Exploring and Encouraging a Healthy Life Marked with Joy

Archive for the ‘The Joy and Wisdom of Children’ Category

The Bear and the Unicorn

For my recent suxteee-seckth birthday, I celebrated with my big ole’ modern family …

… at Savannah’s Tequila’s Town restaurant in Sandfly.


(Seriously?  Can you believe they come hooting “Happy Bday” laden with tequila for the celebrant!  Even though I had my large head prepared for an oversized sombrero and some flan.)

Post-tequila I received some neat gifts, but perhaps my Favorites came from five-year-old grandtwins Madison (inappropriately pictured above next to the tequila) and Matthew. Their mom let them pick out their gifts for me.  Madison gave me a pink unicorn in a love mug …


…while Matthew opted for a brown bear that actually smells like chocolate when you rub it vigorously!


(Matthew is in an over-smiling-for-the-camera stage.)

Oh, they also each got me a large skein of yarn–yellow from Madison and green from Matthew.  Not that I knit (who has the patience for that?!), but because they like to unravel the yarn, make giant spiderwebs and throw it all over the furniture and each other.

Thus, inspired by the tequila, when I got home I opted for a quick photoshoot to document my suxteee-seckth.




Moral of Story:  the strangest little gifts ofttimes make for the biggest shots of … Joy.




Rainbow Joy

Last evening I went to a fun but bittersweet farewell party for good buddy Ellie Covington (who is Texas-bound, Galveston).


After a torrential downfall forced the party onto the carport, the late-stayers ventured out onto the dock by the marsh and saw this …


(Do you see the second one to the right?)




Of course, we all had to get a little silly.




I quickly texted the pic to my fam and got this response from daughter Emily (mother of grandtwins Madison and Mathew) from the other side of Savannah:

“We can hold it too!”




The joyful promise of a rainbow!

May the excitement and happiness of children be with us all, especially Ellie as she makes her move to the next successful stage of her life!

Don’t Tell ME You Can’t Tell I Teach at an Art School!


(Van Gogh)



Last evening, I grandson-sat Daniel (8) and Gabriel (5) while daughter Amy and son-in-law Orte went fancy gallivanting around town.


First, we played a quick game of basketball in the 110 real feel (Neal feel!) Savannah heat, quickly realized we were idiots and ran back inside.

Then we ate a hasitily prepared supper (I like the word “supper” in the summer south so much better than sometimes-pretentious “dinner”), consisting of peanut butter and honey sandwiches, and scrambled eggs and microwaveable bacon.  (Okay, so maybe not the healthiest Savannah summer supper choice.)

Afterwards, I broke up a third fight over what level to play a video game (Skylanders?  Huh?) and threatened pain if they didn’t stop.  (Do grandchildren anywhere take grandparents’ threats seriously?)

Finally I suggested drawing pictures.  Daniel immediately bought into the peace ploy, quickly pulling out the tools.


We went to work.

D and G:










To be honest, I think I felt more pressure since I teach as an adjunct at an art school (SCAD–Savannah College of Art and Design).  Allright, so maybe I teach ESL (English as a Second Language) there.  But still, it’s an art school.

Daniel’s first (of nine pieces!) finished work of the evening:


“Spyro Super Fire Balls.”

Gabriel’s first (and only): “Morning Apple Orchard” (which looks a little like “Spyro Super Fire Balls”):


(“This makes my hand hurt,” he exclaimed, upon completion–and immediately lay down under the dining room table to rest.)

My first work, “Spotted Dog with a Bad Attitude”:


The muses inspired, and the art continued to roll out.

Daniel:  “Let me brainstorm on what to call my next one.”  (Two second pause.)  “Sharp Tooth Spyro!”  And so it was.


“Mega Bolt Cynder”:


“Destroyer Horn Spyro”:


Daniel wasn’t the only one the muses attended to:

“Green Tree Circle of Life”:


“Self Portrait”:


When we finished, Daniel and I curated an art gallery in the sun room.  (We barely heard Gabriel as he kept yelling from the playroom:  “Stop drawing!  Stop drawing!”)





At one point Daniel looked at me and said, “This is SO much fun!  Don’t you agree, Abu?”

My artistic heart melted.





I have FOUR grandchildren.  (Yes, you’re right, I’m FAR too young.  We all know that.  It’s a given.  But sometimes Mother Nature has a way of bypassing her laws of when people should have grandchildren–and presents them in, well, early, early middle age.)

Anyway, the second-from-the-oldest-grandchild is Gabriel, 5, a rambunctious bundle of pure little boy-ness.  He’s often affectionately referred to simply as “G.”  In his most recent pre-K school report, the patient-as-a-saint and give-her-a-raise teacher wrote that Gabriel is “smart, funny, with many friends … and has a touch of naughtiness.”

Here’s G (on the far right) with a few school buddies,




And here he is the other night with older brother Daniel (8).


Today I received this text from my daughter/G mom Amy:


The brutal honesty of children.





Other Things

I love the quote on seven-year-old grandson Daniel’s invitation to me for his school’s recent Grandparents’ Day:


Other things may change me, but I start and end with family.”



That Bass



So this afternoon I picked up grandsons Daniel (7) and Gabriel (4) at school, as I usually do on Mondays and Wednesdays.  They are loads of energetic, joyful fun (well, except when they are trying to reach across their booster seats and hit each other in the face, and I have to threaten to call the cops).  Today, after Daniel went on and on and on about how he could most definitely beat any fifty boys in his school in a footrace, Gabriel finally loudly interrupted him and asked me, “Abu, could you please put on some rock music?”

Since I just had Susan Boyle handy, I had to turn on the radio (did you KNOW that cars still have radios?!), and found “Eye of the Tiger,” the lyrics of which both boys immediately starting perfectly belting out: “I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar!”

“Aww, so cute,” I thought.  “So positive, so uplifting.”

The next song that blasted in my little Scion I had heard only once before, back in October, at a quirky little place on Bourbon Street in New Orleans called Café Lafitte in Exile: “All About That Bass.”

As soon as the tune started, both boys started yelling, “It’s all about that bass, bout that bass, NO TROUBLE!  Yes, it’s all about that bass, bout that bass, NO TROUBLE.”  (I found out later that the actual word there is “treble.”)

In case, you haven’t heard it, here’s Meghan Trainor singing her hit.

(It’s sorta PG 13ish, so be forewarned.)

(Note to self: remind the boys’ parents how old the boys are.)


What a difficult-to-get-out-of-your-head tune!

And before I realized that Meghan had used a couple of less-than-four-year-oldish-appropriate words, we were in the boys’ driveway, stopped, listening to the final minute of the song, while mom stood at the front door awaiting a kiss from her boys.

When I got back to my place, I COULD NOT get the song out of my head.  So I YouTubed it.  (Can you use YouTube as a verb?)

BIG MISTAKE.  There are upteen versions and parodies of “All About That Bass.”

Here’s my favorite:  “I Just Need Some Space” by a mom, singing about the travails of motherhood.


And here’s a Guy Version:


And, look, here’s a version with Jimmy Fallon, The Roots and Meghan:




Okay, I have to stop this.  It’s getting ridiculous.  It ain’t ALL about the bass.







Kid President’s Advice to New Babies


I love Kid President’s advice to babies on their first day of life.






Tag Cloud