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Do Good. For Reals!

Something happened this morning that when I think of it, I’m overwhelmed with admiration for my 13 year old daughter, Delaney. She has the sort of soul and spirit that motivates others to be better, have more faith, to give more.

delaney jan 2014

Let me back up and give you a little background information. About a month ago, Delaney asked if we could go to Starbucks before school. I said we could assuming she got up well and was ready early. That happened, so we went to Starbucks. Months earlier I had loaded $20 into my Starbucks app for a trip and I never used the money. So as I’m paying for Delaney’s drink with my app, I decide to pay for the 2 cars behind me too. Why not? When I drove off I looked at Delaney, smiling, and said, “Well, that was really fun.”

Fast forward to this morning. Once again Delaney wants to swing through Starbucks on the way to school only she says that she’s going to bring her own money and pay for it herself.  Okay, fine.

As I pull out of the driveway I see that she’s brought a twenty-dollar bill. I asked her if that was the smallest bill she had. She said no. I asked why she didn’t just bring a ‘five’ or something. Her reply, “I didn’t know if you wanted anything.”

Cue Ginger’s “Aww, thanks Sweetie. But you don’t have to buy me a drink.”

I order Delaney’s tall hot chocolate ‘but not too hot’ and proceed in the line toward the window. There’s always a LONG line in the Starbucks drive-thru. Always!

We are almost to the window when Delaney says for me to ask the guy how much the bill is for the car behind us. I look at her and she’s got this sort of small, shy smile on her face that conveys happy from a special part of a soul.

Okay, I can do that.

Turns out it was for another hot chocolate. Delaney says she wants to pay for hers and the car behind us too. The guy working the cash register is about 20 and I can tell he’s touched and a bit surprised that my young daughter is spending her own money on someone she doesn’t know.  (And he might have wondered why I, the mom, wasn’t paying for the Starbucks.)

We told him to tell the car behind us to have a wonderful day.

As I pulled forward, I could see in my rearview mirror the brief conversation between the guy and the mom in the white SUV. Then I saw him check his computer screen and the mom dig into her purse.

I’m quite certain she was paying for the car behind her. I hope it kept on going. I’ll never know but I’m going to believe it did because it feels awesome to believe that.

I often feel that our world is filled with too much hate and judgment. There is heartache everywhere, for people and in situations for which we have no control. As much as I wish and pray and truly believe that good will always prevail, that Good will triumph over Evil, it feels overwhelmingly hopeless at times.

What can we do to make it better? Can we even do anything?

While we might not be able to do something that will change the world in one act, we might be able to do something that will change the moment, or maybe the day, in a positive way for someone else, just one person. And what if that one person then is compelled to positively impact someone else?  What if it ‘caught on’ and enough people churned the waters to create a huge surge that became a wave of goodwill.

I think that would change the world. I really do.

And I honestly believe it can start with a cup of hot chocolate.

Your turn ... Pay it Forward!

Your turn … Pay it Forward!




My Man-Child and how I cured him with my touch

This is a momentous day in the Calem household. Our first child turns 18 and that means I am a mother to a MAN.

Scan 2

Happy Birthday little Grey-Boy!

Naturally, this has me reminiscing back to the early days of being a new mother. Since today I’m alternating between being happy and proud with being weepy and melancholy, I thought I’d share a story with you from when I was a brand new mom, making brand new mommy mistakes.

And also because I like to laugh at myself. I hear it keeps you young … and clearly I need all the help I can get.

So, back when our son was still a chubby mass of cuteness, before we had a computer, the internet and the wonderful world of Google, it was just me and the baby at home alone to figure things out on our own.

One time I was changing his diaper and to my horror, there was a raised, flesh-toned ring on his groin area. My heart dropped. My son had some rare form of ringworm, or maybe something even worse. With him still naked on the change table, hoping he wouldn’t pee on me, I called the pediatricians’ office in a complete panic.

How did he catch this disease? How serious was this? What kind of mother lets her perfect baby get something, anything?

As I was being connected to the nurse, I decided to examine this ring a little closer. I thought perhaps I should even touch it so I could tell the nurse what it felt like.

I reached out and gently pressed this ring and … it moved!

I told the nurse I’d made a mistake. No, really, I figured it out myself. Thanks very much.

You see folks, when I touched my precious child’s incurable ailment, I realized it was a CHEERIO.

That’s right. A soggy (gross!) cheerio that had made its way into his diaper.

I pretty much healed him right then with my touch. ~sheepish grin~

Okay, so your turn. If you are a parent, please tell me you’ve done something like this too. Make it up even, so I don’t feel quite so ridiculous!

grey young senior pic

Miraculously, that cute little boy above, with the soulful bedroom eyes, grew up into a fine man, ready to make his way in the world, to find the right path for him to follow. It will be so hard to release my grasp on him and let him make his own way. I pray I will always light a path for him to find his way home.

grey senior pic

Don’t Lick the Minivan TRUMPS We Don’t Kiss Penises

As a voracious reader and a writer, I recommend books all the time.  There is nothing I love more than adoring a book, telling everyone and their pet pig about it and having them love it too so we can talk about it.

And then sometimes there is a book that is so wonderful that I can’t simply just recommend it, I have to INSIST that people read it. Insist because I guarantee it will be time well spent.

I have read one of those books. So get ready to 1-click your way out of Amazon immediately so you can start reading and fall in love with this book.

Without further blathering, the book is:

Don’t Lick the Minivan … and other things I never thought I’d say to my kids, written by the lovely Leanne Shirtliffe.

Don't Lick the Minivan by Leanne Shirtliffe

CLICK to buy from Amazon!

They say that laughter is the best medicine. If that’s true, then Leanne has the cure for whatever ails ya! She’s my modern day Erma!!

This book, which is a series of humorous essays, had me laughing, reminiscing and even tearing up with a lump in my throat.  It’s written with such honesty and slice-of-life humor, it becomes a fast friend. The essays take you through the real-life (and often quite unbelievable) adventures of life with twins, from conception to school days, starting in India (where you can get fashion advice if you chase down a transvestite) to the frosty climes of Canada.

As the subtitle suggests, there are examples throughout the book where Leanne admits things she’s said to her kids that she never imagined she’d say. In the spirit of Leanne’s fantastic book, I’m going to share one of those same moments from our family story vault. Because I doubt my sons will ever read this blog, I think I’m safe from their wrath … so do not tell them I told you!

Back about a million years ago, our boys were 4 and 2 and their little sister wasn’t yet a twinkle in my eye. The boys were still small enough that we could fix boo-boos with a kiss and a cuddle. This was back when they were inseparable, and little brother idolized big brother, following him around everywhere.

So one day 4 year old bolts off to the bathroom, with 2 year old hot on his heels. The seat is barely lifted when there is some interference from little brother, and well, you know where this is going. The seat comes crashing down.

All of male readers just clutched their crotch and piked themselves in half.

Dad and Mom race in, knowing something quite unfortunate has happened. Dad assesses the situation and groans, trying not to double-cup his own package. I scoop up the 2 year old, who is clueless. But our stoic 4 year old, with a sheen of tears in his green eyes, looks up to his very empathic father and asks, “Are you going to kiss it?”

With as much sympathy as Dad can muster, he gives his son the truth, the bad news …

Screen shot 2013-05-29 at 12.52.21 PM

Mom walks off with 2 year old. There may have been an “Amen!” involved, but I can’t recall for full certainty. ~cough~

Friends, let me tell you that this little story PALES in comparison to the fun you’re in for when you read Don’t Lick the Minivan. If you are a parent, if you love to laugh, you will LOVE this book. I promise you.

A copy of this book will be my go-to baby shower gift from now on.

I want to thank Leanne for writing with such wit and honesty and giving me a treasure of a book that I will reread because it was pure entertainment.


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