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Web

September 5, 2016 12 comments
Web

An early morn’ encounter with a web unleashes a host of provocative thoughts.

spider

The Spider and the Fly

 

“Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly,
‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I’ve a many curious things to show when you are there.”

“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair
-can ne’er come down again.”

Photo Credit: Web ©2016 KarenSzczukaTeich&Takingtheworldonwithasmile.com

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Magic Intervened

December 29, 2013 12 comments
Christmas Candles

©2013 HannahRoseTeich & I’mThinkingHappy.com

“Oh, Come All Ye Faithful,

Joyful and Triumphant!”

Even though the Holiday has come and gone, I’m still basking in that warm and fuzzy, lingering feeling of love and caring, otherwise known as Christmas Spirit.

Like many folks who celebrate, Christmas is deeply rooted in tradition for me. My European parents have always emphasized Christmas Eve as the more celebrated day of the two. Unlike my all-American friends who opened their gifts Christmas morning, Santa always came to our house after dinner on Christmas Eve. When I was a child we would trade off each year with my Dad’s sister, celebrating in Westchester or Upstate New York with my two, older boy cousins who lived in the woods. By the time my children were born, my cousins had already started their own families and carried on the tradition in their own ways. Ours was tweaked slightly so we could continue to celebrate Christmas Eve with my parents at their home and celebrate Christmas Day, the American way, in my home. Santa’s magical flexibility allowed for him to drop off a few gifts at Nana & Opa’s house after dinner before making his way to our house Christmas morning.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few years however, it’s that like it or not, change is the only real constant. You can go with the flow, embracing it the best you can or be miserable.

An incident at the beginning of December unfortunately,  made it clear that this Christmas was going to be different, forcing me to rethink how we normally celebrate Christmas Eve. Even though my parents would be celebrating as they usually do with our extended family, being there for us, was not an option. Circumstances beyond our control and careful consideration made it necessary for me to decline the invitation, in effect, displacing us and leaving us with nowhere to be on Christmas Eve.

Each generation tries to do better, provide more guidance and opportunity for their kids but mostly we all just want for our children to be happy.  My kids love their extended family. Talking to them about why we weren’t going to celebrate Christmas Eve with my family this year was really hard.  And even though after everything my kids have been through, it’s been important to me to try to keep certain things the same for them over the past two years, I realize life is filled with hard stuff. All we can really do for our kids is arm them with the truth and let them know we will always be there to love and support them.

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©2013 KarenSzczukaTeich & TakingTheWorldOnWithASmile.com

“Sing Choirs of Angels Sing in Exultation,

Sing All Ye Citizens of Heaven Above!”

I believe in magic; Christmas Magic.

It’s the gift that appears from seemingly nowhere and has no tangible existence to speak of, like the unlikely turn-of-events in a situation that you couldn’t foresee working out — working out. It can come in the form of an unexpected act of kindness or an expression of gratitude.  It’s when all things align and the view is suddenly clear, making way for something special to occur, like the sighting of a shooting star or the appearance of a rare blue moon.

It’s getting what you need, not necessarily what you’ve been asking for and recognizing it when it shows itself.

I love Christmas because it embodies the spirit of giving (and I don’t mean of things) from one person to another.

An unexpected, greatly appreciated phone call came about a week before Christmas. My Dad’s sister, the aunt we shared Christmas with when I was a child invited me and my children to join her, a friend and one of my cousins on Christmas Eve.

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© 2013 KarenSzczukaTeich & TakingTheWorldOnWithASmile.com

I haven’t spent a Christmas Eve with my Tante Christine in over 20-years.

She hasn’t spent a Christmas without at least two of her four grandchildren present in over 25-years.

This year Christmas Eve was different. None of her grandchildren could be there.

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© 2013 KarenSzczukaTeich & TakingTheWorldOnWithASmile.com

My kids and I needed some family for Christmas.

My aunt, needed some kids.

We — needed each other.

Magic Intervened.

May the Magic of the Holiday Season fill your heart with joy and gratitude, as it did mine.

Full Plumage

August 19, 2013 10 comments

Bus2

I’ll leave an envelope in your mailbox with a letter explaining what this is all about, he said.

It’s hard to believe school starts again in just a few weeks! Where did the summer go?

Where did the years go?

During the school year, my kids are super spoiled fortunate to be driven to school every day. Not like the early years when they actually wanted to get up early and take the bus; at least Noah did. Gone too, are the days when I’d follow the bus, every day, ensuring that my son didn’t get abducted along the way OR so I could be there, just in case he needed me in some way along the route OR God forbid, there was an accident and I needed to jump into rescue mode for my little boy on the big bus. Nope, those hovering masterful parenting skills vital to ensuring my son’s safe transport to school, are no longer needed. Indeed, it is no longer required of me — by me — to make a mad dash to my car as soon as the big double-wide doors are pulled shut. Trailing, oh-so-not-discreetly, behind the big yellow boat carrying my its precious cargo is something I just don’t have to do anymore.

Bus1

September 2003 ©Karen Szczuka Teich & TakingTheWorldOnWithASmile

Back in the day and during his entire first year on the bus, I’d follow and then veer off at the corner of Dunkin’ Donuts and Route 9 while the bus would head into Princess Circle where a cluster of apartment buildings were. The apartment-pick-up allowed me just enough time to run in for a cup-of-Joe and be back outside standing on the corner, ready to catch a glimpse of my then 5-year old who’d be peering out of the window directly behind the bus driver. The bus driver would make him sit in the seat right behind her every day.

I make all the little ones sit behind me, so I can keep an eye on them, she told me one day.

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September 2003 ©Karen Szczuka Teich & TakingTheWorldOnWithASmile

Thank you, Jan.

An older woman with a big heart, there was no pulling-the-wool over Jan’s eyes. And instead of balking at my stalker-ish behavior, she’d honk the bus horn two or three times and I’d over-hear her through her cracked window telling Noah,

Look, there’s your mom. Wave to her!

He and she, would, as they rounded the corner from Princess Circle to route 9, every time.

It made my day.  Every-day.

And, to-this-day, if Jan sees me around town she honks her big yellow bus horn and waves to me with a big heartwarming smile on her face.

Thank you, Jan.

But, I digress.

My 5-year old is now going on 15 and he can sit where he wants to on the bus. Plus, these days, he has a companion. Well, sort of.  He and his sister take the bus home almost every day together. Although I somehow doubt they actually sit together. And they don’t always get off at the same STOP. But people know they’re siblings, including their current bus driver, who Hannah has had now for the past two years in a row.

It was the end of June, school was over when the man on the other end of my cell identified himself as “Vinny”, my kids’ bus driver. He told me he would leave an envelope in my mailbox explaining what the call was all about.

According to the letter, each year the Federation of Workers representing nine units (including bus drivers) in the school district we live in, take part in a program that allows for 40 out of the well over 65,000 children served, to be recognized for exhibiting outstanding behavior.

WCSD Letter

Accompanied with the letter were 4-tickets to a Renegades game; our local minor league baseball team.

If our name comes up, Vinny said, we choose a student that we’ve come in contact with during the year that has shown exemplary behavior.  We’re only supposed to pick one but I chose both your kids because they’re both great kids and really deserving. They never give me a hard time. They say hi and thank-you, are polite and Hannah helps me out with the little kids all the time.

Like a peacock fanning her feathers in full plumage, I could feel the pride swell inside.

peacock mama

Since my last post boasted the sibling rivalry that exists between my pair, I thought it fitting, to highlight their cooperation; even if they don’t always realize or recognize it; sometimes, other people do. Way to go Hannah and Noah!

Thank you, Vinny!

 

True Story

July 28, 2013 7 comments

In just about every family that has more than one child, I’ll venture to say, you’ll find some type of sibling rivalry. It’s a natural, normal part of growing up. Sometimes it even extends into adulthood, but that’s another post for another day. Maybe.

This post is about the sibling love between my kids. I’ve written about the dynamic between my son and daughter before. They’ve been playing and bickering together, loving and fighting each other since the day I brought my baby girl home.

August 2001 ©TakingTheWorldOnWithASmile.com

Sometimes, I think my son was so sweet to his sister the day she was born because he thought she was going to stay there — in the hospital that is, in Poughkeepsie. He cradled her and sang “Rock-A-Bye-Baby” to her the first time he met her. Precious. Truly. Actually, even the first few days after she was brought home were filled with curiosity and a few tender moments. It wasn’t until a few weeks later, when he realized, this baby-doll was here to stay, that the two-year-old-tantrums began. Hey, it’s good to be the king! He had a good gig being numero uno for a while there before she came along. Can you blame him?

Mom!!

©TakingTheWorldOnWithASmile.com

Twelve years later, it’s still sometimes difficult for him to accept that she’s not going away and the fact that she’s two inches taller than he is right now doesn’t help much either. Poor guy. He truly finds himself irritated by almost everything she does.

Just last week he came to me with this:

Mom!

She’s doing it again!

Who? What?

Hannah!

Good grief. What now? What is she doing? What is the problem?

Reading!

What??

Reading!

She’s reading again!

That’s when the dumbfounded, quizzical look appeared on my face to which he retorted:

I’m serious!

That’s all she ever does now and she’s wasting her life away reading!

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And so she was,

is

and continues to do so — read that is.

Yes, she is “wasting her life away with it”.

Nine books in five weeks.

I’m just a mom striving to live life on life’ terms while taking my kids the world on with a smile

True Story.

My Rose

April 28, 2013 6 comments

Just remember in the Winter

Far beneath the bitter snow

Lies the seed that with the sun’s love

In the Spring becomes the rose.

~ “The Rose”/Lyrics Amanda McBroom

seedThe season has changed and Spring has finally found us. The promise of renewal, rebirth and hopeful thoughts surroroseund us. The sun is shining warm again. Seedlings that were planted falls-ago have taken root over the winter’s long days and new life is emerging. Vibrant bursts of color are popping up daily. The unexpected is happening. Everywhere. Be alert with eyes wide open or be jarred, as I was the other day; halted by beauty; startled in an unanticipated moment, forced to pause and see the sweet rose that shot up before me.

How did this happen right before my eyes without me seeing it?

Parenting is busy, worrisome work. It’s constant, at times, all-consuming. It’s a life-long learning adventure. Like most things I become immersed in, the deeper I’m in it, often times, the harder it is for me to step out and back and linger in the minutes of  the milestones and accomplishments of our ever-changing, day-to-day lives. Hours become days. Days extend into weeks which turn into months that become years. Even though I’ve been there all the while, the details are clouded and what seems like, in the blink of an eye, the bud becames a blossom and I’ve been caught completely off guard.

That sweet seedling that was just laughing-it-up in the park yesterday...

Hannah @ Playpland Park

…has grown into a flower, more beautiful than I could ever have imagined…

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… and is laughing-it-up on her way into the Spring Dance today, in concert with these other lovelies who are flourishing in their own beautiful gardens.

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George

April 14, 2013 9 comments

Barbershop

In the new storefront a man stood in front of the huge glass window watching people, including us, walk by his establishment. My eyes met his as we passed and then I couldn’t help but notice the two, large, empty chairs that sat in front of mirrors behind him. There was a quiet look of discontent on his face. I felt bad for him. This poor man I thought, wondering how he could have chosen this location.

Doesn’t he know?

We had an appointment two doors down from the empty store where there was a bustle of activity. It was busy here and even though we had called in advance, there were three people ahead of us, waiting patiently, for his time. He glanced up stopping what he was doing, only for a moment as we entered and offered a substitute, as he usually does.

As usual, we thanked him and respectfully declined.

It will be a while, he said.

It’s Okay. We’ll wait. 

You can’t be in a rush when you come to see this man. You don’t want to be in a rush.

Finally, he beckoned us over. I took my place, off to the side. Shortly after, the discussions began. I listened intently, chiming in occasionally as they spoke of worldly things like the flu epidemic and how dangerous it can be for sick people to be in the hospital. Margaret Thatcher’s passing was brought up and he talked about her great personal achievements and the contributions she made to the advancement of women and our political world.

Then his thoughts turned to North Korea. 

What do you think of this guy, Kim Jong Un? Do you think he’s being influenced by the men that used to rule with his father? How do you think the US will respond if he fires a nuclear missile?

He was genuinely interested in my son’s response and in the 30-minutes that the job took, there was a lively exchange of meaningful topics. Solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems were flirted. It’s always interesting to hear his views but fascinating to watch this man’s skill, as all the while, he continues laboring, never missing a beat, meticulously working his craft like the artist that he is, coming back several times to the same spot until it looks or feels just right. He’s consistent and a constant. He’s reliable; a friend and the only person we’ve ever trusted with this task. And despite the seriousness of his work and the broadness of the topics he covers, it always begins with the same question, prompting the same response.

April 2013

April 2013

What number will it be today, Noah?…

…is the question.

Number two….

…is the answer.

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April 2013

At least it has been, for the last 14 years.

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Noah’s first haircut with George ~ December 1999

Photo Credit #1 Google Images

Photo Credit #2 -#3 Karen Szczuka Teich & Takingtheworldonwithasmile.com

The Best-Laid Plans Are Tentative at Best

March 31, 2013 11 comments

roadtohell

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

I had really good intentions this week. Maybe that’s why we ended up in hell for a while.

The saying is right up there with Steinbeck’s….

The best-laid schemes plans of mice and men often go awry.”

And so it was this week. There were good intentions and best-laid plans. Heck, the table was practically set!

Heading into the week thoughts were on the baking and making of good food, the joining of good friends, a long weekend in the good woods, some good puzzling, and a good, old-fashioned, awesome egg hunt around a great pond!

Who needs the White House lawn when you have this?

peace

Instead, our intentions and plans were ransacked by reality. Spring Break was anything but a break and I had to remind myself (more than once) why I named this blog what I did, when we ended up with this…..

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…..a trip to the ER Thursday night that lasted well into the wee-hours of Friday morning.

De-hy-dration. Not eating a full meal for nearly a week, having fever and losing body fluids from every possible body-crevice will put your girl on a fast-track to needing nutrients from an IV bag for sure but it was the nosebleed that just-would-not-stop that sealed the deal and sent us to the hospital.

Damn you this year’s flu!

Both A & B strains have descended upon our house for the third time this season even though we’ve all been inoculated.

“Go back to the science lab!” I say to the medical team that concocted this most ineffectual vaccine!

“You missed the mark — completely!”

The second time we visited our doctor this week, she advised us that this year’s flu shot was approximately, only, 10% effective.

Taking the world on with a smile. I needed to remind myself. Did I mention in-between doctor visits, the diagnosis of flu and bronchitis and just before our jaunt to the hospital that it was my girl’s birthday this week also?

“Roll with it.”  I kept telling myself. Take it all, on with a smile.”

When you have kids, some days just get like this and sometimes those days turn into weeks. Patience and flexibility are key. Plan B is always helpful. Life after all, is full of surprises, the good and the not so good.

As a parent you accept that the best-laid plans are well, tentative at best.

So, I’m taking the world– my world — on with a smile. And even though it’s mostly just on the outside for now, I know, as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, this too shall pass.

Happy Easter!~ Happy Passover!~ Happy Birthday!~ Happy Holidays!

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