As a mom I am constantly hugging and kissing my son even though he already acts like a teenager and won’t allow me to kiss him very much. There are still a few special times where he is really huggy like after a bath, early in the morning, or after he gets hurt, but he never wants me to kiss him very much anymore. I was sad about this at first and as an alternative I usually make a game out of it where I tell him I’m gonna steal kisses or I tickle him and kiss him, but he recently taught me an important lesson regarding how we express love. Kissing is one very important and popular way that we express love but not everyone is comfortable with it. I know some people who don’t like kissing in public for instance. I always knew that but one night, Griffin reminded me that there are other ways to express love.
About a year ago, I told him that when we are holding hands and I squeeze his hand 3 times it means that I love him. So, for about a year now we have this little thing where I squeeze his hand 3 times and then he squeezes mine back 3 times. I love this of course but recently he took it to the next level and it melted my heart. I was putting him to bed one night and he said, “Mommy, when I hold your hand hearts go from inside of me into you and to your heart”. This was the sweetest thing he had ever said to me. Now, sometimes he will remind me to hold his hand before bed so that I can get his hearts. This made me realize that I don’t need to be upset that he won’t let me kiss him much anymore and reminded me that love can be expressed in any way you choose to express it. In this case, Griffin was creative enough to assert that his hearts flowing into me show me the love that he feels for me. I will take that any day over a kiss!
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When I was 9 years old we moved from Los Angeles, California to the then tiny city of Gainesville, Florida. My mom knew it would be best for me to be raised in a safer city that was more family oriented so we moved here where my grandparents lived and started a new life. I had a hard time adjusting to my new school and a hard time making friends, but my mom asked me if I wanted to play softball one day and I said yes. I thank God that I said yes because it gave me the confidence that I needed to make a smooth transition. I had always been pretty athletic as a tomboy and one day the coach asked, “who wants to be the pitcher?”. I had no idea how to pitch but I raised my hand for some reason and before I knew it, not to brag, I was one of the best pitchers in the city league. Nobody asked me to raise my hand and nobody pressured me but something inside of me told me I could put myself out there and do it. I have always been proud of that and wondered why kids have such bravery but adults seem to have more hesitation to take risks? The answer is simple but I digress.
Enter my son Griffin. Yesterday he was playing in his 2nd soccer game ever. He was diligently chasing after the ball as directed by his coach but in the middle of one of the plays he says to the coach, “I want to be the goalie”. Now, he had never played goalie before, nor had he expressed an interest, but right there, in the middle of the field, he ‘raised his hand’ just like I did when I was 9. I was so proud. Not only did he play goalie but he played it so well and with such dedication. He blocked a few goals and was so proud of himself.
To answer my question from earlier I feel that adults are scared to ‘raise their hands’ and take a risk because we have been tainted by our lives and taught to fear change and new situations. Children, like me when I was 9, and Griffin, have no fear. Kids are a blank slate and typically haven’t been faced with situations that create fear or reluctance to new challenges. My son ‘raised his hand’ yesterday and I am so proud and reminded that I can still raise mine when I need to.
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Everyday when Griffin goes to his summer camp at Open Arms preschool,
his teacher, who is also the incredible director of the school, asks
him to sign in. She is pretty creative so she doesn’t just ask the
kids to sign their names, but she has them answer a yes or no question
and sign either on the “No” sheet or the “Yes” sheet. Most days it is
something simple like, “did you brush your teeth” or “do you have any
pets” but this past week she was asking them if they liked the Magic
School Bus or if they wanted certain characters to teach class that
day. I really appreciate her creativity here but we all know that this
is just the beginning of the requirement to “sign in” or put yourself
into a category everywhere you go. I’m not upset by her activity but
I’m just saying it made me think.
Now, I know my son, and I know he doesn’t dislike the Magic School Bus
but when asked if he liked it he signed “no”. It’s not the fact that
he signed no that made me think, but more importantly it was HOW he
signed no. He walked over to the sign in sheets, asked me which sheet
was the ‘no’ sheet, and while signing his name he giggled and gave me
his mischievous smile. He and one other child signed “no”. The “yes”
sheet was filled with names just like every other day. He did this a
few days in a row and it made me realize something. Even though I knew
Griffin was being somewhat rebellious by signing no to questions just
for the sake of signing no, I realized that he was trying to express
his individuality. He didn’t want to be like everyone else even though
his answer would typically be yes to most of those questions.
As parents who have been raised in a society that many times frowns
upon being different, our gut instinct is to encourage our kids to
follow the crowd. I even had to stop myself when I wanted to question
Griffin’s choice to sign no. Thankfully I didn’t discourage him and
his “rebellion” reminded me that it’s ok to choose the path less
traveled and it’s imperative that I foster his individuality and
creativity. Do YOU like the Magic School Bus?
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Posted in Change, tagged Change, Children, Griffin on July 26, 2010|
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As you can see I enjoy my corn!
My son is with his daddy in Virginia Beach visiting his grandma DeeDee and of course I miss him like crazy. We talk almost every day and some days he is more in the mood to talk than others since he is so busy there. The other day was my favorite phone call of this trip though and he managed to remind me of a very important life lesson all the way from Virginia. He called me just to tell me that he now likes corn on the cob with those “thingies” (corn cob holders) on the end. Not only did he call me to tell me this because I have tried to get him to eat corn before and he refused, but he called me because he was so proud of himself. To adults, eating corn may not seem that exciting, but to me hearing the enthusiasm in his voice as he told me he “likes corn now” made me realize something.
First, everything my son does amazes me and is incredibly adorable but that’s a given. Second, and most importantly, it’s the little achievements in life that make life so great. And, embracing change is a huge part of that. Children are often hard to please when it comes to eating and even though my son eats most other vegetables, I have struggled with corn for quite some time now and had figured he’d like it in time. But Griffin wasn’t just proud that he likes corn now, it was more about the fact that he had faced a challenge in his eyes and conquered it. We often look at small things and think they are impossible or too difficult. To Griffin, the corn seemed impossible and he didn’t want to try it yet. To him trying it was an accomplishment that he knew I’d be proud of, so he thought to call me and tell me. Of course, I told him how excited I was for him as he reiterated that he only likes it with the “thingies” on the end. LOL! So, off to the store I go to get the “thingies” as I remember to embrace change and face my challenges by EATING MY CORN!
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I am starting this blog to help others. I want to use the lessons I learn from my son and my daily life to inspire others, especially women. I have had my share of challenges throughout my life and in time will share those experiences, but after having a son for the last 5 years, I believe that we can learn so much from the way that children see the world. Not all of my posts will be about Griffin and his insights but what I plan to do is use some of his famous and funny quotes to teach an important or fun lesson that we can use as adults on our journey through life. I hope to inspire others and help them through their lives with my stories.
We have a unique family life so I will also be expressing my thoughts and feelings about that. My husband and I have two homes right now. We have a home in Vero Beach, FL where he has a successful dental practice, and a home in Gainesville, FL where my son’s father lives. In an effort to keep our family “intact” after my divorce and then re-marriage to my amazing husband Patrick, we negotiated with my ex-husband to practice rotating custody of our son. So, one week, I live in Vero Beach with my husband and teach myself how to cook and aspire to become a domestic Goddess. I plan to share some of that as I go as well. The next week, I live in our Gainesville house with my son Griffin who attends school in Gainesville. The week we I am with my son, Patrick comes to Gainesville from Thursday to Sunday and spends the weekend with us in Gainesville. Why can’t Patrick just move to Gainesville you ask? Well his practice is housed in a brand new building and it is not the right time for him to leave it, nor will it be in the next few years. So, in four years, my ex-husband will move to our area and all of us will live in the Vero Beach area. He is staying in Gainesville until his older son, Cooper graduates high school in 2014. Sound complicated? Well, we make it work, and we are happy! And, my son has 3 parents who adore him and I pray every day that years from now he will understand why we did what we did for him.
Enjoy my journey!!!
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