Nigel's Power

Nigel's Power

You create waves of excitement

Dear Nigel,

You are now a year and a half, you are running, talking, and making everyone around you laugh with your adorable and lovable personality. I am amazed on how big you are getting, smart you are getting and tall, too! A baby that can look past flaws that people think they have or don't have is something you do best and I appreciate that so much.

You never cease to amaze me.

I am writing to you once again to inform you of this “power” you have. The power of loving so much. This may seem odd to you, but I have noticed it as do many people. I talked about in my last letter how “It warms my heart to see my grandmothers face so full of life because of you.” I wanted to explain to you in that letter just what I meant. It may seem sad to hear this but I don’t know if you will ever truly know what it meant to her to see you learn and grow. You will see the pictures of her smiling face when you get older but you will never remember and witness the feelings behind that smile that I have as an almost 20-year-old.

The way she smiles at you now was how she did to me, my brothers and cousins. Whether it was something we did or said, the way she looks at you was the way we were all looked at as children. Seeing her still have that same look after all these years is the best thing ever. Her face really does look “full of life,” as I mentioned earlier.

As a one-year-old you walk into Whispering Knolls and think it is her house. You walk in with innocence, not knowing what you are about to do: Make her whole entire day. My grandmother (Yiayia) loves you like you are one of her own. After her fall, all she was told in physical therapy that made her stronger (mentally) was that she would have the strength to hold you and not have her arms hurt. Happily, she has reached her goal and can pick you up without any troubles! I wish you could see how happy you make her and everyone in the home with your adorable charm!

When I went to go visit Yiayia at the home with your Yiayia (my aunt Kathy), your mom, and my aunt Helen (your Thea Eleni), the other residents were jawed dropped because of how stinkin’ cute you look with your big eyes, long hair, and adorable sense of style (thanks to your mom and everyone who got you such cute clothes).

But I was quickly on the hunt to see my Yiayia. When I found her outside, she looked content and quiet while reading a book. She saw me and smiled so big and hugged me.

I then told her, “we have a surprise for you!” She wondered what I mean by “we,” and then you come walking in! When you walked, in she just ran up to you because she was so excited to see you. Her eyes were so full and so happy. Her body posture went from good to great, and her smile was so much larger. She picked you up and walked you inside. You ran up to this little brown box and took out a blow-up beach ball. I and everyone else kicked it as you attempted to throw it. My yiayia and I were chasing you and making you giggle up a storm. It was so nice seeing my yiayia get so active and change so drastically just after one visit.

She asks everyone “oh isn’t Nigel so adorable?” Nobody can disagree, because you are!

What I still find amazing is that even when you are not there, she still thinks of you. She participates in therapeutic actives that help her physically and mentally and in the end, she wins small stuffed animals that she saves for you. Every time she wins, she saves them behind a picture frame of our family and tells everyone who isn’t our family “do not touch them they are for the baby.”

My yiayia was there for you like everyone else in our family was for you, Nigel. She taught you how to say “light” in Greek. She was struggling with the grief of her husband passing which felt too soon for our whole family. You were there to comfort her and to help give her purpose. For the longest time, visiting you was her way of therapy. She was a different person around you and everyone loved seeing her so happy because for a while, she was very depressed.

The rest of the visit was so lovely; my favorite part was when she went to the bathroom down the hall I had to chase after you because you couldn’t leave without supervision. So I scooped you up and said “don’t worry, let’s wait for yiayia.” And when she came out of the bathroom, I put you down and you ran up to her and she smiled so big because she was not expecting it!

Thank you Nigel once again for your “power” your power of unconditional love. You create waves of excitement for the residents, our family, and of course my yiayia. The therapy she has provided will never amount to one visit with you. She is truly a family-lady and would do anything for all of us. Your presence puts all her troubles (and mine) at rest, for everything we think is wrong isn’t wrong when you are around. Thank you for helping my yiayia get through the toughest time in her life, I wish you could see the difference you make with her. I am glad I am writing to you so when you get older, you can read this and understand, in writing, just how much you mean to me, my yiayia and to our whole family.

We love you,

Your Nouna

Cover Image Credit: Naval Medical Center

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved

To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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Summer = Rest?

Sometimes it feels as if we need a vacation... from our vacation.


Ah summer: Popsicles and sun burns, mixed with fresh-squeezed lemonade that local kids are pandering to make enough money for Roman candles and Black Cats. The crack of the bat can be heard among the simmering charcoal grills and Troy-bilts humming through the ever-lasting sun. School is out and children are wild. It's a paradise.

Or is it?

But after countless sports camps and tournaments, other camps, vacations, school (?) events, traveling teams, VBS, summer seems to have been sucked fun-free.

Maybe it's Hollywood and Harper Lee's fault for giving us this utopian view of what summer should look and feel like (I'm looking at you Sandlot). But how can we really rest this summer? Because everyone needs some actual rest, even adults.

First thing is do NOT pack your summer full. Say no to some things. Coaches and Families can expect too much and it's okay to say no to them. You have to. There is no time for kids to be kids anymore.

Work can take a backseat. Vacations need to be taken. Families need to reconnect.

And for all my super-scheduled people out there, please PLEASE don't schedule out your vacation. Just enjoy it.

Another bit of advice would be to put away the technology and spend some time outside. When was the last time you tried to catch lightning bugs? Or went for a swim? Or listened to birds on your front porch?

I may sound like I have an old soul, but I really feel like we have lost this connection to the outside world. Summer is all about getting a farmer's tan and getting stung once or twice. I can guarantee you that's some of the best therapy in the world.

Maybe this sounds all over the place. Maybe this sounds like me ranting. And it probably is.

But I'm telling you that this stuff matters. Don't let summer whiz by and you arrive in August more drained that you were in May. Enjoy this time with family and friends.

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