Tag Archives: life

The Gift

d06677360875bb46dc0f8f19213697df

Once upon a time, about 27  years ago, I had this friend….

We worked together for a couple of years or so, and shared one of those “office BFF” relationships. We hit it off immediately when we met. Even though we spent very little time together outside of work hours, the 40 hours each week we DID spend together forged a deep friendship.  We spent every day sharing stories of our lives– listening, giving advice, laughing. I remember us laughing ALOT. She was one of the happiest, most uplifting people I had ever met. Bubbly, funny, constantly smiling. She was, in every sense of the word, a truly beautiful person both inside and out. I’m sure you all have met someone in your life that you connected with like that. You felt like a better person simply by knowing them.

Then, as it does, life happened. We each went our separate ways…marrying, moving away to other states and onto other jobs or the next stage in our lives.

Now remember, this was “pre-internet”, friends. No Googling or Facebooking. No cell phones or Twitter. I realize that some of you youngsters may find it hard to imagine a world like that, but believe it. Sadly, we lost touch with each other, and I hadn’t seen or heard from her in all these years.

Then, just recently, it happened.

I sat down at my computer, and saw I had a message. I clicked on it and saw her name. There was a last name that was new, of course, but it was definitely her. My special friend from so long ago.  It brought so much joy to reconnect with her after all these years, and even though she lives out of state and we haven’t been able to get together yet, I know that when we do, it will be like we were together just yesterday.

The other day she asked me for my address, saying she had something she wanted to send me.  I never really gave it much thought, and actually forgot about it.

Today, in my mailbox, I found one of those yellow cards that says “item too large for box”. As I was pulling it out, I began to panic a little, knowing that I hadn’t ordered anything…and my first thought was “Oh my gosh, what did Gino buy? I am going to strangle him if he ordered something online….”. And in my own defense, I have every right to question that, because this IS the kid that charged over $400 to my debit card while buying “power up bundles” in the Angry Bird game on his iPad. Lucky for him, he was in the clear this time.

The postmaster handed me a large cardboard box with Priority Mail stickers on it , and then I saw the return address, It was from her, my friend.  I was totally puzzled. So this is why she wanted my address. I figured maybe I’d get a card or something from her…but a rather large cardboard box? So of course, I opened it, and there was this:

11020384_10200162992393575_123664683_n

Well, I sat there in stunned silence for a few moments. And then I just started crying. Okay, bawling is probably a better description of it. It wasn’t pretty. And it lasted a while. I’m not sure why…I guess just the sheer surprise of the gift, from someone so special, after all these years….it touched me more than I can explain. And when I told her how special it was, but also too extravagant and I couldn’t accept it, she said she knew I loved this bag and had come across it, and knew it was meant to be that I have it. And then she told me this:

“I cannot tell you how blessed I am in my life right now, Jill. It’s meaningless and no fun if you cannot share with others…”

And she is so right, isn’t she? Her words really hit me, and I kept thinking about them, over and over. They stirred a part of me that I had buried this past year. Even though I didn’t consciously do it, I had let the realities of some difficult life situations take over. When I did that, I allowed some blessings that I was hoping to share with others, be derailed. Early in 2014, I had come up with an idea to start a non-profit organization that helps mothers battling cancer, by setting up a network of providers who volunteer to give free care to her children during doctors appointments, chemo treatments, or simply during times of needed rest.

When we found out that my sister had cancer, I had just been laying the groundwork for the non-profit, meetings had been set up with lawyers and other professionals that would be giving their input, and there had been brainstorming sessions going on. Feedback from other organizations and medical facilities about their excitement to be able to extend this service to families in need was thrilling. I knew that a lot of lives will be touched by it and I was anxious to get things rolling. But with the news of her being sick, and knowing that the months ahead would be physically and mentally challenging, everything was put on hold.

Months later, after my sister passed away, there was still a lot of emotional baggage to sift through, not to mention that I was doing major purging of my household and personal belongings to get prepared to move this past month, and trying to get settled. I will admit now that I was struggling in many ways, even though I tried my best to hide it. Stretched too thin would be a good way to describe how I felt. I think for a lot of that time I was on “autopilot”. I took the idea of “one day at a time” to a new level. Of course I made sure the kids were cared for, went to work, did all the typical “mom” stuff. But it was with a survival mode type of mentality. I had lost that part that was so passionate about giving and wanting to help. I rarely gave the non-profit a thought during that time.

I’m sure my friend didn’t realize that her gift to me would be much more profound than simply a fabulous bag from my favorite designer. Being the kind, generous soul that she is, she sent that to me out of love and kindness, to bring me happiness…sharing her blessings, and expecting nothing in return.

Her gift, and words, brought that part of me back to life that I had buried for a while. I was reminded of how meaningless life’s blessing are if we don’t share them. And in that moment, I could feel that part of me come alive again.

THAT is the power that giving and receiving holds.

Perhaps in receiving we heal others, and in giving we heal ourselves.

fda290c1ee019b78e2817d23363af262

I’m now anxious to pick up where we left off with the non-profit. It’s a slow process, time and resources are limited, but I have faith that it will come to fruition and I will see my plans turn into action in helping others.

Who knew that fab Michael Kors bag could bring about all of this, right?

Cheers, and don’t forget to share your blessings,

Jill ❤

Oh No he DIDN’T just say that…

Let me set the scene for you.

I had just finished a long, busy day caring for kids in the daycare, and had made my way to the kitchen to make some dinner for my family. My youngest, eight year old Gino, came in and sat down at the table, and started chatting with me. Before long he had brought up the subject of my blog. I hadn’t specifically mentioned to him that I had started this blog, but he had seen my Facebook page, This Wicked, Wonderful World by Jill Palilla, a couple of weeks back and was just a tiny bit fascinated by it, because he has a true love for writing stories (which are pretty darn impressive, if I say so myself), and I think that in his mind, my blogging catapults me into a status of sorts.

Like as in  Wonder Woman type status.  And I am okay with that 🙂

He seems particularly interested in the fact that I like to write about everyday life as I know it, by sharing things that happen to me or our family, as opposed to how he uses his wild imagination to write very detailed and entertaining fiction stories.

He asked how I decided what I was going to write about, and I explained that sometimes it’s simply something funny that has happened that I think other people might enjoy hearing about, or it might be something more serious that is on my mind often, or a part of my everyday life that I struggle with–and sometimes writing about it helps me “figure it out” in a different way. He seemed to get that…. Maybe even more than I realized.

So as we’re chatting, he says this….”Hey mom, I have an idea for something you can blog about. You could talk about how you never are able to get all of the dishes done at one time. You know, like how you’ll start to do them and then go do something else before you finish the big pans and stuff?”

What?! What did he just say? Oh NO, he DIDN’T just say that.

e9a0057c6ba476d8e41c15f4a2369da2

Well. Reeeeeeaaalllly. That kid has a lot of nerve. Who does he think he IS telling me that I need to BLOG about the fact that I can’t seem to get ALL of the dishes done at one time?! I mean, seriously, does he see all of the work that I have to do around here? I’m only one person, for crying out loud.  And BY THE WAY, Mister, those pots and pans NEED to soak overnight! …..

11016497_10200158613244099_2060815726_n

Okay. Perhaps he had unknowingly hit a nerve.

One of the touchiest, most sensitive nerves that I have. Because he’s right. I almost NEVER finish all of my dishes at one time. It drives me crazy about myself that I do it. I KNOW this about myself, and I always tell myself to just finish the darn dishes, already.

But sometimes I just don’t want to. Yeah, that’s embarrassing.

And even more often than me simply not wanting to do them, THIS happens:

I’m washing the dishes and I remember that I need to switch the clothes from the washer to the dryer, so I stop the dish washing to do that. While I’m in the laundry room, I see Gino’s basketball jersey and it reminds me that I need to check to make sure that his basketball shoes are in his bag for the game. I am on my way to look for his game bag and as I walk through the living room, I see little pieces of paper and debris on the carpet from a project that 11007632_10200158613324101_129608837_nVincent was working on, and remember that I need to fix the sweeper and get that cleaned up. I detour to where the sweeper is sitting, turn it over and realize that I need a screwdriver to take the bottom off, so I go to the basement to get a screwdriver. While I’m down there, I catch a glimpse of a box containing files with old receipts and bills, which then starts me thinking that I need to get bills paid, and I’m sure by now you probably already know that I never go back to finish the dishes. It’s Attention Deficit Cleaning Disorder at it’s finest. I AM the poster child for this. I admit it. It’s a big problem.

But let’s be honest. The truth hurts, doesn’t it?

You MAY have your defenses beefed up to a level of such high beefiness that you don’t let your truths hurt you, they just anger you. I, my friends, have been guilty of THAT for many, many years when it comes to the matter of me hating, despising, and ignoring the task of washing (and finishing) the dishes. Just ask my significant other, he will attest to the fact that we’ve had more than one heated discussion about it…. I’m not proud. And then there’s the fact that he’s rather OCD about things being neat and orderly, and let’s face it…I’M NOT. You can see the struggle there, right?

And then, (as I found out last night), out of the blue, for some reason the same truth you’d be presented with many times and were simply angered by, hits that one oh so sensitive nerve and the pain is shocking. Because that particular nerve is directly linked to the PRIDE. And suddenly you know. You need to change so that your truth isn’t something that hurts anymore. It’s funny how suddenly something clicks and you realize that, even though it’s been put in front of you so many times.

I finally can admit that I need to work on this. He was right.

But before my mind processed all of that, though, I was still in the “Oh NO he DIDN’T say that”  emotional state, and I had promptly told Gino that YES, in fact the dishes WOULD all be finished at one time tonight, and this is why:

11002129_10200158061430304_1830948990_o10988779_10200158061310301_1979958387_o

**As a side note, and a subject matter for another day, he is incredibly intelligent but REALLY needs schooled in WHAT NOT TO SAY TO WOMEN 101.

eba291d88d99881e66b5ab54944e3d11

Disclaimer: No children were injured in the washing of these dishes.

Cheers,

Jill ❤

Can we talk about laundry for just a minute?

I’m pretty good about checking pockets before doing laundry. But every once in a while, I have to admit that I slip up. You’ve got to agree, though, some of those cargo pants and shorts have ALOT of pockets. If I’m in a hurry I may miss those side pockets down near the knee that can hide all sorts of items capable of causing laundry catastrophies…

For instance just a few weeks ago, I opened the dryer door to find sticks of winterfresh gum nicely melted onto an entire load of clothes. Don’t judge me when I tell you I chose to just close that dryer door and walk away for a little while because I simply didn’t want to deal with it right at that moment….Ok, I didn’t want to EVER deal with it. I considered just taking a garbage bag into the laundry room and putting the contents of the dryer into the bag, and let the garbage man deal with it. Looking back on it, I’m pretty sure it would’ve been easier to have had to go buy all new stuff rather than sit there for hours and peel that gum off of all of that laundry. It was painful. You can’t even imagine how far and wide that pack of gum could spread itself…never again.

On the flipside, sometimes there’s a sweet surprise when you open that washer lid and see nice wet green dollar bills laying against the washer tub wall…finders keepers, losers weepers…that’s what I’ve always said. Even nicer when you don’t find them till you open the dryer door and they’re laying in there with the clothes all nice and dry, curled up and just waiting for you, like a tip for doing such a great job at getting the laundry done. I know it always makes me feel better about folding that laundry and putting it away after I find that surprise tip with it…

Then there are the times you do such a good job at checking the pockets that you find things you really wish you had never known about…like that time I put my hand in the pocket of a pair of jeans of Gino’s and found several earthworms that he had been rescuing from the sidewalk after a nice hard rain. I can safely say that after that special encounter,  I really have never wanted to put my hand into another pocket of anything that that child has ever worn. I’m straight up afraid. I’d rather take my chances of another melted gum disaster over the alternative of finding some sort of creepy, crawly, slimy rescued creature in there….Lord have mercy on me.

Which may explain why I found this in the washer tonight: 10961879_10200138785788425_2072246051_nAt Gino’s request, we had dinner Friday night at the Chinese Buffet (and just so you can imagine him asking me to take him there, he pronounces it as if Jimmy Buffet had a brother named Chinese. Chinese Buffet. No matter how many times I tell him, “it’s buff-AY, with a long a sound at the end”, he still says buff-et…lol. Not important to know, but for some reason funny as heck to me…hehe) Anyway, my best guess is that Gino decided to bring home the crab claw he had been playing with after he dug the crab meat out. He asked me if he could bring it home and I said no, because it will stink. And to be honest, Gino and Vincent are stinky enough without having empty seafood carcasses laying around the house (they can be so disgusting and that’s a topic for another day…boys are so dang stinky. For real, they are….) So I’m thinking Gino thought the problem with the stinky crab claw would be solved by having it washed with the laundry… And so it was.

Don’t you just love life’s little surprises? Even something as silly as this? I do. Well, except that earthworm surprise…I did NOT love that one…

So your tip of the day: Check those pockets friends–if you dare, that is. 🙂

Cheers and happy laundering,

Jill ❤

One of those less than stellar mom moments….

Well it’s lunchtime and I can’t help but wonder what Gino thought about his lunch that I packed for him today….

Twenty years. I’ve been packing school lunches for my children for twenty long years. I can best describe this task as…MISERY. If I had known how much I would loathe it, I would’ve chosen to have my four children in the span of four years rather than eighteen years, just to get past the misery of packing these wretched lunches everyday as quickly as possible.

When my first child started school and could take a lunch, it was FUN for me. Going to the grocery store was like a treasure hunt to find the coolest foods and snacks to pack in his cute little lunch box. All the first grade kids (and their newbie moms like me) were so excited. It’s like a right of passage into first grade–you get to go to the cafeteria and sit at the lunch tables as a big kid.  And all the kids check out what the other kids bring in their lunch–an unofficial first grade lunch packer contest to see who brings the coolest stuff.  And you know where that pressure falls, right? Yep, right here onto Mom. Moms are in a secret competition to one up each other and give their kid “best packer” status. And that part of it doesn’t end at first grade….as they get older there’s still that whole–“hey what did YOU bring today?” thing that goes on between the kids at lunch. My firstborn very well may have earned that status of “best packer”. Gino, however, as kid number four….not a snowball’s chance in hell.

I have tried to bribe child number four to buy the school lunch. Begged, pleaded, offered trips to Toys R Us, even. Anything to get out of packing that lunch.  In my own defense, IT’S HARD–I’m totally burnt out as the Packer of the Lunch. Today I think I hit rock bottom. Because I forgot to do a mental inventory of the fridge last night to make sure I had enough “lunch stuff”  (or maybe I just blocked it out). And after standing in front of the kid this morning, reading the lunch menu and giving an Oscar worthy performance as I made the Penne Pasta with Meatsauce sound like the most fabulous and delectable dish on earth, I got the two thumbs down sign and knew I was in big trouble. I literally had NO IDEA what I was going to put in that lunch box because I had already checked out the fridge. When I scanned the contents I had broken out into a nervous sweat and cursed myself for not having thought to stop at the grocery store last night. It was the packing mother’s worst nightmare. No lunchmeat. No string cheese. No yogurt. None of the staples that I’d typically send. Not even a freaking Slim Jim that I could try to mentally justify as a “meat”. The kid won’t eat a peanut butter sandwich to save his life. I actually considered setting the alarm on my phone as a reminder to call Fox’s Pizza at 11am and have them deliver a personal size Stromboli to the elementary school for him (but thought that might be frowned upon….)….

Today when Gino opens his lunch he will get a baggie of microwave popcorn, a rice krispie treat, an apple that I intended to throw out yesterday because it was getting to look just a tad bit shriveled, a handful of grapes that I salvaged as edible, a Nutrigrain bar in a flavor he doesnt like, a few almonds, a bottle of water, and milk money.

I know, I know, I just blew my chance at Mother of the Year. For all of you over achieving, extremely organized and 1000% organic and healthy moms, I’m sorry that you had to read this. The struggle is real. I promise I will have a multi-course, healthy, hot dinner waiting for him when he gets home from school. No need to call the authorities. AND I will restock the fridge….And undoubtedly hide some Slim Jims in the cupboard for future emergencies such as this 🙂

Cheers to tonight’s refrigerator restocking party!

Jill

Confession: I want to be a writer….

Hey you guys! How about this? At the ripe old age of 47, I’m finally fulfilling one of my lifelong dreams. I’m a writer. Okay, well not a “real” writer. I’m a blogger, which is a fair compromise in my opinion. And I have to say that I’m pretty darn excited about it. Let me tell you how this has come about…

You know the sayings. You’ve all said them probably as many times as I have. “It’s never too late.” “Be all that you can be.” “Follow your dreams.” We always say them, because we think it’s the right thing to say. But how often do we follow our own advice? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I’m willing to bet that not many of us really, truly follow our “dream”. I have a feeling that most of us take the safer road. Following the career choice that will provide the better job, the higher salary.

I found myself recently talking to several very important people in my life about their futures, and more importantly their dreams. And each time, I’ve found myself encouraging them to follow theirs…even though there was a great possibility of some hardship along the way…the hardship would be worth it. Regret later in life would be a hard pill to swallow, so better to do something they love.

Case in point: I was having a conversation with my daughter today about her future, and whether she should go back to school for her Masters Degree in Communication. Finally, frustrated, she texted me that maybe she should just go to school and be a medical assistant. What? What What? Now don’t get me wrong….a medical assistant is a fine, upstanding profession. But just earlier that morning I received a panicked text from her about the fact that everyone at her workplace was coming down with the flu and she didn’t want to get it. Plus the fact that she has a puke phobia, and tries her best to stay at least 3 miles away from anyone she knows who may be ill. So you’ll have to excuse me when I discouraged that career change for her. Let’s just call it a motherly hunch that that career isn’t for her.  I’m CERTAIN that her idea was purely based on the idea of job security alone…and this is what too many of us tend to do.  I encouraged her to continue on in the career she loved, focus on getting experience, and follow her dream–to be a wedding planner. And I have to say she’d be a FABULOUS one. So it’s worth the struggle right now to get to that point eventually.

So, that brings us to now, tonight, and this blog. I was thinking….maybe it’s time for ME to follow my advice. After all, I AM that person that said “It’s never too late”. So I will lead by example. To my friends and family that I have encouraged to follow their dreams: here you go. If I can do it, even in this small, off the chart way, YOU can do it too. Stay tuned for many more tales from This Wicked, Wonderful World!!

Cheers,

Jill