So I grew up in a large family with three brothers and two sisters. The cool thing about growing up with so many siblings is that there is always someone to hang out with. We weren’t just siblings…We were friends.
We often ran around with the other neighborhood kids just like all children do, but if many were away on holiday, we always had each other.
We played typical games such as hide and seek and kick the can but we also had a singing group. Now, this is comical as not one of us could carry a tune, but we had fun doing it. We’d even put on holiday plays for our parents complete with costumes. We had bike races, football games, whiffle ball games, and red rover competitions. We ice skated and played ice hockey. We swam for hours on end playing Marco Polo or water basketball.
All we really needed was each other. If you have siblings, you know what I’m talking about…
So when we moved to Miami, I was 10 years old and having spent quite a few seasons in the cold and snow while living up North, Florida was almost a shock. It was warm year round, even in the dead of winter.
This difference in climate was most evident in our relationship with our swimming pool. With six kids aged 16 and below, we seemed to spend every waking moment in there. Jumping, splashing, playing Marco Polo, chicken fights, and even shooting hoops, we were never at a loss for games to play in the pool.
Then the day arrived…Christmas morning. After all of the morning festivities, we wound up, once again, in the pool. It was chilly, but still warm enough for us to indulge. My mom took an awesome photo of us gathered around the pool ladder.
That picture became our Christmas card for the following year. It represented us well and might have also served as a “na-na na-na boo-boo” to our friends who were freezing up North. I’m sure that photo inspired many a visit from people on our Christmas card list…
One of my lines is “You feed them, you water them, and they grow.” No, I’m not talking about plants (although the premise applies). I’m talking about our children.
My son, Ethan, turned 18 yesterday. He graduates high school in a couple of weeks. Where has the time gone?
You see, kids come home from the hospital swaddled in a cozy blanket. They know nothing of the world…They’re sponges, if we may…
I am so proud of the man my son has become. He overcame autism (Asperger’s Syndrome) to become an amazing photographer and an even better friend to those who know him. He’s intuitive, empathetic, hardworking, and kind. Ethan begins college in August, and I know he will be successful with wherever his future takes him.
From a little bundle of joy to a man…and it all happened in the blink of an eye. I’m not kidding! Time goes so fast…an important fact to be aware as you bring your infant home.
So there’s nothing nicer than a visit with friends, even if it is just a quick visit. I always love it when a friend shoots a text to share that they are in the area. This often leads to a meetup or drop in.
Yesterday was one of those days. The text led to a lovely although short visit due to my early sleep schedule. But it was so valuable! We often get so busy in our daily lives that we lose track of our good friends.
This gathering reminded me that I need to be more aware of my surroundings. When out and about I should be like my friend and reach out to those in the area. It’s a great way to keep friendships going strong.
So, I may be stating the obvious, but dogs are kinda neat. If you choose a breed that is a match for your family, you’ll have more than a pet.
Dogs are very intelligent, and they develop an individual personality just like humans. Our dog, Lilly, is a 42-pound lap dog. She’s a Goldendoodle who loves to cuddle and get plenty of belly rubs. Lilly knows if we are unwell and will lay beside us to offer support. She demonstrates her smarts by showing she knows the answer to so many questions, not just commands. Just to name a few:
“Lilly, is it time?” She immediately interprets that it is time to eat or take her medicine. She always seems to know which one we mean.
“Lilly, are you ready?” She knows it’s time to go outside and play.
“Lilly, where is Sammy?” She’ll run upstairs and hop next to Sammy on the bed.
When growing up, we had a Bouvier des Flandres names Money. This dog was convinced she was a human. One day Mom called all of the kids to the living room to help move furniture:
“Kids, come in here please,” Mom called.
Who was the first one there? You guessed it: It was Money.
So…the photo album…For decades a staple of the family room. Mom would show pictures of you when you were small to your date, and you would turn beet red and groan.
Before acid-free paper, images would fade over time. The tape or glue would become less effective, and the wayward photo or two would fall out of the picture book once it’s raised to eye level.
Now, this once loved method of preserving family history has been replaced with digital photography which requires no actual processing and printing. Gone are the days of pulling out a book to share portraits. Now you simply pull your phone from your pocket.
I believe photos have become less “real” as a result. Between cropping, editing, and filters, people don’t look as authentic as they used to in the albums. Seriously, do we always look that beautiful? And don’t get me started on selfies…
There are still a handful of people who stick to the authentic photo albums of yesteryear, but they are few and far between. I appreciate my mother for keeping this tradition alive in our family. How about in your family?
The alley…Before I lived in Orlando, the alley didn’t hold much attraction for me. When I was a child in Arizona, the alley was where the garbage truck drove past to pick up our rubbish. In South Florida, it was overgrown with weeds, stored bikes, and yes, the aforementioned trash. But then I moved to a quaint neighborhood in Orlando, and my love of the alley took shape.
The Orlando alley was very well kept and open, offering a great play area for the neighborhood kids. After a few months, I observed that the moms gathered to not just supervise children but to visit and sip on some vino. Now I liked that idea…
So I joined the kids and the moms. At least a few times a week, we all ended up there. The kids played, the moms chatted, and we all formed what are turning into life long friendships.