Yikes, I only have 13 of these left!

I was casually reading a parenting magazine the other day when I saw this, “You only get 18 summers. Make them great.” It was an advertisement for summer camp beckoning parents to get their child in on the big fun. Then it started to sink in; 18 summers. My mind quickly flashed to graduation caps and ceremonies; barbecue, friends, family, laughter and celebrations.

“Daddy,” Jessa yelled to Lamar when he came into the house. “Guess what I got?” “What?” he answered fully engaged. “A kite!” she answered with a twinkle in her eye. With that, the event was set in motion.

Our summers around here can be a little crazy. Mainly because Juliana has to adapt to a new routine and more downtime. If you’ve been following my blog a while, you may remember my ugh! ugh! ugh! post. But this year, she will once again attend a camp she loves and it makes the days better when there is less idle time. After reading that ad, my perspective about our summers started to change. Eighteen is not a lot when compared to a lifetime of summers.

If you’re reading this post around the Memorial Day weekend, you may be gearing up for a cookout, finishing up a graduation celebration or taking a moment to remember those who have died in service to our country. For me, there is so much nostalgia this time of year. Graduation banners and flags fill my neighborhood. It gives me reason to pause, ponder and smile.

This pre-summer season we had countless friends celebrate as their teenagers finished high school in prep for their next chapters. “It goes fast. Enjoy it while you can,” they warn. Yes, I listen when people tell us this. But something about the 18-year ad stuck hard with me, making me realize that we are already down to 13 summers. We better really make ’em count!

So, the other day when we hit the dollar store for our annual “summer-toys-shopping-spree,” I wanted to make sure that we made an extra memory of it this year and Jessa played right into it. “Daddy,” Jessa yelled to Lamar when he came into the house. “Guess what I got?” “What?” he answered fully engaged. “A kite!” she answered with a twinkle in her eye. With that, the event was set in motion. We all barreled to the front door with Jessa’s dollar store kite gripped tight to make a sail. For some reason, it was really windy that day. And for the first time ever, Jessa flew a kite. Not wimpy like a first-timer. Really high, like a pro!

“Enjoy it while you can,” friends say. Yeah, I hear ya and I’m all over it. Summer #5 is already starting out beautifully.

Race Day!

The pictures tell the story better than any words could. We had an AWESOME morning at the 2017 Angelman Syndrome Walk. Thanks again to all who donated to the Angelman Syndrome Foundation and came out to cheer, run and support Juliana. Your donations do make a difference! Special places like this exist because of funding from the Angelman Syndrome Foundation.

Daddy daughter running duo.

A super, big kiss for her teacher.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See her shoe? Angels really do have wings.

Juliana with her VIPs–her teacher and the teaching assistant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And we all gave a big CHEESE. Great smiles for a great day!

The Celebrity Living on My Street

Shhhhhh! 

As quiet as it’s kept, there’s a celebrity living in my neighborhood. Yes, I know you are racking your brain to see if you recognize her from the photo above. And the second thought is “What celebrity would live in a middle-class suburb of Atlanta?”

Okay, so it’s like I made you look. Or read in this case. But I’m not fibbing because MzStefanny AKA Ms. Stephanie is a real, live celebrity in our house. She is our sweet neighbor who Jessa deems a VIP and she’s a household name that is spoken all the time. For the sake of Mother’s Day and all, I think she passes muster for the definition of a celebrity.

Ms. Stephanie is here! Ms. Stephanie is here! are real words shouted numerous times in our house throughout the week.

We’re not really into pop culture around here. I don’t know if Jessa could NAME a celebrity; unless Doc McStuffins or Princess Sofia count. But if you ask her what Cocoa (Ms. Stephanie’s dog) is up to; or what Ms. Stephanie did on her vacation, she could give you vivid details. Seeing Ms. Stephanie through my daughter’s eyes has taught me a lesson in motherhood and the importance of a sweet, simple relationship that helps my daughter blossom.

You see, Ms. Stephanie is the type of icon that I WANT my daughter to admire. This is a woman who works hard to take care of her own family, and then finds the time to help nurture mine. On any given day, you may find the two of them casually strolling down the street. Jessa gives Ms. Stephanie an earful of kindergarten happenings as they walk Cocoa or meet her daughter at the bus stop. She showers Jessa with treats and surprises JUST BECAUSE.

“Ms. Stephanie is here! Ms. Stephanie is here!” are real words shouted numerous times in our house throughout the week. Jessa can see her through the front window and can hardly contain her excitement when she encounters a sighting. Lamar and I take it in stride, and if we are not too busy, we stop to join in on the viewing with something like “Yes, Jessa it looks like Ms. Stephanie is mowing the grass.” Or “Yes, Jessa Ms. Stephanie is getting her groceries out of the car.” There’s no paparazzi following Ms. Stephanie when she’s doing these everyday things. But, to our 5-year-old, she is witnessing her hero in action!

I’m glad when she does. Their relationship has become a constant and I feel good knowing that Jessa has another woman in her life to love her, listen to her and encourage her. Now I’m not knocking celebrities of any genre; film, music or athletics. My heart is happy knowing that my 5-year-old is not taken away by someone rich or famous; but someone who is pouring into her life in such a small but impactful way.

Is there a Ms. Stephanie in your neighborhood? Or perhaps YOU are the Ms. Stephanie on your street. Whatever the case, let’s make sure to celebrate moms and women everywhere who make our lives and world a better place.

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