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December 16, 2012 – 3:09 pm | 17 Comments

Childhood memories are vivid, almost indescribable in their detail, and impossible to forget. A Christmas memory I have is that of a black velvet dress  a family friend gave to me for my seventh Christmas.
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Surprise! You Can Survive The Storms

Submitted by on March 5, 2012 – 1:00 am8 Comments
tennessee tornado cleanup 2012

What tornado cleanup can look like.

Weathering the Tough Stuff

Two years ago, we surprised our daughter with an 8-week-old puppy.

Two days ago (as I write this), my family got surprised by an F1 tornado that slammed into an area close to us.

The first kind of surprise is usually what we long for, no? If not a puppy, the surprise getaway, the small box with a big ribbon or sometimes even the sweet and simple “Oye, honey I’ll cook tonight” is the best kind of surprise.

But back when I used to pay a professional a lot an hour to counsel me, we talked about the bad surprises life throws at us. And you know what that nice man who has a lot of my money taught me?

Life is one big, giant surprise — the negatives and the positives, they all go together to give us a rich experience. What we often think of as negatives — like that blasted tornado — gives us life lessons, texture and, with luck, good cuentos to share when we’re viejos. (I used to wish life was an animated classic movie, by the way…)

Anyway, in the thick of things I usually sing the line from the song Pedro Navaja: “La vida te da sorpresas, sorpresas te da la vida…Ay, Dios!”

It oddly comforts me. Seriously.

And so that all those counseling dollars keep working, even a decade later, I pass on these lessons to my daughter. I think of it as getting a 2-for-1 therapy deal.

Sorpresas te da la Vida!

My family spent the day Saturday doing debris clean-up with friends and volunteers who came from other parts of the state. Hundred-year-old downed trees were cleared, glass shards were picked out of church pew cushions, trash was collected.

It’s been less than two years since our community was massively flooded, so it felt a little like a bad flashback and that is why I needed my kid to know it would all be OK.

Look around, I told my 8-year-old. Something sad happened here. The buildings were damaged, but they are going to be fixed. In other places the storm hurt people badly, but look at all the people here with us. Look at the smiles, look at the group effort, look at the gratitude.

Surprises aren’t always the good kind. Bad stuff happens, but that’s OK, that’s life, I told her.

“And if you cried about it all day long, you wouldn’t get to cleaning up,” she said.

Sometimes, 8-year-olds surprise you, too.

La vida te da sorpresas, sorpresas te da la vida…Ay, Dios!”

Life Special Occasion, Hallmark

Disclosure: This del alma is sponsored by Hallmark and the Life is a Special Occasion campaign. To receive notices on Hallmark products and special offers sign up for the newsletter.

 

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