Love is Love

love is love rainbow

When I signed into my WordPress account to write tonight, I found it bordered with a rainbow. Appropriate for my blog tonight.

Yesterday, I was watching television on my first day off of summer break, when The Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution provide same-sex couples the right to marry. I was home alone and burst out clapping and cheering!  A victory for so many people who have been fighting for so long!

Minutes later Facebook “exploded” with rainbows and quotes about love.  Last night all over The USA, landmarks were lit in the colors of the rainbow. I am so proud of our country right now.

Later in the day, President Obama declared,”If we are truly created equal than truly the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”

I know there will be people out there who don’t agree with the ruling and everyone is entitled to their opinion. Tonight though, an old friend from high-school shared this, which is written on the wall of The Jefferson Memorial.

jefferson memorial

Change is good.  Change is important.

Graduation Day

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This afternoon, DJ graduates from high-school!

How did that happen?  This really makes college seem real. Maybe that’s why I can’t sleep. My mind is racing, my heart is pounding. I can remember the day he was born as if it was yesterday and now…. Graduation?!?!

When DJ started school with Mrs. Lerner, one of the most amazing kindergarten teachers I have ever met, I never expected that this day would come so quickly! He walked into that kindergarten classroom with a backpack bigger than him, giving me a nervous little wave before heading into the room. I thought that was a difficult day! What was I thinking!!??

When people tell you “it goes so fast….” they aren’t kidding! Time flew! Thirteen years of school over in the blink of an eye.  Where are those days when he’d sit curled up on my lap reading his favorite book, Freight Train, by Donald Crews, over and over again. We read that book so many times, I can still recite that book word for word!

I am going through a range of emotions.  The last few months have been building up to this. Awards ceremonies, scholarships, so many events telling us this day was upon us! I  know that he has grown into an intelligent, capable, talented person, I am having trouble writing the words, “young man,” but that is what he is. An eighteen year adult!  He’s isn’t a kid anymore! Will my little boy be able to manage without us there to guide him everyday?

All of his “firsts” have happened with us along side of him. First words, first steps, first day of school, getting his driver’s license… the list goes on and on.  Now all of those firsts are going to be experienced without us there. Is he ready? Are we?

Of course he is. He has proven that to us this year, becoming more and more independent. He is ready to move on. Ready for the next chapter of his life. I am so proud of him and I know that he is going to find even more independence when he is on his own.

We can’t predict the future and what it holds for our children. I can only hope that he is happy, does his best, makes a difference, and winds up doing what he loves.

To all of my friends who have children graduating today, congratulations! They are ready. I think we have done a pretty good job! <3

Father’s Day

fathers day

I love holidays….because of the time spent together with family and friends.  I dread them when we feel obligated to get a gift for someone just because it is a holiday.

When the gift is meaningful, or something that I have been planning for a long time, it is great. I remember one year for Father’s Day I gave Dave tickets to a Bruce Springsteen concert – they may have been his favorite gift ever. Once for Christmas, I gave Dave and DJ tickets to go to a soccer match in England to watch their favorite team, Manchester United, play a match.

Those gifts are fun. Those are the ones that I cannot wait to give him. Two Christmases ago, when I gave the boys and Dave the $$ from the 52 Week Challenge to pay for our Spring Break vacation, I was giddy with excitement, barely able to hold back the secret!

This year, I have been wracking my brain trying to come up with something fun or needed to give him. It is no secret that money is tight in our household, but when we need something, we usually get it. So when it comes time to buy a gift for a specific holiday, it isn’t so easy to come up with something clever and fun.  We will often buy each other something special now and then….just because when we saw it, we knew it was something the other would like.

I was hinting around to see if he’d like a fitbit and finally came right out and asked him. His answer was a solid, “No,” so I am glad I didn’t go out and just get it for him.

The “obligatory holiday gift”. It actually causes me stress. Dave mentioned to me that he told me something he wanted a few months ago. So then, I spent a day or two trying to remember what that could have possible been. Finally yesterday, I told him to just tell me. I had to laugh when he I found out. He wants a pressure cooker.

I have no recollection of that conversation he said we had back in April (??) but he does like to cook! I quickly went on line and started looking them up to find one with great reviews and found a few. Knowing it would never arrive by the next day, even with Amazon Prime, I decided I’d go out this morning and find one so that he’d have something to open on Father’s Day.

I was at Bed and Bath when the doors opened this morning – without my coupon -(I shudder at the thought) and couldn’t find one. So instead, I walked aimlessly around the store hoping that something else would catch my eye. That’s when I began thinking about the ‘obligatory gift’ again. Just spending money to but “something” wasn’t going to cut it.

He is getting his pressure cooker.  It just won’t arrive until Tuesday.  Happy Father’s Day Babe,  I love you! Now make me something yummy for dinner!

Giving Back and Having Fun While Doing It

only by giving

What a fun-filled weekend! It began on Friday night, when I joined a friend at a Rent Party concert, one of my favorite local organizations, which helps to feed hungry children in our own community.

Saturday, I ran in another Muck Fest, along with several teachers from my school. This has become an annual event for us now.  This was our fifth race as a team and each year we have more and more fun doing it. The race isn’t a hard one – I have to get over a fear of heights I never knew I had, but other than that, the obstacles are fun, dirty and mucky and we laugh through the entire race. The entire race, which is held in various locations across the country, raises money for MS.  Our team collected close to $1000 this year.

Sunday, several local women and I got together to hold a vendor event. We are donating a percentage of our proceeds to Rent Party/Back Pack Pals. It was a pretty successful day.  I am still taking orders that will benefit the cause and will keep it going for a few more days.

The weekend ended with an end of the year soccer BBQ and pool party at the home of one of Drew’s teammates.  Dave and DJ left early to head to Boston for DJ’s freshmen orientation. Hard to believe this is possible! Sometimes I don’t feel old enough to be the mom of a college student, but I guess I am since this is actually happening!

Proud Parents

There was no time to write yesterday. We were busy celebrating DJ. He was chosen to receive a scholarship from The South Orange Maplewood Education Association. Every year, I attend the retirement dinner of teachers from the district where I work.  Each year, they honor four students who receive a scholarship.  This year, DJ was one of the lucky recipients. When his name was announced, hearing the cheers from the teachers in the room…he has had so many of them… was enough to bring tears to my eyes and when I glanced over at Dave, I noticed he was having a hard time holding them back as well.

DJ was that kid who “blossomed” late in life. This year has been filled with awards and accolades and we are just so proud of him.

We left the SOMEA dinner just in time to make it to the high school baseball awards dinner where all of the teams were honored, but especially the seniors.  DJ didn’t play baseball for the team. He was the manager. He’s always been the kids that LOVES sports, but never quite good enough to play for the high school teams.  This didn’t stop him from getting involved and he wound up receiving a varsity letter along with the rest of his teammates, once again to the cheers of the team.

DJ has really grown into a confident, strong adult and I cannot wait to see where this confidence takes him!  I know we have a few months to go, but when I think of him going away to college, I am not as worried as I thought I might be.

As he stood in front of a room of hundreds of teachers yesterday, and thanked them for the scholarship, he didn’t stammer, he didn’t stumble over his words. He didn’t even seem nervous. I am thankful to the amazing teachers and coaches he has had the privilege of having in our district. They are a huge part of creating the person he is today and we will forever be grateful for them.

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Many Hands Make Light Work

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Awhile back, I wrote about an amazing event that I am working on with a bunch of very creative and motivated women. The Covenant House Prom is a prom for young adults who have found themselves homeless for a variety of reasons. Most of them did not have the chance to go to their high school prom and the founders of Take the Cake have found a way to make it happen.

We put a call out for dress, shoe and jewelry donations and the response was overwhelming. Tonight was the second night in two weeks that we sorted the gowns, and with no exaggeration, there are over 1000 gowns donated! There are only about 50 girls who will be attending the prom, but not knowing them ahead of time, we had no idea of sizes and style preferences the girls have and now they have their choice of so many gowns! Every color, shape, size and style imaginable will be set up for them when they “shop” for free next week.

There were boxes of jewelry donated, and piles and piles of shoes as well.  The generosity has been truly amazing.

A local cleaners has donated their services to dry clean the dresses that they choose. All of the extra dresses will be stored for another event, or passed along to another charity like this one so that they can be used as well.

It was wonderful to see our committee, along with some motivated young girls from our high school and middle schools, volunteering their evening to help us sort through the bags and bags of dresses.

While we were sorting, a few of the young women who are living at Covenant House walked through the room and saw the mountains of dresses and asked if we had their size.  We assured them that we did and they actually squealed with joy! It really put meaning behind what we are doing. Only a few weeks until the prom….I think I am almost as excited as the girls are!

Back on Track

back on track

Today, I got a bit sad and even disappointed with myself when I realized just how long it has been since I have actually written.  I went to our public library, where I met with the head librarian of the children’s room.  Months ago, we had talked about starting a program this summer that could encourage kindness and paying it forward.

We both seemed to have lost track of time and finally got a chance to meet this afternoon.  She introduced me to another librarian there and when she began to tell her about my kindness blog, I realized just how far off track I had fallen. Writing everyday, gave me structure and routine.  I did it even when I had little to say.  Giving myself some slack has made me way too relaxed and although I have been very busy with school and helping DJ get ready for graduation and prepared for college, I felt a little badly about it today.  Guilty even.  A lot has happened in these weeks where I didn’t write. Nothing life changing for us, nothing catastrophic – but we’ve been ever so busy.

There was a weapon brought to Drew AND DJ’s school last week and I still haven’t been able to comprehend just what a tragedy it could have been. This might have to be a blog in itself – when I am ready to think about it more clearly.

This is a month I should be writing! A month to remember all of the firsts in DJ’s life with graduation and college awaiting him. A month where we lost a very important member of our community to brain cancer. A month where a good friend of ours was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I have decided to take a class and see if I am ready to pursue my Masters Degree.  If it goes smoothly, I will be busier than I already am, but the result will be worth it! I had my best month yet with my chloe and isabel jewelry business and if I can keep that up – I can help to pay for some courses!!

Yesterday a ladybug landed on me while I was driving. I know to some people that is considered to be lucky.  The first thing I thought of when it landed was how how I’d incorporate it into my blog. So many little things so many big things….I am going to make another attempt at it.

I need to be writing – maybe not everyday, but I need to write. It grounds me, centers me and keeps me focused.

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