Children are the BEST Teachers

Family Time, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal


In eighteen months I’ve learned more about life from my niece than I have from adults in the twenty-six years I have been alive. This is nothing against the adults in my life, it’s just the simple truth: children are the best teachers. Let me explain…

On Saturday, I helped my niece put on her pink running shoes, jean jacket, and GAP baseball cap. She took my hand in hers and tugged me to the park near my parents’ house. When we arrived, she climbed the jungle gym with confidence and slid down the yellow germ-filled slide with wonder in her eyes. I slid down the slide beside her and for the first time in years I remembered what it felt like to have the purest form of fun. The fresh air in my face, the warm sun on my back, and my niece’s giddy laughter made me forget the world, my phone, and the time.

After the slide she ran over to the swing and yelled “HIGH! HIGH!” — being the great aunt that I am, I obliged and pushed her on the swing for over an hour. She sat there smiling, thinking thoughts I wish I could hear. Time slowed down and I felt completely relaxed. In that hour or so that I spent at the park with my niece, she taught me to live, to play, and to enjoy every moment. To reach higher, to laugh when I leave the ground, to let fear fall in the face of adventure, and to love unconditionally; without question.

“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

Bursting the Bubble [Week 9]

Bursting the Bubble

311997_217056328351539_100001415190739_627228_2236282_n_largeAn old man sits alone and plays Solitaire at my local Tim Horton’s. He’s concentrating intensely and yet he’s so far removed from angst. You can tell that he’s enjoying himself. The shuffling, the flipping of every card, the way he holds it in the air until he finds the right spot for it – there is something calming about it. I’m mesmerized. There’s something so sweet and serene about this entire scene that I realize I’ve lost my spot in line. I’m a young girl creeping on an old man and his deck of cards, who has just lost her spot in line. I wonder who noticed. I wonder why I never saw this solitary man, with his deck of cards, his empty coffee mug, and a few crumbs left on his plate. I wonder how many other people noticed him at all.

Solitaire. I guess I’m a solitary person. I like to be alone. I like the quiet. I enjoy silence: I hear it’s golden, although I’ve always pictured it as a shade of pastel pink and tasting like bubble gum. Silence is sweet and sometimes we need to give our mouth a rest and let our eyes take over.

So, this week I let my eyes take over.

* A white box with a huge carrot cupcake appears on my desk with a plop, a lovely handwritten note is stuck onto it. It’s dripping with positive words and beautiful thoughts.

* A young woman with her legs crossed tightly sits across from her friend at Starbucks. Her eyes are rolling so far into the back of her head that I can’t see what colour they are; they’re lost in her lids. A look of disgust is on her lips as she speaks. What is she saying? I don’t want to know. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

* An abandoned bright orange construction helmet resting beside a sign that screams DANGER! WORKERS ABOVE!

Red and white business cards falling out of my wallet – I pick them up the same way I’ve picked myself off the floor many times before.

* A seagull’s lonely quill feather sleeping on the sidewalk, smiling at me. It recognizes the writer who walks past but doesn’t pick it up because she’s also afraid of germs.

* Construction. An ever-growing city.

* Cotton candy clouds spanning further than the end of the earth, shaped perfectly to the dome that is our sky.

* A girl with a smile from ear-to-ear, a spark in her eyes, and a story to tell – I catch her reflection in the subway window and realize that its me.

I saw a lot this week and I tried my best to listen as well. I heard everything around me. I heard praises, scorns, advice, beautiful music, panic, fear, private whispers, and laughter. Hearing. Seeing. Actions we do without thinking, without noticing. My goal for the final three weeks of my internship is to be conscious of what I’m seeing and hearing. I have a few more events coming up, a few more books to read, a few more manuscripts to bind, a few more questions to ask, and plenty more to learn — I want to absorb it all.

I want to learn it all. 

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

We ALL Have a Story…

Family Time, Lifestyle/Personal, Uncategorized

On Tuesday I realized that I don’t talk to my grandparents enough as I should. We went to my Dad’s parents’ house to celebrate Nonna’s 70th birthday and for the first time in a long time I got to  hear their stories. They told us stories about one another, about my dad, Zia, and Zios. My Nonna married my twenty-four-year-old Nonno when she was just sixteen-years-old. Apparently Nonna had nothing to offer Nonno’s family – no dowry to speak of. My great-grandmother told my Nonno’s family that all Nonna had to offer were her hands to work, her legs to walk, and her eyes to see. It must have been love because they were wed in spite of her having nothing. They took the two-week boat ride to Canada and then the train to Toronto.

The joy I saw in my grandparents’ eyes as they told us their stories, will never leave me. It must be a wonderful feeling to talk to your grandchildren about your life and see that they are eager to listen.…listen to them. 

Love Always
Vanessa Xo

P.S. My Nonno wears hipster sweaters.