Tag Archives: postaday

Writer Wednesday on a Monday: Bad Memories and Gratitude

13 Nov

I had completely forgotten about it … but then I got the text message, and I couldn’t believe it had almost been a year.

A friend of mine had asked about our yearly tailgating college football reunion adventure, and as with everything else in life, the details were posted on almighty Facebook. I don’t go on there much, don’t really like to, but I needed the information and just as I was clicking over to her site the “memories-flash-from-the past” post of 1-year-ago-today was on the screen.

A bad taste from a sour ending was still there. I had forgotten about it. Life had gone on, but this brought it back and I remembered it all over again.

It was the announcement from my play, the one I was extremely proud of, the one I entrusted to my friend to help me produce and the one I had to pull from the showcase because well … sometimes friends surprise you … in bad ways. Creative differences was the nice way I described it.

And there it was on Facebook, letting me know that a year ago the posters went up and rehearsals were in full swing, only to have no one see it or hear it. No one to witness that story and considering the climate we’re in today, it would have been an extremely powerful and funny story. It would have been my uncle’s Erick’s story and how my Dad had a hand in it.

So, a year later and what’s happened?

I didn’t participate in the showcase this year, I knew there would be another one, but because of the way things ended I felt that it would be best not to put my creative energies in an untrustworthy situation. So I didn’t bother submitting, and the funny thing was that my old friend, whom I haven’t spoke with since it happened, hadn’t mentioned it either.

So while my friend has continued to act within the theater troupe and remain close that director, I have not. He’s done well and continues to work on his craft, even wrote a piece himself, which will apparently be featured in the showcase this year, something that I found out through the world wide web. But I can’t say it surprised me. It was an interesting turn of events.

But instead of getting upset I remembered what I had done during that time.

I didn’t write a new piece this year, but I’ve spent the time editing, painstakingly editing one I’ve been trying to finish for a long time now. This news has sort of given me that inspiration, that extra push to finish this. Nothing like remembering something bad to help you do something good.

But it also helped me remember something that never made it onto Instagram or Facebook or the world wide web. Something that only a few handful of people knew about, and it might not have happened on stage with actors, and I might not have taken a bow with crowds clapping and smiling at me. But it did happen, and I was thankful for that accomplishment. I was grateful that the grant I wrote for my kids school, the one I recently submitted was selected for a large chunk of change. The money would be used to help fund a new year-round arts-in-residence program featuring drama, music, and craftsmanship artistry for the entire school.

There was a ceremony downtown, the kind with pictures and one of those big cardboard Price-is-Right’s checks, but I didn’t go.

I was happy with the text message I received from the coordinator, telling me she had just received a congratulatory email. We got it, she said. We got it!

And I smiled.

It wasn’t a stage play or a book reading. It wasn’t the creative endeavor I had hoped on accomplishing this year. But it was the year I brought creative experiences to a lot kids and with just that small piece of good news I felt like the year wasn’t wasted.

I didn’t help myself, but I helped someone and that felt good.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

 

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The Dodger Blues on Dia de Los Muertos

3 Nov

Heartbreaking agony the kind that brings that pang-pang-paning in my chest that only a true fan can feel.

The Blues.

When every fiber of your being is crushed because you dreamed their same dream and wished for them to make it to the top of the mountain, you’ve been wishing for it ever since you watched them take it in 1988, but it looks like you’re gonna have to wait a little bit longer.

Just a little I tell myself.

But through championships and heartbreaks I’m still with My Boys in Blue and remain a fan … always.

A fan who takes at least 24-48 hours to recover from this, a fan who was celebrating Dia de Los Muertos yesterday and feeling the Blues of a dream gone wrong throughout the day.

But things looked better today, don’t know if it was because of Friday, but the feel-goods were trying to make a comeback. They didn’t quite pierce through, but the agony is gone yet disappointment remains. And there are all kinds of people with their what-if-scenarios blabbering about on social media as if they have MLB coaching skills and experience, but no one can really predict the outcome. You can HOPE, based on what you believe to be true, on past performances. But in baseball, as with other sports, there are all kinds of variables that affect the scoreboard. All you can do is believe and give it everything you got. Grit pulls you through when every other avenue seems to be failing. My boys fell short but they made for an epic World Series run.

And as their season was laid to rest on Nov 1st, the next day came about … the last day of festivities for Dia de Los Muertos and it seemed somewhat fitting, you know … The realization of the death of a dream to fall on the Day of the Dead. And so I made my way to the cemetery, wearing my Dad’s Dodgers cap and settling in for a long talk about our beloved team and the insane ups-and-downs of the series.

I talked about other things of course, how big the kids were getting, how he would have enjoyed my son’s hockey games, or playing catch with my daughter, or the pumpkin patch adventure. He would have smiled at the sound of their laughter and exhaled loudly during their play-with-me-you-never-ever-play-with-me exaggerated arguments between each other.

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The kids bringing their best …

We brought things that might have lifted his spirit after the Dodgers loss. Purple and green jars with the festive nature of this holiday, plants, flowers, surprises, and decorative vibes all in an effort to send him messages of love and reverence. Messages to let him know that we remember him and pray for him during his spiritual journey were something we sent his way and I hope he felt that.

Buen Camino my friends … Buen Camino

 

 

 

 

The No, Boundaries, and Staying On The Yellow Brick Road

18 Oct

I’ve known about the power of “no,” for a long time.

As a  writer, I’ve heard it at least a million times. No we don’t want your book, no we don’t want your story, no it’s not what we’re looking for at this time.

As a mom trying to figure things out in the Mommy-Mafia world I’ve learned to pull it out plenty of times. I say it constantly to die-hard PTA boosters trying to corral me into a time-consuming saga. I know the power of “no,” when it comes to money and things being out of my budget. I know the power of “no,” when my kids want their millionth got-to-have-it Lego as we’re buying a birthday present for someone else.

It’s in my vocabulary. I know I own it. But sometimes when it comes to setting boundaries … the “no,” doesn’t quite make it’s way to the top of the list.

Now when I put others at the top of my priorities and I’m working on a project for them, I have no problems zoning things out and saying no to distractions, procrastination, and toxic encounters that are gonna take my juice away. If I gave my word to help someone out, either with a grant, volunteer work, or just my time, I make it happen. I sacrifice and say no to things so that I can be there for that person. I say no to sleeping in, I say no to just grabbing a quick coffee with someone that winds up being an entire afternoon, I say no to Netflix, I say no to Stephen Colbert.  It’s painful, but I have to do it. I gave my word.

I set boundaries for myself so that I could come through for others. But when I try to do that for myself … the “no,” is nowhere to be found.

Standards fall short and deadlines are always extended. It’s sad because the power of no is sometimes stronger when other people are counting on me. But I realized that I should hold myself to the same standard I give to others. I’m more relaxed when it comes to me, as I can always say … well, I can pick it tomorrow.

Sad to say that sometimes this happens more than it should. I’m trying to get better at it. I’m trying to be stricter with my own boundaries when it comes to writing. I’m trying to hold myself to those deadlines. I’m trying to give myself the same amount of respect without feeling guilty about doing it.

I’ve been trying to finish the rewrite and edits of my book for some time now, but for some reason other projects or grant writing comes along and since I had offered to help the obligation to keep my word to someone else becomes stronger than the promise I kept to myself, and then I feel bad about the broken promises and then the sense of failure spirals into anger with myself and then frustration. But I reboot, and then say I’m gonna try again tomorrow and then the cycle happens over again.

But I was recently reminded by a soulful friend that sometimes the most important promises should be the ones you keep to yourself, and if there are friends, or people that call themselves friends, out there not in support of your dream then they don’t have to be on this ride with you. They can just get off the bus. She reminded me that I need the same power of “no,” that same commitment that I apply to fitness, exercise, and health to my writing and other parts of me. I’m on a roll when it comes to health, it matters because it’s not just for me. It’s beyond me. I don’t do it for the outfits or a smaller pair of pants. I do it to stay healthy and live longer for my kids. The purpose is bigger than me.

She said I need that same “no,” those same boundaries, that same sense purpose for other things in my life. Spread the no. You can leave the dream killers behind.

There is no need for the digs and back-handed comments  from other voices when you’re already in doubt yourself. You’re in need of back-up singers who are going to lift you up on stage. You’re in need of people who understand the “no,” and don’t make you feel guilty or bad about it. You’re in need of a realization that you are a priority and the same standards of deadline apply to you that you have for yourself when others are counting on you. The power of no applies to your dream quest as well. You’ve earned it.

So while you’re on the yellow brick road, bring the power of “no,” with you. It will help keep you on the path and keep the boundaries up. Boundaries are important.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

 

 

 

Pockets of Hope for More Good Times and Noodle Salad

2 Oct

Pockets of hope. I’m filling them up and sending them through the cosmic airwaves, wanting them to reach a Puerto Rican family, or a grieving family member of a slain music lover in Las Vegas.

In just one month, a lifetime of heart aches and hurt, and recovery seems so distant. But pockets of hope that fill the air can land on someone’s shoulder and make it possible to get through the day.

 

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Pocket of Hope

Breathing in the morning air and facing the warm glow of the early sun gave me pause. I realized in mid-breath that the same sun that shined on me in this peaceful, hidden habitat was the same sun warming the faces of teary eyed music fans that remained grieving. in disbelief over the deaths and unexplained violence of bullets. It was the same sun that rose over a broken island functioning on the mercy of kindness.

Sadness and aching hearts are a part of life I wish we never had, but there are silent tragedies that happen everyday when no one is looking, when Facebook and Twitter don’t post links, when newspapers and local TV stations don’t report the story. It’s a time to strengthen resolve and bring in laughter when sadness tries to darken it out. It’s a time where pockets of hope rise up and communities forge together.

It’s a time where finding moments of laughter can help heal a little, because those are small steps to the recovery of happier times, to good times and noodle salad moments that were being robbed from people .

So as just one person, far away from both tragedies, I ask myself what I can do to help someone who’s suffering. I can click on links and donate, I can send good vibes and positive wishes, I can raise awareness to their cause, and I can try to lighten the heavy load in their hearts and on their shoulders by trying to comfort those that are suffering and make someone smile. I can continue sending pockets of hope their way, and try to stand with them during  an overwhelming pain.

It’s always lightheartedness and finding the funny at not-so-funny times so that we can go on, that’s the formula over here at The Wish Factor. But making light of an act of cruelty isn’t.  Awareness in hopes of bringing about change is what I champion for, and I hope that sadness felt by so many in Las Vegas and Puerto Rico isn’t breaking their spirits, as the whole nation stands with them, sending pockets of hope and doing what we can for healing hearts.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

 

 

Windmills, Æbleskiver, and My Uncle Erick

23 Sep

A ride along the coast through windy roads and mountain tops, through heavy clouds and mist, I found the small town that sparked the sunshine and gave us smiles good enough to be sealed in by the Jar of Awesome.

 

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With all the wineries and quaint feel good vibes of this small town, I had a flashback of Miles from the movie Sideways and his wine-tasting montage, without the comedic angry outbursts, of course. I was out and about on a quick getaway to find out what this Danish Days Festival was all about, and in the process I discovered the awesomeness of Æbleskiver.

 

 

Now I couldn’t even pronounce it. But they knew what I wanted when I got there and this was the place to get them. I was lucky to come before the lunch time rush and I only had to wait about ten minutes in line. But after I got my order, the people behind me weren’t so lucky. The line got pretty crazy and they were there at least 30 minutes.

Yeah. They were that good. Flaky, fluffy, sweet, tasty treats sprinkled with powered sugar and hitting the spot.

Now normally I wouldn’t drive about three hours anywhere for food I could probably buy in the melting pot of our culinary city, but this little town was a place my Uncle Erick liked to go to when family visited from out of town. He enjoyed the drive along the coast, the vibe of the place, the peace of a small town, the wineries, pastry and coffee shops on every corner. He enjoyed feeling like a tourist as he walked around admiring the architecture and enjoying the food. He smiled when he was there. It probably reminded him of his trip to Europe, and he liked the quick three-hour getaway down memory lane. I felt it would be a good excuse to go, Danish Days Festival, I mean come on … Viking stuff, Legos, woodcarving, music, dancing, kids jamboree, parades, and tiny wooden shoes.

This spoke of adventure. As soon as I told my kids Legos and food with powered sugar was involved they were on board.

 

 

And so we toured the place and felt the vibe. I could see what my Uncle Erick enjoyed about it, but most of all I remembered my Uncle Erick and his willingness for three-hour road trips just to get the family together, just to try something new. I remembered my uncle as I watched the woodcarver make art from blocks of Redwood, I remembered my Uncle Erick as we watched the parade, I remembered my Uncle Erick as I saw the windmills and the city sign, I remembered my Uncle Erick as I sat to eat the Æbleskiver,  I remembered my Uncle Erick, the dreamer who always wanted something better and never stopped looking for it, the one who loved his daughter above all else, the one I looked up to as a kid, and the one my kids never met because he died before they were born, but I know he would loved to hang out with them.

I remembered my Uncle Erick and told stories about him all day.

Buen Camino my friends.

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Staying Within The Lines

16 Sep

Some people just roll on out of bed with a wish for confrontation.

I’m talking about regular people with blatant disregard for the common decency rules of life. Yeah … they’re out there. And I saw one. I took photographic evidence.

But not so much to report anyone, more so to laugh.

You see, about an hour before I saw this dude, I had pulled into a lot and did my very best to park this loaner I was driving into a spot. Now seeing how I’m not used to parking this bad boy Toyota Sienna, it took me about three attempts to completely stay within those double white lines. Yup.  I was putting it in drive and reverse, drive and reverse, and then drive and reverse again, with all eyes from the AARP Crew looking at me from the diner across the way. Just sipping their coffee and staring at me through their bifocals.

My parking job doesn’t have to be perfect and my tires don’t have to be equidistant from the lines on both sides. I just have to be in the slot, I want to give people enough room to open their doors. I just don’t want to be a jackass. That’s it. So after my multiple failed attempts and a triumph that took 5-10 minutes, I moved on and went to run some more errands and that’s when I saw this dude.

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I mean he wasn’t even close. And you guessed it … it was one of the last spots on the lot.

Now normally things like this really burn me out, but under this new Super-Soul Sunday everyday vibe I’ve been flowing on, I ended up cracking up. This dude did not care. Not one bit.

I mean I’d understand if we were at the ER and it was a life and death situation, but I was at the 99-Cent store, there are plenty of Cup O Noodles.

So when I saw this Volvo, I just paused for a minute and laughed. This dude is living by his own code.

You see out here in the traffic congested city I live in, there are parking rules that people let slide because you know what the drawbacks are, for example an SUV parked in a compact-only spot will probably get his door scratched or dented by the other cars. That’s a given. If you park in someone’s driveway, you might get hit, or towed before you roll out of bed early enough to move your car,  it happens. You take two spots instead of one, you might get a nasty note on your windshield or a confrontation in your future.

People are aware of the consequences. They know. This guy knew, but he didn’t care.

Growing up in this city I take these rules fairly seriously. I don’t want to  be a jackass. So I tend to stay within the lines. The fact that I worked so hard to park my loaner car an hour before and then see this Volvo-driving nut just handle this spot like a dictator cracked me up. I mean who thinks that way. I just had to laugh. I couldn’t react any other way.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

 

 

Sandbox List Adventures: The Sun, The Moon, The Vibe

27 Aug

This was in the hands of the universe …

But before I continue on the wonder of the Cosmos I must apologize … this was supposed to be posted last Wednesday, but for some reason it got locked down in my drafts file. Maybe it was delayed in order to bring something good among all the bad that’s going on in our country. Maybe it was kept there to remind you of the amazing powers of science and how one small cosmic miracle can bring us all together …

I had never seen one, so the fact that  we were in the path of this scientific awesomeness gave me pause. Not everyone around the world got to see it, but we were lucky enough to experience the eclipse and check that off the Sandbox List Adventure.

Now seeing how my kids had school that morning I made an executive decision in the name of science to skip the morning scholastic activities in elementary school and drive down to the university and join grad students, professors, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory  (JPL) scientist for an outdoor learning session. There were solar eclipse sunglasses, telescopes, awesome shadow boxes, and a live stream news feed airing the path of totality in one of the lecture halls. It was an astronomy extravaganza!

I felt since this was a once in a lifetime event for many people, it had to be something our family needed to witness. And the thing is, it would have been fine hanging out in our patio and watching it by ourselves, but being among all those people was an amazing vibe that lasted the entire week. It was so much more being in that environment. It wasn’t something to look at during a commercial break, it ended up being an experience. A Sandbox List Adventure experience. It was excitement! I was excited to be there and when is the last time that you felt excitement over some astronomical event?

I mean if you live in the city a shooting star is awesome, because it’s a rare sight with all the bright lights hampering your star gazing experience. I was happy to be there, and even more so to have my kids see something like this. Us city kids watching a solar eclipse, that called for Pink Floyd music to accompany us on this journey.

All of us outside on the lawn, strangers, just hanging out and experiencing the eclipse brought out the neighborly vibe in everyone.  In the frantic mad dash to get those oh-so-elusive-solar-eclipse glasses, many people weren’t able to get one of the thousand free pairs that JPL handed out. So many people, including ourselves, shared with neighbors so they could get a glimpse.

 

It was a good feeling to be among people and have my kids share the positive energy and camaraderie of spectators coming together to witness something beautiful. And although we didn’t have totality, the 60% that we did experience made for an awesome memory.

The eclipse had the power for just a moment, to remove emotional hangovers, bad conversations, rejection letters, cold symptoms, no parking zones, chaotic mornings, DMV clerks, credit card bills, and empty-gas-tank-lights during congested traffic. It had the power to cause deep breathing and slowing down time. It had the power of gratitude and bringing people together. It had the power of making it on the Sandbox List Adventures.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

Sandbox List Adventure: Feeling The Burn But Enjoying Pockets of Nature

13 Aug

Slowing down the clock. Making the moment last longer. They’re getting better at it.

Wanting adventures to last longer or remembering them with more clarity became a summer goal that’s probably going to last us some years.

They close their eyes, put their hand on their heart and take three deep breaths. Then open their eyes and watch … just watch and take three deep breaths again.

We had an opportunity for that today, We had an opportunity to escape the ugliness of what’s happening in our country. We had an opportunity to find some good, to be present in the moment and have gratitude envelope us. We had an opportunity for one last field trip. One last adventure before school started.

We needed to end our summer on an awesome note, considering the bumpy ride we encountered at registration. So once again we headed to the water.

I thought of the beach, but my kids wanted to change things up a bit.

A Sandbox List Adventure.

Paddle boating.

My son wanted to do this all-summer long, but for one reason or another it didn’t work out. We’d been to the lake a couple of times but it ended up being closed. However the day before school started … Sunny. Open. Clear sailing.

The one thing my son was unaware of was the massive leg workout this would be, but his muscles were pumping and my daughter, as captain of the ship, made sure we kept the boat moving. But if we’re being honest, I was breaking a sweat after the first lap and in desperate need of a water break. I was picking up the slack because I could tell my son was feeling the burn. We did a lot of drifting though, just letting the wind and the ripples guide us through the water.  But I guarantee you,  I’ll still be feeling it tomorrow morning, Word to the wise … sunscreen and stretching are necessary. You’ll feel the burn, but it’s worth it in those quads, but finding pockets of nature in the city is always worth the work.

There were highlights … awesome ones to accompany the quad workout.

Circling the water fountain and feeling the wispy breeze behind hit, made everything all right that day. Forgot about class complications, teacher meetings, principal emails, and class supply lists agony.

We were on the lake and it was Sandbox List Adventure time. The feel-good vibes from today will help fuel the rest of the week.

 

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Checking out the scene and mapping out our course …

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Had our sites on the fountain … a definite highlight of the day.

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Then we headed to the lily pads to get a closer look at nature …

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Duuuuude up close was just as beautiful …

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And so after all that beauty and all those laps, we pedaled our way back.

 

Buen Camino my friends.

You’re Not Alone Out There …

6 Aug

Laundryitis.

I suffer from this.

I never thought I would but I do. So now I’m like an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond.

If you’re not familiar with this syndrome, it may happen to tired moms and dads, or college students. It can happen to anyone really, but the judgement seems to be worse when you’re a mom I guess. You’re supposed to have it all together. At least that’s what Facebook people appear to do … have it together.

But I don’t. I’m a mess in progress.

I suffer from Laundryitis … you know, when you wash your clothes and then take them out of the dryer, and put them in a nice pile. Shirts on one side, pants and shorts on the other. And you tell yourself I’m gonna fold those as soon as I get a minute. You know that elusive minute when you’re a parent. You know when you have that oh-so-famous down time, when you unwind in the quiet of the night. I’ll do it when I’m watching Netflix. And then four days later … they’re still there … on your bed. They may even make the start of the next clothes cycle, where you wash another load and you’re just adding to the pile. It’s happened.

The clothes just lay in the corner, not as smooth as before, a couple of lumps and wrinkles, but no longer in two neat piles. Just one lump some of Costco-Fabric softner-smelling clothes. I bring them down with me every night, but for some reason, they don’t end up getting folded. I lay down for a minute to rest, only to wake up at 1 a.m. and drag myself to bed. I write a post, or edit my book, and lose track of time, or I end up getting lost in some Netflix or Amazon Prime episodic binge adventure.

I’m not really proud of this Laundryitis, but just wanted you to know … those of you hiding in secret … not posting your Devil Wears Prada closet on The Facebook Instagram tip that you’re not alone. It happens, it especially happens to tired moms.

So I think I’m more prone to Laundryitis, in fact I think that if you have a cleaning lady or cleaning crew helping you out, you might not suffer from this. You might have your act together because you clean before the cleaning lady gets there, or she may just do it for you. I don’t know.  Maybe you have a Jetsons futuristic setup.

I guess if I shopped at IKEA I would totally be on top of this entire situation, you know with the state-of-the-art awesome drawers of organization with potential Jetson possibilities. But I don’t have the IKEA awesomeness in the bedroom.

I’m not that futuristic though … I don’t even have a dishwasher. And I think a dishwasher is important. I think these technological advances in the home economics sector have a cause and effect correlation with Laundryitis. Maybe I wouldn’t be as tired if I could just load it up and press wash, instead of Palmolive all over my hands for hours. I don’t know, I’m no scientist but I see something.

The more help you get, Kenmore or Maytag technology, or IKEA awesomeness, or just another human being, the less likely you are to suffer from Laundyitis and be caught up in your own episode of Everybody Loves Raymond with an Everybody Loves Raymond kind of mom sending you the guilt stare.

But don’t worry … shed the guilt … you’re not alone.

 

Buen Camino my friends …

 

The Year of Eight … A Year of Firsts And Freeze Frames

19 Jul

Cupcakes after midnight …

A buddy of mine left this awesome flair for words for me last week. Sounds accurate … on so many levels.

I find myself again … baking after midnight and preparing for the first day of being nine and reminiscing on the last days of being eight. I think about him knowing my Dad the first two years of his life only, but having good thoughts about the time spent together.

Eight was a good year, some ups and downs, but overall a good year. A year of firsts.

 

The Year of Eight we took to the ice. First time playing hockey, first time scoring goals, first time for a hat trick, first time a sport gets his complete undivided attention. First time we have to wake up at 5 a.m. to be at a sporting event at 6 a.m.

First time for Boy Scout Adventures in the Great Outdoors and earning badges. First time for Pinewood Derbies and being proud of the green roadster we constructed. First time for Rocket Academies, archery and BB guns. Rockets being the favorite as we successfully launched them into the sky.

First time for reading Roald Dahl and loving Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, first time for reading all his books. First time for exploring so many books that I lost count but he continued with science adventure books about kids being his favorites.

First time for learning tough lessons about friends in third grade, and how sometimes they’re not so friendly. First time for brushing off the disappointment and then learning to chug along.

First time I hear that he wants to slow time down because things are going too fast, so I teach him about daily gratitude and being present in the moment. First time he tries it and it works. The sweet spot of Jar of Awesome moments last longer and time slows for a moment.

First time for jumping off the diving board at the swimming pool, took the swim test and passed the first time. Best cannonball ever. First time we won our cardboard boat race, it was the Dalmatian Monster Mutt that took us to victory. First time for Sandbox List Adventures to be crossed off, like being an America Ninja Warrior for the day, trying to climb that warped wall and tackle the obstacles. The first year for The Jar of Awesome …

The Year of Eight was a great year of firsts for my kid. I’m grateful I get the chance to write that letter for him and remember these things. I try to catch them in this time capsule because even though I slow things down, slow is too fast for these moments. Freeze frame seems more appropriate.

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But it just wasn’t a year of firsts there were many seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths … I remember all the times he got lost in the world of Legos, creating cities, battles, movies, and Star Wars scenes. I remember all the mini-figures he mixed and matched to create new characters in stories. I remember him wanting to play chess and always ready to setup the Star Wars chess set. He always wanted to be the good guys. I remember his love of chocolate, all kinds of chocolate, Kit Kats, Snickers and M&Ms being some of his favorites, although he also likes Doritos and discovered the wonders of Extra Spearmint Gum. I remember him discovering Minecraft, Minion Rush, Star Wars Commnader and Fruit Ninja on the iPad. I remember him waking up before 7 a.m. on Saturday mornings just to watch cartoons, The Jungle Bunch, Lego Star Wars Freemaker Adventures, Pokemon, Wild Kratts, Star War Rebels, SpongeBob, and The Lion Guard just to name a few. I remember how he always looked forward to Shark Week every year, marking the calendar and having a countdown of his own. Great White Shark is his favorite. I remember how he still wants to be a firefighter when he grows up.

I remember dancing to his feel-good songs and him cutting loose, every time. He feeeeeeels the music and he is the best Solid-Gold-Soul-Train-dancer in the house. Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal and Bruno Mars are some of his favorites. Although 80s always rule in the house. 80s and The Beatles. He smiles as I watch him dance and it’s priceless. I loved the Year of Eight dance moves.

I remembered all that tonight and more …

So tonight I hugged my eight-year old one last time before going to bed, one last time before he turned nine tomorrow morning. I hugged him extra tight, and took an extra breath as he was squished between my arms. He smelled like Dove soap. I held him tighter. I was trying to freeze-frame it. I asked him how his last day as an eight-year old turned out to be and he said it was awesome …

 

I rode my bike in the morning. Played some Legos. And then went to the Ninja Gym and did some America Ninja Warrior stuff, I got to the fourth wobbly cube, the green one. And then we had ice cream for dinner. It was awesome. Tomorrow I’ll be nine. I think it’s gonna be great …

 

The Year of Eight was good and now The Year of Nine begins. It begins with me baking, not cupcakes this time, but cake … cake after midnight. Chocolate, of course.