Tag Archives: love

Dear Boe…

Dear Boe…

IMG_8085

I just wanted to write to you and tell you how much I enjoyed our play date this weekend.  I had been looking so forward to it ever since your mommy set it up for us.

I think I’m in love with you.  Oh my…

I especially had fun this morning when we were crawling on the floor together, exploring all the ins and outs and unders of your living room floor.  You were quite interested in the plugs and cables.  Perhaps you will be an electrician when you grow up.  Or a deep sea diver.

Or a secret service man.

You’re such a good crawler.  You get around with finesse.  Remind me to invite you to my house next time I need someone to get that thing that rolled under my sofa.

I’m home now doing my laundry.  And I’m giggling at the combination of dog hair, snot and mashed bananas on my nightgown. Good thing I raised three sons and have lots of Shout It Out and I know how to use it!

I’m reminiscing of our time together.  Sigh.  And I’m thinking of you. ♥♥

You’re the avocado on my sandwich.  You’re the frosting on my cupcake.

You’re the garlic in my baba ghanoush.

This kind of JOY is new to me.  It’s wonder, awe and rapture all wrapped up into one.

It’s a little boy with eyes of blue.  Oh, how I love you!

Your Sitti

 

 

You want how much for that refrigerator??

You want how much for that refrigerator??

French-Door-RefrigeratorsYup.. she’s a beauty.

And everyone knows that food is love and the bigger the frig the more food and the more love!  It would be a huge splurge.  It’s what I love to do.  Entertain.   Make food. Food Is Love.

The stainless steel doesn’t turn me on.  But I’ve been told that it’s time to join the real world and stop being a hippy.  I’m still not sure this refrigerator fits my lifestyle. I really loved my magnetic door white frig with the 100 pictures plastered on it and magnets broadcasting everything from what wine to drink with dinner all the way to the phone number of my favorite appliance guy, Kenny.

I guess those days are over… sigh.

“So, can I have your address?” says the nice man at Lowe’s.”  He’s about the age of my sons and tall and skinny and I’m thinking maybe I’ll invite him over sometime and try to fatten him up.

“Oh..  I don’t have it with me.”  I’m embarrassed that I haven’t memorized my new address yet.

“OK.  You can just call it in with your credit card and we’ll do the transaction over the phone.”  He didn’t seem the least bit suspicious.  “Now when would you like this delivered?”

“Um…  I don’t know.”   Now I’m sounding like a crazy lady.

“I bought a new townhouse (friggin’ 10 months ago) and it’s not done yet.”

“Oh.”  he said with a raised eyebrow.

Yes, OH!  That’s what I say!

Now, I don’t know my address.  I don’t know when I’ll be in my new place.  I don’t know how I’ve survived this transition without going a bit nuts.  But I do know that I’m going to need that big ass frig so that I can have a lot of food and do a bunch of cooking and have people over and show them how much I love them and make my new house into a home so stop asking me all these silly questions and let’s get on with our business, shall we?

I thought to myself…

It’s been said that if you build it they will come.

Maybe if I buy the frig the townhouse will be done.

One can only hope…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Baby, love never felt so good!” ~ Michael Jackson

“Baby, love never felt so good!” ~ Michael Jackson
These two… 

 

He leaves her little notes around the house, in the silverware drawer, on the bathroom mirror, in her favorite coffee cup.  She makes sure he eats healthily, supports his dreams and believes in his goodness and integrity.

 

He is strength and tenderness.  She is courage and grace.

They complement each other.

And three short weeks ago, Peter and Brianna committed to a life together as husband and wife.

 

There’s something very contagious about young love.

It draws us in and mesmerizes.  It holds us spellbound.  It makes one want to try a new recipe for dinner or say hello to a stranger on the street, be a better person, sing in the shower, color a picture with crayons.

 

Peter and Brianna make me optimistic about the future of our world.  We pass the baton to our children and find such satisfaction in seeing how easily they grab hold of it and run with confidence, taking with them all our hopes and dreams invested.

I wonder if we really know our children fully until we observe them navigating the major milestones of life- making their way in a career, establishing a community of friends and colleagues, taking on the challenges of marriage and all the joys and responsibilities that go along with it.

 

After years of mothering and guiding and teachable moments, the tables have turned.  I am a witness to my children’s journeys.

 

I am being taught

about joy

about life

about love..

 

And baby, THIS love never felt so good!

 

Mandatory Pre-wedding Mother/Son Breakfast

Mandatory Pre-wedding Mother/Son Breakfast

It’s all the rage.  Right up there with pre-marriage counseling.  And I invented it.

Peter is my first son down the aisle. The first one to get the pep talk and the unsolicited advice about marriage and women and everything he’s ever wanted to know about life but didn’t know he didn’t know!

On my way up highway 101 to our meeting place- Stack’s in Burlingame, I contemplate my speech. I have resisted the urge to bring index cards with notes. Isn’t this wisdom encapsulated within? Aren’t these things I know by heart?

Oh, now I know what that means… To know something by heart.

I’m listening to NPR and they are coincidentally interviewing Raffi, singer songwriter of songs for children. Songs that teach them about world peace and brushing your teeth and loving your family. Songs that Peter and I sang “by heart” while putting puzzles together on the living room hard wood floor, anxiously waiting for his brothers to come home from school. Synchronicity. My world is lining up to herald the beginning of a new way of life. Passing the baton so to speak. A married son. A new daughter. A new branch of the family systems map.

All those good Raffi lyrics imbedded in the heart and soul of my youngest son. Incubating. Shake your sillys out! Rise and shine and show your love all around the world! One light one sun, one sun lighting everyone.

I get to the restaurant before Peter and pick the best table near a window. I love light when I eat out. I see him enter and I wave (like a mother..). He looks taller. Can you continue to grow in your late 20’s? He walks with such confidence and grace. Comfortable in his own skin. So very unaware of the stir he creates when he enters a room.

Clear sea green eyes. Beautiful olive complexion. A heart of gold.

I only have two hours on the parking meter. Will that be enough time, I wonder? I have so much to say! I need two breakfasts! Or maybe another week! Time has run out.

My mother told me that before each of my brothers got married she bought them pajamas and told them not to discuss money on their honeymoon. My mother told me before I got married- she was ahead of her time- to never depend on a man to support you! That seemed harsh at the time and I told her so. And we argued. But I understand her words now and have not forgotten them.

I took them to heart.

It occurs to me that Peter is going to remember everything I say this morning.

One hour and 45 minutes later- eggs, cheese, bagels, coffee, orange juice, fruit, potatoes, and a connection that is fierce between a mother and her son, we conclude. There’s more to say, no doubt. The love is palpable. We take a selfie, hug, and go on about our days.

I am exhausted and come home to take a nap.

When I wake up I realize that it isn’t just about what I said this morning. It’s about the years and years of love and modeling good behavior and love and tender instruction and love and singing and dancing together and love and listening late at night and love and respecting others and playing fair and world peace and making your bed and shaking your sillys out.

We covered all that in the last 28 years. Peter’s good to go.

All things considered, I’m hoping my other two sons wait for a bit to get married until I’ve recuperated from this mandatory event. I pray that Rob and Patrick know all this by heart and that our breakfast will be just a recapitulation of years and years of Raffi songs, loving your family, doing your chores and one sun shining on everyone.

One love, one heart
One heart warming everyone
One hope, one joy
One love filling everyone.

25 Things I Learned from my Dad…

25 Things I Learned from my Dad…

1. How to swim in the ocean.

2. To always take my vitamins.

3. How to use a thesaurus to improve my writing.

4. Army songs… (I left, I left, I left my wife and a 15 kids, over there, over there…)

5. That a freshly showered man in a nice suit is something to behold.

6. To smile often because I’m pretty when I smile.

7. That daily exercise is an important part of keeping fit.

8. To honor my mother.

9. That it’s perfectly acceptable to break out in song wherever and whenever.

10. The gift of hospitality.

11. To always be optimistic, dash negativity, visualize the life you desire.

12. The fine art of networking.

13. How to underline meaningful sentences in my personal books and read them again and again.

14. That everyone I meet is a potential friend.

15. That I am actually a princess.  (Didn’t you know?)

16. That fresh figs are God’s most perfect food.

17. How to write a love letter.

18. That people make mistakes and need forgiveness.

19. That real men cry.

20. Passion

21. How to let a man lead on the dance floor.

22. That ” it is what it is” and “that’s a crock of bull”!

23. To say I love you always and often.

24. To never give up.

I had a different relationship with my dad than my five older brothers had.  I’m sure their blog about Edmund Francis Shaheen Sr. would be quite different.

Therefore the twenty fifth thing I learned from my dad..

25. There is no denying the special bond  between a father and his little girl.

 

Love you and miss you, Dad.

 

 

 

 

 

Love is hard work.

Love is hard work.

Now that Valentine’s Day is over we can get down to the real business of love.

Love is not always flowers and chocolates or a fine dinner over a bottle of wine.  Rather, these are icing on the cake of love.  The real work of love is behind the scenes.  Subtle yet powerful.   Painful and challenging at times.

Love is saying “I’ll be right there” when you have a million other pressing things on your schedule. Love is the two AM feeding when they are infants, the carpooling to 100 soccer games when they are 10, holding them accountable to a curfew when they are  teenagers, and eventually letting go as they kick and scream for their independence. Love is listening and keeping your mouth shut when you think you have earth shattering advice. Love is being strong and letting someone lean on you. Love is hanging on the phone for hours with a friend who just needs to talk. Love is knowing the difference between supporting and enabling.  Love is forgiving others and releasing obligation. Love is forgiving oneself for mistakes made and roads not taken. Love is keeping vigil at the bedside of a dying parent. Love is holding on to hope in a desperate situation. Love is praying for good news. Love is comforting the grieving. Love is walking to the end of ones’ land every evening and waiting for the prodigal son to return home. Love is holding out a light in the darkness.

Love is swallowing your pride when your pride is getting in the way of loving.

Love is hard work.

 

Beautiful Easter!

Beautiful Easter!

Nothing is more practical than finding God,

that is, than falling in love.

In a quite absolute, final way, what you are in love with,

what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.

It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning,

what you do with your evenings,

how you spend your weekend,

what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart,

and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.

Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.

– Attributed to Pedro Arrupe. S.J.

 

It was a very Good Friday!

It was a very Good Friday!

I’ve had at least two people ask me in the past two days why it’s called Good Friday.  Funny… in all the years of being Catholic I’ve never asked that question.  It just goes to show how much we Catholics take in and accept as truth in faith.

I guess I could google it.  But I’d rather think that it’s “Good” because Jesus died and paid the price for our sins so that we can have eternal life.  Granted… I have never questioned that either!

Yesterday I attended Good Friday services at the Santa Clara Mission.  The lights were dimmed, the incense plentiful and the music was prayerful.  It was a solemn liturgy and I had some heavy things on my heart.  A good friend from high school recently died of a heart attack.   Another family’s 21 year old son was killed in an accident by a drunk driver.  A young teen has disappeared from Morgan Hill and has not been found.

I felt such solidarity with the congregation as we marched forward to venerate the cross singing “Were you there when they crucified my Lord”.  People knelt to kiss the cross.  Others bowed.   Ok.. I get emotional at these things.  I’m an N and an F on the Myers Briggs.  It doesn’t take much to make me weepy.

But just as I began to search for yet another tissue in my purse, the presiding priest asked us to join him in the Lord’s Prayer.  The somewhat feeble and elderly man standing next to me grabbed my hand firmly and raised it up in his and began to pray in earnest!  His strength and conviction shot through his hand into mine and straight to my heart.  I felt suddenly transformed by his faith and a presence of love.

Maybe it’s all hocus pocus.  Catholics were New Age before the New Agers were!  Beads and incense and smoke and mystery.  Death and resurrection.  I’ve bought it hook line and sinker my whole life.

I don’t need to explain it or google it.  I experienced it yesterday.  And it was certainly a “Good” Friday.

 

Let’s give it up for Lent!

Let’s give it up for Lent!

Ok.. I am sitting here enjoying a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon so I guess I am not giving up red wine for Lent.  Do I really have to give something up?  Why not add something significant.  Why not do something out of my comfort zone.  Something that matters.  Something that makes me uncomfortable or that makes me stray from my neurotic daily routine.

I’ve been toying with the idea of living life with more awareness and intention.  Not multitasking.  Not flitting from here to there.  Not changing the subject mid-conversation.

Living with intention.

So cooking a meal is just cooking a meal.  It’s not talking on the phone and cooking a meal.  It’s not checking my email and cooking.  It’s just cooking.

And reaching for my seat belt after getting into my car is not reaching with one hand and turning on the radio with the other one and checking to see if I have gas and wondering if I need my oil changed.  It’s just reaching for my seat belt.

Calling my step mother and asking how she is doing is not just a task that I can check off my list of things to do but actually a loving and intimate communication with a woman who stepped in and decided to love me and my family even though we aren’t really related.

Are you giving something up for Lent?

Or are you adding something that challenges you, stretches you, makes you stop and think?

 

 

Christmas Gifts… Graced Moments

Christmas Gifts… Graced Moments

 

Patrick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Christmas morning my sons and Brianna wrenched me out of the kitchen in order to take a walk with the pups.  I was torn- feeling like I had so much to do before the 16 guests came for Christmas dinner at 4pm.  Then I stopped and asked myself.  What is the important thing right now?

It was a beautiful crisp morning and we went to the corner park so that Willow and Lua could get their wiggles out and Robert and Peter could play on the equipment.

 

Peter

 

Rob

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I couldn’t have planned it better myself.  No Christmas card picture would have come out better than this one.  Perhaps the unstaged is the most representative.  If this is true, I feel especially blessed.

It was a graced moment.  An unplanned trip to the park with cups of coffee and a chill in the air and the people who mean everything to me.  Much more than a perfectly cooked and served turkey.

Patrick, Peter, Robert, Brianna, Lua and Willow