From ponytails to fluorescent bands. Neon colors, Pac-Man, and Adidas gear everywhere. Surrounded by music blasting, bodies moving and I Want to Dance with Somebody filling the night sky. Laughter and smells of alcohol on the breaths of friends you just met and those you have known since the beginning of when it all started. Joy, laughter, everyone coming together for one beautiful cause, to raise money for a school, a community that has been our second home for several years.
Welcome back to the 80s Auction. A bittersweet event. Seeing the many faces that fill the halls of our elementary school. Teachers and staff, past teachers that have grown into beautiful friendships, staff that make it all happen, volunteers bringing families together for a night out after two years.
There are many things to take in through this experience. Many positive, loving and knowledgeable moments, and a very few not so pleasant but the quick resolve and support helps keep the positive flowing. The genuine love and care from teachers we’ve had can never be put into words just how appreciative we are.
Little moments of growth between friends, not friends, and then friends again all come together.
This night here, looking around, all I can do is smile, and maybe quietly shed a few tears because I know this school year is coming to an end. Soon Graduation, Senior week and all the beautiful festivities that follow.
Traditions are so important to me especially when they bring family together. Making special memories with my mom walking each procession every year. Bringing Giovanni and Isannah with me, so they too, can experience these moments with their Nonni and all the family that comes together. Moments that become memories that will grow each year as they do. Bringing Giovanni and Isannah to church with me to experience the beautiful services. I love knowing that they can listen to the messages and allow it to carry in their hearts. All the traditions big or small, they are lasting and remain in our heart and memory.
They lift us on the days when we are feeling down. They bring a smile to my face when I find it hard to smile on my own.
Traditions for and during the holidays. The same foods, the decorations, the family games, music and laughter that are always present during this time. Even when the year is hard and the fear is great, or when there is an empty place or two at the table, the comfort and love of the holidays bring us hope for a better tomorrow, all while embracing and appreciating what we have now. I look out and see faces staring back at me and all I can do is smile because this will be a new memory because of these traditions.
There is another new one that is very special and dear to my heart. It started when Giovanni and Isannah were just born. My childhood friend and her family, who we are blessed to have as neighbors too, came over at Christmas. They brought gifts for the kids and stayed with us for a little. This became a beautiful tradition that still happens every year because of the kindness and heart they share with us. All the kids open their gifts and share a moment together. We take family pictures by our tree and just feel the warmth and happiness of their company. They are friends who are family and that will never change.
This year was different thanks to 2020 but it didn’t change our tradition. Our friends made it happen again. Thankfully the weather held up and we were able to meet outside with masks and distance. We stayed safe and just had our special time. The kids played together and laughed. I stared out at them and couldn’t believe how big they all are now. How small they were when it all started. Their daughter wasn’t born yet but their younger son was always with us. Now their son has grown and their daughter took his place in our tradition.I still have the first gift that our friends brought for the kids. Two little picture Christmas Stocking ornaments. One pink one and one blue. To this day they hang proudly on our tree with a picture of Giovanni and Isannah in each one.
Traditions mean the world to me. I hope Giovanni and Isannah will feel the same and keep every memory in their heart so that they will carry these traditions as they grow each year.
We all have different beliefs but traditions are what you make them to be.
Create them, old or new, carry them and keep them going and growing.
We have been truly blessed every year with some amazing teachers. From the very beginning when the kids began their educational journey and I was frantic to let them go and worried about how their teachers would treat them, I saw the love and kindness in the eyes of every teacher I met. They reassured me every day that G and I are fine. It’s a beautiful bond to experience and a comforting hand that is very much needed. This year is no different. Not only are they present, available, kind and supportive they are also friends. My family and I have gone through some tough times throughout the years especially this past week and even though my mind was filled with fear and just all over the place those teachers have been present and went out of their way to make me understand that their thoughts were with us all. From the inspiring texts, to the hugs along the way, it’s been a blessing to us all. When people ask me about our current school I simply smile without hesitation just thinking of the wonderful teachers we have had and the staff that has become apart of our life. It’s friendships like these that see no boundaries, no color and no religion. It sees love, kindness and care. We are truly blessed with our kid’s teachers and in return, I would like to say thank you once again.
To all the teachers out there that take care of our children, we thank you. To those who put the needs of their students before their’s, thank you. During this time of year and every day, take time to thank a teacher.
I was thinking about it all day and then finally it was time to get ready. I wanted to take my time so that Asher didn’t catch me in my dress before heading down the stairs. I had butterflies fluttering in my belly and this dorky smile that made my cheek ache but I couldn’t help it. It was date night but not just any date night. It was our 7 year anniversary. What an amazing journey. Now we were hand in hand at our favorite restaurant in the city Bouley. The champagne poured and I was already drunk in love. I kept sneaking stares at him and sheepishly smiling. I just couldn’t believe we were here. I was here. The silly laughter, gentle touches and warm love that surrounded us was undeniable. The meal was amazing. The night was filled with twinkle and my heart was filled with him. May you feel love that embraces you gently but tightly that you don’t ever want to let go. Laughter that gives cheek aches but you just don’t want it to stop. And light that will always show you the way. Spreading my heartfelt love to all of you.
Sun was setting and the darkness was making an appearance as my family and I were listening to the music in the park. The night was hitting the kids and things on our blanket became more relaxed. As Giovanni crawled on to my lap Isannah stood behind me and began playing with my hair. While I was cradling Giovanni in my arms and feeling Isannah’s little hands run through my hair I looked over at my husband who was staring directly at us. My heart just melted and I knew I was right where I needed to be.
Jason Isbell was lighting up the stage and the sounds of his guitar was filling the night air. It was that kind of night.
Time is passing. Sometimes too fast you miss things that you should’ve had your eyes open for. Don’t miss anymore moments. Look through open eyes and open hearts. Take it all in and appreciate the life you have no matter how imperfect, it’s yours. Hold on and enjoy the ride. Don’t forget to bring all those you love right along with you.
Knowing it’s your emotion that causes interference in your heart feels like a burn from a slap in the face you can’t shake. Only when you are able to release that sting is when you can fully have control of you.
“Sometimes you just need to be. You are so concerned about everyone around you that you forget the one person who needs you most is the person screaming within. How do you learn to listen and help yourself before crumbling to help everyone else?”
Sometimes all you need is that person to just be in the same room as you. Nothing more, no words just the vision that makes you know that you are not alone and all will be ok. Knowing you are there is all it takes.
Kids are enjoying a cookie on the couch while listening to the music play on the radio. I smile just staring at them and remembering just how small they were when we brought them each home. As my mind drifts I feel the hands of love on my back. You sang to me begins to play in the background as Asher and I move closer together to allow our bodies to sway. I can’t help but sing the song to him as we slow dance in the living room. Giovanni and Isannah look up at us and don’t move or make a sound until the song ends. The love, kindness and appreciation that filled that room could carry us all for years to come. It’s been that kind of day.