Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Today, my good friend Brian shared a touching and tender story with me that moved my soul in such a way, that I just had to pass it on. I have to preface this anecdote by saying that Brian is a single dad of an adorable two year-old baby girl, Alana. Over the past two years, I’ve watched Brian evolve into a wonderful father and wholly embrace his initiation into fatherhood. He often tells me how Alana is the love and light of his life. With Brian you know he’s speaking directly from his heart when addressing any topic regarding his daughter.

One of the activities he shares with his daughter is a weekly Kindermusik class. Kindermusik is a wonderful program designed to teach infants and toddlers preliminary musical skills all the while promoting parental bonding and interaction. During Brian's and Alana’s recent Kindermusik class the teacher instructed both parent and child to draw physically close to each other to feel and share each others’ heartbeats. What a brilliant concept and powerfully moving time of bonding!

Fast forward two days later. Brian is dressing and primping Alana for the day. Any of you who’ve been adventurous enough to meticulous groom a two year-old know all too well that such an activity could have rattled even Gandhi; however, thankfully, such was not the case this morning. Clearly Brian had some good karma coming to him. As Brian was brushing Alana’s hair there was a tender spirit about her. Brian pulled her close and encouraged her to share their heartbeats; to which she readily obliged. In doing so, she heard both hers and her fathers’ heartbeats as one. Being caught up in the moment she gave a gentle smile and cooed. It was such a moving moment for both that Brian had Alana do it again. No words, just bonding through the unified beating of their hearts. A heartbeat symbolizes life and love. Both of which were very present.
If every child could have such deep, affectionate moments with their parents just think of the beautiful, peaceful generation of children we’d raise.

When Brian shared this story with me, I was touch by how incredibly blessed both he and Alana were to have had this priceless moment of bonding. I was also reminded that there is a heart beating inside every child and it needs to be heard and tended to. Too often as busy parents we get caught up in the demands of our day. We forget to take something as simple as grooming our children and making the moment special and building lasting memories. We let valued moments slip through our hands. All too soon our children will be off on their own and our homes will be agonizingly quiet. Instead of listening to the current deafening din around us, we need to make some quiet time with our children. Time so quiet we can hear the precious beating of their hearts and be reminded of the priceless gift they are to us. Then, when they’re grown up and eventually leave the nest, you can gently put your hand on your own heart, feel its tender beating and know they’re still close by.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Merry Bells of Christmas

I know, I know. It's only September 4th and I'm already writing a blog about Christmas.

I'd be remiss if I didn't share with you the wonderful nostalgic experience I encountered this past weekend at the Pasadena Flea Market. As an experienced shopper, I know all too well the pre-shopping ritual that must take place. I was dubious to properly stretch, apply sunscreen, don my baseball cap and sunglasses, chant to the shopping gods for great bargains, and most importantly, grab my non-fat venti vanilla latte with whip. All by 7:30 a.m., mind you. That's right, 7:30 a.m. on a weekend. Bargain hunting requires exemplary skills and a strategy equal to that of a well executed military operation.

The temperature was a disgusting 99 degrees and climbing. It was an optimal environment for hatching baby chicks, not antique shopping. Being the ardent bargain hunter that I am, I was not going to let the sweltering heat deter me. I browsed through countless items with childlike glee. Silverware, paintings, furniture, toys, collectibles, apparel, and every conceivable chachkey you could imagine.

Before I go further, I need to interject here with a story from my youth. Hang with me. It will all make sense in a few minutes.

Every year, on the Friday after Thanksgiving my mother would don this lovely Christmas bell pin. She’d wear it on her wool coat and sweaters. Hearing the first sweet sounds of the tinkling bell would signify the start of the Christmas season. I can remember hearing my mother walking down the church aisle at Christmas all the while hearing her jingle until she properly took her seat. As the years passed, I would search jewelry store after jewelry store in an effort to procure the same pin my mother had. I liked the symbolism it held for me and wanted to one day impart the same to my child(ren). For almost 30 years I diligently searched, but to no avail.

Now here’s where we get back to my original story. See, I told you it would all make sense.

I happened upon a table with a display of antique jewelry. I normally don’t browse the jewelry tables because I know the one thing that catches my eye will undoubtedly be from some Royal family and have a price tag far beyond what my humble purse can afford. Thankfully, today was different. As I quickly surveyed the beautiful baubles, one piece of jewelry in particular caught my eye. It was an exact replica of the Christmas bell pin my mother wore. I gasped with excitement and the largest of smiles crossed my face. I quickly snatched up the pin and inquired as to its cost. The vendor replied “Uh, that one. It’s $7.00.” To which I immediately replied “I’ll take it”.

I made several other modest purchases throughout the morning, but nothing held greater value to me than having found my long sought after Christmas pin. It’s not because of the material value of the pin but rather the sentimental value; which to me is priceless. Hearing the gentle ringing of the pin’s bells has flooded my heart and mind with wonderful memories of my childhood Christmas’s.

In Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, the character of ZuZu Bailey is quoted as saying “When a bell rings an angel gets its wings”. For me, when I hear the sweet sounds of the bell ringing, I’m reminded of an angel of a mother who created this wonderful holiday memory and how on the wings of this tradition I can share the same with my child.

Oh, and for the record, there are only 109 shopping days until Christmas.