Turn Around and Swim

Life | Lessons | Laughter | Love


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Wish I May, Wish I Might Make a Little Resolution Tonight

Wish I May, Wish I Might Make a Resolution Tonight

Wish I May, Wish I Might Make a Resolution Tonight

I remember in my younger years, and for your information they were not that long ago, when new Year’s Eve would translate into PAR-TAY! As a twenty something single thing it was all about what to wear, where to go and who to see. It was expensive, draining and I usually woke up the next year with a banging headache and various thoughts, up to and including WTF?

Luckily for all of us I grew out of the need to PAR-TAY on New Year’s Eve and use the time for more useful things. Yet the past few years I sort of turned away from well of course the partying but making resolutions as well. I would just get fed up by January 21, like the rest of us, because they weren’t happening. I wasn’t successful because I had this huge amount of pressure from me, myself and I.

It’s not like the New Year’s Baby was gonna come after me with a noise maker and beat me to a pulp for breaking resolution #10 for the 35+ year again. Life happens and things get in the way. But I would get all wishy, washy and venture out and buy a beautifully crafted notebook that cost a gazillion dollars because it looked all pretty and start over by listing “revised” resolutions. That crap lasted until about March when I said the heck with it. Then I started to plan for the next year.

Now that I am wiser and more experienced in life, I think of it more as a yearly to-do list broken down by months with weekly goals. It is more about things I want to accomplish, who I want to accomplish them with and where I want them accomplished. It’s the strategy of how that gets me all messed up.

You see the easy part is I know what I want for the coming year. I can even close my eyes and see myself there. I see smiles, beautiful travel places, fearlessness and so much happiness that it looks like Mr. Sunshine cracked open a can of happ-a$$. It’s when I open my eyes that I lose sight of the whole damn picture. Do you want to know why that is? Because of reality.

So this year, I am challenging, not resolving or intending, but challenging myself to make my current reality a part of this place called the past. I do not want to close my eyes to see it happening, I want to live it, breathe it, smell it, feel it and taste it. So watch out people, I’ve got an arsenal of goodies to keep me moving forward to that little thing we call a dream.

Goodies in My New Years Pack of Tricks

1. Fluorescent Yellow Boxing Gloves so this way they’ll know I’m coming and they can’t say they were surprised.

2. Oversized sunglasses to shield my eyes from things that make me go hmm.

3. A great pair of running shoes so when the going gets tough, the tough gets going…and going…and going and I will run Swimgirl, run.

4. Red underwear because every Italian girl needs a pair. (Google it – Red underwear + Italian).

5. An extended duster buster so when the $hit hits the fan, I can clean up afterwards.

6. North Face Leg and Arm warmers so if everything is taken from me, I will still have toasty warm legs, arms and oh a nice pair of red underwear.

7. A pen, pad of paper and a good book.

8. Cocobon wine because that stuff is the bomb Trader Joe’s and it does a body good.

81/2. Cocobon wine. Did I mention how this stuff is the bomb?

9. A pedometer so I can tell all the judgemental ones to walk -x- amount of miles in my shoes everyday and then tell me how things should be.

10. A yoga mat because when everything else around me is going wacky I can make like child’s pose and OM.

11. A camouflage head band to wrap my weary head and remind me sometimes what I know, I know and it may be a one woman fight. So bring your A-Game Ramboette.

12. Post It Notes and envelopes to send little random stickies to people when I think of them.

13. An open mind and an open heart.

So if I can create 52 little goals that each lead to twelve big months, I can safely say that 2013 will be by far my most challenging, life altering and most rewarding year of my life. It’s reality but it is time I make it the reality I long for when I close my eyes and wish I may, wish I might.

So strap on your fanny packs and fill them up with all the little things you need to make 2013 your most ________________ year. You fill in the blank. It’s your reality! Now go start making it happen!

Even if you fall on your face, you're still moving forward - Victor Kiam

Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward – Victor Kiam

 
 
 


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What’s In Your Cup? The Best Gifts in Life are Free

A cup o' sunshine to start your morn.(Picture courtesy of Yahoo images)

A cup o’ sunshine to start your morn.
(Picture courtesy of Yahoo images)

Good morning my sunshines. For those that celebrate Christmas, Merry C-Eve. For those that walk around resembling good old Ebenezer, ba-humbug to you. Yet, just remember, the ghosts of past, present and future are lurking around somewhere waiting to visit if you don’t crack a smile and start eluding some holiday cheer. Please don’t mistake my passion for anger, it’s your day, carry on. Really though, I know Holidays can be a very rough time for many people. I understand. Choose to live your day as you see it best. I don’t judge.

Yet, for me, this is a day of faith, hope and love. A day that gets the engines fired up for the anticipation of a jolly old saint and presents under the tree. The time to share Holiday wishes with loved ones. A day of over consumption of food and red and white liquids. A day I watch through the eyes of my children. A day I will deeply miss loved ones. A day I will desperately try to carry on special traditions. And I emphasize desperately. A day for hosting and toasting and being silly.

That is Christmas. Not the sweater wrapped in tissue, beaming precious metals nor being cordial because it’s a nice thing to do. But celebrating genuinely with those that mean the most. It’s a time of giving and receiving. Giving my children a mother’s unconditional love. Giving my children the opportunities to learn, flourish and grow. Giving them attributes of patience, love and empathy by being a good role model myself. Now why of course they will still receive presents. But I do hope this year I have taught them a little more about giving. That when they give they truly receive. Sometimes more than what they bargain for. More than we all bargain for…

So in my cup today is something rich and creamy. Something homemade with just the right amount of organic sweetness. It’s my guilty pleasure. My morning cup of warmth. It’s even better shared with my boys, straight from a thermos, while cuddling in blankets on a picnic table waiting for a December rarity. 27 degrees will not stop us from enjoying each other’s company while sipping homemade hot cocoa. As we conversed through our yawns and morning sniffles, the air felt refreshing not chilling. We reminisced about the past year and as best as it gets for resolutions, or intentions as I like to call them, when discussing with three little lads under the age of nine.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away.

Then suddenly the snow started to glisten and the geese became more active. It’s my favorite time of the day. Where eve meets dawn. Then an orange burst of light peeked out over the trees. There we were snuggled up together sipping warmth and watching the first gift of Christmas. As we watched in awe with our little Rudolph noses, the sun welcomed our intrusion and graced us the entire day. The snow was like diamonds. The blanket like tissue paper wrapping up my most precious valuables. The sun rising for us yet another day. These are a few of my favorite “things”. And truly, the best gifts in life are free.

So I raise my cup and wish you and yours all a very Merry Christmas. That you cherish every moment. For those that hurt, that you may find strength within to make it the best day you can despite the hardship and pain. That all cups be filled with a little warmth today. What’s In your Cup on this eve of Christmas? Can you share a little warmth? Can you be open to receiving a little sunshine? Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Feliz Navidad and Happy Holidays!


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What’s In Your Cup? Changing The World One Parent at a Time

Trust yourself.  Only you can live your life.  Only you can taste your victories.  Only you can suffer the sting of your defeats.  Make your own choices, and suffer your own consequences - for better or worse. - Jonathan Lockwood Huie(Photograph courtesy of Google Images)

Trust yourself. Only you can live your life. Only you can taste your victories. Only you can suffer the sting of your defeats. Make your own choices, and suffer your own consequences – for better or worse. – Jonathan Lockwood Huie
(Photograph courtesy of Google Images)

I know many of you are waking up today the same way I rose from my slumber. My heart is heavy, my thoughts are everywhere and I have lost some of the Holiday spirit. If you are a parent, you squeezed and hugged your children extra tightly this morning before getting them off to school. If you are an educator or school administrator, you walked into your building with a little apprehension today. Does it really matter the reason or motives behind such a crime on innocent children and educators who care for our children everyday?

What may matter more than anything is what happens, right now, this day forward. We are not going to have the answers overnight or by the New Year, but I know what was in my cup this morning, and I pray I never have to experience that again.

Sometimes before turning off the light at night and resting my head, I curl up to a good book with a steaming, hot cup of decaffeinated coffee. I usually only have a few sips but I love it at night as much as I do upon rising. So when I proceeded this morning to take my half full cup from last night to the kitchen, started a fresh caffeinated pot and then made off to get some laundry started, I anticipated that first sip. As I poured myself my first cup o’ Joe, I ran back to the laundry room to finish up the load. Then I grabbed my cup and took a big sip. In my cup was twelve-hour old coffee with cream that sent chills down my esophagus. It was cold, bitter and down right nasty.

The experience alone makes me never want to dive into that pool of nasty, bitterness again. Yet, this horrible taste got me to thinking. What if we can change the world one parent at a time? I grew up in the 1980’s where not everyone made the team. That you had to work hard for a place. You couldn’t just be on a roster or show up to get a trophy. Only the winner walked away with the silver and the rest of us had to accept the defeat. It taught me to work harder and never give up. It showed me that being defeated is not the end but a means to success. It emphasized teamwork and what I, as an individual member of the team, had to do to help us achieve our goals. It gave myself and my team time to ponder our strengths and work on our weaknesses.

Sometimes it gives us a bad taste, so we don't make the same mistake next time - Swimgirl

Sometimes it gives us a bad taste, so we don’t make the same mistake next time – Swimgirl

It helped prepare me for adulthood by allowing me to deal with shortcomings. That a good work ethic and determination can overcome a loss. I was able to process that a lack of a trophy didn’t mean I was a loser but just not the best. I was okay with that because my parents made me deal with it. So I dealt.

There were no status updates to share about how we lost or tweeting about how bad it sucked. There were no computers. There were three channels, 3, 5 and 8 that I could grab a pint of Rocky Road and try to indulge my grief in. So, I went outside and played. I ran to my friend’s house and we ran to another friends house. We rounded up the neighborhood and played tag and lawn games. We laughed and played and moved on. We faced reality and dealt with it.

So, now that I am a mother, I naturally wanted to be a coach. I loved the good old days of sports and competitions. When I was asked to be a cheerleading coach when my oldest was two, I was delighted and honored. I was given a ten page packet of the rules. Starting with 1) Every Kid Makes The Team. So if 28 children, both boys and girls, signed up for cheerleading, they would all be on the team. 2) Only 8 Children On The Field Or Courts At Any One Time. So I had to pick and choose who would be paired up with who. Do I aim for like kind or an equal balance of skill? Would holding the better athletes accountable for the less experienced athletes hinder them from performing at their full capabilities? Would those with little or no skill try to be better or just float through the season because they were all members of the team?

Needless to say, I turned the position down. I decided eight years ago that whether I had one or ten children, I would prepare them for the real world. Not in drill sergeant format or anything but good old-fashioned common sense parental guidance. I would want my children to work hard and earn their place. I wouldn’t want them to just go through the motions because they would never be cut from the team. If I can buy them anything they want, I won’t. Unless they work hard to earn it. They will get jobs if they want a car. They will have responsibilities around the house with and without an allowance. This way they can learn their value in the household and that we as a family, all work together. I will be honest with them. Not to hurt their feelings but so they understand there is no sugar-coating in the real world.

(Photograph courtesy of Google Images)

(Photograph courtesy of Google Images)

Parents, caregivers and guardians, what if we went back to the 1980’s? Are we setting our children up for failure in the real world by giving them everything? Are we taking away enough of their computer, text and handheld game time to get them out in nature? Are we enabling our children so much that they get rewarded for bad behavior as well as good? Are we really helping our children by shielding them from everything? Perhaps, we are telling them too much. So much to the point that they are losing their sense of respect for authority. Are our children so used to having no consequences for their actions that they have become fearless? Are we setting the appropriate boundaries for our youth?

What’s In Your Cup? How are you raising your children? Naturally, we only want the best for our children. I am just worried we are giving them too much, enabling them too much and taking the fall for their mistakes. We have to give our children a backbone. Think of how we were raised. Our parents both worked, even if mom was just part-time. We had chores and received nothing for it. We went out for sports and either made it or didn’t. We rode bikes to our friends to hang out rather than secluded in our rooms chatting on Facebook. We had jobs and got grounded for poor grades and bad behavior. Our teachers tapped us on our hands with rulers and we were scolded by our parents in public.

This taught us respect, work ethic, love, humility, perseverance, and empathy for humankind. This post has been brewing for some time just like the day old coffee in my cup this morning. I want our children safe, our educators and school administration to go to work without fear. I want to go to the movies with my pals and shop in the malls with my family. I want peace on earth. I know it starts with me, at home and what my calling as a parent means. I want my children to be prepared for the real world, be able to handle defeat and realize some things in life are just not fair. I want them to be strong but able to empathize with others. I want them to not be selfish by putting others before themselves.

I am not sure if we can ever make sense of recent events. I am not sure what the answers will be. I cry, I hurt and I fear but if we can give anything to those precious babies, their families and the teachers and staff it is a silent promise that we will somehow make a difference. No deed, no matter how small or large, goes unnoticed. It’s more of a personal committment to me. It starts right now, for them, for you, for us and for our world. So please let me know if I am out of line here, way off the beaten path or maybe onto something. I want my MTV back too!

 


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It’s A Boy! (Volume 3, 3rd Edition)

For a short while, our mothers' bodies are the boundaries and personal geography which are all that we know of the world. Once we no longer live beneath our mother's heart, it's the earth with which we form the same dependent relationship." - Louise Erdrich

For a short while, our mothers’ bodies are the boundaries and personal geography which are all that we know of the world. Once we no longer live beneath our mother’s heart, it’s the earth with which we form the same dependent relationship.” – Louise Erdrich

It cannot be your third Birthday already. Where have the past 36 months gone? I remember like it was yesterday when I would tell people, you are 5 days old, one month old, 18 months old and now I have you classified in years. Three to be exact. Well little man, today is your day. Of course we celebrate all things you and all that is so very special about being three.

You will start preschool in the Fall. You will turn to me and wave as the teacher pleads with me to give you one last kiss and leave you be. I am not sure I will be ready to walk away. Soon you will be out of diapers…forever. You will want to play with your friends more than me. You will write your name. You will brush your own teeth and visit the dentist for the first time. You will call me mom more than mommy.

All these things are special. They mean you are growing up and becoming more independent. Yet, I want you to be little forever. I want to be able to sit in the rocking chair and rock you to sleep. Instead, you want to be one of three little monkeys jumping on the bed. I want to snuggle with you every night, even if it means maneuvering my adult body into your toddler fire truck bed. But lately I’m being replaced by Jingle the stuffed dog and Thomas the Train.

There you go, while I watch you grow

There you go, while I watch you grow

This summer you will put on a helmet and take a ride on a bike with training wheels. Yet, I just had the stroller wheel replaced so we can go on long, exploration hikes in the park. Perhaps I may still have a bit more time to push you in a stroller. You will swing by yourself and will only need my gentle touch to get you started. You will start swimming on your own and will not need to cling onto me for dear life. You will paint, draw and create with little or no help from me.

You will stand on the stage during your three-year pre-school Holiday performance one year from now. You are officially old enough to play smart start tee-ball, basketball and mighty mites football. I will watch from the sidelines as you run off onto the fields and courts looking back and waving to me. I will not be able to go out there with you, holding your hand.

You will request playdates more than trips to the grocery store with me. You will be able to attend the library story time without an adult by your side. You will get into conflicts and will want to work them out for yourself because you now know how to share and express your thoughts on your own.

It is hard being mommy sometimes; watching you and your brothers grow. Some days I do wish I could be without a diaper bag, multiple change of clothes and an endless supply of keep you busy activities. But then it’s days like today, your third Birthday that make me wish you were young forever.

Especially being my baby, my last born, I want to cradle you in my arms. I want to sing you lullabies again and rock you gently to sleep. I want to hear your cry at 3 a.m. because you are hungry or need me to soothe you back to a slumber. I want you to reach up to me making the motion for me to pick you up. I want to hear you say your first word again, watch you take your first step and eat your first foods. But I cannot go back.

Yet, these moments will remain in my heart forever. You will always be my baby, whether three, thirty-three or fifty-three. We are moving along through this journey called life. I know we will create new memories and cherish those as well. I know if I beg you, you will still call me mommy sometimes and not just mom. I know that when you have your college buddies over, I can make you mommy’s secret recipe hot chocolate and your pals with think I am the bomb. I can still bake you cookies, call and sing to you and buy you new clothes. We can always go apple picking, to get cookies at Starbucks and play on the slides.

Close your eyes and make a wish and blow them out like a little fish

Close your eyes and make a wish and blow them out like a little fish

But for now, today, I celebrate you. I celebrate you being just three and here with me. I will watch as you tear open your presents and scream with delight because you get yet another Thomas the Train and Friends. I will celebrate as you smile from ear to ear with your little, bitty baby teeth as we sing Happy Birthday to you. Then I will watch as you close your eyes, make a wish and blow out your candles.

Even though I want to be selfish and squeeze you up and keep you little forever, I do aspire that all your wishes come true! Happy Birthday Peeno. May all your dreams come true…today, tomorrow and always. I love you!

This post’s draft was written prior to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Once again, these events change things like our perspectives and our thoughts. These events challenge our faith and bring reality to our fears. My heart goes out to the families, the children and administration along with my prayers and thoughts. These were and are children just starting their lives. Our children should feel safe and secure ALWAYS. This has to stop. Do not forget to hug and kiss your children everyday! Please take a moment here to stop and offer a moment of silence for those lost on December 14, 2012.

____________________________________

Thank you!


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I’m Not Worthy, But I Will Take It

  • inspiring – present participle of in·spire (Verb)

    Verb
    1. Fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, esp. to do something creative: “his enthusiasm inspired them”.
    2. Create (a feeling, esp. a positive one) in a person: “inspire confidence”.

My blog, inspiring? I am not sure I am worthy of such an award, but I will take it and strive to continue to inspire. When I started blogging almost a year ago, my initial goal was not to publicize and to keep my thoughts “private”. But then why blog? Why not have an online journal or Moleskin tablet instead? So with a simple click of the PUBLISH button, Turn Around and Swim dived into the blogging pool.

So thank you Multifarious Meanderings for thinking so highly of my blog and nominating me for this award. I hope to continue to inspire, humor and entertain my very important peeps, my fellow bloggers and email followers. I thank you first and foremost for taking the time to visit my blog, following along, using your precious time to read my posts and comment. It is all of you who are inspiring to me. For that, I am grateful and thus the blogging shall go on!

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So Much More Than The Herb of the Year

 

“God gave us a memory so that we might have roses in December.”- James Matthew Barrie

“God gave us a memory so that we might have roses in December.”
– James Matthew Barrie

The rose, such a beautiful flower with its simplistic style, soft petals and rich hues. It’s subtle fragrance will kiss your nose. It’s a symbol of love, perseverance and good wishes. It knows how to offer itself protection with its prickly thorns. It’s splendor comes in all forms, whether a small bud blooming with magnificence or as luscious petals caressing your palms. It is flawless, timeless and dances on gracefully regardless of the changing elements.

There is no wonder why my beloved grandmother’s name was Rosa. When my Nonna, Nonna gave birth to her back in 1923 in Sicily, I can only imagine she saw the same loving grace so eloquently present in this flower when she first laid eyes on her babe back then. My Nonna and to others Rosa, was all these things and more.

Today she would have celebrated her 89th Birthday. Today we would have called her to wish her a happiest of days and she would have sung to us instead. Today we remember her love, grace and strength. Today she is more than a memory. Today she celebrates in heaven looking down upon us. Today she is our angel. Forever and always, a memory preserved in our hearts like the rose who has undergone floral preservation.

In July of 2011, my dear Nonna, introduced us to the OC. I would love to be telling you she had a senior moment and made off to Orange County for a lift, pinch and tuck, but that was not the case. What I can tell you is cancer should be a four letter word. Ovarian Cancer is like a pesticide injuring a delicate rose.

When we were told of the news, she was not given much time and at her graceful age, the doctors could not prescribe a temporary fix, magical pill or surgery that could stop the spread of the cancer. Many of us took the news initially hard and fearful. I decided to not let, what should be a four letter world, take control over my thoughts. I knew our time together was narrowing closer to gone so I spent as much time with her as I could.

She loved my boys and my how they kept her giddy. She was always looking for a reason to act silly, dress in a costume or just be herself. Her great grandchildren brought the inner child out in her. All six of them. We are so very blessed to have had her a part of our lives during so many cherished moments.

From walking in a cap and gown to prom and walking down the aisle to delivering our first-born, Nonna was a part of it all. Oh the things we made her do. Yet, she loved being part of every adventurous moment. There was no holding this little lady back. Nothing, not even that four letter word.

The doctors expected maybe 3-4 weeks, our Nonna gave us six months. She gave us the greatest gift, the holidays. There was Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, her 88th Birthday, Christmas, New Year’s and my Birthday. Eleven days into the New Year after all the Holiday events wrapped up and the days starting getting longer again, she left her place here on Earth.

Her descent towards the winter sky was with all her family and friends close by her side. My sincere gratitude goes out to the Hospice staff who nurtured her pain and settled our thoughts. These are truly amazing people who do this day in and day out. Amazing really. Spending her last few days with her was completely healing in the strangest sense to some.

Although she wasn’t verbally communicative, I could feel and hear every word she was telling me. She told me to love my boys by guiding them into manhood and raise them the way I would want to be treated by a man. She told me to live for today and never stop reaching for my dreams. She told me never to give up or let a medical diagnosis stop you from living. That each day is a gift so treat it that way. Prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening to God. That a belief in a higher power, whatever that may be, is more powerful than our life here on Earth. One of her last non verbal words to me came through her gaze, as she turned to me she said, I will always be with you.

rose_in_snow_-_mammoth_lakes_dec_2003_2-24_tmb[1]She has kept her promise the past eleven months because I feel closer to her now than ever. I can still call her and yes she does respond. In fact, just the other day I was running in the park, thinking and reflecting and I ran right past a bright red sign. There on the lightly snow-covered trail were three red roses, just lying there on the ground. If I had not been present, I would have missed the opportunity to stop and smell the roses. Literally.

So it is only fitting that the herb for this year goes to the Rose. Selections are made based on the herb being outstanding in at least two of the three major categories: culinary, medicinal, or ornamental. Hands down as she was three out of three in the person form. Check out the award specifics here http://www.iherb.org/hoy2012.htm.

Death should not be feared but embraced. I mean we are all going to end up there someday. Until then, live each day like it is our last. Spend time with the ones you love and doing the things that enliven your spirit and enrich your soul.

Like a skyscraper carefully engineered, the beams go up to the sky one by one. Each layer building upon the other like the years of our lives. Some layers are precise and others imperfect, yet each layer leads to the structures uniqueness. It will sway naturally, without crumble to adjust to the ever-changing elements. It will stand strong in the toughest storms, shine on through the night and embrace each and every sunrise and sunset. Then one day it will leave it’s outer form and beauty and ascend to the highest point of it’s being. It will look down onto the earth, its only home it ever knew and the people who were part of its exterior and interior and then when the journey is complete, it will ascend into the sky like a balloon with lace wings.

Happy Birthday Nonna and today we celebrate all things you, Rosa, my herb of the year too!

Photograph taken from International Herb Association (www.iherb.org)

Photograph taken from International Herb Association (www.iherb.org)