All hope is not lost

The other day I took some friends’ kids out for a photo shoot as a surprise gift for their Mom.  Mind you, these kids are on their Thanksgiving break and here I am, pulling them away from their basketball court, devices (though I caved and let those come along for the ride) and their couch.  The fact that they not only complied, but had a genuinely good attitude about my request is a testament to the way they are being raised.  In a typical teenager fashion, after the first stop, one of them asked what was next and how long it’ll take to get there.  The question popped up again after our last stop.  I smiled and said, “Actually…we’re headed home” which resulted in a “oh we are….okay, cool.”  Though he acted as if we had been driving for hours, the same teen spoke up to say “oh, I know where we are….we should be home in like 10 minutes.”  As we looked at the jam-packed sea of cars in front of us, his older brother and I laughed saying it might be longer than that.  

Multiple times during the car ride home, the kids thanked me for doing this for their Mom and like their genuine attitude at the beginning, they really meant these words.  It would be easy to say that was planned, their mother told them to say that….but I didn’t care—I’m a sucker for good manners and hearing nice things.  Truth be told, their parents have raised them to be respectful, use their manners and be genuinely nice.  

Once I returned the kids safety to their house, their Mom and I sat down to visit.  She played along with my surprise by not asking any questions and even saying, “I don’t know…she won’t tell me” when her husband called during our visit.  When she walked me to my car, I told her how good the kids were, how fun it was to see them get along and that she’s doing a good job.  She thanked me before we hugged good-bye and I went on my way.

Even though I don’t have any kids of my own…just a niece and nephews I adore, I know this for sure: Parenting is not easy.  It is not for the faint of heart.  I see that with my friends who are parents (such as the friend I mentioned earlier), my sister who is a mom of 5, my mom, etc….Parenting requires being the adult and setting the tone.  Parenting requires being firm, not one’s friend.  Children will get mad at you, say they hate you, threaten to run away, etc.  They will hopefully realize later on that you were only being tough for their own good.  Mind you, they may not say “thank you” outright…but in their own way, they will say it.

As we are a day from Thanksgiving, I want to express how grateful I am to my parents who always pushed me to do the right thing….who had high expectations for me and my sisters and who made the tough decisions.  I like to think they paid off.  

Enjoy the family time, the little moments, and the friends who feel like family, and find time to laugh….a lot!  Happy Thanksgiving and remember, calories don’t count on holidays….

thanksgiving-quotes-1-2

A Day Full of “Little Things”

After finishing some errands, I was pulling into a parking space outside my apartment.  I heard a noise and wasn’t sure where it was coming from or what it was exactly.  I turned off my radio and as I got out of my car, I turned my head toward the direction of the sound.  There was a guy in the parking lot playing Taps on a set of bagpipes.  I leaned against my car and just listened.  I couldn’t help but smile as I watched him turn in a circle while playing.  Many thoughts ran through my head such as “What prompted this?  Does he do this often? What does the song mean to him?”  As I started toward my door, I kept turning back toward the music.  I leaned against the building and continued to listen before heading inside.  A few minutes later, I sat outside to hear him finish.  With the temps having gone down and a slight breeze, it was a perfect night to be outside.  Once he was done, I put in the ear buds of my iPod and went for a walk around my complex.  I figured some fresh air and exercise was a great way to cap off the day.  I replayed the events of today in my head as various songs played in the background.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to appreciate the little things of life.  Today, these included the following:

  • Enjoying a day out of the office while taking part in professional development and meeting some people at another campus of our university.
  • Letting the hardest decision of the day be which restaurant we should try for our girls lunch
  • Taking a detour on the way home by driving through a prestigious neighborhood, frequently joking and repeating the phrase “Hmm, that sales price is just a hair off my budget…”
  • Smiling after your best friend says “Oh yea, that’s the one….I approve” after showing her the house you want to buy
  • Staying hopeful for love and relationships….especially when  you’re fighting that twinge of envy
  • Appreciating the support system of friends who help encourage and remind you to be patient as good things come to those who wait

I stumbled across this quote and thought it was a fitting way to end…..

May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks
May your heart be as light as a song
May each day bring you bright
Happy hours that stay with you allyear-long.
~Irish Blessing

Crossroads

It’s amazing how many times we come to a crossroads in life…a point where we are faced with options.  We can continue on one path-perhaps one of poor and unhealthy choices…or one full of hope and prosperous opportunities.  This morning, I came to one of these crossroads.  I’m not proud of being here but am hopeful in that I didn’t go spiraling down the wrong path.  I stopped before getting too far and chose to reassess.  Life is about choices.  Every choice we make has an impact.  In most cases, we have the ability to control the size and strength of the impact.  I don’t want to waste time being mad or disappointed.  Instead, I plan to stay focused and determined. 

I stumbled upon a quote this morning that I felt was appropriate to include: “Life is like a coin.  You can spend it any way you wish, but you only spend it once.”
  ~Lillian Dickson

Today’s a new day…and I intend to make it a good one.