Saturday, August 17, 2013

Love the one you're with

I've noticed that sometimes I take friends that are the nicest and most supportive for granted and seek the time of the "cooler" friends that have a lot less time for me.

It's not that the cool friends don't care about me or aren't totally lovely people but they're just not the kind of friends that will be there for you not matter what.  If they have time for you, they love seeing you and are great friends but if something better comes along or things get busy, you are totally off their radar.  But somehow that makes you want them even more...they're hard to get!  So they must be awesome.  Because as we all know, the hard to get ones for some reason make us want them even more.

And what happens to the friends that are there for you?  The ones that miss you when you're gone.  The ones that call as you soon as you get back. That text you right back.  That get super excited when you have them over or agree to hang out with them because they genuinely adore and connect with you?   They're the already caught one.  And you take them for granted.  You don't get as excited about seeing them as the hard to get ones.  You don't appreciate them.  You forget how special they are and how lucky you are to have them in your life.

My advice to myself this week is to be grateful for the good ones in your life and not to chase the ones that are hard to get.  

Love the ones you're with!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Please come and visit!!!!

Hi loves - I've moved to a new site.  I decided to start a new blog mostly because the web link name I had picked, Burst of Fruit Flavor, is trademarked and I should probably not be using it.  SO I brainstormed, came up with another one I liked and created a new blog named...drum roll please....Mommy with a Cape!
I figured we all have a little super hero inside of us and since I have two boys and we're knee deep into super heros, I'd grab a cape and join the club.

I'm going to start blogging again.

I have a new post on there about feeling like an awkward teenager and would love it if you would come visit.  :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Wonder of a Tree

Our Christmas tree makes me happy.  I don't know what it is about it exactly that I like so much, the look of it or the idea of it, but it just makes things a little merrier in the house.

Maybe it's the simple idea of bring a little of the magic of the outdoors inside.  There is a TREE inside my house.  That in of itself is weird and wonderful.

On top of that, there are all these pretty colors and sparkly lights spread throughout its branches.

And finally, once you've taken in all the wonder of the tree itself your eyes slowly travel down to where mysterious boxes wrapped and tied in pretty bows are just waiting to be opened.

How fun is that?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cowards Protecting Monsters

I cried myself to sleep last night.  Not because of anything that has happened to me or my family but because of something horrible that has happened to young kids by a monster and covered up by other monsters.

I can't stop thinking about the Penn State tragedy.  That's how I see it, a tragedy.  Kids being raped and molested, people knowing about it and pushing it under the rug because of they wanted to keep their money, their power, their reputation and their status quo.  It's just disgusting.

It's really scared me about people in general.  How people that you would expect to act like decent human beings, end up acting like cowards.

How am I going to trust anyone with my two children?  How can I protect them in a world where power and money corrupts people so much that they are willing to turn a blind eye when they see such disgusting behavior?

I can't stop thinking about those poor boys.  I can't.  I just want to cry all the time thinking about the years that this happened and the number of boys that could have been saved if someone had sacrificed their job or status at this school or in this town and fought for this monster to be exposed and punished.

He preyed on vulnerable little boys.  And was protected by a system that values money, power and fame over decency.

How are we going to protect our children?  Who can we trust?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Can we get to Bieber?

Here is a great post my friend Kate wrote about her efforts to show a little girl who has endured a kind of heart break and sadness that no little girl should have to endure that good things can happen even in the midst of tragedy.  

Kate is much better at explaining the whole thing than me so I have listed her post below but in short, Margaret lost her dear brother in the Virginia floods a short time ago and one night when making a grocery list for her dad she listed meeting Justin Bieber as one of her items as joke.  Now we're determined to make her wish come true!!!

Here's Kate with instructions on how we can do that:

I have to confess - I saw pictures of Justin Bieber in US Weekly magazine long before I ever heard any of his music. And the only opinion I've ever had on his fame is that people are CRAY-CRAY with all of that hate/death to Bieber stuff. He's just a kid! So weird...

But lately I've been thinking a lot about JB. 

I read this post last Friday on An Inch of Gray, and for the very first time wished that I had some Justin Bieber connections. Did you read that post? No? Do that now, then come back.

After reading that, I did something that took very little effort. I sent a few tweets to my small list of followers.

I'm going to be very honest. That was all I had planned to do. I generally assume that I'm not important enough to ask for special favors. From anyone really. I just thought I'd put it out there and someone else might make something happen.

And I'm going to be even more honest. I never really believed that anything would come of it. Because I don't believe in magic. I don't believe in miracles. I say I do - and I want to - but in the darkest places of my heart, I'm a pessimist. I don't believe that the impossible can happen. It can't right?  Isn't that what "impossible" means?

But then I kept reading the comments about people e-mailing Ellen and tweeting Usher. I saw people talking about it on Twitter. I saw FaceBook posts. So I thought I'd make one more weak gesture and e-mailed a list of friends and contacts that Anna and I share. I asked them to check out her post if they hadn't already seen it - and to work every contact they might have (since Anna and I know some well connected people...)

And strangely enough, they weren't nearly as pessimistic about the idea as I was. They were excited (actually using words like "exciting"). They really thought Justin Bieber reaching out to Margaret was possible.

This humbled me. I was ashamed to have made such a passive effort to help. To assume defeat before even trying. 

And as a just punishment, one of the Project Bieber enthusiasts (Loukia) sent me an e-mail address for Eric Alper, someone she knows in "the industry." Like she expected ME to make something happen. I don't think I've ever made anything happen in my entire life - life happens TO me.

This had me reeling. But what could I do? I sent him an e-mail. Here is what I wrote:

Hi Eric!

Thank you so much for forwarding your e-mail.

I've never actually tried to get in touch with a pop star on behalf of a ten year old girl I'm not sure where to start... But here is a brief overview:

I made a dear friend through blogging over the past few years named Anna Donaldson. On September 8th, she lost her twelve year old son, Jack in the DC area floods. Here is a link to the Washington Post article.

While Anna's blog was semi-anonymous and had a small following, the media coverage (and social media coverage: blog posts and tweets linking the story to her blog) more or less outed her. This ended up being an unexpected blessing in that her family found great comfort in the outpouring of supportive comments and e-mails.

The main thing that has been keeping Anna and her husband alive over the past few weeks though, is their daughter Margaret. They want to do everything they can to help her through this horrible time and ensure a happy future for her.

I think they have every reason to expect that this is possible since Margaret has amazing strength of character. She's a fighter. And at only ten years old, she's managed to make her parents laugh every day - when all they really want to do is cry. Anna has shared a couple of these moments on her blog. And today she posted a picture of a list Margaret wrote for her father to take to the store. As you can see, she jokingly mentioned Justin Bieber.

But it made a lot of us think. Why not ask? Who knows - maybe if someone knew someone who knew someone... Maybe he really would do something to acknowledge Margaret and give her something to feel happy about during the absolute worst month of her life. It would be something for her to hold onto - proof that good things happen too. And while no celebrity in the world could possibly make up for this terrible loss, it's the unexpected moments of happiness that get them through the day. My guess is that any attention from Justin Bieber could get Margaret through the week...

She's an extraordinary little girl. But she's also just a little girl grieving the loss of her brother and best friend. She has plenty of spunk and the resilience of youth. But she is getting through this one day at a time, just like her parents.

I'd like to help. And if that means writing fan mail to Justin Bieber (I mean - I'm almost 40!) I'll do it. I'll follow up on any lead and e-mail any stranger - including you!

So thank you for taking the time to listen and help if you can. If you can't - I understand. I have no idea who knows who in this industry. But I so appreciate your willingness to listen.

Hope to hear from you soon,

-Kate Coveny Hood

Eric was lovely about it. He replied right away and was both kind and honest. He said he would make sure that JB's management and PR people would read my message, but "what happens after that is magic really."

Oh. Magic.

So this is where I typically call it a day. I don't believe in magic, right? But here's the thing - the fact that this e-mail exchange actually happened felt pretty extraordinary to me.

The fact that a friend e-mailed me to say she has a famous Twitter friend who might be able to help. 

The fact that another friend has connections to a babysitter as well as other possible contacts.

The fact that a non-blogging friend commented on my FaceBook post that she has a friend who knows Justin Bieber and will talk to him.

The fact that people are doing things. They're making things happen. It feels maybe just a little magical to me.

So I'm not giving up. Instead, I'm writing this. And not because I think it's enough (it's not) - but it's a start. Someone who reads it might know someone who knows someone...

And even if that's not you - you can still help. You can talk about it. Maybe if enough voices are out there... 

So here is what everyone who reads this should do:

1. Follow @JBLiftMargaret (J and M's Auntie: hoping to lift up Margaret. Her big brother died on Sept 8 in VA flooding. She'd love to meet Justin Bieber! Please help bring her a smile!!

2. Tell all of your Twitter contacts to do the same.
3. Tweet about it.
4. RT any other tweets you see about it

(okay - you get the idea...they need more followers)
5. Do whatever you can to get the word out on FaceBook. I'm somewhat FB challenged - so you will have to ask others for specific advice on this...
6. Blog about it (why not? I did)
7. E-mail Ellen (I haven't done that yet - but I will in a minute)
8. E-mail everyone you know. You never know who they know...
9. Anything else? Please leave suggestions in comments.

The reason I included the text of that e-mail I wrote above is that I'm now considering it an open letter to everyone who might possibly be able to help. A "Dear Sir or Madam." Like a letter to the universe (blogosphere?) 

I still feel the limitations of "impossible"...I don't believe in magic or miracles. But I do believe in people. And I believe in you. Us. We. And there's a lot of possibility there. 

I also believe in Margaret. For her sake alone I'll try to believe that nothing about this is impossible. So if you have any magic up your sleeve, please help. Add your voice. And you never know - maybe we really can make a difference.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Forever and ever

Last night, after I read my six-year-old son his bedtime story and tucked him into his bed, he said in a whisper, "mommy, is it better to be alive or dead?"  

I was taken aback by the question as I sat next to him in the dark.  I didn't want to say something that would scare him about death but also not something that would diminish how precious life is so I said "it's better to be alive because you get to be with your family."  He thought about it for a minute and then said "I have one wish that I really want to come true....I want to live forever."

I didn't know how to respond.  None of us will live forever my love, I wanted to say but instead I kissed his head and said "no matter where you are, mommy will always be with you, forever and ever."  He turned around and looked at me and said, "even in heaven?"  

"Yes, even in heaven."

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Unimaginable

I had just flown back into town and was excited about turning my iPhone on to get all the e-mails that I couldn't check while traveling for what seemed like an eternity.  I had been in Europe for a family wedding.  As I sat in the airport shuttle, I watched the pinwheel of my phone work hard to pull up the e-mails that had been waiting to come in to my inbox.  And finally there they were.  I scanned through and noticed one from a dear friend titled "our friend Anna's son."

I couldn't have imagined the tragedy that would be revealed inside.  I opened it.  Read it.  And then read it again and again as my heart sank and my breath held.  How could that happen?  Could my friend be wrong about what happened.  Then I read all the follow up e-mails wishing someone would say something about a mistake or that by some miracle Anna's 12 year-old son had actually survived.  But all the e-mails expressed the same thing...sorrow, sadness and heartbreak for this a wonderful woman and her dear family.

As the tears flowed I kept trying to make sense of why this would happen.  How this could happen.  But mostly I thought of the unimaginable grief that Anna and her family were going through right now.  That 's what it is, unimaginable, the kind of grief that a parent must feel when they lose a child.

Even the idea of it is terrifying let alone the reality.

I went to her blog to see if there was any information about how we in the blog community could help and I saw that her last post was about the kids first day of school and there he was, her beautiful son dressed for the 7th grade.  My heart stood still looking at his image.  What could I possibly do to help this amazing mother with her unimaginable grief?  There was nothing I could think of that could come to close to being appropriate or helpful.  So I said nothing.  I felt paralyzed by the tragedy.

Then I got an e-mail from my friend, Kate, that talked about using words.  The same way that we had come to know Anna and she us, through our blogs.  And it felt right and appropriate.

Sorry doesn't begin to express how much sorrow I feel for the tragedy that Anna and her family are enduring.

But that is what I am, sorry that they have to go through this madness, sorry that a beautiful life had to leave this earth so early, sorry that the waters of that creek were so strong that they could take him from his family and friends, sorry for the incredible pain that his friends and family will have to endure, and sorry that their life had to change forever.

The light around this darkness may be that this family is surrounded and loved by their community and friends, that this beautiful boy's soul will be in peace, and that life and love will help this family go on and be happy again.

UPDATED: Please visit the blog of our mutual friend Kate, to see others who have been moved to write for or about Anna. 

AND: If you would like to do something in the way of a donation, I have heard that the family has requested they be made to Samaritan's Purse.