For Grandma


We lost my Grandma, Ruth Intagliata, on January 2, 2015. She was just shy of her 91st birthday.

At her funeral, we gathered together, to mourn, of course, but also to celebrate a larger-than-life life. She was surrounded by family, friends and beautiful flowers. We sang her favorite songs and told our favorite stories. She was laid to rest amidst rolling hills, grand trees and a perfect sense of peace.

In tribute to this life well lived and loved, and in honor of all grandmas everywhere, I raise my glass and my heart in gratitude.

Thank you for ice packs and boo kisses.
Thank you for extra frosting.
Thank you for horsey rides.
Thank you for toys and tea parties.
Thank you for saving our letters and artwork.
Thank you for being the extra cheerleader on the sideline and the extra seat at graduation.
Thank you for zoo days and movie nights.
Thank you for sleepovers and negotiable bedtimes.
Thank you for backyard adventures.
Thank you for being gentle.
Thank you for extra hugs and extra cookies.
Thank you for patty cakes and itsy bitsy spiders.
Thank you for holding our tiny hands, even when they weren’t so tiny anymore.
Thank you for teaching us how to be elegant.
Thank you for uniting cousins.
Thank you for desserts for dinner.
Thank you for not being afraid to be silly.
Thank you for taking all of those pictures.
Thank you for praising our successes and encouraging our dreams.
Thank you for loving us even when we weren’t so lovable.
Thank you for your devotion.
Thank you for extra loud renditions of Happy Birthday.
Thank you for reminding us of our roots.
Thank you for boasting.
Thank you for helping us learn new things, like how to bake.
Thank you for helping us learn important things, like how to be kind.
Thank you for your patience.
Thank you for reminding us that unconditional love makes a family.
Thank you for helping us put on our capes.
Thank you for believing in our brilliance.


A New Kind of Year

For auld lang syne, my dear.

For auld lang syne. 

We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet

For auld lang syne.


I have a Kind Jar for my five-year-old son that sits on our kitchen counter. Whenever he makes a kind choice with his words or his actions, he drops a bead in the Kind Jar. For every ten beads he receives, he is rewarded with ten Skittles.

Because I believe that kindness is inherent in all good deeds, I award beads in the Kind Jar for all good choices.

There are good listening beads. There are beads for patience. There are sympathy beads. There are beads for good character and integrity. There are sharing beads. There are please and thank you beads. There are beads for respect. There are beads for words of love. There are beads for acts of love.

All of these beads are kind in the same way that all of these deeds are kind too.

Anything he does that makes my heart warm deserves a bead in the Kind Jar. Anything he does that makes me proud deserves a bead in the Kind Jar.

As a parent, kindness matters to me. In fact, there’s very little that matters more.

As a human being, kindness matters in this world. In fact, there’s very little that matters more.

This New Year’s Eve, I raise a cup of kindness in thanks for all good deeds that came my way this year.

And I make one resolution for the year ahead.

More beads in my Kind Jar.

For auld lang syne, my dear.

For auld lang syne. 

We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet

For auld lang syne.

May this new year bring you kindness. And may you bring kindness to this new year.


Three Wise Mantras for Christmas

It’s true, Christmas can feel like a lot of work, particularly for mothers. But when you look back on all the Christmases in your life, you’ll find you’ve created family traditions and lasting memories. Those memories, good and bad, are really what help to keep a family together over the long haul.  -Caroline Kennedy


The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. -Burton Hillis


God bless us, everyone. -Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

 Merry Christmas to you and yours.


Images via Matt Nolt and Lenka Pumanov

Broken Bones and a Big Heart


I wish for no one to break any bones.

In my son’s Kindergarten class, each child thought of one Christmas wish for everyone in the world. They wrote their wishes on construction paper ornaments and displayed them in the window of their classroom.

I stood in front of that window for a long time reading each wish, all the while feeling my heart swell.

I wish for everyone to have a good family.
I wish for everyone to have toys.
I wish for everyone to have presents.
I wish for everyone to have a house.
I wish for everyone to have food.
I wish for everyone to be loved.
I wish for everyone to have a happy life.

There is something about this time of year that truly reveals the tenderness of humanity. We give toys and clothes to people who can’t afford them. We cook and buy food for people who are hungry. We donate money to charities that do the kind of work the world really needs.

There’s an upswing of do-gooding and that is certainly a great thing.

Of course, there’s the frenzy and the chaos and the surge of superficiality too.

And it’s easy to get caught up in all of the static. Or in my case, all of the plastic.

But there’s also something about this season that reminds us to take care of each other, to help each other, and to make good wishes for each other.

And we try to teach our kids to do the same thing.

We try to remind them to appreciate. We try to give them perspective. We try to open their eyes. We try to make big reveals.

We try.

But I often find myself feeling guilty that I’m not doing enough.

It’s my job to plant those seeds. It’s my job to instill that perspective. It’s my job to remind them, to reveal things to them, and to teach them what is really important.

But standing there, reading those wishes on the window, I had a big reveal of my own.

Our kids already get it.

They are born with benevolent and generous hearts. They understand compassion and kindness and good will for all. They tend toward tenderness. They are soft and sympathetic and selfless.

They want everyone to be happy. To have food. To have a home. To have a good family. To have a good life.

They get it. They don’t have the years behind them that generally earn perspective and insight, but they still get it.

They get it because they’ve always had it.

We all have always had it.

So maybe we stop trying so hard to plant the seeds. And instead we search for the good heart that’s already there in all of us.

Of course sometimes that good heart gets a little bogged down with the mud and the fluff, but it’s still there.

And that day, those kids taught me that I need to appreciate it. They gave me perspective. They opened my eyes. They made a big reveal.

That day was a gentle reminder to seek out and celebrate our good, good hearts.

So even though my kid wants Santa to bring him transformers and shrinky dinks, he also wants no one in the world to break any bones.

And that’s enough to make for a Merry Christmas all year long.