Friday, December 30, 2005
Emma Sage and I were sitting at the little pizza pavillion having a slice [upon her sweet demand while passing the pizza joint "Mommy, I hungry, I get pizza pleassssssssse!....and who could refuse a demand as sweet as that!?!]
A young couple walks by our table to empty their tray in the garbage container not too far from our table.....
Miss Emma Sage gets a huge smile on her face and catches the attention of the young man...who smiles back at her.
"What's your name?" Emma Sage asks.
"Chris"....replies the young man "What is yours?"
"Emma Sage...xxxxx" proudly replies Emma Sage
"Hi~Hello" the young man and woman.
"How old are you?" asks the young woman
"I four" ~putting up four fingers~ exclaims ES......"Four and a half" she adds.
awwwweee....the couple say....
"You five?" asks Emma Sage of the young man.....who chuckles....."Five plus some" he adds.
"I be five on my birthday" states Emma Sage [so very proudly]
"You a Daddy?" she asks......whereas the young couple giggle lightly with that look of young lovers and say "No, not yet!"
"Bye" ..........they say [and you are just to darn cute,,,,they add] and
"Bye.......blows them a big kisss" responds Miss Emma Sage.
I just smiled the whole time as my little girl had her own sweet conversation at the mall this evening.
This is my most favorite photo......it brings me such peace and joy to know that these are two of my blessings and that I was able to capture such a magical moment between sisters on film.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
I have repeatedly seen the breakdown of the cost of raising a child, but this is the first time I have seen the rewards listed this way.
It's really neat!!
The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140 for a middle income family.
Talk about sticker shock!
That doesn't even touch college tuition.
But $160,140 isn'tso bad if you break it down.
It translates into:
* $8,896.66 a year,
* $741.38 a month,
or* $171.08 a week.
* That's a mere $24.24 a day!
* Just over a dollar an hour.
Still, you might think the best financial advice is don't have children if you want to be "rich."
Actually, it is just the opposite.
What do you get for your $160,140?
* Naming rights
* Glimpses of God every day.
* Giggles under the covers every night.
* More love than your heart can hold.
* Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.
* Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, & warm cookies
* A hand to hold, usually covered with jelly or chocolate
* A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites, building sand castles, and skipping down the sidewalk in the pouring rain.
* Someone to laugh yourself silly with, no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day.
For $160,140, you never have to grow up.
You get to:
* carve pumpkins,
* play hide-and-seek,
* catch lightning bugs, and
* never stop believing in Santa Claus.
You have an excuse to:
* keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh,
* watching Saturday morning cartoons,
* going to Disney movies, and
* wishing on stars.
You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother's Day, and cards with backward letters for Father's Day.
For $160,140, there is no greater bang for your buck.
You get to be a hero just for:
* retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof
,* taking the training wheels off a bike,
* removing a splinter,
* filling a wading pool,
* coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and
* coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.
You get a front row seat to history to witness the:
* first step,
* first word,
* first bra,
* first date, and
* first time behind the wheel.
You get to be immortal. You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren and great grandchildren.
You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match.
In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there under God.
You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground themforever, and love them without limits, so one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost.
That is quite a deal for the price!!!!!!!
Love & enjoy your children & grandchildren!!!!!!!
What a bargain ! ! !
I went for a walk in the rain today....to reflect on this special day, the anniversary of the day of my brother Kenny's birth. He would have been 41 years old today and I miss him dearly.
Kenny passed away tragically a week after Emma Sage was born....I so wish he had gotten the chance to meet her and watch her grow up. Kenny always loved the 'underdog' and he would have cherished this little girl of mine.
This picture symbolizes your spirit Kenny......Happy Birthday!
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there,
I do not sleep;
I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glint on the snow; I am the sunlight on ripened grain; I am the gentle rain.
When you waken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave. I am not there. I did not die.
For everything beautiful that you see will bring a memory of me.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
"I walk in nature still alone
And know no one
Discern no lineament nor feature
Of any creature
Though all the firmament
Is o'er me bent,
Yet still I miss the grace
Of an intelligent and kindred face.
I still must seek the friend
Who does with nature blend,
Who is the person in her mask,
He is the man I ask.
Who is the expression of her meaning,
Who is the uprightness of her leaning,
Who is the grown child of her weaning
The center of this world,
The face of nature
The site of human life,
Some sure foundation
And nucleus of a nation~
At least a private station.
We twain would walk together
Through every weather,
And see this aged nature,
Go with a bending stature."
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
by Emily Perl Kingsley
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability- to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this...
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip -to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
" Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills... and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy...and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ...about Holland.
Reprinted with permission from Emily Perl Kinglsey. 1987 copyright by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved.
These truly are the most precious of times....simple, pleasurable outings.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
We saw 'The Ringer' today as a family [a Christmas Movie tradition at our house on the years we are home celebrating and not traveling] and I have to tell you we rated it............all thumbs up!
I thought it was great [theme, plot, dialog, action] [[not the greatest in cinematography, but I'm not a film critique, so I will leave those details to the professionals]]
It was exactly my kind of movie......comical with romance and a profound human message.
I laughed, I cried, I cringed in pain on a few of the antics of Johnny Knoxville,,,,,but mostly I laughed and laughed and fell madly in love with every character [except Uncle Gary, who actually was not that bad of a guy,,,,his disability came out very clear in the movie].
'The Ringer' in my eyes is a wonderful comedy with a valuable lesson. I just adored it and I hope that many, many people get a chance to see it and also fall in love with the characters and maybe at the same time become enlightened to the *message* that we are all human beings and are all part of society..........and laughter is the greatest gift we can share with each other.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Santa Claus has made his trip to our home. Emma Sage has been just besides herself in anticipation of the Jolly Fellows arrival. She came home tonight from my sisters Christmas Eve celebration and excitedly got out the carrots and apples for the reindeer and cookies and milk for Santa and she and Otto wrote a little note to Santa [and Emma Sage proudly signed her name!] and then quickly got washed and dressed in PJs and a kiss and a hug and she was off to sleep! Tomorrow morning looks like it will be a magical day for my sweet little girl and her siblings. [Except for Katrina since she is far away from home this Christmas....and we miss her dearly!]
Friday, December 23, 2005
and of coarse.....a day out alone shopping, in 47 degree weather on the 23rd of December calls for a stop at Pizza Como for a slice of the best pizza in New Jersey [it must be true as it says so on the wall! lol!].....Actually, Pizza Como is owned by a dear friend of mine, Louie Guliano and his family, and I've been eating Pizza Como pizza since I was 10 years old. At one point in my life, Louie was engaged to marry my bestest friend, but as fate would have it, the marraige never occured. It was wonderful to see Mrs. Guliano and Beena and Louie and his beautiful wife today....and the pizza was truly out of this world [and I know Pizza from living in NYC and Brooklyn,,,,this is good pizza!]
Guess where I was at 4:36pm today......enjoying a beautiful afternoon shopping amongst the quaint and delightful shops of Main Street, Clinton. I have been shopping here since I was a young girl...I would ride my bike the five miles to town when I was a young girl to find the perfect gift for my siblings and parents....and today I shop because I hate malls and I want to support local businesses. If you are ever in New Jersey, you really must spend an afternoon strolling the Town of Clinton.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Look what we got to see today....three big turkeys walking across the yard. The children and I went to 'skate' on the pond and came across this group of travlers...who seemed to be looking for water as they ended up at one of the springs on our property. It was so neat to watch their movements....Emma Sage got a tickle out of this bird parade.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Babs Miller was bagging some early potatoes for me. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily appraising a basket of freshly picked green peas. I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas.....I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes.
Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller and the ragged boy next to me.
"Hello Barry, how are you today?"
"H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas . sure look good."
"They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?"
"Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time."
"Good. Anything I can help you with?"
"No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas."
"Would you like to take some home?"
"No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with. "
"Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?"
"All I got's my prize marble here."
"Is that right? Let me see it."
"Here 'tis. She's a dandy."
"I can see that. Hmmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?"
"Not zackley . but almost."
"Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble."
"Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller."
Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said, "There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, perhaps."
I left the stand smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado, but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering.
Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his viewing that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them.
Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could. Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts .......... all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband's casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket....
Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.
Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and mentioned the story she had told me about the marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket. ......"Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about! They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim "traded" them.
Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size............ they came to pay their debt."
"We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world," she confided, "but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho." With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.
Moral: We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds.
Here is another commentary regarding the new movie 'The Ringer'.
I found this to be a great commentary and my hopes are that I leave the movie with the same insight as Don Oldenburg of the Washington Post.
We are planning on going to see the movie on Christmas Day [a new tradition of ours, since Rick travels so much, that we make our once-a-year-together-as-a-family-movie-outing on Christmas Day, after presents, church, breakfast.....movie....then dinner, then visiting with neighbors for dessert and drinks].
So look for my *movie review* someday on the 26th!
Monday, December 19, 2005
As a mother, woman, friend, advocate and human being, I thank you Jenna Glatzer for starting this pledge and my hopes and dreams are that your advocacy reaches millions and millions of people.........to help people realize that the words we use truly does matter.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Joel Stein, Breaking the last laugh barrier, December 13, 200...............LAUGHING AT people with mental disabilities, I vaguely remember being told as a child, was wrong. I didn't ask a lot of questions about this rule............
I remember being told the same thing.............actually, I remember being told that laughing about race, creed, disabilities, etc. was not funny and offensive, and I just don't laugh at or participate in mean, hurtful jokes [they are just not funny to me].
But everyday I laugh at the antics of a very funny, comical, improvisational.............and extremely witty four year old who also happens to have a mental disability [or so we are told she has because of her extra chromosome on her 21st pair ~ but to us it really isn't apparent that our daughter is 'retarded...............she is just Emma Sage, although the outside world is quick to label her as such].
So here is my quagmire,,,,,,,,I laugh with and at my daughter [the one labeled with a disability by society].................I laugh with and at all of my children when they are being funny and comical. I don't see a line of distinction between 'Nini' who is so much like Emma Sage in the way they love to make jokes..............the two of them are like 'Lucy and Ethel' [see picture below] and this commentary has me thinking about myself and my daughter.
I am planning on going to see 'The Ringer' on Christmas day.....and I plan on laughing if it is funny, not because I see some of the actors and actresses as having a disability and thus the reason to laugh at/with them......I will laugh if it is comical, just as I do for all comedy that tickles my funny-bone.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Otto and Emma Sage and sitting at the table having a snack and chatting with me. Otto tells me that he loves school,,,,to which Emma Sage pipes in and says.
"I love school too!"
I reply,,,,,"You do,,,,that is great, Why?"
and Emma Sage continues "I love school, everyone waves and says 'Hi Emma Sage, Hi Emma, Hi Emma Sage"" as she procedes to show us with her little hand up waving at people and saying the 'hi!'
too cute, she loves school because everyone is friendly to her and says hello! [which is such a wonderful and delightful thing!]
"Mommy, we go see Baby Griffin?" asks Emma Sage
[It has been so bitter cold so our walks are not towards the graveyard and not as often as when the weather is good]
"Ok, we can go later when we go out in the car"
"No Mommy, I walk to heaven and see GOD and Griffin"
[this just melts my heart because she is still so aware of her Aunts loss and she truly believes that the graveyard is Heaven and that GOD is right there with Baby Griffin ~ which I believe is true]
At the 'Make-it and Take-it' last weekend.
Greta is walking Emma Sage to the bathroom and a group of girls are in the hallway and see them approaching them.
Greta says she hears:
"Look, there is Otto's little sister, she 'smiles' for Toys R Us".........a few whispers and looks and then "and look how beautiful his big sister is..........I bet you she 'smiles' for Toys R Us too!"
[How cute is that..........my little girl is a famous model 'smiler' in our community!]
Our days have been filled with such joy and happiness. Emma Sage is loving Christmas and the decorating and music and baking. She has been just so giddy & giggly & and singing non-stop.....and watching the 'Polar Express' with wide-eyes and expression [she knows all the lines and songs and comments right along with the movie and sings 'Hot Chocolate' with such gusto! ~~not to mention all the tap dancing she does along with it!!!! ]
This child is just so magical and brings such joy to my heart! We are truly blessed by the grace that is Miss Emma Sage!