Be Like Neil

As anyone who has done anything in life (including starting a blog) can tell you, everyone looks up to someone else who is doing something similar. 

Huh? 

Basically, everyone has people in their lives to influence and inspire them. I, too, have many of these people. My family, my fiancée, and Shakira, to name a few. 

But also, our family friend, Neil. He passed away unexpectedly a few years ago. He had a beautiful and lovely family. He was full of life, an absolute shooting star, who burned brightly in any gathering. Hilarious, insightful, and generous in every way. 

But the best part? 

He had a day job, like the best (and the rest) of us. And yet, somehow, he was able to dedicate time to his passion: music. He wrote his own and performed covers at local performance venues. In all of the hustle and bustle of normal life, he not only found time to do what he loved but he did it for others. 

Today is his birthday. And this day of all days, I wanted to take the time to remind everyone that if you do what you love, then you are very, very lucky. But if you have to work a day job, you can still do what makes you happy. If you’re extremely determined and very special, like Neil, you can bring joy to others by bring joy to yourself. 

Be the person you want to be, but be more like Neil. I know I want to be. 

To Be a Sister

I wear a lot of different hats during the day. And before you picture me wearing a fedora on top of a top hat on top of a yamaka, let me explain.

Most people are different things to different people. A single person can be a mother, a lawyer, a colleague, a friend, a grandmother, a problem solver, a Buddhist, a member of a band, an artist, a guitarist, a lover, a wife, a daughter…you get the picture.

And sometimes, we can get really caught up in defining ourselves by what we do. I actually find myself doing that all of the time because I’m always trying to be what people need me to be. On any given day, I’m a…

…sounding board, receptionist, manager, friend, teacher, mediator, cook, commiserator, expert, researcher, advocate, optimist, realist, marketer, writer, jester, woman…

And it’s draining and exhausting all rolled into one. Because how do I know who I am after all of that? How do I know who I’m really supposed to be when I’m supposed to be all of that at once?

Well, I was thinking about that when my sister stopped by the house the other night. It had been a few weeks since I saw her, but I relaxed into the rhythm of her driving the conversation, telling us every single detail about her life, and I slipped into my part of listening to every detail (because I’m a great listener too.)

And during this time, I had a single thought: I had forgotten what it was like to be a sister. Where you know what role you play, and so does she. You just fit together. Because that’s how it’s always been and always will be. There’s no hat to put on because you’ve been wearing it all along.

In that moment, I realized how much I missed that easy assumption. I realized how much I missed being only one thing to one person. But more than that, I realized I missed being a sister.

The good news? Any time I forget what it is like to be a sister, I can just call her up, and she’ll remind me.

Probably by stealing clothes out of my closet and making me do things “because she said so.”

But secretly? I’m looking forward to it. Just don’t tell her that.

 

It’s The Sap–Sappiest Season of All

I’m a sensitive person. I tear up a little when Oprah gives things to people. I smile uncontrollably and coo when I see baby animals do something cute. I see it as a personal attack when people don’t say, “have a nice day!” You know, I’m just a little thin-skinned. (Okay, okay, I have paper skin of the same hue, but let’s not split hairs.)

But thankfully and magically, the holidays have changed that (or at least, they have made my affliction less noticeable). Around this time of year, I am suddenly surrounded by a cloud of sentimentality from the people I interact with daily. What is it about this season (the end of one year, the beginning of the next) that makes people bust out their tissues and tell you how they really feel about your relationship? Like, if I don’t see you for the rest of 2014, I need you to know that I really enjoyed your company for the past 360 days. Could this be the result of the proximity of our loved ones? Or possibly some commercialism brainwashing?

Wherever it comes from, I think it is wonderful. Finally! says the CareBear inside of me, Finally, we’re expressing our feelings in a meaningful way! Group hug, everyone! No, come on, get in here and get your pipin’ hot slice of love!

And I do love it. I’m so thankful that people are a bit more free with their feelings, a little bit sappier around this time, so their loved ones and acquaintances receive some type of acknowledgement for everything in the past year. After all, everyone wants to be reminded of what their presence means to someone. That’s a no-brainer.

But what isn’t a given for everyone is that he or she will have another year to spend with you. So, don’t forget to spread the love around more than once every December. Remind your friends, family, employees, and acquaintances that you are glad that you’ve crossed paths on this great journey of life. Believe me, you’ll be happy you said something when you did.

Author’s note: I will not be posting for the rest of the week, but I hope that everyone has a safe and happy holiday! Love, BaileyDailey

My Grandfather Kissed Me on the Mouth

Author’s Note:

Today, I would like to take the time to celebrate my grandfather’s birthday with this blog post. I hope you enjoy him as much I did.

The Man, The Legend

My grandfather was a stately, diplomatic man. He was once mayor of my small town, but always a lover of politics and knowledge. In an age before the internet, he was our Google and our Wikipedia. The dinner table would always fall silent when he would begin to talk about a particular topic. We’d always lean a little closer to hear what gem might spill out.

He was robust in appearance and in life. He was a great man, and an even better grandfather. Not only because he would slip $20 bills into our hands and call it “gas money” before we could drive, but because we respected him and admired him thoroughly.

Except for one thing that irked me. Every time we would leave his house, he would kiss my sister and I directly on the lips. Yes, you read that right: on. the. lips. When I asked my mother for an explanation for this behavior, because I was suddenly 16 and had already been kissed by my Pop-Pop, (oh my god, he might have been my first…) she simply shrugged and said, “It’s always been like that.” So, reluctant to ruffle his well-poised feathers, I puckered up for peck after peck, all the while hoping that I didn’t accidentally linger too long.

Maserati, Please?

But my grandfather was always teaching me something, always helping me to learn and to grow.

And I only recently realized that in this uncomfortable memory was a valuable lesson about love.

He kissed us on the lips because he didn’t want us to be confused about how he felt about us. He refused to give us social “air kisses” as friends might, and thankfully he did not put his tongue down our throat like a romantic partner could (try another blog for that kind of action.) He simply desired to convey his love in an unmistakable manner.

Sure, he could have bought us a Maserati (or two?) to produce the same effect. Such an effort would have eliminated any adult weirdness I may feel about the situation now. But that wasn’t his style and it isn’t mine. His intimacy as a no-nonsense man was meaningful in a way that a new car is not.

The Kicker in the Kisser

And really, when was the last time that YOU showed someone or something that you loved them that much? When was the last time you defied an awkward moment to remind someone that they meant something to you? (I’m looking at you, teenage boys, who hang up the phone without telling your mom you love her when you’re out with your friends.)

And when was the last time you knew how someone felt about you, without any worrying or questioning for hours after about their true feelings?

The problem is that we beat around the bush, tree, and lots of other foliage simply to avoid being vulnerable or too personal with others. Days fold in and out and we forget to tell the people who matter most that we appreciate them. That we love them. We don’t think about not being able to see that person who we see everyday. But I assure you, that day will come when you can’t. And you will wish you loved them harder, held them closer and told them what they meant to you. I know I do. I miss my Pop-Pop everyday. Even his kisses.

So, here’s your chance. Get off this blog. And kiss the nearest person to you on the lips. Oh, it’s your mom? Good. She deserves your love the most.

Remember, be candid with your affection and you will never regret anything in this life.