Archive | December, 2012
17 Dec

“Someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside of your body all the time, walking around. With their very first cry, this most precious, vital part of ourselves – our child – is suddenly exposed to the world, to possible mishap or malice. And every parent knows there is nothing we will not do to shield our children from harm. And yet, we also know that with that child’s very first step, and each step after that, they are separating from us; that we won’t – that we can’t always be there for them. They’ll suffer sickness and setbacks and broken hearts and disappointments. And we learn that our most important job is to give them what they need to become self-reliant and capable and resilient, ready to face the world without fear.

“And we know we can’t do this by ourselves. It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize, no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself. That this job of keeping our children safe, and teaching them well, is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community, and the help of a nation. And in that way, we come to realize that we bear a responsibility for every child because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours; that we’re all parents; that they’re all our children.

“This is our first task – caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged…

All the world’s religions – so many of them represented here today – start with a simple question: Why are we here? What gives our life meaning? What gives our acts purpose? We know our time on this Earth is fleeting. We know that we will each have our share of pleasure and pain; that even after we chase after some earthly goal, whether it’s wealth or power or fame, or just simple comfort, we will, in some fashion, fall short of what we had hoped. We know that no matter how good our intentions, we will all stumble sometimes, in some way. We will make mistakes, we will experience hardships. And even when we’re trying to do the right thing, we know that much of our time will be spent groping through the darkness, so often unable to discern God’s heavenly plans.

“There’s only one thing we can be sure of, and that is the love that we have – for our children, for our families, for each other. The warmth of a small child’s embrace – that is true. The memories we have of them, the joy that they bring, the wonder we see through their eyes, that fierce and boundless love we feel for them, a love that takes us out of ourselves, and binds us to something larger – we know that’s what matters. We know we’re always doing right when we’re taking care of them, when we’re teaching them well, when we’re showing acts of kindness. We don’t go wrong when we do that.

“That’s what we can be sure of.”

– President Barack Obama, in his memorial service address in Newtown, Connecticut honoring the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting

A Letter to My Children- On Love and Marriage

14 Dec

An and Sarah

My Darlings,

There are so many things I want to tell you guys about love and marriage and dating and relationships.  The majority of it I won’t.  Not until you ask me for advice.  Because really, most of these things are lessons that have to be learned and not taught. But there are some things that you should know, that I feel are important enough to tell you without you asking me.

And one of those things is about marriage and making sure that you marry the perfect person for you.  (Note that I said perfect for you, not perfect.)

I hear people say all the time “marriage is hard work.”   A friend or stranger will say it in a group setting and the other people there will smile and nod and agree.  People will write articles about it, make movies about it, discuss it on television shows.  It seems as if a lot of people out there are working hard at their marriages.  With the divorce statistics what they are now maybe people either aren’t working hard enough or the work they would have to put in was worth less than the payoff they got for doing the work.  But my personal opinion is that those people married the wrong person.  They married into a relationship where work was needed.

When people say “marriage is hard work” I honestly have no idea what they’re talking about.  I rarely tell them that because I’m afraid it will come off as bragging about my own relationship.  But the truth is that being married to your dad is the easiest thing that I have in my life.

Don’t get me wrong, the life that you build together is hard work.  Once you’re married and have a home and a family there is definitely work to be done.  A lot of work.  The nuts and bolts stuff like finances, house maintenance, schedules, careers, raising children.  That stuff is tough, and tedious, and hard, and can definitely be overwhelming.  But that is life stuff.  Adult life is hard work. Marriage shouldn’t be.

From the moment that I met your dad, our relationship was easy.  I can count on one hand the number of real arguments that we’ve had in the almost thirteen years that we’ve been together.  I think one of the reasons we don’t really get into any fights is because it’s so easy to talk to each other that nothing ever really has the opportunity to get pent up and escalate into a major blowout.  Communicating with him is easy and it always has been.

There are a number of reasons that your dad and I find being in a relationship with each other so easy.  It helps us that we’re both people who “don’t sweat the small stuff.”  And that we’re best friends who are also in love with each other.  And we’ve always made spending time together a priority.  And we’re each other’s biggest cheerleaders.  A win for one of us has always been a win for both.  We’re definitely a team.

But I think the number one reason it comes so easy to us has nothing to do with our behaviors.  It just has to do with the fact that we just naturally work really well together. Like a chemical bond you combine the two of us individually to make a stronger unit.

I want that for each of you too.  I want you to marry and be with a person who makes the relationship with them easy.

I think you can fall in love over and over in your life.  But being in love with someone doesn’t mean that they are the perfect person for you.  If loving someone is hard, move on.  And when you find that special person that makes loving them so easy and natural, hold on.

Choose your partners in life wisely.  And don’t be afraid to wait for the person that is perfect for you.  I can assure you, it will be worth it.  Because even if your adult life is hard work (and it will be) if your marriage isn’t then everything else will seem manageable.

I love you all so, so much.




Life Mantra

12 Dec

“Just be nice!”

– Maddie, while the kids were arguing in the car this morning

11 Dec

The caption for this pic of Cammie and Emmy taken this weekend should be this conversation between Tony and Anthony’s cousin Maria:

Tony: Are we friends?

Maria: We’re family.

Tony: But, are we friends?

Maria: We’re cousins.  That’s even better.*

*Except you girls ARE actually friends too.  The very, very best of friends in fact.