Joanna: Did I Tell You...
I didn't see you very much yesterday! Was your day OK? Did Jake bring the Jay Peak thermometer to school for you? That was nice of Michael to think of you! Your mom and I think of you and Theo all the time! When I give you a kiss and a hug it doesn't mean I don't love Theo too. I'll never stop loving either of you. I'll love you and be with you forever. A poet once said there are many kinds of love in the world - but no two loves are the same. Scientists say that no two snowflakes are the same either. I guess that's one reason I love watching snow fall... and one reason I love you too!
When I'm not with you - when I'm at work or out with friends - I carry you in my heart "hotel." In a place where there's only you! Everyone I love has their own room in my heart "hotel." I only have to think of you and all my love comes to the front - I smile a warm, glad smile and I love - it helps sometimes to remember the people you love, and who love you too, are always as close as your heart hotel - and all you have to do is think, remember, and love!
Everyday I try to say "I love you." Love is not easy (sometimes). You love me even though I can make you mad (sometimes). Love isn't like the water faucet - you don't turn it on and off. Love is constant, moves with our lives, changes as we change. Never dies.
P.S. You don't have to say "I love you" for me to know you do! (but it feels so good when you do!)
No one ever said that growing up is easy. No one ever told me that as a kid and it's still not easy even as an adult. I'm still learning how to deal with successes and failures, the good things that I want to happen and the bad things that I wish would just go away. Living encompasses it all - the good and the bad, the happy and sad, the young and the old, the love and the pain - all of it. It can't be any other way. And the only way for us to keep an even keel - a steady course - a balance in our lives - is to understand ourselves - love ourselves - and try our best to love each other. Forgive ourselves, the mistakes we make - learn from them - forgive other people the mistakes they make - even when they hurt us - and live each day to the fullest. Know that some days it will be easy and some days it will seem impossible and just go on - keep on being yourself and trying. Trying to live. Trying to love.
Now comes the big juggling act - the balls in the air are my family, my job, the renovation - how to make time for each? This is the struggle. How to make time with you who are growing up so fast. Time really does fly by you know. I look back at the time since you were born and it seems like only yesterday but it's not. It's been 13 Christmases, 14 birthday parties, immeasurable car trips, vacations, family events like GG70 or Christmas at Aunt Joni's and Thanksgiving in Iowa. We've really gotten around. What did I say yesterday about our being a family of nomads? 100 years ago most people lived and died within 20 miles of where they were born - not true anymore. We're a traveling culture for sure. While you travel around living your life searching for love and happiness and success - remember the love that your family - all of us - have for you. Carry us in your heart. Draw strength from that simple feeling called love.
I didn't do a single April fools day joke on anyone yesterday - got to be a first for me. Did you get anyone at school?
Fun is where you find it. Love is where you make it. Work is everywhere if you let it. Fun, love and work - is that life or what? All these necessary components to a healthy life. Love is the hardest to find. If you're lucky you're born into love - family love, and you at least have that. Finding love outside your family is not easy. It's not that it's hard work like digging a ditch but neither can you just go online and type in "soul mate" and hit "enter" either. Finding love is one thing. Recognizing it when you meet it is another. And keeping it, growing it is another still. It takes fun and work to make love. I love you so much!
A quilt of love. A warm, cozy blanket of love to wrap around yourself and keep you safe. Happy? Can a wrap of love make you happy? Keep you happy? I think that it can help with that but happiness takes more than the love of others. It takes love of ourselves. Why? Because love exists between two people or it doesn't exist at all. Each person brings love to the table and together they make a feast. So bring it on Joanna. Feel the love inside you and serve it up generously. I love you so much!
For fifteen and a half years I've held a special place in your life - in your heart. You've certainly held a special place in mine. I try to show my love for you everyday and I hope you've caught just a hint of it from time to time. I know that someday, maybe soon, other men will come and earn your heart, at least a place in it. And while your love for him may feel complete - I hope there will always be room for Dad. I love you so much!
Happy Valentines Day.
A tower that reaches for the sky rests on a rock or it falls. What's the rock in a family? Love? Love & trust? Love & communication? Love & understanding? Love & support? What's the common denominator in the above? Love is not a static thing. It changes and the people in love change. It's only fitting that it does this. As it changes, being the rock, the tower sways. It sways but it stands.
Yesterday at the Memorial service the rabbi said "We are born against our will and we die against our will." But there's all the years in between that are up to us to do the most with who we are, the gifts we were given. Love yourself first - only then will you be able to love others. Does that sound trite? I don't mean it to be. I'm serious... love yourself, be yourself, be happy with yourself, grow yourself, discover yourself. I see so much in you Joanna. See it. Celebrate it. Share it. You're worth it.
I was having lunch yesterday with this guy who had called me into the 20 Pine St job and he told me this story that I thought you'd find amusing. He was working on a project in Taiwan and his company wanted to find an Asian exhibit builder to do it. He flew to Japan and was hosted by this big company for four days in Tokyo. When he finally went in to meet the big boss, he came into his office and the boss bowed low and said something in Japanese. Everyone else in the room gasped and the translator looked surprised but turned to my friend and said "He offers his daughter to you in marriage!"
Don't worry, I'll never go that far to seal a deal. I love you too much!