothers, just one year ago on Christmas Eve.
Was it her time?
Now, I didn’t tell you that on Christmas Eve morning, I woke up to find that my computer had crashed.
When it rains it pours, eh?
Amazing how much we rely on these things…I was seemingly incapacitated, cut off.
A writer without a computer is like a singer with laryngitis, no?
My smartphone wasn’t being so smart either.
So I woke up on Christmas morning feeling pretty glum.
I didn’t know what the day would bring, what more bad news we’d receive.
The girls were very excited.
They went downstairs to discover that Santa had eaten the cookies and milk they left.
He’d left a note for each girl.
There were many presents under the tree.
The girls sprang back upstairs, shouting with glee.
“Santa was here! Get up! Santa was here!”
We went downstairs, and barely got the coffee made when they began to rip open their gifts.
We sat near the tree, listening to Christmas carols, as the girls opened their presents.
Boo looked outside, and announced with pure, unadulterated happiness,
It was our first real snow of the season.
It was really snowing!
The snowflakes glistened as they fell through the air, accumulating on the ground.
We probably got 2-3 inches, just enough to cover the ground and make things very festive.
It was a white Christmas!
We all went to the window to watch the wondrous display.
It was absolutely magical.
Leave it to Boo, to bring some needed perspective, to point out the simple joys.
She declared, “Happy Birthday, Jesus! It’s a perfect day for you! Thank you for the snow and for everything! I love you!”
Yes, the simple joys. A little snow on Christmas morning; smiling, giggling children; reminders of the reason for the season; and all the blessings we truly have.
All those troubles were left behind for the day.
We’d rediscovered the real reason for the season.
Despite everything going on, we found Christmas Joy.
Thanks to two absolutely lovable and adorable little girls.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!