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.

 

 

 

11/8: Thankful for sibling love, foolishness and friendship!

11/8: Thankful for the relationship I have with my brother. Brothers and sisters have a special bond and ours is one that can’t be explained, rationalized or understood by the outside world.  I have yet to comprehend the total dynamic myself, and I don’t think I ever will. #WeAreCeephus&Reese 😉

The next day my brother posted the following on my FB wall :-D:

Sis….my relationship with you is one of the most important I’ve ever had.  I love the fact that we can have fun together no matter where we are.  I love you and everything about you.

11/1: Parental Thanks

Thankful for parents that continue to parent. I will always be L & R’s daughter and am blessed to be born from their love. Trying to raise a child and helping them to develop their own personality while providing structure, guidance and discipline can be challenging to put it lightly. But they have and continue to give me enough freedom to chart my own course while remaining close enough to give me needed flight advice from the control tower when there may be turbulence on the horizon. #My mama’s on my right side, daddy’s on my left….I’M SO BLESSED!!!!

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.

‘Twas The Night Before 1st Grade

‘Twas the night before first grade and all through the house,

The school boy was sleeping and quieter than a mouse.

Mommy was exhausted from a long day’s work,

Still annoyed by the rude students at tonight’s presentation that were being jerks.

The bookbag is packed with most of the requested supplies,

By the door awaiting for the morning and its owner to rise.

Ok, if I wasn’t so tired from a long day of work, going to 4 stores in an unsuccessful attempt to find a specific notebook, an event for work this evening, our nightly bedtime ritual, labeling supplies and packing the backpack, pre-loading the lunch box (which included writing my note to him that goes in the lunch box) and laying out the uniform, I would have written the entire post in the above format.  But my brain just won’t allow me to do that right now.

Superceding my exhaustion is my disbelief that summer vacation is over and it is the Eve of The First Day of School!!  I do vividly remember this night last year as I was very emotional about his first day of kindergarten (See: Milestones and Memories- http://tinyurl.com/3m3am43).  I am just as excited and emotional about this milestone in his life.  The journey in watching him grow and continue to develop his very unique and special personality continues to be an indescribable joy!  I am looking forward to hearing all about his big day tomorrow and really excited about his surprise tomorrow evening! 

If you read the post mentioned above and are wondering how I did when it came to singing our song….of course I cried. :’I

“I love you to infinity and beyond…

                                                      and then some……..

                                                                and then a lotta some”

                                                                                    ~Mommy & Son

On The Day You Were Born

‎6 years ago thanks to God’s blessing, Tyrone’s love and an amazing team of doctors and nurses, my son was born!   As he and I say to each other at night: “I love you to infinity and beyond, and then some…and then a lotta some!!!”  And nothing could be further from the truth, that is just how much I love him!!

Today has been a day filled with fun, excitement, energy, emotions and of course reflections.  My parents made my brother and I feel so special on our birthdays that we could have easily believed our birthdays were international holidays; and that is no different than how I want my son to feel on his special day.  Of course children love gifts, honestly adults love them too.  But when I think back about my birthdays, I can’t remember every gift I was given, but I can remember my mother coming to school and setting up  class parties for my special day, or my dad leading the ‘Going on a Bear Hunt’ story for one of my parties, or the only surprise party I’ve had in my life when I turned 13.  I remember my parents making me wait a little while in the car before getting out for school, because they called the radio station to give me a birthday shout out.  Things like that are what I remember and that is what I want for my son as well.  I want him to remember the love of family and friends that surrounded him for his special days, birthdays as well as other major individual accomplishments.

As today passed, there were moments when I remembered what was going on at that time 6 years ago.  Some of those were moments of indescribable excitement and some were of the worst fears a mother waiting to give birth could hear.  I remember the first time I laid eyes on his face, the brutally agonizing length of time before I could see him after recovery, the first time I touched him, which was simultaneous with the first time I cried after he was born.  I remember the first time I held him, my first time trying to feed, and I could go on and on. 

Well I flash forward today to the wonderfully intelligent, well mannered, hilarious, kind, outgoing, sports loving, boy that he is today and I can’t help but to become overwhelmed with emotions.  His smile melts my heart, his laughter is music to my ears and his hugs and kisses fill my soul with an undescribable warmth.  Simply put I LOVE THAT BOY!!!!

Shortly after he was born, I found a book that I knew I had to buy based on the title alone, ‘On The Day You Were Born’.  I’ve read that book to him a few times in between the obvious days, his birthday and Mother’s Day.  Words can’t accurately depict the emotions that I felt and would imagine other parents feel on that special day, but this book comes pretty damn close.  Tonight I read the book to him, he finished it by reading the last page (which of course made me burst into full tears) and then we followed that with our night time lullaby and expressions of love. 

Below are the last three pages of the book, On The Day You Were Born (with some relative edits to make it fit the day he was born),  followed by the expression of love we share to each other:

“On the day you were born

the Earth turned, the Moon pulled,

the Sun flared, and, then with a pull (push),

you were pulled out of the dark quiet

where suddenly you could hear….

a circle of people saying

with voices familiar and clear.

“Welcome to the spinning world,” the people sang, as they washed your new, tiny hands.

“Welcome to the green Earth,” the people sang, as they wrapped your wet, slippery body.

And as they held you close they whispered into your open, curving ear,

“We are so glad you’ve come!”

My son, because of you, I continue to be amazed, inspired, uplifted, motivated and thankful for all of the things that you’ve brought into your parent’s lives.  You are the blessing that we wanted but never could have imagined that it would have been as great as the one we received.

I am honored to have the title Mommy and don’t take for granted any of the rights, priviledges and most importantly responsibilities that come along with such an esteemed role.  My hope is that the tsunami of love my parents have and continue to give to me, I can at least give to you, if not enough for a flood so that you will feel washed in love for my time on this Earth. 

MOMMY LOVES YOU!!

As our lullaby and words of expression go,

You are my son-shine, my only son-shine so please don’t take Mommy’s son-shine away.

“I love you to infinity and beyond, and then some…..and then a lotta some.” ~Mommy and Son

 

 

Honoring Your Value Even In The Valley Of Darkness

“Every time you suppress some part of yourself or allow others to play you small, you are in essence ignoring the owner’s manual your Creator gave you and destroying your design.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

It has been a little over six months since my last post and I’m so embarrassed considering the premise behind me starting this blog….making time to do at least two things a day for one’s self.  I have failed miserably at my own challenge.  I will admit that I have thought many times since September about writing but quite honestly the only reason why I haven’t written is because I simply didn’t make the time.  In the past week or so my need to write has become one that I couldn’t ignore and will share about in my next post.  But this post stems from what started out as a simple one sentence email.  The simplicity with which that sentence was structured was a language that I personally connected with, one that I have spoken many times before.  It’s what wasn’t said in those 25 words that I understood.  Prior to the email the sender and I would have been classified more as ‘acquaintances’ because we were connected by a common surface thread, with little personal intimacy.  If you were to ask me about them I would have had nothing but favorable things to say, based on our interactions and I’m sure they would have done the same for me (or at least I would hope so :-D). 

In my reply, I responded to what wasn’t being said with my personal truth.  The details in the series of emails that followed I will not share.  However, one similarity we share is in not adequately valuing our worth.  Quite frankly, there were times when we undersold, mis-marketed, degraded, and underappreciated our own selves.  It wasn’t a planned process, more like a potentially fatal side effect of life that many people experience.  Constantly doing for others (children, spouse, family, friends, etc.), trying to satisfy people’s perception of who we are, and trying to only allow people to see the animated G rated version of what was at times a R rated film.  It took being scared of ourselves because of some thought, action or idea, to realize how deep in the valley of darkness we were. 

But what does not appreciating your value look like?  I’m a very visual person and am able to better understand if I can paint a picture, so as my pastor would say, “walk with me for a little while”…..

Imagine you are teleported directly to the inside of a beautiful home.  The interior is well laid out with just the right amount of space you need.  It is decorated in a style that perfectly suits you and more importantly, it is built on a solid foundation.  Of course there are repairs or changes that need to be made because no house is without flaws, but this house is perfect just for you.  So you decide to see what it looks like on the outside and proceed to walk out into the front yard.  From the street, this property has great curb appeal because of its well manicured lawn, flowers and shrubs that nicely accentuate the yard and the brick exterior of the house is architecturally stunning and very inviting.  As you make your way to the backyard you approach a high, closed wooden fence.  On the other side of this fence, the view in the back isn’t as appealing as the inside and front of the property.  There is a swimming pool that only has about a foot of water that has been polluted by dirt, leaves, fallen branches and old sports balls that were never recovered.  The back of the house is covered in siding with patches of mold and scum.  There is an old car that works when it wants to, even after numerous attempts to make repairs.  On the faded, wooden deck sits patio furniture that is discolored from years sitting in the sun and cushions flattened from trying to provide comfort while people sat.  Towards the back of the yard is a rusty old swing set that looks more like the Tower of Pisa.  And in the far left corner sits a tool shed that is full of stuff that hasn’t been opened in years. 

From the front, this property appears to be worth way more than the appraisal value.  Those items in the back significantly bring down the value of the property.  But, to bring up the property value, the solution seems simple; remove the junk, clean the pool, fix the deck and buy new furniture.  But if you are as emotionally depleted as the pool is drained of water, taking on the much needed task to get things back in order seems like an impossible one to achieve.  So you let things continue to accumulate, adding no value or further bringing down the value. 

The image of this property is what our lives looked like if captured in a picture.  The car was something that at one time was very reliable, got us where we needed to go, had all of the bells and whistles we wanted and kept us safe during our travels.  But after unsuccessful attempts to have it fixed, what is the purpose of keeping it?  Is the physical structure what we’re really holding onto, or is it the memories of what once was and holding out hope that what once was, will again someday be?  If the furniture cushions aren’t providing the support you need, why keep them?  Why keep a non-functioning swing set around?  If it isn’t stable or safe, what purpose does it serve for the children?  The mostly empty pool is an emotional reflection of what is left when you are constantly serving as a filter.  In not wanting the dirty to seep through and be seen by others, you are holding onto all of the grime with minimal amounts of water not being filtered through.  And what about the tool shed that has been closed so long that you don’t even remember what’s inside?  What’s the worst thing that could happen if you took a look inside?  You might find something that once use to be a source of great joy, a project that you started to pass down to your children when they got older or the materials needed to clean and fill the pool with water that will soothe your burning skin on those blistering summer days.  Or you might find the shed is full of worthless junk occupying space that could and should be filled with purposeful things that increase your value.

For some people, it’s not what is behind the fence that is bringing down their value.  Sometimes it’s your neighbor(s).  Neighbors aren’t as easy to manage as guests that you allow/invite into your space.  With guests, you can ask them to leave or just not invite them over again.  Since your neighbor is a fixed part of your neighborhood, you can’t always avoid them, but you can limit your interactions to those random encounters or when absolutely necessary.  Everyone isn’t meant to be in your life forever, and that is ok.  During the course of a friendship/relationship, needs and wants may change.  There are times when an ‘inventory’ needs to occur so that you can identify and properly classify those top shelf people in your life down to the daily house specials. 

People pay millions of dollars for materialistic objects that sometimes sit behind glass or on a wall and literally do nothing.  It’s sad that some of us don’t recognize or forget the priceless value for the unique, one of a kind, original that is us.

“If you really put a small value upon yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price.” ~ Unknown

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