Lessons

Seventy Times Seven

1ffaa62d05c5a2528d8737195f2a0f42[1]I love this. Seventy times seven. It could be any number realistically if you are not into spirituality and all that. I mean it can be just as effective by saying eighty times eight. In fact, you could even say Buddha times ten. It’s all relative in the grand scheme of things.

For all the big private school religion I received and my boys, I never heard seventy times seven other than in Math class. It is pretty powerful if you think about it. It just puts some real big issues into a more comical way of looking at things. It might be really sacrilegious but I kind of look at it as seventy times seven just sort of means have a ton of compassion, forgive immensely, F*it and move on.

Seventy times seven and a million more times. That’s right folks. No amount of harboring the pain and Target store panic attacking will change the bull crap. It won’t matter how many times seventy times seven you plead your case or fight your cause. If one times one didn’t get it done, seventy times seven won’t either. Sometimes you have to approach it as going in at zero and coming out at a negative five hundred.

There is real purpose here. I promise. It’s called forgiveness without the actual forgiving part. Sometimes you just cannot forgive. Sometimes you just have so much pain that the anger rips through your blood like a toxin that will never go away. It’s about acceptance because no amount of forgiveness will change it.

Forgiveness isn’t about thinking they will come to your rescue. Forgiveness isn’t about being repaired, stitched up and not having a scar. The scar remains.

F O R E VE R.

That is just how it goes. Stop giving the power to the people and give it to yourself. There is a fine line between forgiveness and feeling peace. They are not one in the same. Choosing to forgive doesn’t release you from feeling angry. Forgiveness doesn’t remove the emotion of anger for anger cannot realize what happened is now part of the past.

Anger is simply refusing to allow you to heal. You fear letting go of the anger because it will force you to be someone else once the wound closes up. The scar remains. We get it. You want your old skin back. But it is never going to happen. You are forever scarred. No amount of anger is ever going to fix that. Ever.

happiness[1]So forgive, because it is the only way to clean up the destruction. They are not doing it. Forgiving does not necessarily mean you will have a future together or ever fully make amends. Forgiveness does not mean you are laying down and accepting what they did to you. Forgiveness means you are finally done waiting for the person(s) who broke you to put you back together. It is your job to heal you, not theirs.

Forgiveness is about moving forward. Seventy times seven and again and again to infinity and back, forgive and let go. You are scarred and that is your new path now. Start a new journey and become who you are meant to be…in your new skin, with all your scars. All seventy times seven of them.

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Laughter, Lessons, Life, Love, Parenting, children, humor, education, entertainment, arts

It’s Our Thing

The miniature version of me who really isn’t so me and is not so mini anymore, has caused great panic. First off, he took the path less traveled from school to my car. Now, I am a huge promoter of that path. Life happens off the beaten but not when 50 parents and 8 teacher proctors or whatever their politically correct title may be are watching you.

When school lets out, proceed to follow the path. That means the shoveled, highly salted, dry path leading from school to mother’s vehicle. Oh no, not little Peeno. He basically hurdles a bush, climbs a tree and treks through 6 inches of slushy, melting snow losing his boot. Yes oh yes, I am the parent slouching with sunglasses on and my visor down and my sun shade up and my car basically wrapped in a tarp so to not admit that rebellious child is mine.

But they ALL know….

As soon as he gets near the car I can see the stares, the giggles from his peers, the secret high fives from the junior high kids and my 2nd grader who is about to get down and out with all holiness this Spring, with that smirk. It’s that smirk that’s caught between I just won first place in track and want to stay modest and I just pulled off the unthinkable and got away with it. What he doesn’t seem to appreciate is that his mother often bears the brunt of his travels.

It gets better. Why I dared even to ask how his day was? Of course, I got the vow of silence but then I could see the light bulb flashing and him wanting so hard to speak it up. See, rear view mirrors have become my greatest friend. And seeing that I spend about 5.35 daily hours in my vehicle driving these kids to and from here and there, old rear view has been there.

He has been there when 96 school fundraising candy bars were being busted open. He sees army men’s heads getting chopped off with preschool safety scissors for fear of they and Krampus would severely injure Salvatore, our Elf on the Shelf and on the toilet and on the chandelier and in the refrigerator. Rear view has seen giggles that I knew I best pull the car over. He has warned me of footballs, basketballs, nerf pellets and Starbursts about to be launched my way. He sees truths and mischief and tears and smiles.

But this particular day he saw a big thought. Sure enough, little Peeno proceeds to tell me he gave out our address to a bunch of people at school. Why exactly you ponder? Because he is selling many things at good prices with a BOGO (thank you BIG Bird) special on certain days. Oh yes, come one, come all to the great post Holiday sale. He will even be selling homemade hot cocoa and homemade cookies.

My little entrepreneur has just launched a real life Etsy where Pinterest meets Little Debbie and Swiss Miss. Thank you my dear son. So in telling my boys to think big and build anything what I forgot to offer was my disclosure. With that being known, they would need to proceed to consult with mommy dearest first.

So it wasn’t mattering to him at the least that he just provided an entire student body, faculty and parish with our address. He was going BIG and home. My home, where his new store would be. This way he could make the money to buy all the salted caramel hot cocoas he wanted. Plus nobody was ever going to tell him “no” again when he wants a mud garden pudding from the Botanical Garden cafe.

I have to admit, I was impressed. Being a business owner and all, I get it. I realized I secretly was proud of his efforts and his drive for earning potential. I didn’t like his failure to consult with said business partner per se but nonetheless his mindset was in all the right places.

In any regards, rear view betrays me sometimes and works both ways. When I glanced back he was already in view. He just smiled and said, “Come on mom, you can’t be upset, this is our thing. This is always going to be our thing!”

And he was right. I even think rear view nodded too.

Dream big and create my child, because “Amazon”s don’t grow wild by a flashing cursor. Someone pushes go and an empire is created. May your thing always be your thing! And may your empire always be a bit out of this galaxy. Because it’s out there, off the beaten, that little ideas become BIG things!

Uncategorized

Raggedy Imperfect Perfect Mess

French braids, her raggedy mess dolly, suitcase with her life’s treasures, a path threw places not reachable by those leaking her spirit and the broken parts in the heavens, letting the light in.

They broke the wrong parts. Thinking that without her wings she couldn’t survive. Peeling her fingers back one at a time while she desperately tried to hold on. She thought in losing her grip, she would lose a part of herself too. She thought she would become someone her soul didn’t know.

They threw fire and placed thorns upon her heart. They judged without ever stepping a foot inside her shoes. They burnt her good and almost dead. They stripped her from her dignity, her ability to feel, to be seen or to be heard. They diminished her rights. They tore down her walls making her heart and soul without boundaries and exposing her fears and passions open, for all to attack.

They peeled her fingers away one by one, making her loose her grip. They laughed when she wobbled and threw stones on her unsteadiness. They played games with her heart and challenged her integrity. They carried on laughing through the broken parts of her forest. Rattling her core and cutting her roots, they rejoice in their triumphs.

Yet, the light can only shine through when the forest is broken. Roots can regrow stronger because they’ve already been severed. Wiser will protect her by being still when she sways and sway when she can’t find the wisdom to bend.

She didn’t have to cling onto those who wanted her to feel pain or didn’t make her smile. She didn’t have to fight for a spot because her beauty grew anyways. Every downpour led her to a rainbow and every cold night brought about a new day. Roads end if the only choice is to stay on the same path.

It’s your journey to travel in the way you see fit. Not everyone has to like your journey because it’s not theirs to navigate. If they silence your worry, your heart and your fears, there are still beautiful souls seeking what you have to offer. Don’t rob those souls of the one true you by forcing yourself to those who turn away for your lack of conformity.

Wings help you fly but that little girl in you that never died, that’s who will carry you when the wrong parts of you are broken. It’s the little girl who’s passion keeps you from failing. It is that little girl’s spirit who says your good enough. It is that little girl’s belief that you can be the person she saw long, long ago.

A raggedy, imperfect, perfect mess with one hand gripping your life’s treasures and the other holding onto what needs to remain imperfect. With French braids barely moving while your little soul of courage, heart of love and eyes of passion travel by way only an adventurer would dare. The little girl will always be there believing in you. Because kid, when you get where you are going, there will only be the happiest of tears. So take her broken wings, because she’s still going to fly!

Love

An Open Letter to the Youth Football Commisioner

  
Dear Mr. Youth Football Commisioner:

As you know my son has been playing tackle football through this organization since 5th grade. Prior to his commitment to this organization he played in various flag football leagues. Yet, although he had fun, he was missing something. We were missing something.

When he left K School and began his journey as a middle school student at SAS, football through this organization was the start of what would be his evolution. It wasn’t walking into a faith based community and sharpening his pencil. It wasn’t saying the morning prayer prior to announcements. It wasn’t tossing the football at recess in a school uniform.

Although all intricate to shaping his character, It was taking a knee the very first practice surrounded by parents, teachers, faculty, coaches and Parish priests in blue and gold with a Lions helmet next to him. It was holding his head up high when he made his first tackle. It was being high fived by a coach. It was sweat, sore muscles and prayer. It was knowing that mediocracy doesn’t make it happen. It was knowing that at the end of practice, that walk up the hill would be greeted by parents, other players, coaches and me, his mom. It was the glow he had when he got into the car.
  

Whatever happens on that practice field and before a game. What ever goes on in those huddles, pep talks and post game gatherings has made my son who he is today and the man I know he’ll become. They say it takes a village to raise a child and you are part of my village.

The game of football has taught both of us alot about life. Sometimes more than any other event or journey we have witnessed. Football to him is everything. Everything that sets the tone for his academic success. The tone that wants him to continue a Catholic education into High School. The tone that makes things possible for us at home.

His younger brother just started playing with the organization and I notice how he watches his big brother so closely. How my youngest who is just 5 cannot wait to put on a helmet and proudly wear his Gold and Blue. How our Lions gear sporting our family name and my son’s number is our first go to piece of clothing on a chilly day or night.
 

Everything happens for a reason and he has always been so self confident about his height and weight. I have always told him God gives us what we need and that small can mean mighty. So we sincerely hope he will still suit up everyday in blue and gold and run down that hill to meet his teammates on the practice field. That every Sunday after Church we will be heading off to play ball.

I know that injuries can happen anywhere to anyone. I have put my faith into God that he will watch over my son, while he is out there on the field. I know he is in good hands with all of you. I know you all have an interest in his safety. With that being said, he is an asset to this organization, not a liability. More importantly, he is part of something grand where small things lead to big moments. It’s in these moments, my little boy transforms into a young adult.

Please accept this letter as my approval to have him be a part of this team despite his weight. We sincerely hope we can continue on this journey that began Aug 1 and hopefully will go into the playoffs and beyond. Thank you for your consideration!

Sincerely,

No Weight Limit Needed  

 

Love

Rock a Bye My Baby

I blinked and then waited two minutes. I blinked again as the two bars appeared in the window. I blinked again and there they were, still looking at me. My gaze was fixated. My limbs were numb. My emotions were high. It was real. You were real. My whole world was changing. You were the blessing that would make it happen.

During the nine months you tossed and cuddled inside me, so much of my young life was evolving. I rarely had time to slow down and embrace what it meant to be “with child.” But we ran, boy, we ran. We hustled and started a business. We worked long hours and would be swollen from exhaustion. We pushed through every tingle and overcame every pain. It was all happening so fast. Nine months go by too quick. But on the day you were born you reminded me to slow down. To appreciate our last day together as mother carrying her unborn child. You planned it this way. I know this now, son.

It was just you and I that day babe. We worked a little, played a little, visited with friends and family. We baked a little and snuggled on the couch to grab one last movie. The last movie that would be watched in its entirety without any interruptions. As I snuggled into the soft silky sheets for bed and the spring breeze blew through the room, you gave me a little tug. Then another and I knew, it was almost time for us to finally meet. You gave me the day, our last moments to prepare for both of our about to change forever lives.

You put me through every test. At times you stole my breath away. At times I thought gravity would pull me under. But then at the magical hour of 10:00 a.m., I heard the most precious three words I would ever hear in my life. Some say there are no more precious of words than “I love you”. I disagree. Even though I was tired, emotional, scared and joyful, when I heard “It’s a Boy”, those my son were the three most precious words that fell upon my ears.

7585_10151333929577031_183119441_n[1]You were beautiful. You grew so fast. From cat naps in my arms, to stroller rides to sliding down the slide all by yourself. Then it seemed like overnight you left my side to go to pre-school. The day you got on the bus to ride off to Kindergarten just melted my heart. Your first crack of the bat was like a melody I hear over and over again. Your first touchdown took my breath away yet another time. But you ran, boy you ran.

Your first ride without training wheels would prepare me to encourage you to go forth independently. Your climbs so high upon the trees allowed me to see how much determination you had. Your jumping in puddles, rolling in the mud and food stained shoulders and sleeves have shown me how not to sweat the small stuff. Your hand print stains upon the walls and trails and trails of parmesan balls taught me that messiness is what makes a house a home.

Now you are growing up. You are leaving behind the single digits. The past ten years have taught me more about life, empathy and love than any other years of my existence. There are days I reflect on my own life the past decade. How I have changed and grown and opportunities I might have missed. But if I had a chance for a do over, a chance to repeat, I would do it exactly the same.

I would still hold you until you stopped crying. I would still let you crawl into my bed. I would still sleep on the floor next to your bed, when you felt ill. I would push you 100 times more on the swings and chase after you when you made off for the street. I would still roll around in the grass with you and push bulldozers in the mud. I would still be your elementary class room mom again and again. I would finger-paint until our hands were stained and count your little piggies. I would still rock you to sleep even when my arms went numb and my eyes grew heavy. I want to ‘Rock a Bye’ my baby again.

But we grow. We move forward. I am not sad that those days are over, I’m glad that they happened. Now as you set forth in the land of double digits, I know the next decade will fly by too. I know I will look back again ten years from now and relish the bittersweet moments again. But today I reflect. I reflect on a decade gone by. I reflect on the fact that when I heard “It’s a Boy” that no matter how Type A or organized you strive to be, every day is a new beginning, its very own unplanned adventure. You gave me that gift, son. For that, I am ever grateful and one lucky girl.

Soon you and I will gather at the starting line. When we hear the whistle sound, we will make off towards our goal. The finish line will be ahead of us and we leave behind the single digits. When we cross the finish line, we won’t stop suddenly and call it an ending. We will cross through and carry on. I look forward to our first 5k together. Rocking it out with you, my baby, and we will run, boy, we will run!

539746_4672238565578_485366123_n[1]“When you put yourself on the line in a race and expose yourself to the unknown, you learn things about yourself that are very exciting.”
– Doris Brown Heritage, pioneer in women’s distance running

Life, Love

Let Running Reign

20130416-110836.jpg “We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves…The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, ‘You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.’ The human spirit is indomitable.” -Sir Roger Bannister, first runner to run a sub-4 minute mile

For a runner, running is freedom.  Running is facing your fears, your “I cannots” and going the extra mile.  When your feet hit the pavement, it creates a symphony.  A collection of notes you create.  You set the tempo, the softness and the beat as you go along with Mother Nature’s rhythm.

Some days we conquer and others days we take it slow, erring on the side of caution. Then there are those days we have no fear.  We plow through. Sometimes we arrive sooner and other times later. But we arrive.  We are present.

We gain acceptance of the challenges, conquer our fears of the unknown and relish in the beauty and adventure. When we finish, we are humbled.  We are strong.  We overcame.  We defeated our negative thoughts.  We made it happen.

Whether we are crossing a finishing line, laying down to rest or slowing down to avoid injury, we conquered.  We let running reign and so to will freedom.

Lessons

You Wiped My Son’s Eyes

20130402-141335.jpgYesterday morning was off to a rough start. I woke up late. It was cold and the thought of bouncing from bed to shower just made me want to pull the covers over my head. I needed a gradual good morning. One that allowed sipping some hot coffee, curled up under the blanket by the fire.

I had the choice to act now and get a head start before the kids woke up. This would lead to my being present at the breakfast table with them. This would allow me to control the “I wants”, sibling bickering and a nicely prepared breakfast ending up in the trash. The nutritious breakfast taking second place to M&M yogurt and Easter candy. I had a choice.

The other option would be the gradual good morning. I chose this option. Despite past experiences, I decided to roll with it but was convinced I could stay mindful. I could start the turkey bacon and sip the coffee. I could wake the kids up, have breakfast on their plates and then jump into the shower. I could let them carry on with their bickering with an occassional diversion from getting ready to mediate. I could do this. I did.

It was frustrating. There were many interruptions. I forget my eyeliner on one eye. I forget to plug in the curling iron. The nutritious breakfast took a hike for sugar laden yogurt and Easter candy. I had a choice. I refused to get upset. I refused to be frustrated. I calmly put the yogurt back into the refrigerator. I put my other eye’s liner on. I plugged in the curling iron. I mediated. I took deep breaths. I referred them to brush their teeth and get their school bags.

I carried on. It was getting closer to crunch time. My oldest sounded the 8:01a.m. alarm. I knew the bus would be coming. I stopped. I had to make a choice to get them out the door. I wanted them off with smiles and hugs. I refused to not be mindful. I refused to let the chaos win. The chaos fought me hard. One went out the front door, one out into the garage, the other climbed into my car. Stop. We are not leaving yet. Come back in. They all did, eventually.

All he wanted was his snow boots. I tried to explain to him he wouldn’t need them today. He kept asking about the weather. Through the hair dryer I could hear him saying it is sunny now but a dark cloud is coming. He wondered if the cloud meant rain or snow. I had a choice to stop the hair dryer and crouch down to his level, meeting him face to face explaining he would not need the snow boots. I chose to put on his tennis shoes. I didn’t see he was frustrated. I didn’t let him explain. All he wanted to tell me was that if it was going to rain or snow and he didn’t have his boots he would have to stay on the asphalt during recess.

20130402-141259.jpgI had a choice to listen or be the parent in charge. I chose to be the parent in charge. I chose to not listen. He walked out the door with his head hanging low muttering a statement which really was asking for permission. He was going to grab his snow boots anyway. I saw his fingers grasp the boots. I removed them from his hands and put them back on the shelf. He grabbed them again. The bus was coming.

My oldest took off without a hug or a kiss. My baby was climbing into my car and then the bus stopped. I took the boots from his hand and threw them into his bag. I told him he was not listening. I chose to be upset. I kissed him off quickly and with his head down he walked down the 150 feet path of cement.

I was defeated. I let the chaos win. I did not send them off as I intended. I motioned for him to run. He never looked back. He never picked up his head. He stayed at the same defeated pace. Still yet I was upset. Upset that he didn’t listen. But really it was I who didn’t listen. I was too busy giving in to chaos. I made a choice to ease into the morning. A choice I knew would have repercussions. A choice I knew could lead to farewell defeats.

Then she grabbed a tissue as he boarded the bus. She wiped his eyes and hugged him. My heart sank. My eyes dripped with water. I wanted nothing more to run to them and get them off the bus. How could I let this happen. I was mindful of what she did. It bothered me. It stung. I felt like I failed. I made a choice.

Parenting isn’t always easy. Especially when you have multiple children and you are a working parent. It is a fine balancing act; getting yourself ready for work and children off to school. The intentions are good. The breakfast is nutritious. The lunches are packed. The schoolbags are ready. The teeth are brushed. Everything is in place. But what our little ones want most is to be heard. I know in this instance I was only acting on motherly intuition. I only wanted the absolute best for the children. But sometimes, we need to stop and just listen. Our children can provide an enormous amount of teaching. If we just choose to listen.