A Beginning

I know I’ve been writing a lot about children lately… Perhaps it’s because they’re the only ones leaving a good impression on me in recent times…

The world has been shook, that’s for sure. And how the pieces fall in that wake will leave many consequences to come.

Philosophically speaking, we must ask ourselves “What world are we leaving future generations? And more specifically, speaking of where I live, what is the America to come?”

Pandemics disrupt. It’s what they do. But rather than bring people together, it has created an even greater chasm between those of differing opinions and since everyone thinks they are right, how will any meaningful change occur that isn’t politicized to death?

So, I want to pose a BIG beginning solution…

What if, instead of caring about what side of the political team you’re on, consider being on team humanity? And from that premise, perhaps then, we can begin to discuss how to deal with this pandemic and move forward toward individual prosperity rather than our standard of government/big business crony capitalism political BS.

With movements such as #blacklivesmatter and #metoo, people who have been disenfranchised are finding their voice and starting to be heard. There is tremendous power in understanding each other… and that’s where I think we need to begin because differences will always exist, and that’s a fact.

And children. Oh, let us learn from them!

The other day, I was hanging with my 8 & 10 year old nephews. We decided to do movie day but both of them wanted to watch something differently. As Aunt, I said, okay, I’ll write the name of both movies on slips of paper and we’ll randomly select. Knowing I was playing with fire since one of them would not get the movie they wanted, I hoped they would see that both options could work but a decision had to be made fairly.

Well, I was in for a surprise.

The 8 year old won. His choice was “Godzilla” while his brother wanted to watch “StarDog & TurboCat.” I watched the “one who got his choice” eye his older sibling, noticing the disappointment in his brother’s face. A moment later, the 8 year old  suddenly said, “No, it’s okay, Aunt Tina. Let’s watch StarDog.”

Both myself and the 10 year old snapped our heads toward him and said, “Really?” “Are you serious?” To which this beautiful child said, “Yeah, it’s okay. It will be a fun movie too.”

Moral of the story… Even if you get your way, it’s not always the best choice to make.

 

 

 

 

We, Adults, Have A Lot To Learn

Anyone else about to deactivate all their social media platforms because of the amount of vitriol, ignorance, sanctimonious crap that people keep projecting?

I am 42 and I have never seen America more divisive and nasty.

Here’s the thing, we can research and make informed opinions, but unless you’re an expert in the field you are discussing, should you really be speaking from a place of 100% knowledge? And then, to build on that, why pick on those who disagree with you? Do you really think THAT is the way to bring change?

I think what’s happening here, if I may, is there is an abundance of misdirected anger, wrath, unhappiness within oneself, and it has found its outlet.

THE CORONAVIRUS.

Yes, this virus is very real. But why is the pandemic bringing us apart rather than bringing us together?

If I may pose a theory,  expanding on what I wrote above, is that people are unhappy but rather than seek comfort in humanity, they shun it. They pick the worst and highlight that. They seek the ones who disagree to pick fights, so they can feel “better”, and rather than learn and grow, regression is at an all time high.

It’s not cause I’m saying so… just look around you.

Clearly, it’s much more difficult to understand people who are different than us than it is to seek comfort in those who agree with you, so the latter is the favorite. But no population will ever think the same and while that is a great thing, it also causes chaos.

Welcome to humanity.

Look, I don’t have the answer to give to end this all, but I will offer this true story as a beginning to finding the answer:

I was reading a book at a hotel pool. There were two children playing in the water – maybe ages 10 (girl) and 7 (boy) – along with their grandmother. When a family entered the pool area, the girl saw there were two boys coming in – one in their age group, one a bit younger. And so, she turned to her brother and said, “Look, we can make friends!”

 

The Sensitivity of Children

Life has been a whirlwind for me. I’m sure I’m not the only one, so maybe you can commiserate? I mean, damn, if things aren’t getting a little crazy up in the world. Most of it, for good reason… (the brilliance of the protests (yes!) but that is for another post…)

After a first-in-your-lifetime shutdown, are you coming out a bit different?

I know I am, that’s for sure.

I’m about to return to work as a server, but in a way that I haven’t done before now that COVID caused new rules, so I am struggling with if I can still do it. I have long wanted to stay in the restaurant business as I make my films and write my stories both for my love of food and wine and also for the tangible aspect of seeing people enjoying themselves and knowing I am part of the reason why.

For those who don’t know, in the past, I’ve worked entertainment jobs, such as assistant to Scott Rudin on the Paramount lot and assistant editor on season four of American Idol, both of which I chose to leave, because when I was working those jobs and similar ones, I felt empty. Like I was a cog in the entertainment machine, but not really making any difference, though it’s definitely worth noting Scott Rudin is a genius in producing original storytellers and I wish I could have learned more from him when I was his LA assistant, but, that’s for another story and sadly, I can’t go there. I signed an NDA.

Anywho, back to now. I’ve been going through a lot and I’m starting to feel empty again in my employment. Returning to a restaurant job where the industry has done a 180*, while also ending homeschooling my nephew two days a week, (BTW teachers everywhere, YOU ARE AMAZING AND SHOULD BE PAID WAY MORE,) coping with the death of my husband’s sister, polishing my first novel for agent submission, enjoying the visit of my sister and niece, all the while trying to make sense of the insanity we’ve allowed our government to become, has left me spent.

Yet somehow, today, when I hung out with my three year old niece, life felt special. It felt good. 

And that was all her.

It was like she picked up on my feeling down a bit and for the first time, came to me without me having to ask. She comforted me and all around enjoyed my company, when before she was a bit hesitant. And when I put her to sleep, having a three year old, caress your hand while she falls peacefully asleep in your arms, I felt true serenity.

And I thought:

Children know way more than most give them credit for. And they truly are the future. 

 

 

 

 

My Little Buddy In The Age Of The Coronavirus

Having been laid off from my job while the world pauses, I’ve found some extra time on my hands. And in an effort to help my family, I’ve begun to aid in the homeschooling of my eight-year-old nephew.

Now, my nephew and I were already close. I’ve been watching him since practically the day he was born and over the years, we’ve developed a special bond. When I enter my brother’s home, my nephew is the first to great me with a huge smile and a loud, “Hi Aunt Tina! Come play!” or “Hi Aunt Tina! Come look at this!”

And while I am 42 years old, there is a young 10-year-old girl in me who loves to play and have fun. Seriously. I’m a champ at Nerf gun battles, hide ‘n find (a take off from the original hide ‘n seek, which my nephews and I made up,) coloring, board games (especially Battleship!) and soon, if my nephews have it their way, video games.

But back to the beginning. I’ve been helping homeschool. And I must say, TEACHERS, YOU ARE GODS. Thank you soooooooooooooooo much for what you do. You help the future way more than any Congressman/woman and should be paid accordingly. And they patience you must have! I am in awe.

So, yeah. I’ve been helping with homeschool and also babysitting more than normal and because of this, an 8 year old has become my new little buddy.

When I told him he could call me whenever he wanted, I began to wake up to text and phone messages asking if I wanted to play Roblox remotely – me on my phone, him at his home while we chat over FaceTime. He made sure to install it on my phone on a visit  and then proceeded to give me a tutorial. When I struggled, he said, “Aunt Tina, do you know what patience is?” I smiled and said, “Yes, I do” to which he replied, “Well, then you just have to have it.”

Words of wisdom right there.

When we finish our school lessons, he asks how much time I can stay to hang out. We are currently watching the first season of Clone Wars, which is very well done btw, and also love to go outside and plant flowers in the backyard and fill our bird house with birdseed and more. His smile brightens my day.

And the last time I was with him, I was doing laundry and he opted to stop playing and join me, just to chat. He told me about his best friend at school and how they get in trouble and the big spider he saw the other day in the backyard, that had hair!

I will miss these days when all goes back to “normal” but I’m happy to know enough to cherish them as they are happening.

To see a big smile on an eight year old’s face is to witness real happiness.

To receive a hug from a child without asking for one is to know real affection.

To make a child happy and comfortable by embracing who they are is to teach real confidence.

To have a child call upon you because they consider you important is to understand the essential.

And to wake up to a phone message from your nephew asking where you are and if you want to come over and you alter your day to do so is to experience real love.

Thank you Fair Bear (my nickname for him,) for all you are and all you teach.

 

 

 

 

Family Is Love

Hi All!

I made a little one minute short film with my niece and nephews this weekend to submit for a filmmaking grant by Moet Champagne.

If you have a moment, please visit it’s site here to watch and vote if you like it!

Children are everything. Let’s celebrate them.

http://www.moetfilmfest.com/entry/family-is-love

Thank you!!

1 Day Till Christmas – Giving Back

Tomorrow is Christmas 2017.

What a year it’s been… a world full of turmoil, strife, love, loss, grief, happiness…

Today, with my yoga studio owner and other members and friends, we took presents to a children’s hospital.

It was very sad that all the children in the ward were in quarantine with influenza of some sorts. We left the gifts with a very nice head nurse who was grateful for our visit and excited to let the parents in to select toys for their young ones.

Can you imagine that? A child, in the hospital, on Christmas.

A very sad thing indeed.

Here’s to all the kids (and adults) who have to spend the holidays in the hospital. I can only imagine that is the last place you would want to be and my hope is that you get out with a clean bill of health sooner than later and that you are able to be with your loved ones, because really, when you boil it all down to the point, it’s being with loved ones that make a holiday special.

After the hospital, I rushed home to prepare for my first Christmas Eve dinner at my home for family and it went off without a hitch.

Here’s a big Happy holidays to all my readers and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

XOXO

#givingbackblogseries #givingback

Yes, you heard right. My husband and I have decided not to have kids.

I get it. I’ve been married for almost two years now; I’m about to turn forty next month; and I adore my nephews and niece.

I understand the need for some to ask me: “Are you going to have children?”

What I don’t understand though, is the unasked-for advisement that comes next, after I’ve confirmed the fact that they did hear right – my husband and I are not having children.

It’s a choice. We weren’t told we couldn’t have them (though the odd thing is, since neither of us have ever tried or been in that situation, we don’t really know if we actually could do it naturally… but I digress.) Let’s put it this way. We could have all the money in the world and we’d still be making this decision. It’s not the expenses, though that IS a freaky thought these days.

So, what’s the reason? Everyone wants a reason. And we’ve thought about it, because, well, we want one too.

If I had to say a main reason, it would be that both of us want whatever time we have left on this planet to be spent how we want, not how it’s best for offspring. See to us, having a child is THE ultimate responsibility and to be frank, we’re choosing to go another way.

Call us selfish. That’s fine. We are in this regard. But isn’t it great that we know this about ourselves, therefore making it a good thing we aren’t bringing children into the world? And if you really think about it, what we’re doing is… well, the smart thing.

But oh, the advisement….

I’ve heard everything… passionate pleas to give it more thought, details on how to freeze my eggs (for when I come to my senses no doubt), stories of regret, sermons on my “duty”, stares of awe…

On the flip side, however, I do get the occasional high-five and/or big smile of understanding. Those rare souls are rays of sunshine, not because they’re of similar mind (some have children of their own, like my parents!) but because they see it as a choice.

And isn’t that the whole point?

Children are a choice we make with our bodies. Or welcoming those from other’s bodies into our lives.

And in my opinion, this choice should be taken extremely seriously.

I know my husband and I do. Very much. Hence, our decision…

(One final thought for now in case it comes up… if my choices don’t adhere to your religious beliefs, please know you can take comfort in the fact that I have to deal with any consequences you think will come, not you. Also, don’t forget that if YOU have children, THEY have to deal with YOUR consequences. Why not focus on that?)

 

 

 

Countdown till Christmas – 7 days to go!

Today was all about the kids. Each week, I make time to see my young nephews. I’ve been a part of their weekly life since each was born and they are two little dudes who can ALWAYS put a smile on my face no matter what life is throwing at me. They can also bring me straight down to earth when life decides to throw me some good attention as well.

As we were playing Pokemon and hide ‘n seek today and talking about Christmas, I started thinking about all the children out there who will not have presents under a tree for them on Christmas morning and my heart began to hurt.

So for today, I decided to look up ways to help children in an effort to make their Christmas a little more merrier. I learned that Toys for Tots spends less than 3% on fundraising and overhead, meaning 97% of donations go to the kids. That made me very happy as most charity organizations are run like a business and those they say they serve end up getting a small little portion of what the company takes it. That’s not charity in my mind. I understand it does take people, time and resources to run one, but I want to see numbers like those above for Toys For Tots before I take out my wallet.

That said, after looking at Make a Wish Foundation, I decided Toys for Tots would be the charity I give to this year. It’s run by the marine corp, who take donated wrapped gifts and bring them to children in need. A local hotel is a drop off center and it’s close to me. I just found three gifts I’ve gotten along the way that I planned to give to my nephews but have now decided to give to Toys for Tots so perhaps they can brighten a child’s day on Christmas.

To find a drop off spot near you, please visit Toys for Tots.

Also, I’d like to share something I’ve been doing in hopes others may want to participate as well. I’m an avid Amazon shopper, and after learning I could help a charity while I shop, I quickly signed up. No brainer, right? Check Amazon Smile to sign up too! I chose UNICEF, a UN program to help children, but there are other charities you can pick as well.

Happy Holidays! One more week…..

 

 

 

25 Days of Spreading Love – A countdown to Christmas: Dec. 19

For the original idea, please go here.

6 Days till Christmas – spreading love by making my nephews smile

As I’ve asked before, is there anything better than seeing a child smile and hearing them laugh?

I really don’t think so. It’s a beautiful thing when a child is genuinely happy.

Not only are children the future, but adults are too because it’s their job to help children to have as great of lives as possible. Of course, I don’t mean there aren’t going to be days of tears and discipline but I do mean that the love and care we give them will guide them as they learn and grow.

By choice, I don’t have children of my own unless you count my films (which I do), but I do take my role in children’s lives very seriously, whether it be as their aunt or godmother or simply as an adult figure.

Today, to spread love, I decided to spend the afternoon with my nephews. While this is a common thing I do, it doesn’t make it any less special and it’s one of the most important ways I choose to spread love.

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”
– James Arthur Baldwin

25 Days of Spreading Love – A countdown to Christmas: Dec. 6

For the original idea, please go here.

19 Days till Christmas – Spreading love with a child’s birthday

Is there any better sound in this world than a child’s laugh?

I don’t think so. It’s music, really.

I have two nephews and they mean the absolute world to me. I had never experienced unconditional love before meeting them. And I decided when the first was born that I would see them at least every week for as long as I am physically able to (and they let me) to let them know I’m here for them, I love them and they can count on me.

Let me back pedal a moment.

My favorite movie in the entire universe is a small film called “You Can Count On Me.” It’s a story about two siblings who are very different from one another but lost their parents early on in life and since then, they went their separate ways but always remained true to the promise they made as kids – that they could count on each other. No other film has touched me the way this film has and continues to, for many reasons that I won’t get into here, but I bring it up because one of the things this beautiful film explores is the idea of people counting on each other, truly being able to count on each other, and I found it a rare and beautiful thing.

And it’s my pledge to my nephews.

Today was one of their birthdays. So I decided to spread the love by making sure the four year old had a wonderful birthday, along with his father, grandparents and uncle. Judging by the sound of his laughter, I’d say we achieved that.

Is there any better sight than seeing a child smile?

Spread the love. #spreadthelove