North Korea. Boston. West Texas.
Unemployment. Congress’s stalemates. Women’s reproductive right’s threatened. Environmental damage.
Twitter. Facebook. Angry Birds. Linked In. Pintrest.
People: there is only so much I can handle. So much to worry about and so much to be confused about. And while I don’t ever put my head in the sand and pretend like the world is just going along fine, there are times when it all gets so depressing that I have to stop and take a moment.
And focus on my kids.
Because I work really damn hard to clothe and feed my kids, but most importantly, I try my hardest to make sure I’m setting forth the best human beings I can onto this planet. I strive for my kids to be compassionate, thankful, gracious, and generous.
But sometimes, it seems like the world is working against me.
Again. I pause.
And I celebrate in their lives, especially as they each turn another year older.
They are alive. Happy. Not spoiled. Kind. Loving.
Not all of the time, but mostly.
Maddie, for example, just turned 14 a little over a month ago, and she is self-assured, confident, intelligent, and her beauty reaches beyond her looks. She makes me proud every day. And so we celebrate her turning one year older.
(At our annual sushi dinner. We’ve been going to this restaurant for Maddie’s birthday since she was one)
(The staff always sings her happy birthday)
(With my mom, her Nona)
(With my niece, her cousin Cate)
(With her best friend, Sadie, whose family has been coming to celebrate for years)
(Luke celebrating his sister’s birthday in his own way)
(After dinner, Maddie, S, Kirby, and I had a small dance party. Maddie was happy. She got to choose all the music)
(Good Lord, Maddie’s almost as tall as me)
Then Luke turned 5. Because he was going with his dad to Disneyland for his birthday, I planned three birthday surprises for him over a few days.
The first: a pony ride with his cousins. It was magical.
(Brushing the pony and getting ready to saddle up. He is in heaven)
(Learning how to walk with a pony.)
(Riding the pony)
(I was so happy to see him so happy.)
Second: Taking Luke to see the movie The Croods. He just loves going to the movies.
(and eating popcorn)
Finally, a pizza dinner with ice cream for dessert with some of out neighbors and our “house” family.
We didn’t end the night with a dance party, but rather a bath.
(Those gorgeous blue eyes. I melt.)
I also turned a year older–37–and spent my birthday the best way I know how.
(hiking with friends)
(Throwing a small dance party for those I love)
Another year and we all grow older. The world may be deteriorating, but in my life, at least, there is hope that I am making a difference, however small for now, and that my kids will one day also make a difference to better this earth, the people who inhabit it, and connect the bonds that hold us so tight to those that forever shall be part of our lives.
Grace. Gratitude. Peace.
We strive in this family to accomplish this daily.
Our births mean we were granted one more year to make a difference.
We are so very fortunate.