What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it its sweetness. -John Steinbeck
Today, upon your request, I visited your school and brought you lunch. You asked me to bring you a Jimmy Johns sandwich (turkey, white cheese and lots of mayo), Doritos and a chocolate milk.
I stood outside your Kindergarten classroom and watched you reading a book in the corner. After a few moments you noticed me. Immediately your eyes lit up and you started waving uncontrollably saying, “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!”
When all of the kids got in line to wash their hands, you came and gave me a great big hug.
I glanced at your teacher and she whispered, “He is so excited!”
I followed your class into the lunchroom and smiled to myself as you saved me a spot next to you at the cafeteria table. You patted it with your hand and said, “Right here, Mom. Sit next to me.”
I forgot the mayo on your sandwich and brought BBQ chips and a lemonade. But you didn’t seem to mind.
We ate lunch and talked about important things, like how great mayonnaise is. You introduced me to the kids sitting at the table. I helped them unscrew their thermoses and open their snacks. You pointed out the clock on the wall and told me that lunch is over when the big hand gets to the twelve.
After you finished I suggested you go and throw away your trash and you told me that you needed to wait until the teacher called your table. Then you asked me to stay for recess so you could show me the playground.
So I did.
When the bell rang, you stood up, grabbed my hand and, together, we walked down the hall to go outside. You said it was the “secret” way.
Once outside, I watched you climb, hang and jump your way around every single piece of playground equipment.
We fell into a cadence of You: Mom, watch this!
And then Me: Wow, that’s great!
You showed me the swings, the sandbox and the trashcans.
At one point you told me that you had to go to the bathroom and made me promise to sit on a big tire and wait for you.
So I did.
After you came back, we played some more. And then I said I needed to go because it was time to pick up your brothers, and you begged, “No Mom, can you please just stay five more minutes?”
When five minutes was up, you asked for two more. And then one more.
When it was finally time to go, you gave me hug after hug after hug. You asked me if I would come back tomorrow.
I walked away from the playground and you stayed by my side. And when we reached the edge, I said goodbye and continued on toward my car. I turned around one last time and saw you standing at the corner with your hand raised in a wave.
I ducked behind the building for a few moments and then peeked back at you and saw your blond hair and blue shoes swinging from the monkey bars.
I stood there and thought about how important it was for me to remember this day and all of the little things you did to make it so special.
So I came home and I wrote you this letter to thank you.
Thank you for today, this big day for a lot of little reasons.
Thank you for being you.
And thank you for reminding me how very lucky I am that you picked me for your mom.
I know it won’t always be like this.
I know soon you won’t be begging for my time. You won’t be calling me Mommy, you won’t be giving me limitless hugs and you won’t be holding my hand.
I know you’ll grow up faster than I can manage in my heart.
But you gave me today.
And I will put today in a special pocket and always hold it close to me.
For today, and for you, I will forever be grateful.
Love, Your Mom
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.