Thankful for a Kind & Loving Daughter

“I have something for you, Mommy,” my little girl told me. It wasn’t Mother’s Day, not my birthday nor Christmas. What could it be, I thought? Probably a picture she drew or a craft she made at camp. “You have something for me?” I asked. “For you and Daddy,” Quinn responded. It was a special note she wrote that said, “For Mom and Dad.” Inside, it read, “You are kind an loveing. love Quinn.” While the English professor in me was tempted  to tell her she spelled loving incorrectly, I was just so moved by the kind gesture of my six year old.

I inquired, “Did your camp counselor ask you all to write notes to your parents?” Quinn quickly said, “No! I just wanted to write you and Daddy a note to thank you for being kind and loving.” Even though we’ve both been keeping gratitude journals since the start of the year and often talk about the importance of expressing gratitude and thanking people for their generosity and kindness, I was still pleasantly surprised to get such a lovely note from Quinn. She truly is a loving and caring daughter for which I am grateful.

All the best,

Tanya

Grover’s “Toy Story” Adventures and Treasured Moments with My Little Girl

Playing games, reading and painting activities at home. Fun trips to the park and zoo, countless restaurants, and of course, Sesame Place. Grover has seen so much and been through so much in his five years with my daughter, Quinn. When we went to see “Toy Story 4,” along with Grover as one of Quinn’s companions, it made me think about all of the treasured moments my six year old and Grover have had together.

Grover entered her life around one years old as a surprise gift when her father and I had our first date night where she spent the night at my mother’s house for the first time. I wanted to give her something special when we returned, and when I saw Grover at the local toy store in Peddlers Village, I was immediately drawn to him and knew he would be perfect for her. Plus, Grover was always one of my favorite Sesame Street characters.

Quinn loved Grover from day one. He offered her comfort at night and during naps. She even made a Grover pumpkin for Halloween one year. Even now, he can often be found either on her lap or on the passenger seat next to her when we’re going on a car ride somewhere. In his five years, my heart raced as we scrambled around the zoo in search of Grover who was somehow left at the picnic bench. One time, we had to retrieve him from the local Marshall’s store from the front desk after I asked the question I’ve posed hundreds of times or that Quinn asked me, “Where’s Grover?!”

From his years of being loved so much, he’s endured several machine washings and three “eye” surgeries to restore his sight from his pupils wearing away. Even though his lip is busted some, he still smiles alongside Quinn knowing that Elmo and a plethora of other stuffed animals have failed to take his place.

Sadly, both Grover and I know that his days are numbered as Quinn gets older and continues to become more interested in her American Girl doll, but for now, she still loves him so much and still includes him in tea parties and outings. Grover has a special place in my heart too. He has allowed me to see how affectionate Quinn can be, and with her being an only child, she finds comfort in having him as her near and dear friend.

If only Grover could talk, the stories he’d tell! I hope he’s enjoying being a part of our family as much as we enjoy having him be a part of ours.

All the best,

Tanya

The Beautiful, Fun Nature of Children Exploring

 

“I just love nature! Don’t you, mommy? What do you think we’ll see?” my daughter asked when she found out we were going on a nature hike with our cousins. “Did you ever go on nature hikes when you were younger, Mommy?” Quinn asked. “Yes, I did, and I really enjoyed them,” I told her. “Now, you get to go on a nature hike with me as an adult. Isn’t that cool?”

Even though Quinn and I regularly go for walks, it’s been quite some time since we explored nature together surrounded by thousands of trees, so this was a real treat for us both. We met up with our cousins at the Wissahickon Valley Park Trail in Philadelphia at Bells Mill entrance, and my six year old and her five year old were eager to get hiking. There were no iPads, tablets or technology to stimulate them, yet they were both intrigued by just about everything from the rocks, to the streams, to the trees to the insects, to the animals to the actual leaves on the trees.

It didn’t take long for the girls to want to take a back trail climbing over fallen trees and mountainous rocks. My cousin and I were impressed with how well they did. They were mindful of their surroundings wanting to stop frequently to take in the sights. Both Quinn and Ellie walked carefully so they wouldn’t lose their footing and were very brave when we came across steep, narrow and rocky areas on the path.

They had fun simply playing with sticks, racing to catch up with me and interacting with the butterflies, chipmunks and worms too. One of the highlights was feeding the geese bread. Though the birds eventually became a bit aggressive in pursuit of more bread, the girls were absolutely tickled and ran off squealing as they were chased by the geese. “That was fun and gave us exercise too,” Quinn said.

As we headed back to our cars after three hours of walking and exploring, Quinn asked, “Mommy, do you think we can come back here again to explore? Maybe next time with Daddy?” To which I responded, “Definitely!” I can’t wait to go on the next hike with Quinn. This will certainly be one of our go-to activities together.

All the best,

Tanya

The Amusement of Childhood: It’s Some Ride, Especially for Adults!

“You want me to hold your hand so that you’re not scared, Mommy?” my six year old asked as we were high in the sky with the guitar ride swinging us around. I quickly said, “Yes!” and reached out for her little hand, closing my eyes waiting for the ride to come to an end.

Yesterday, we went to Trimpers Amusement Park in Ocean City, Maryland and to Jolly Rogers today, and my little girl was eager to get in every ride, especially the ones she wasn’t tall enough for last year. From roller coasters, to the swings, to the tea cups, to a ride called the “Freak Out,” Quinn had no fear and was oftentimes one of the youngest kids in the ride. I’m not sure if I was as brave as her at six years old, but I certainly am not as an adult when it comes to getting on many of those rides.

Thank goodness her dad was willing to be her ride buddy allowing me to get on the easy ones like the carousel and Ferris wheel. In an effort to show her that I can be brave, I got on the “Rock Star” and got to practice some piercing screams! I thought it was so sweet and empathetic of her to suggest holding my hand so that I wouldn’t be scared.

It made me think, maybe childhood isn’t as scary as we adults might think after all. Perhaps it’s us adults who sometimes focus on the scary, fast rides of life that come with adulthood thereby projecting it onto our children in hopes of protecting them because of our own life experiences and lost ability to be fearless. Interestingly, there are times when I am absolutely amused by how my daughter sparks something in me to be fearless and feel like a child again by simply going along for the ride as a passenger observing her enjoy and live out her childhood.

All the best,

Tanya

A Happy Father’s Day: Grateful I Picked a Loving Dad for My Daughter

 

Ever heard the phrase, “You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family?” If you think about it, this is only partially true. While I didn’t get to pick my own parents, I did get to pick who I would start a family with. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the best relationship with my father and was often emotionally and verbally abused by him (when my mother was not present) as a child causing me to lack self-esteem and often feel depressed. I was elated when my parents divorced because I was no longer subjected to my father’s ill treatment and vowed that I would try my best to protect my future child from suffering the same fate at the hands of her own father.

Gratefully, I was lucky enough to find a dear friend and significant other of nearly twenty years, and we’ve been married going on eight years. Sometimes, we fall in love with people but don’t take the time to envision how they will be as parents or they unpleasantly surprise us once we’re married revealing a person we didn’t realize was there. With this in mind, I feel so blessed that how I envisioned my husband as a parent based on his beliefs and values actually surpassed that for which I was hoping. It has allowed me to love him even more over the years.

From day one in the hospital after I gave birth, he was there, instantaneously in love with his daughter. He’s so caring and in tune with her needs. He offers her praise and positive reinforcement, and she just can’t get enough of him. Though my daughter and I have a great relationship and bond, If I’m honest, at times, I long for the special closeness they have. Quinn is not just a daddy’s girl, but my husband is definitely a daddy wrapped around his little girl’s finger.

For Father’s Day, he just wanted nothing more than to stay at home spending time with our little six year old, and she just wanted the same. On this day and every day, I am grateful not just for a caring husband but for a loving father who’s showing his little girl her true worth and how she deserves to be treated not just through his words but his actions too.

Here’s to all of the strong fathers and father figures, who offer physical, mental and emotional support and love, not just to their children but the mothers of their children too! May it be returned back to you ten fold. 

All the best,

Tanya

Last Day of School but Many More Days of Tending to the Garden

 

 

Garden for the children: the German meaning of the word kindergarten. This year, my daughter was one of many in that lovely garden. It was the perfect environment to allow her to blossom with a wealth of knowledge, flourish by socializing amongst the other beautiful children while under the tutelage of wonderful teachers who know exactly what it takes to tend to many children burgeoning all at once. 

Quinn has learned and grown much in that magical garden in such a short duration of time. She’s like a little book worm excited to read stacks of books everyday, many on her own. She’s a busy bee, constantly expanding her vocabulary and sharing their meanings. She’s a little scientist exploring the different subjects often eager to share what she’s learned. She’s a caterpillar who went through the metamorphosis process right before my eyes in a multitude of ways. Not only is she a little taller and lost many baby teeth and grew big girl teeth, but she’s matured so much in just just about eight months.

Though her days of kindergarten may be over, I will make sure that I’m doing my part to tend to her growth and development as she continues her education and beyond!

All the best,

Tanya.

Red Carpet Celebration: My Little Girl’s a Super Star Reader!

The luxurious Escalade SUV limo was parked. The plush, red carpet was rolled out, and the “fans” patiently awaited their arrival. One person shouted, “I think I see them!” People positioned themselves with cameras and cell phones ready to take pictures and videos. Then the door opened, and they all came parading out wearing their finest clothes and accessories.

The cheers from the crowd would make you think they were all singers being recognized at the Grammy’s or actors and actresses being recognized at the Emmy’s. But they were all being celebrated for something even more notable: kindergarten through fourth graders who read 100 or more books in a little less than three months!

My little kindergartener was among this small group of children who accomplished this wonderful goal! She read well beyond the 100 book minimum, many on her own with little assistance from me. Fancy Nancy, Pinkalicious, Thelma the Unicorn, Princess Truly and If You Give a Mouse an iPhone were some of her favorites to read. I am so proud of my six year old’s accomplishment and happily cheered her name as she walked the red carpet with the other children and went into the limo.

Afterwards, all of the children were lead by the school librarians and paraded through the halls of the school, along with the parents, where the other children and teachers were all lined up in the hallways to give hi-fives and cheer on the kids for reading so many books. Ending in the library, they were all then celebrated with cake and sparkling apple raspberry cider. I thought it was a wonderful event and an awesome way to reward children for reading. Quinn, along with the other children, all looked and felt like superstars! She’s so excited to keep reading and can’t wait to do the challenge again when she’s in first grade.

All the best,

Tanya