GR8 8

Great 8!

Great 8!

I’ve been blessed with another wonderful year of you.  Another year of your energy, compassion, humor, LOVE of sports, competitiveness, charm, intelligence, entertainment, wit, stubbornness, inquisitiveness, loquaciousness, smile, fear, imagination, hugs, creativity,

This past year has been filled with all kinds of wonderful memories, moments and milestones:  Your first year playing organized sports and it was tackle football at that. Speaking at the Touch of Gold Luncheon for the First Baptist West Community Association’s annual fundraiser. Representing the rising 2nd graders during the Y.O.U. end of summer program. Giving the welcome during Y.O.U. Sunday. Our fun date night activities (Bobcats games, Tuesday nights at the Mint Museum, food truck Fridays, movie outings, etc.).  The hours we spent at the beach/pool in Hilton Head during Labor Day weekend. Saturday mornings at the Farmers Market. Your random but always perfectly timed hugs and kisses.  How you make and have friends at some of our regularly visited places (i.e. Mr. Darrell that works for Time Warner Arena and Kemba’s mom who you always enjoy having conversations with you. And Mr. Rico at Harris Teeter who you always have conversations with about sports), you are very much like Sugar and make friends everywhere you go.  Your consistent A Honor Roll academic performance.

One moment I will remember was your disappointment when jersey numbers were assigned and how you wanted #7 because that was LSU Tyrann Mathieu’s number but the child before you chose that number and you were given #8.  Oh you were mad!!!  I remember trying to convince you that picking a number because of someone else wasn’t what you needed to do because YOU were going to be so awesome that people wanted to be your number. That comment fell on deaf ears.  I also reminded you that my favorite number is 4 and asked “what is half of 8?”, to which you completely ignored me. I even stretched to say, when you turn 8 to the side what do you get? And he knew it was the infinity symbol and I said which means you will be infinitely great. Then I pointed out that your Dad’s jersey number in college was 44 and then I had the dumb idea of asking you, “and what is 4+4?”.  If I could have taken a picture of the look on your face!!!  Your tone and expression clearly communicated that in your head you were thinking ‘oh, so now you want to insult my intelligence as if I don’t know basic math’.  And as much as you love your Dad and get excited about being able to do things like him, with this situation, you wanted to step out and have something that was just yours.  In a very respectful but forceful way, you continued to argue that you wanted to be #7 and even went so far as to pull the nepotism card (since Daddy is the head coach).  In the end, you didn’t get your way, but I continue to admire your persistence when it comes to things you believe in and want.

As all parents feel about their children, you are special.  And I am ok with sounding a little snobbishly boastful by saying that there is something very special about you as I feel that one of your life’s purposes is to deliver a message just for me.  I haven’t been able to figure it out yet but I know that if I continue to allow you to ‘just be you’ and just sit still with open ears, mind and heart that I will hear the message meant for me. You are the epitome of “big things come in small packages” and I’m enjoying the daily joy of opening a new gift.

My daily challenge as your parent is to not get in the way of your greatness as I perceive many parents do.  It isn’t done with malice or spite, but from a genuine place of trying to protect our children and guiding them down ‘the right path’.  The problem is that we forget that no two road maps of life are the same, so I can’t be your Google Maps or MapQuest.  I have to make sure that I am a FULL self service gas station.  It is up to me to make sure there is gas in the pumps, an air machine to fill your tires when the pressure is low, clean water and brush to wipe your windshields to keep your line of vision clear, car fresheners to help you deodorize some of the messy spills, premium oil to keep your engine in pristine condition and above all, make sure that I am always there to provide that personal assistance that may be required in some of the situations that can’t be helped by ‘parts’.

 

How appropriate that the movie, ’42’ about Jackie Robinson was released today on your birthday (which I’m glad you are excited about seeing).  He literally changed the face of Major League Baseball in the modern era.  I know that you, GR8 8, will have a similar profound impact during and beyond your lifetime.  I see it being something on a more global/community scale and outside the world of sports as you have always had a humanitarian spirit.  One thing I know for sure, your father and I have been blessed to experience your GR8ness and it has had a life changing impact on our lives.

I love you to infinity and beyond and then some and then a lotta some!

4ever your biggest fan, strongest supporter and proud Mother.

 

 

 

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Lucky Number Seven…The Joys Of Winning As A Mommy

“Damn it, my child is 7!!!” is a thought, one of many, that ran through my mind at some point today. It wasn’t tied to feelings of sadness or thoughts of I’m getting old, I meant it with excitement. It’s amazing to think about how much he has grown from the day he was born and how I would have never been able to imagine just how freakin wonderful he is and how enriched my life is because of him. When he was born he was tiny, 3lbs 8 oz of tiny to be exact, which pales in comparison to how huge his heart and personality are today. He is the epitome of ‘big things come in small packages’, and although I’m biased because I’m his mother, many people that know him express similar thoughts and feelings. Two days ago a friend of mine posted this on my FB wall:

“While I am at it let me say that great things come in small packages! Your baby is meant for great things in this life and God knew who to send him through to ensure this. He’s a great little boy who brings light to everyone around him. So happy birthday to mighty man Tyler as well. Send a smile in his lunchbox for Ms ________ and _________!”

I’ve spent most of the day reflecting on the last seven years of his life and of course flashed back to the day of his birth and all of the events that surrounded his emergent arrival. There are three very distinctive moments that touched me today. The first was during lunch. I sat across from him in the school cafeteria with cupcakes in tow for him and his class. I got chills as I looked at him seated in between my parents who were also there to have lunch with him. There were the two people that gave me life and have loved me unconditionally from the moment they knew of my existence. These are the people that I strive to imitate when it comes to trying to be a good example for my child. And in between those two people was the person who I love more than I love myself.

The second was after school when I picked him up and we were walking hand in hand, he very nonchalantly said, ‘This is what I love and makes me happy”. I asked him what he was talking about and he looked at me and said, “This (raising our hands up), us walking, lunch and tonight (he knew we were going to the basketball game). I love this stuff, it makes me happy.” And of course my heart melted. As a parent, my hope has always been that my son is more impacted by moments and memories than materialistic things and in that moment, I felt like he got it. As I mentioned in my post about his birthday last year (https://86400andcounting.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/on-the-day-you-were-born/), the things that stick out in my mind weren’t the gifts but the overwhelming showering of love I received from family and friends. As parents, we try to make the most out of what we have in terms of giving to our children. Our children don’t know or aren’t able to understand the types of sacrifices we sometimes make for them. Honestly I don’t think children are fully able to understand until they become parents themselves and are doing the same for their children. But in making those sacrifices our only true desire is that our child knows how much we love them and how much we are willing to do for them. My wish isn’t that he know of the sacrifices, but that he values the gift of love that is expressed and given to him.

The third memory was right before I kissed and hugged him for the final time. I had read the book, On The Day You Were Born; we sung our song to each other, You Are My Sunshine and said our favorite saying, “I love you to infinity and beyond, and then some…and then a lotta some.” He looked at me and asked was I going to cry again and at that point I was already teary eyed. I told him maybe and that I had cried several times today because I was happy and thinking about his birth. He said, “I know you are happy, but you don’t need to cry, I’m already born and I’m here.” I told him that that was my very reason for crying. I cry because I’m happy and wonderfully blessed to have been given such a bright, funny, handsome, intelligent, strong and caring son. And he said, “and I’m a humanitarian” (a few months ago I told him what humanitarian meant because of a gesture he wanted to do for a classmate). I laughed and said yes you are and those are all the reasons why I cry, I cry because I’m so lucky to have you. He flashed a snaggle toothed smile, gave me another hug and kiss, rolled over and said good night.

Seven is said to be the number associated with luck. I definitely know that I am the luckiest parent in the world because I was dealt a winning hand when he came into my life.

My Birthday Trip To ‘Never Land’

Yesterday was the last day of March, which marks the end of my month long 35th Fabulous Birthday Celebration.  Yes, I celebrated my birthday for the entire month and of course loved every minute of it!  What a celebration it was! On the day of my birthday, some of my best friends came in town from DC and Atlanta to help me celebrate; and we did just that, beginning at 9:00 am at my parent’s home!  We spent the day hanging out and later that night, more friends joined in helping me celebrate at a birthday party one of my friends threw in my honor.  We had a weekend of nothing but good times.  Bigger than it being a milestone birthday was the fact that my entire day was spent with people and receiving birthday love from people that love and deeply care for me.  In the past year I have often reflected and shared with others about how wonderfully blessed I am to have the best family and friends anyone in the world could ever want.  And nothing could be closer to the truth than that!  The month long celebration also included celebrating with other fellow Pisces at a fundraiser out of town, a delicious and very hilarious brunch with girlfriends, cupcakes at work, a night of his Purple Majesty (Prince) and the release of the iPad 2(Yeah, that had to be mentioned.  I’m loving mine!!). Although March is gone, there is something that I’ve carried into April that wasn’t even around on the first of March.  What I thought was a gift that I was giving myself  turned out to be a completely different gift all on it’s own.

We all know the saying, “Never say never.” and understand its meaning.  Even though that is a very well known phrase and one that makes complete sense, some of us have things that we without a doubt feel are definite nevers; present company included.  Well in the midst of celebrating I decided to throw caution to the wind and contradict myself.  My gift to myself was the permission to do something I never thought I would and be ok with it. 

With my permission slip signed, I went on my field trip to ‘Never Land’.  Once I arrived onto park grounds, I went to the ticket window where instead of getting a basic general admission ticket, I was handed a VIP pass and told the park was all mine to enjoy.  Having VIP access to just about anything is pretty exciting, but this pass didn’t evoke those feelings of excitement because I had no idea of what to expect with that access.  As a matter of fact, the only thing I walked into the park expecting, was knowing I was going to be walking out of the park with an experience I previously said I would never have. 

So what was said experience like?  Let me put it like this, the ride I actually ended up on, was no where close to the one I thought I stood in line for.  Since I hadn’t been to this amusement park before I tried to keep my expectations low to avoid being disappointed.  Since this was something I said I would never do, eventhough I didn’t know exactly what it would be like, I did assume/expect it to be something that wasn’t toward the top of my list of enjoyable things.  Let alone did I think it would have been something I would possibly do again, which is a big extreme from something I said I would never do. 

Lots of people that visit amusement parks are happy to leave with a ridiculously oversized stuffed animal.  Me, I’m happy with the daily smile and inner glow that came from not only trying something new that was for myself, but also as the result of an outcome that was quite the opposite of my assumptions. 

It was a Facebook status on a friend’s page that made me realize just how special my birthdate is.  My birthdate, March 4th, is the only date in the year that gives us a command/directive….March forth (4th).  So with that, take at least one trip and March 4th into ‘Never Land’; who knows, it might be there that you find your ‘Happily Ever After’. 

*FYI-Mom, Dad and anyone else wondering, no my ‘experience’ wasn’t anything illegal.

What I’ve Learned In 35 Years

My friend, Mariesol, accepted my challenge to do something for herself everyday and then issued the challenge to her friends.  They now text each other daily to share what they’ve done for themselves each day.  Recently Mariesol celebrated her 35th birthday and shared her reflections on the first 35 years of her life.  Below is her list of thirty five things she has learned.  Mariesol, thank you for allowing me to share this. 

What have you learned in your life so far?

Mariesol’s Life Lessons:

 Not sure why this birthday brought some reflection into the last 35 years…maybe because it is 35 ! How did I get here so quickly!? 

So here is what I hold true at 35 years old: 

1. There is a Higher Power. When I listen, I am at peace. When I don’t listen…I pay for it in a BIG way !

2. My family and my parents hold the lessons and the truth that is me. 

3. It is a risk to love, a bigger risk to NOT love.

4. Every person enters my life for a reason. I can tell you something I have learned from all of my friends and family.

5. When romantic love ends or fades, it is respect and admiration that keep people together. Without respect…you may as well just leave.

6. It is ok for friendships to change and evolve. We grow apart, grow back together, then apart again…true friends are never throw away…we just allow the evolution to happen and are at peace with it. No love lost. Not ever.

7. Find what you love before choosing a career.

8. Be good to yourself. It gives other an example on how to treat you.

9. Put yourself 2nd on you list. Put God first.

10. Be able to say “No’ and not feel guilty

11. Be able to say “yes” and not feel obligated.

12. At work, always ask for more money…becasue they are gonna make you work for it anyway !

13. Drink more water than you think you should.

14. Take a nap as often as possible – or just rest. Take a break

15. Mistakes are gonna be made. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Just keep moving.

16. Don’t let others judge or label you. That is in their heads…not yours

17. Get your side hustle on…and when you’re ready, turn the side hustle into the full time hustle…if you choose to.

18. Choose peace

19. Learn to be still

20. Be honest with your short comings. Commit to working on you if you want a different outcome

21. Spend your free time with people that allow you to be free. Free to be who you are.

22. Surround yourself with people that have good energy. When the energy is off…get away FAST !

23. Don’t allow someone else’s bad energy to mess yours up

24. It is better to allow another person to be themselves. If you want everyone to agree with you, choose to be alone.

25. Eat food that is good. Don’t over do it but indulge every once in awhile

26. Blast your favorite music on the way to work, dance in the car, in the parking garage…do whatever you need to to start the day off happy.

27. Enjoy outdoors. Nature has a way of getting you closer to God. Be amazed by the ocean, the trees, the rain, the thunder etc

28. The painful parts of life hold a lesson and truth that is revealed to you when you are ready to accept it. That truth is usually about you, not another person.

29. Play and spend more time with your children and family. The work, the laundry, the cleaning up can wait.

30. Choose to forgive. Choose it everyday. Forgive yourself for bad choices. Accept the consequences. Keep it moving…it is just a blip in the movie of your life.

31. If you choose wrong, choose again.

32. Save as much money as you can.

33. Spoil yourself when you can

34. If a person wants to leave you…let them. 

35. Find joy in each day. 

My life is sweet and blessed. I am happy. I choose it. Everyday is not always perfect but still…I am blessed. I thank God for it all, for every person, every experience.