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:
Have you done so this holiday? Blessings come in SO many forms and dressings. I urge you to take a sheet of paper and number your joys. Here is a sampling of mine:
1. I had to miss my seven year-old grandson Daniel’s first piano recital earlier this week. (I was SO frustrated.) Tonight at my family’s early Christmas dinner, I walked in the door and daughter Amy had arranged for Daniel to dress back up in his Calvin Klein suit and play Jingle Bells (as he did at the recital). It melted my heart.
(Okay, I’m not sure about the sunglasses either.)
(Absolute grandfather joy.)
Here’s Daniel at the actual recital:
2. The ability to smell Christmas.
3. Enjoying the power of silly.
4. Hosting a Holiday and Hot Toddy Chili Party Saturday night.
Good buddies Ellie, Jamie and Brennan.
I read “A Cup of Christmas Tea” to the twenty-something guests–and asked them to think about a person important in their upbringing to toast at the end of the story. I urge you to do the same. Who encouraged you along your way?
“Let’s raise a cup of Christmas cheer, to family and loved ones far and near.”
So take a few moments, and with Bing, count your blessings:
5. Tree shadows on a wall during a walk the other night.
What are a few of your Holiday Blessings? Come on, share a few.
The students in my English 123 (Freshman Composition) classes at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) are doing what I call Visual Essays in this, their next-to-the-last week of Fall Quarter 2014. We read two books this term, Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist and Tal Ben-Shahar’s Happier, both relating to our course theme of “Happiness and the Exploration of Joy.” The Visual Essay project invites the students to MAKE, rather than write, their papers. Traditional essay requirements are still required: a focus and thesis, structure, detail and support, etc. But this essay morphs into a drawing or painting, a sculpture, a collage, a video, a food, etc. Basically this project is a visual representation of one topic narrowed into a clear thesis/perspective/idea. The challenge: how to “show” their thesis.
Debora Jacob (from Brazil) went to Forsyth Park here in Savannah last Saturday. Here’s her Visual Essay titled “Happiness Shared” on the topic of the smile and its significance.
Fall is most definitely my favorite season of the year. Even with its touch of “summer’s over” melancholy, autumn slowly paints the world with warmly joyful colors, smells and scenes. The season makes me feel energized and ready to start anew (maybe partly because I’m an educator and connect fall to the new school year).
Autumn wants to make us pause and smile.
Here’s a terrific poem, by late 19th century poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, which shows fall’s happy face. Read it out loud to feel, as well as see and hear, the words.
It’s all a farce,—these tales they tell About the breezes sighing, And moans astir o’er field and dell, Because the year is dying.
Such principles are most absurd,— I care not who first taught ‘em; There’s nothing known to beast or bird To make a solemn autumn.
In solemn times, when grief holds sway With countenance distressing, You’ll note the more of black and gray Will then be used in dressing.
Now purple tints are all around; The sky is blue and mellow; And e’en the grasses turn the ground From modest green to yellow.
The seed burs all with laughter crack On featherweed and jimson; And leaves that should be dressed in black Are all decked out in crimson.
A butterfly goes winging by; A singing bird comes after; And Nature, all from earth to sky, Is bubbling o’er with laughter.
The ripples wimple on the rills, Like sparkling little lasses; The sunlight runs along the hills, And laughs among the grasses.
The earth is just so full of fun It really can’t contain it; And streams of mirth so freely run The heavens seem to rain it.
Don’t talk to me of solemn days In autumn’s time of splendor, Because the sun shows fewer rays, And these grow slant and slender.
Why, it’s the climax of the year,— The highest time of living!— Till naturally its bursting cheer Just melts into thanksgiving.
Summer is slipping away. Can you believe that Sept 22 is the First Day of Fall?! Would someone please tell Savannah’s daily temperatures that bit of info?
1. Even though it caused a catch in my throat, seeing the pics my daughter Emily sent of the grandtwins yesterday morning — September 11.
2. Actually borrowing an egg from my next door neighbor. (Is it okay to still do that?)
(Of course she put the egg in a cute tiny bowl she found in Italy.)
I paid Vivian back with some Werther’s Originals–Chewy Caramels in the same bowl. (Is that normal?)
3. This green lion who (which?) lives nearby in Savannah’s historic district.
4. Taking four-year-old grandson Gabriel to his first-ever tennis lesson.
Looking back at me, “Abu,” to make sure I’m watching.
5. And speaking of Gabriel, when I picked him and brother Daniel (7) up from school yesterday, G told us that he made a BIG picture of Batman in pre-K art class. When we got to his house, of course we hung it in the dining room.
After a few minutes, big brother Daniel, after pointing out that Gabriel had spelled Batman with an M (Matman), said to me, “Matman sure looks like a monkey to me.”