Friday, September 17, 2010

Closure and the gift of time

Tonight I had the opportunity to find closure on one part of my life that has been a roller coaster over the past six years or so. From the beginning, I tried to be the one on the roller coaster, as well as the attendant controlling the roller coaster! And, time and time again, it proved to not work that way. I was on the roller coaster, yes, but could not control it no matter how hard I tried, or even prayed, for it to be the way I wanted.

Finally, after learning the hard way (sadly over and over many times), I gave up trying to control and just sat back and tried to enjoy where the ride went over the past 18 months. Although it didn't go the way I planned and prayed endlessly for, I feel at peace. I learned many things along the way, and am glad it has ended so that I can now move on to a different ride and hopefully this time just sit and enjoy and not try to control it as well.

I am also grateful for the gift of time. I wouldn't have been able to feel this way a year ago, or maybe even a month or week ago about getting off the roller coaster. I probably would have demanded another ride! Some lessons are harder learned than others, especially when I am stubborn, but are needed for growth. This one was hard, very hard. Closure hurts a little when I realize my hopes, dreams, and plans were not fulfilled in this area (yet), but my faith remains strong in that there will be another ride, an even better and happier one as well! Until then, who wants to join me on the happy, peaceful and calm merry-go-round? :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The start of my new job :)

I recently started my new job... two days after I got back from Alaska (that post is still to come!)! I thought that was great timing and was grateful to have secured a new job before leaving for two weeks.

It has been quite an adventure, but it's been fun! I met the family for my first day of work in Philadelphia because the parents needed to be in the city that day for their work. Despite having grown up 30 minutes from the city, I do not know my way around it at all! We did go in as kids, but I was never driving or paying attention, and since then I really haven't been in the city very much... mostly because I don't really think it lives up to it name "The City of Brotherly Love"

But, because of taxi's we had fun going to a bookstore, then heading to the children's museum, and then back for a late lunch in downtown Philly (where we went to four different places for four different preferences of food... but fortunately they were all on the same block!) The children's museum was neat and I highly recommend it for anyone visiting the city with kids!

We met up with their dad in the late afternoon and headed back to DC on Amtrak. As a child, I was always on Amtrak heading between PA and RI to see my parents, but have not been on it since I was a teenager. Riding again brought back many happy memories of riding with my brothers and I always love watching the world pass by and we travel up and down the coast.

I spent the next two days with the kids in DC, but then on the 3rd day we left for two weeks on Nantucket Island! (I did a lot of traveling in August!) I had been to Nantucket with my uncle and his family when I was a teenager, but had not been back since. When I lived in Boston, we always went to the Cape, and when we visited my dad in RI we always got our fill of the beach, so there was never a strong desire to go to Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard.

I flew from DC to Nantucket and I would have to say that's the best way to go!!! (rather than driving ten hours and then taking a 2 hour ferry!) The island was just beautiful from the moment I first saw it on our decent and my appreciation and awe for that beauty never left. Someone described it as "magical" when I was there and I think that sums it up much better than I could put into words.

The island has done a great job of maintaining its unique culture and design. I love that fact that you wouldn't find a
McDonalds, WalMart or CVS. Businesses are locally owned and the design of the buildings are similar. Those who live and work on the island take pride providing quality service and merchandise. Within 24 hours I had changed from being a person who's car was my home because I was in it so much, to being a person who walked, ran or biked EVERYWHERE I needed to go... literally. Everyone in the family had bikes. With the amount of people/traffic on the island's limited roads, biking/walking is the best way to travel because their bike paths are extensive and well taken care of. It's also a basically flat island, making this new form of travel easy and possible.

The first time I got on my bike, everything looked OK to me. But, man, by the time I got to my destination a mile away I was huffing and puffing and my legs were so sore! I thought I was just really out of shape. It looked like everyone on the island was in better shape than I was! My return trip home was just as bad and I initially thought I wasn't cut out for this island!! But, the next morning I had the chance to borrow another bike and got to my
destaintion like it was a breeze! This got me thinking there might be something wrong with my bike and not something wrong with me!

So, the next chance I got I stopped by the local bike shop and asked them about it. They said my bike looked OK but maybe could use a little air. Well, I can't even describe my joy when I got back on that bike and biked around like I was walking on air. IT WAS SO MUCH EASIER! Lesson quickly learned (the hard way) what a little air can do for your tires!

One of my favorite things about the island was the yacht club to which they belonged. The club had two locations. One had the pools, tennis courts and snack bar. The other location was just on the edge of town with the main clubhouse, "
sportsbarn" (with a fitness center and spa) and sailing program. Most of the time I was with the kids during the day was spent at the pool/tennis courts, but we did spend a lot of time just biking, playing in the yard and playing cards (I taught them UNO and they LOVE it!). On my days off, I loved spending time in town and at the main clubhouse/sportsbarn reading, relaxing, writing, people watching, or exploring. I loved coming to the club for lunch on my days off and sitting here enjoying the view.

So relaxing. So beautiful!

The weather was just perfect for all but 3 days of our trip and it didn't get humid till the end.

Internet service was a luxury to be had when the winds were flowing in the right direction! Ha! I don't know what makes
wi-fi work and what doesn't, but some days we got a connection and some days we didn't. No one could explain why, but people would try all sorts of tricks to get some connection in town. There were times when I missed it, but then just threw up my hands because it was out of my control and decided to make the best of it! This allowed for more game-playing time, reading, talking, and napping!

I did have the opportunity to go to church on the island. The island is 14 miles in length, but fortunately for me, church was held in
someone's home literally a half a mile from our house, so I just hopped on my bike and went!

Church was a unique but wonderful experience. It was me, the local dentist and one family which consisted of two teenage boys, a mother and a father. It was not an official meeting or location, but getting to the main island for church every Sunday is impractical so they have their own sacrament meeting and Sunday School together! It was abbreviated church, but the Spirit was there and I felt so fortunate to be able to be a part of the worship service. It was so interesting to realize that for these boys there was no weekly mutual or other youth activities. They attended seminary by calling in every weekday morning to a class on the mainland. There was no youth program for them. I thought about how much I relied on my youth program for my friends, my social life, and for my testimony at that time. I also thought of how much I looked up to my leaders. I loved going to mutual to see my friends. Then there was Thursday night basketball practice year-round and Saturday games during the season. My youth group experience got me through my teenage years. I depended on it much more than I realized at that time. As I thought about this in Nantucket, my admiration for these valiant boys grew. One of them shared with me his
EFY experience and how he replied on that strength, and what he felt there surrounded by all those youth, to help him through the year! Awesome!

The house the family owns in Nantucket is in a very cute neighborhood with many other children. Some of the houses are rented with guests changing weekly while others are permanent summer or year round owners. Normally, we would have stayed both weeks in this house, but because they had some family and friends coming into the area, we moved to a different rented house for a week so their friends and family could stay in the house they owned. This house was incredible!
A picture of the main house with four floors and then a widow's walk on top that you could get access through my room. The pictures below are taken from the widow's walk.
Our entrance to the property. We are four blocks from the beach!
The pool and some of the backyard area.
The other side had a kids
The guest house!

It was a busy two weeks with their party/birthday weekend celebrations, and just the many things the kids wanted to do! I loved the mornings where I got to get out early fr a run and explore the area. I didn't go on many of the bike trails, but maybe someday I'll be back and explore more. I loved just looking at the ocean and the boats, reading and relaxing (when I had time off!) and watching the sun set. There is something about nature, warm air, and the water/ocean that brings peace and serenity!

Now--- it's back to real life and off to the races!

Monday, September 6, 2010

A tribute to my “little buddy”

A little late in coming... but wanted to take time to write it!
I love each of these kids A LOT.
Look at that SMILE!!

But, Jeremiah has a special place in my heart because I have known him since he was born, and we spent the most time together over these past five years. This past year he officially became “my little buddy” as we explored and paled around DC together. He was such a fun shopping companion too!

On my drive from NYC to Philly after dropping off the kids, I thought a lot about my little buddy and all the many things about him that would make me smile each and every day! I’ve included a brief rundown, but really, just his smile would light up anyone’s life!

He’s always running… always. In the house or on the sidewalk. Sometimes running circles around you if you’re going to slow.

He’s excited about ABSOLUTELY everything. I was reminded of this on our drive to NYC. Every truck he saw on the highway, every new sign, every change in landscape, he would point out something cool about it and think it was the neatest thing he’s ever seen! He would get me so excited about the littlest details I would usually just take advantage of and dismiss even thinking about how “cool” it is! “SO COOL” with an extended drawn out emphasis on the “SO”.

Jeremiah awoke with a smile on his face and enthusiasm for a fabulous day 98% of the time! It was a pleasure to get him out of bed in the morning… especially if I was tired or groggy, looking at him would help me change my attitude!

Being Silly

How he’s “SO HUNGRY” even after just eating a meal! Of course, he’s only “SO HUNGRY” if it entails cookies, desserts, a snack food or something else that appeals to him. Or, even if someone is having something and he’s not, he’s always SO HUNGRY at that moment and the only thing that will satisfy him is to have some of what they’re eating

The special bond my mother and him share for their LOVE of OREOS. Jeremiah would find all the hidden ones. He was so good at it and sneaky too! (Not a good thing… but looking back on it, it makes me smile.

He LOVES to be tickled and to be read stories. We had a very fun nightly ritual when I would put him to bed of reading two stories (usually about a train or fast cars) and then I would ATTACK him with tickles as he got under his covers. Of course, this did NOT help his ability to quickly fall asleep, but it was too precious a time for me to give up! And, he wouldn’t go to sleep without me doing it!

How much he loves to make desserts with me! I am not a good or fancy cook – AT ALL. But, one thing I LOVE is to make dessert!! And, Jeremiah adopted this passion of mine as well. Since he got out of preschool at noon, we would often make some kind of dessert together for his family after dinner or for when his brother and sister got home from school. I loved going online and trying to replicate those cute Betty Crocker fun desserts for kids… etc, but ours never turned out like the picture. It had a lot of love inside though!

My TARGET BUDDY! Jeremiah and I made almost weekly Friday afternoon visits to Target. He was a GREAT shopping companion because he didn’t try to get me to buy everything he saw and liked. In his own subtle way he would try and talk to me about how neat something was or when he remembered having such and such… hinting that we should get it, but he always took “no” or “not now” and move on. And, because he was always such a fun companion at Target and very patient on LONG Target runs, I would always get him a Blue Slushy. He made shopping so much more fun for me because it was someone to talk to and he is a fun conversationalist!! Not the best with fashion advice though

Jeremiah is the youngest, so he talks loud in order to be heard… and he LOVES to talk! So, the noise level in the house is louder than a typical family! He also tries so hard to keep up with his brother and sister. He wants to run as fast as them, but his little legs have to work twice as hard! He wants to do homework just like them and convinced his preschool teachers to give him some every night! He also wants to stay up as late as them and I LOVE how when I would let him, he would TRY so HARD sometimes, but it was adorable watching him slowly give into his tiredness and completely fall asleep. THEN, he would deny it and fight the truth of it to no end the following morning!

Even though this irked me at times, I had to mention his absolute hatred of having to play by himself. The worst times were when a sibling had a friend over and they wanted some alone time to play (which I think is totally fine but I know some parents think everyone should play together (siblings included). My rule was that they could have some time alone with their friend but they would also have to have some playtime with another sibling if home. Jeremiah would get so irritated by this in having to play by himself, but I am also a believer in that every child needs their alone playtime to use their imagination or create their own play rather than having someone or something tell them what to do! Oh – he would wander around ad complain he had “nothing” to do… it was so cute to watch. I would come up with like ten different ideas and he would just get more frustrated with me!

Jeremiah and I spent a significant amount of time in the car together… running errands or taking people here there and everywhere after school. It was not unusual for me to catch him singing quietly along with the radio. So adorable to listen to and he knew the words better than I!

Jeremiah LOVES to swim. He was a fish this summer, whereas last summer he HATED to put his head or mouth anywhere near the water. He would scream bloody murder!! And, showering was torturous as well. But, somewhere this year that all changed and I could not get him OUT of the pool!

Jeremiah has a GREAT memory! When I first arrived in DC he had been there for a few months. He was only three then, but he immediately told me when I was going the wrong way or which way I needed to turn! His memory was also very impressive when you promised to get him something or do something for him that he really wanted. He would remind you over and over to ENSURE you didn’t forget!!
So cute!!!
Just reach out for a BIG BEAR HUG!!

He is such a special little boy. He’s adorable and has the cutest eyelashes that will make girls swoon… but more than anything they will love his fun personality and zest for life!!! Each of these children has touched my heart and left imprints never to be filled... , but this child has left me with a renewed desire to have ZEST for LIFE and LOVE IT!!!