Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Celebrate the Nonna

At first my heart hurt watching the little boy carry his little suitcase through the airport security line. In front of him stood who I assumed was his grandfather, behind him his grandmother. She said something loving to him and rubbed his back. I couldn't see the little boy's face, but I could feel his warm smile radiate around him.

My parents won't ever travel with my girls like that. Even when they were alive, they were too ill to do much other than us come to them, which we're thankful for. The time spent with them was more precious than precarious, especially the past few years, and Beatrice will remember them, even though Bryce may not.

But then my heart lifted, because of another grandmother in our lives: Nonna as she's known to the B-hive, my mother-in-law, the Mama's mom. Nonna has been a blessing to us all, living with us and helping with Bea and Bryce. The girls adore her and I cannot imagine the time when that changes, will not imagine. I've been gone so much of late that having Nonna with us lifts my heart even further 

No mother-in-law jokes here. Sure there are "wait, what?" head-scratcher moments, but there were many of those with my own parents, and them with me. We've all got 'em, kids. It's what we do with them that makes all the difference in the moment and beyond.

This Father's Day, when I'm on the road yet again, I will celebrate the Nonna. Thank you for all you do. We love you.

The warm smile radiates around me.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Let's Unimagine and Untangle Together

It all started with Tangled, this need to unimagine.

Our girls love the 2010 Disney movie. L-o-v-e it. Rapunzel let your hair down and all that -- singing and dancing and independence and love and happily ever after. It's loosely based on the Grimm fairy tale, which if you know that one, it's a depressing one that eventually ends happily. There have also been different interpretations and iterations through history, but the one twist in the recent Disney adaptation is the one that bothers me the most.

Why? Because of the abduction of the little girl, Rapunzel. That's the part that twists my heart into a knot of what if's and why's.

Like the Elizabeth Smart's of the world, or the Amanda's and Gina's and Michelle's of the world held captive for years, and many other much sadder stories of girls (and boys) and young women (and men) kidnapped and killed and all the horrible things in between that can and do happen, many of which globally never make the mainstream media coverage, much less any coverage.

A little girl Rapunzel kidnapped because her hair kept selfish Mother Gothel young and beautiful. Finally, years and years later when Rapunzel is a young woman, the horrible Gothel is destroyed and then Rapunzel is finally reunited with her mother and family (with her loving Prince Charming by her side). 

I know it's just another sweet family movie that doesn't have to explain the years of counseling Rapunzel may need, the constant nightmares she may experience and how long it may take to trust others again (regardless of how resilient she remained and how much love she had for the good guy).

Last night as I read to and played with our youngest daughter, Bryce, laughing just as giddily as she was, I couldn't imagine that happening to her (or our oldest, Bea). More accurately, I refused to imagine it. 

But as parents who strive to create and maintain a loving, safe home as well as a collective mindset in their community at large with other responsible parents, we do everything we can to unimagine it. According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, in the U.S. alone, the most recent comprehensive research reveals that over 800,000 kids are abducted every year with thankfully a recovery rate of 97%. Globally the numbers are a lot more dismal -- according to the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children, an estimated 8 million children are report missing every year.

The what if's and why's aren't as important as the focused diligence to prevent them today and tomorrow. This includes the fact that from 1981-2010 the global economy has lifted 1 billion people out of poverty. If you don't think there's a correlation between economic stability (food, healthcare, shelter) and loving/nurturing caretakers and future generations of children reducing the number of their missing compatriots, then you'd be wrong. Time and again. 

Let's unimagine and untangle this ongoing narrative together. The B-hive thanks you (and loves to dance at the end of the movie, living happily every after).