Recently Toy Story 3 was on TV and I just happened to catch the scene when Andy goes off to college. Toy Story 3 – When Andy gives his toys away. He was finally ready to give up his childhood toys, including ‘Woody’ his favorite. But, before he drove off, he shared one last ‘make believe’ moment.
This scene triggered emotions of nostalgia and a little bit of sadness for me, as I can relate to Andy having to say good bye to some thing that was special and meaningful to him.
At the beginning of summer, we had received some concerning news that my mom was diagnosed with early stage lung cancer. This proactive diagnosis jump started my parents move from their townhouse of 50 yrs to join us in our newly renovated home. It was a stressful adjustment for all of us but we continue to learn each day how to make things work. We are so grateful that my mom’s surgery was successful and that she can continue to be the strong woman that she is.
In the Fall, hubby and I spent a few weekends at the townhouse cleaning and prepping it for sale. When I was there, I realized all the wear and tear of how much living we did there, growing up; it really brought back memories. Outside the complex and down the street, I remember skateboarding and seeing my first born walk to and from school. Across the street, I remember riding my bike with my brother on the concrete play ground of the Catholic school, while my sister played basketball with her friends. As I entered in the house, I recall the childhood birthday parties and Christmas’ celebrated with neighborhood kids and family that brought smiles…and how can I EVER forget the small powder room where the three of us siblings crammed into every morning to take first dibs at the sink and toilet before we all rushed off for school.
Upstairs, in the old bedroom that I shared, there were remnants of HUNDREDS of tack holes on the walls from teen beat centerfolds (see my favorite on the left), Duran Duran posters and countless cut outs of Vivian Chow that my brother, sister and I stared at, in our younger years. I remember my sister’s turn table between the two twin beds that I used to blast Strange Love – Depeche Mode or A Little Respect – Erasure and dance with myself.
This year, I had to let go of a few things that were special and meaningful to me – the town house that I grew up in and the first car that I was ever able to afford. Both brought me a lot of joy and good times. As I reflect back on this year, I realize that it’s not the ‘things’ in the past that matter but it’s the memories associated with those things that help shape who we are and who we become. Like Andy, Woody was very special to him as Woody had always been there for him growing up but Andy was ready to let go and move on to the next chapter in his life. And so too I.
“But one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12
From complaining about her homeroom middle school teacher to getting accepted to the Art school – Dance Major program she worked hard to get into, our 14 yr old is reaching for the stars. And just like that, she has found her love of doing nails, visual arts, binge watching ‘Friends’ and ‘How I met your mother’ on Netflix, to becoming a giving and loyal soul like her daddy and feisty attitude like her mommy. We have high hopes for this one!
This 7 yr old’s life still revolves around Disney Cars to the point that he will not give away his moth eaten, 3 sizes too small pajamas! His art is becoming more detailed as he refines his dexterity with sharpies and paint brushes. He loves eating dessert especially ice cream IF only he would eat more and put on some lbs. He is a meticulous planner and organizes his time around piano, swimming, hip hop and soccer on his own so he can squeeze in precious play time with his Disney Cars. His adult teeth are creeping in and sadly the innocent years of milk teeth and dependence are soon on its’ way out. We are trying to cherish as much of these moments as we can.
The highlight of this year was our trip to California, Los Angeles this past summer. It had been awhile since we left the city for more than a week. The trip allowed us to bond as a family and see Aaron’s eyes light up when we took him to Disneyland’s California Adventure where he experienced Cars Land for the first time. Jaclyn really wanted to hit downtown L.A. to hopefully get a glimpse of some YouTube stars like the Dolan Twins so we drove through heavy California traffic from Anaheim, where we enjoyed the slower pace of sun and sand, and Disneyland to experience the Hollywood glam and urine stained streets of Sunset Blvd. Unfortunately, our days weren’t enough to see and do everything we had wanted. We definitely will be back!
Besides just trying to survive each day with work and kids, Paul and I are coming up to our 20 yrs of marriage. I can’t believe it will be 20 yrs in the new year that we have lived our lives together. We are both settled in our roles as parents and employees – Paul assessing IT risk for an insurance company and I continue to work at a community college in HR, now as a permanent employee. It really has been a daily challenge to try and find the energy to give to ourselves, each other, and everyone else but we try to stay youthful and connected despite our aging bodies, so we can relate to our kids as we grow old together with them.
Exercising self care has been a real challenge for me this year, so before I close my reflection, I’d like to share my self care tips when my capacity and time have hit its’ limits.
Self Care Tips (when limited capacity)
- Walking after work to the parking lot, just breathing
- Instagram – an outlet for sharing and staying connected
- Sit in the parking lot in your car for 5-10 min and listen to comedy before you pick up your kid(s)
- No diet – eat in moderation and drink a lot of tea
- Sing or listen to music you like
- Give – make someone’s day, at work or at play
- Vent if you need to but stop when you notice it is becoming a habit
- Take supplements to help get over a temporary imbalanced hump
- Do at least one thing daily that YOU WANT to do before you go to bed
- Cry if you have to, it’s OK
May you never forget where you came from, whether good or bad as every experience has shaped you. May you always have a healthy mind to stay positive and hopeful to be able to create memories that are yet to come. ~ mind of chai