So proud of this girl! She was the applicant chosen to work with children at risk. You said this is what you wanted and by gosh your tenacity got you there.
It was hot today — 90 degrees, the sun high and strong in the sky. To escape the heat of the afternoon, my husband and I took our kids to a small water park. This one has a green frog with big pink eyes and water squirting from its mouth, a red and white mushroom with a watery canopy, and a huge bucket, poised and ready to dump gallons of water on the small faces, filled with pure delight, hovering underneath in expectation.
My baby girl, my second-born, arrived almost a year ago, and so, embarrassed about the squishy stomach I now have (and a body a server at a restaurant referred to as “big-boned” yesterday), I put on a skirt and tank top. That server’s words — the words of another mother, no less — rang in my mind as I stood choosing what to wear this afternoon. I’m a person trying not to be at war with her body, and I’ve been doing well, but her words were like a match, lighting a new fire of self-doubt — and I felt consumed by it.
But I saw you there today at the water park. I saw you there, in your navy blue and turquoise bathing suit, with your small boys, running and playing with them. I saw you stand under that giant bucket of water with them. I saw you play in the fountains of water, tossing your head in laughter. I saw you, not caring at all about what anyone thought. And I admired you and felt ashamed and stupid for being in my skirt and tank top, sitting on the sidelines, while my husband played with our kids. My husband had even come to tell me that I should hear my small daughter squealing as she played in the water.
And so I ran into the water sprinklers. I played with my kids. I soaked my skirt and laughed at how silly I was for not wearing my bathing suit — and I even said this to you. You smiled and said, “It’s OK. I understand.” And we shared a knowing look. The look women share when we really understand one another. And I felt at peace, for the moment, with my body. I wished, then and there, that I could put on my bikini and run with abandon alongside you in yours.
I have a daughter. I teach English at an all-girls’ school. And I want these girls of mine — daughter and students alike — to know that their bodies are the homes of their souls and the homes of their minds. For each, her body is simply a vessel for the woman she is. And my cellulite, my stretch marks — the signs that I’m a mother of two — are just outer marks on a body and a mind that have done some hard work.
I vowed to myself, there in that kitschy water park, that I won’t ever sit on the sidelines again. I won’t deny a pool date because I don’t want to wear my bathing suit. I won’t skip the ice cream with my son when he begs me to eat one with him. I won’t enter calories on my phone. I will wear my bathing suit. And I will do it and remember you, the mom at the water park today — and the role model I must be for all my girls.
As I vowed this to myself, holding a tired baby while my husband and son stood under that bucket of water one more time, I saw a small, purple butterfly. I pointed her out to my daughter, and we watched her flutter through the concrete jungle of the water park. Butterflies are a symbol of a change of consciousness and a new beginning. How fitting on a day when I vow to wear my bathing suit with pride. And how fitting that my daughter’s bathing suit has butterflies on it, too.
We need to remember to stay healthy but love ourselves and teach our children to love themselves.
At Southend Food Truck Festival with my best older daughter. Food Freak is Darian, Josh, and Brandon’s food truck featuring stuffed burgers. They made me The Godfather which featured a burger stuffed with pepperoni salami mozzarella cheese and garlic basil aioli. It was naughty but awesome!
Grad cap designed and ready to go! Mattie and mom getting creative together. I will miss visiting her at East Carolina University.
Buddy had his surgery to remove his tumors. He’s higher than a kite But everything looks good. We will know in 10 days if he needs chemo. You Rock Buddy and we love you!
I know none of you (other than Kevin & Kristy) know Bill let alone his family but I worked with him at Carrier and now he has come to Comfort Systems. He is one of those guys that is truly salt of the earth. He mentors people like our brother when he joined Carrier and myself when I moved into National Accounts. He shared his knowledge without judgment or arrogance. He was with Carrier for over 30 years and like I said after he retired he joined me as a sales person at Comfort. He is a Giants fan and a Yankees fan (only downside he is a UConn fan (that’s where he went to school) not fond of SU J ).
Last week his daughter fell critically ill with a virus that is “eating” at her heart. She is only a year or so older than Darian. I asked to have this posted because she needs all the prayers we can muster. I know we are praying for Stephen but our family is amazing and I know we have the capacity for more and she needs it. I think if we all pray miracles can happen.
Bill wrote me this to give me an update so I share with you.
Thank you so much for your prayers for Elissa. This week has been an extreme challenge for her, and the spiritual support we have received from family and friends, and friends of friends all over the world, has been inspiring and has helped to get her to where we are today. She experienced several miracles this week, and we know they were from the hand of God, delivered through the prayers said for her, and the angels sent to watch over her.
She is about to undergo open chest, open heart surgery to remove a large clot in her heart and have 2 ventricular assist devices installed that will allow her own heart to pump blood through her circulatory system. For people who had myocarditis, this is a bridge to recovery, as it allows the heart to mend without taxing itself. If it does not mend to the original strength, then a heart transplant will be required.
She will need your continued prayer to help her get through this operation and allow her to lead a long happy healthy life.
Kris, thanks for being in Elissa’s corner this week. I am eternally grateful for your spiritual support of my daughter.
Attached are some pictures so you can visualize Elissa.
Elissa is in stable condition (a relative term) in cardiac icu recovery. She barely has a heartbeat, and the ventricular pumps keep the blood flowing in her circulatory system. Long boring days are what we want now.
It’s too early to determine if her heart will mend or if she will require a heart transplant. She is alive, a tough fighter and if I were the oddsmaker, the house money is on her walking out of the hospital intact. We are praying for a full recovery, and I already know you are joining us in those prayers.
Up to this point we haven’t really been focusing on ourselves. We eat, sleep, pray, support one another when needed and spend time with Elissa. Now that she is recovering, my tunnel vision has opened up a bit.
Donate to the Human Race,
I am volunteering at the Mental Health Association in Greensboro and trying to raise money for them in the Human Race this year! I have to do it as part of my psychology class. I cannot find a place to put a donation bowl, so I am trying to raise money online. I was wondering if you could forward this email to the family and anyone else you may know, and see if we can get some people to donate online! Thank you! I love you! Darian
Follow This Link to visit my personal web page and help me in my efforts to support The Volunteer Center
Deebird asked if I would forward this on – her goal was only $25.00 so a major donation is not required with a family like ours (a dollar is fine it all adds up) If you don’t want to donate online you can contact me and I would be glad to take your donation pool it and send to her (I will see her at easter). I also attached a donation form (in the email) if that is easier and her new address is:
1421 Grantland Place
Greensboro NC 27410
Its really just support for her and the organization and her class. I hope you will help but don’t feel obligated. She will appreciate any help you can give.
Thanks again and love to all
Here is Dee and Matts new place – the pictures don’t come close to how cute the place is. I got the pleasure of seeing it yesterday with my girl (then had dinner with she and matt). There is no fireplace unfortunately but for a foreclosed place everything is new (carpets, appliances etc) Its move in ready and totally neutral. The pictures make the appliances look like they don’t match but they do they are ivory. It is the perfect starter home for them. As Dee and Matt told me though the mirrored wall has to go!!!
They are going to need to get some things so if you find any deals on washer dryers (I may give them mine and I may buy a new set (at least to start with), refrigerator, and a flat screen TV for living room. If you see any deals at stores etc let me know as I am traveling a lot in next few weeks. Other than that they are in pretty good shape. They will also need things like dishes and glasses (Dollar store or target!!!)
Please do not think I am suggesting you get them anything – Im not I just could use the help of some of the best bargain shoppers around to help me look for deals while I am traveling.
They are both ecstatic and will be moving in March. (I will have my garage back!!) but the battle for buddy has begun hehe! She and matt are also on a health kick and dee is doing weight watchers and has lost some weight and toned up. She said quitting smoking is next. She is full fledge in school. (She has a paper to write about government and asked me to help her – THAT ought to be good!)
Sorry to go on I am just so proud of both of them and Mattie too because Mattie has been Dee’s support and is excited she has a place to stay now!
They are the loves of my life. I am glad you all got to meet Matt (except Karen but we will take care of that) because I think he may be a keeper – time will tell.
Don’t freak out at the subject heading !! I know we just got done with xmas 2011. The reason for the email is to pass an idea across to everyone and get their feedback (you can post feedback on family website or send to me and/or Karen and we will make sure it gets up there – that is a good place for centralizing comments)
For xmas 2012 we thought it would be neat to try and achieve three goals for xmas that will make it nice for everyone and that is:
1.) Remember the reason for the season: Jesus and give to those less fortunate.
2.) Reduce expense and stress by making it fun but easy to buy for
3.) Keep the traditions that make our family special.
Now having said that here is the idea :
1.) Karen all blessed us with our Christmas jars this year – lets fill our jars throughout the year with our spare change and then we can each give our jars to a charity of our choosing or pair up with each other and do one big charity. I think this is a tradition that would bring great joy and will teach our children the true meaning of Christmas. If we each give to a charity we can share that with Karen and she can post on the website for each family.
2.) Second idea was inspired by Farley’s xmas book this year. To reduce expenses we think that we should pick names out of a hat and the name you get you have to find a pair of inexpensive but fun, crazy wild slippers! You will have all year to look for them and yes this includes the men !!!! Dad could use a pair of Giants slippers to match his bad call brick! This will make it fun and at the same time keep costs down and you can get it out of the way to reduce Christmas stress.
3.) Lastly there are several traditions that we each do as a family and if we want to keep those I think we should. I have listed ideas of what each family has done and can keep doing if they want – this can be in addition to your slippers but that should be it – no more buying. I listed ideas that you can keep going but again its only if you want to – you do not have to we have just always looked forward to them and if you like to give them keep it going:
Our family “treasures”
- Kim & Clark – believe it or not Farley has been consistent and may not know it in getting us some kind of book (this can get costly so you can change if you want or forgo tradition all together)
- Karen & Linda – since we want to do charity every year I think a new Christmas Jar for each family would be great
- Kelly & Kate & Nick – Caramel corn (That is our sustenance when we drive back to NC) Now if Kate and Nick want to branch out on their own they can do the pretzel snack and a photo
- Kenny & Sue – new photo of kids – yours are still growing so we need these every year
- Kameron – draw us a picture with talent like yours draw us something and we can have postcards made or something
- Kelsie – keep making those rocks – I know I can use a prayer rock every year
- Kristen – Magnets – (not like Erin’s though)
- Darian – recipes
- Mattie – ornaments
- Kay & Bob – Photos of Delaney – she is still growing so we need those
- Delaney – new drawings for our fridge magnets
- Kevin & Kristy – the cheese
- Erin – Strawberry Jam
- Beth – the calendar (if you need to save costs provide on cds again)
- Mom & Dad they get gifts from us (we only have one set of parents!)
I hope I am not offending anyone I just wanted to try a little different spin on Christmas because quite frankly the joy I get from the holidays is giving to those less fortunate and spending quality (not stressed) time with my family.
Let me, Karen or Mom know what you think and we will communicate it to everyone – I do think you will enjoy this as you wont have to worry about what to do for xmas and some of us can plan ahead and avoid shipping expense etc.
Love you all
PRAY UNTIL SOMETHING HAPPENS….
A Nativity Scene was erected in a church yard. During the night the folks came across this scene. An abandoned dog was looking for a comfortable, protected place to sleep. He chose baby Jesus as his comfort. No one had the heart to send him away so he was there all night. We should all have the good sense of this dog and curl up in Jesus’ lap from time to time.
No one mentioned that the dog breed is a “shepherd!”
This is how Darian, Mattie and Mom spent Cinco De Mayo (as Joe termed it Cinco De Drinco) Best Mom’s day gift too – Joe & Debbie & Joey went to dinner at mex restaurant and then we cruised the lake until evening singing happily to Kenny Chesney & Jimmy Buffet. I, the lucky mom got BOTH girls at the same time! As I always say “these are MY people”. Joe & Debbie will never take the place of my family but I think we should adopt them since they have adopted us! So far they have entertained most of the family – Katie being the next! (We already have a boat party planned for her!)