The Wonder Years

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“Growing up happens in a heartbeat. One day you’re in diapers, the next day you’re gone. But the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul. I remember a place, a town, a house, like a lot of houses. A yard like a lot of other yards. On a street like a lot of other streets. And the thing is, after all these years, I still look back…with wonder.” ~ the wonder years

Ally3 (1 of 1)When did this happen?!!  Wasn’t it only yesterday I was on the beach in Half Moon Bay with the other play group moms (and, John) thinking I will not survive a toddler!  Thank you, thank you, thank you, John, for chasing them, swimming with them, building castles in the sand and letting the ladies lie around sipping wine, catching our breath and discussing if we will make it until they start pre-school.

Today is a day full of new beginnings … middle school … a new school, new friends, new clothes (yes, no uniforms!), and, no mom and dad walking her to her classroom for the first day of school photo, hug and goodbye kiss.  I will snap that shot from the front porch in a few hours, and, off she will go to meet up with her new classmates; now, officially referred to as the Class of 2020.

One day may you look back on this time with wonder.  Godspeed, my little Bean! xoxo!!

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The Inspiration

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New Beginnings

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“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” ~ Seneca

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The PBS journey (where Ally and her peers attended pre and elementary school) began in the Fall of 2005.  She was 3 1/2 and couldn’t bear the thought of us leaving her for five minutes, much less the three, long hours in this child’s playground of toys, indoor tree houses, puppets and magical teachers.  Some of the pre-schoolers would cry that first week when it was time to kiss mom or dad goodbye.  They all slowly adjusted and the tears, as expected, faded.

Fast forward to the last day of 5th grade.  Every teacher who spent time with Ally and her friends over these 8, wonderful years came to us, with tears in their eyes, to say goodbye.  The celebrating continued that evening with a 5th grade graduation party that included swimming, volleyball, zip lines and those same magical teachers who would pull us all together for one final group hug.  In the middle of this hug were the one time toddlers who grew together to find courage, kindness, community and a love of learning.  Each and every one of them had tears in their eyes, as it was now time to say goodbye.

Wishing Ally and all her peers luck and love on their journey to 2020.  May you all continue to find courage, kindness, community and a love of learning wherever this next chapter may take you.  Godspeed.

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The Best Luck I Had Was You

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“Cause the best luck I had was you…and I know one thing, that I love you!” ~ Michael Franti

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since that 3:00 a.m. drive down the mountain to Stanford Hospital to receive what we thought would be a little eye rolling, a few chuckles and advice to go back home and relax for another 3 or 4 weeks.  Ah, the best laid plans.  A year ago my post was a tribute to the Bean, reflecting on the memories of the day she was born. Rereading it today, it still makes me smile and wonder where I drew the creativity to write such an almost humorous post. I’ll probably repost it at some point today; however, for the sake of nostalgia (mine), feel free to check it out at http://www.journeyto2020.com/2011/04/21/she-is-going-to-be-a-handful/

Instead of writing, yet again, about how enamored I am with my child, I’ve decided to switch gears and give her a voice by sharing a poem she wrote for her fourth grade class this week; a little piece of her soul~

MY SOUL

My soul is running free
Like a wild horse
My soul is the drumming
Of hoof beats on the
Burning sand
My soul is the sound of
Ear piercing whinnies
My soul is a bright
Place with the smell
Of thick leather
My soul is the sweat
And blood of a horse.

By: Ally Sinclair

Happy 10th Birthday, sweet Alexandra!  Your love, kindness, courage and beauty (inside and out) is the essence of an unbridled soul!  May you, forever, experience life exactly as you feel it today!!

p.s. And, never forget the best luck I had was you ♥   xoxo!!

Forever Young

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Quote of the Day:  May you grow up to be righteous, may you grow up to be true, may you always know the truth, and see the lights surrounding you, may you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong; and, may you stay forever young.”  ~ Bob Dylan

This has been a very emotional week.  My best friends from childhood will be gathering in my hometown, celebrating 30 years from our graduation from high school.  First of all, 30 years from ANYTHING is emotional; but, high school is another story.  I have always believed in the saying “make new friends, but, keep the old ~ one is silver and the other is gold” and I now instill this same philosophy in my child.

It is such an important philosophy for me to hold close, because there have been so many chapters in my  life.  I sometimes wonder if the small child will have such a big book, with so many chapters to lug around.  Perhaps her own novel will be more concise, less dramatic and; therefore, require fewer chapters.  My intuition tells me it will be the latter.  Whatever her story may be, I will tell her this: “friends will come and they will go; however, the impact of the lessons and gifts they bring will stay with you forever.”   As I write my blog, I generally try to parallel my daughter’s life and journey with my own.  Whether that is good or bad, it always brings the same resolution; that no matter how much life changes, it really does remain the same (with much better technology 🙂 ).  Thank you, Steve Jobs ~ may you rest in peace!

Whether it is the result of the many chapters of my life, the moves from coast to coast or the distance I live from my childhood home, I have always had this idea that I would never reconnect with my friends from childhood.  Well, that idea went completely out the window when Zuckerberg came to town with his baby, Facebook.  Initially, I thought Facebook was silly and trite; but, then I succumbed to the idea and, BOOM, Kathy appeared.  We saw each other’s names and “accepted” a friendship (maybe there should be a “re-accept” button).  I said, “come to California” and she said  “okay”.  We hadn’t seen or spoken to each other in over 30 years.  I pulled up to the curb at SFO and we were both crying before I even got out of the car.  We talked for 5 days straight, remembering idiosyncrasies that were long forgotten.   Every time I laughed, she cried, because it was a memory so profound within her ~ with that, I cried because I remembered that laugh from my childhood.  A laugh that only she could resonate.

So I dedicate this week’s blog to my 8th grade best friend forever, Kathy, and the Milford High School Class of 1981.  It’s been a joy reconnecting with you all.  May we find some other old friends along the way, may we find joy in our own personal journeys; but, most of all may we stay forever young in our hearts and in our souls.  I love you all and thank you for my childhood.   I wish this wonderful kind of childhood for my daughter and all her friends on their journey to 2020!  Godspeed!

Sand Castle Virtues

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Quote of the Day:  “And the sand castle virtues are all swept away in the tidal destruction ~ the moral melee.” ~ Ian Anderson

I wasn’t so sure where I was going to take the Journey this week.  I was busy with shooting, editing, child and traveling.  In the normal course of a week, I generally have my ideas formed by Tuesday and crank something out by Wednesday morning.  As it happened, Wednesday came and I had nothing.  So, I walked on the beach for inspiration and took this shot.   I was mesmerized by the sand castle.  I had posted a shorter version of this quote earlier in the week on my personal page ~ “and the sand castle virtues were all swept away”.   Coincidence?  I think not.  Perhaps just a simple reminder that everything is as it should be.  What’s great about song lyrics is they are wildly open for interpretation.  So…my blog, my interpretation :).  I am fortunate to say that my sand castle virtues have not be swept away.  Time has only made them stronger.

As I photographed the sand castle, I had an “aha!” moment.  I angled my camera to capture the castle with the ocean as its background. However,  I was inundated with tourist standing on the other side to snap a shot.  I was fortunate enough to catch this lovely moment with the young boy running towards me.  However, the tourist kept coming; paying me no regard.  I was irritated and becoming very disenchanted  with the moment.  Defeated, I surrendered and walked to the other side of the castle to try to get a clean shot.  This is what I captured.  I still favor my ocean shot, but, am glad for my irritation with the tourists.  I’m sure they were having similar feelings about me as I blocked the view of The Del.

Gravity of Time

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Quote of the Day:  “Time makes you bolder, children get older, I’m getting older, too.” ~ Stevie Nicks

I’m feeling nostalgic today as I turn a year older and the small child graduates from Third Grade.  They say that your past comes back to you as your child journeys forward. Perhaps it is because we feel so intrinsically close to our children, that we not only want to share our joys with them; but, also share our pain and hardships in order to protect and guide them.

As much as I try not to do it;  it is very hard not to compare our lives; the similarities and the differences.  It was 1972 when I graduated from Third Grade.  My parents split that year and we shuttled between Germany, Cleveland and Ohio.  I was a straight “A” student (tickets to the Big Red Machine to prove it:), the best speller in the Mrs. McConnaughey and Ward’s class and the most terrified child on the planet.   It wasn’t easy trying to figure things out when you are eight going on nine years old.

As I look at my beautiful child and reflect on her Third Grade year I feel a sense of relief and gratitude.   Relief that history did not repeat itself.  Gratitude that I was able, for my family’s sake, to remain an optimist about love and life.  And a certain feeling of honor and ownership that I am able to share with her knowledge about worlds that are not so perfect.

I always accused my Mama as looking at life through rose colored glasses.  Thank you, Mama, for leaving those glasses on the nightstand for me. I promise I will leave them behind for the small child; however, I think she was born wearing a pair of her own 🙂

On June 8, 1963, Herta Renges Craft gave birth to the last of  her six children.  Thank you, Mama, for the gift of life, the gift of contentment and 48 happy birthdays!!  xoxo!!

Peace in Silence

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Quote of the Day:  “Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.” ~ Max Ehrmann

When I was eight years old, my oldest sister would play her 45 LP records on our little portable record player.  I realize “45 LP” and “record player” mean nothing to anyone born after 1980; however, 45 LP’s were to my generation what iPods and iTunes are to this generation of teeny boppers.

There was one record I adored.  It was mostly a man reciting words to a poem; but, then angelic voices would sing the chorus.  I loved to sing the chorus over and over.  It went like this, “You are a child of the universe; no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here.  And whether or not, it is clear to you; no doubt the universe is unfolding as a should.”

As an eight year old, I had no idea that this was not just a popular song recorded by Les Crane in the 70’s.  It was a poem written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann.  It is a poem that has come back to me a various stages of my life and always holds great meaning.  I have carried the same copy of this poem with me from Ohio, to Washington, D.C and, here, to California.  Last year, when my daughter was eight, she found the copy of the poem in my desk.  I read it to her.  She liked it very much, so, I shared how I would listen to this song over and over when I was her age.  She googled it and found the song on YouTube.  She loved it and asked if I would put it on her iPod.   I can sometimes hear her singing, “you are a child of the universe.”   Children follow by example, so, teach your children well.  Oh, that’s a song for another day :).  Here is the poem.

DESIDERATA

— by Max Ehrmann–

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.