Is he a kite-flyer? Is he a trampoline-flipper? Is he a bike-fixer? Yes, he’s Superhero Big Brother!!
A hurricane protector, a shoe-tier, a cookie dough-maker, a tree climber, a boo-boo fixer, an Easter egg opener, a stuck zipper fixer, a skating racer, a perfect-pumpkin-picker, a snuggly dude, a super swing-pusher, the best storyteller, the technology teacher, the family-endorsed official opener of all packaged holiday toys, and, of course, an honorary member of the stroller posse! But most importantly, the kindest big brother who nurtures and protects his baby sister.
People often ask how we got such phenomenally-bonded children. As parents, when you show love, tenderness and respect to each other and to your children, it filters through the family, growing and bonding it together with immeasurable strength.
And from that strength, the freedom to love and express kindness and thoughtfulness is just natural.
Our son was 13 when our daughter was born. He was a part of the whole pregnancy journey, from building the crib and changing table with Dad, to using the zapper at Babies-R-Us to register for the baby. The baby shower was a huge party, not just for ladies, but for all friends, young and old, male and female, and our son was center stage as the new Superhero-in-the-making!
We put him in charge of opening the gifts which he unwrapped with great zeal seeing all the items he had zapped weeks earlier. He was an integral part of every step. And the day his baby sister was born, she gave him an I-pod, so, of course, she was just the coolest!
When he held her that 1st day, he marveled, “She can’t even lift her own head.” I looked at him wearily and smiled, “No, she depends on us for everything, and she will look to you to teach her the most amazing things.
She will always look at you as her Superhero for the rest of her life. We are very proud of you.”
The Bright SpotTM – Our daughter just turned 9 last week. Our son turned 22. He is a Superhero in our daughter’s eyes…and ours.
Soaked, but not forgotten, each foot was paid “Wet Pay” for standing in snow for hours.
The thought fondly came to me as I looked out the window now and saw snow on our roof, flurries blowing in the wind. I remembered the April Fool’s Blizzard of ’97 when a Nor’easter blasted through New England dumping nearly 3 feet of heavy snow. Not many took it seriously because of the April 1st date, but if you lived through it, that storm became definitely one to remember!
Especially for me. I had been cast as an extra in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film Amistad (DreamWorks SKG), a true story of mutiny and justice in 1839. Filming had just moved from nearby New Haven, Connecticut to Newport, Rhode Island and I was excited to be a part of an epic film starring Djimon Hounsou, Anthony Hopkins, Morgan Freeman & Matthew McConaughey.
As I packed my car to leave, the snow just started to move in. My Dad said, “What on Earth would make you drive in this blizzard? I cannot understand this entertainment industry pull.” In the words of Ethel Merman, “There’s no people like show people,” honestly, there’s just no explaining us. My father knew I was a determined free spirit, just like him, and when I had a desire, nothing was going to stop me from doing it.
My parents never stopped us from pursuing anything. My travels around the globe on a ship, climbing the Great Wall of China or the pyramids of Egypt, soaking in the romantic history of the Taj Mahal, flying off to Europe a week after graduation for my 1st job, or saying “yes” to my beloved after 4 days in his presence. So really, how’s a blizzard going to stop me??
It didn’t. I hopped in my car and set off for Rhode Island. The 2.5 hour trip took nearly 7 hours.
A little slide off the interstate didn’t deter me; 3 cute officers pushed me back on the highway, later requesting an autographed Miss Connecticut photo each (it was on my licence plate).
I had 5 hours sleep and reported for wardrobe at 4:30am. Excited and ready to go, after hair & makeup, I found myself standing in snow for hours…with joy! Even the newspaper photo caption under my picture says, “Undaunted.” Yup.
Changing the face of Newport (above) (above right) The photo from the Miss America parade that got me the job with Amistad
Interestingly, the entire earlier part of the movie’s outdoor scenes that had been filmed in previous weeks did so with NO snow. So the outdoor snowy scene that took days to film had to be edited out. But the memories are incredible as are the people I met throughout the experience.
The Bright SpotTM – Remember, if there’s something you really want to do, nothing can stop you. And just imagine the amazing people you’ll meet!
Long before Facebook, Twitter, email, Smartphones & Androids, there was the regular land line.
I made a phone call to my Uncle in London that I was in Lancashire for the summer. “You must come and visit, we’ll pick you up.” He and my Auntie drove 4 hours north to get me. They had 5 girls and the summer was one I’ll never forget!
But, eventually, Autumn came and I headed back to the States and into my routine. Days turned into months and months into years. Before I knew it, 23 years had flown by.
In that time, my 5 cousins had married and everyone had moved, even their parents; some to other parts of London, others to California & Florida.
I was reminiscing one evening about that summer and my son asked why I didn’t get in touch with them.
“How? We lost touch more than 20 years ago.” He asked me their names and worked his Facebook magic. I didn’t use Facebook at the time and was skeptical.
Within 24 hours, one of my cousins who had moved out West responded and we were on the phone for ages!
A short while later, our family was reunited in London with 2 of the sisters who had stayed in England. I was just bursting with joy! An event to remember forever!
The Bright SpotTM – I am so thankful to my Uncle & Auntie for making that visit one of the most treasured summers of my life. Interestingly, that summer would cause a chain of events that would lead me to my husband more than a decade later. Amazing how our lives are so intertwined then, now and always.
The girls now with their parents & one of my favorites of them when they were little. I love you all, my dear family!! xoxo
(Below) With my Uncle 23 years ago and Uncle’s portrait over my Cousin’s & my shoulder
Our son came home & announced he’s taking off his clothes and jumping in frigid waters.
Freezin’ for a Reason’s Penguin Plunge challenge supports Special Olympics Connecticut.
Participants will strip down to their swim trunks or bathing suits and run into the icy waters of The Sound on March 8th.
This year’s goal is $90,000.
As of this post, $21,000 has been raised.
Every dollar counts and your donation is tax deductible.
If you would like to contribute, please send me a message at Bianca@BiancaTyler.com and I will forward you the direct link to this Special Olympics project.
We are very proud of our son. At 19 years old, he was the Captain of his team in the Relay for Life American Cancer Society fundraiser. He and his team walked the full 24-hours through day and night and day again raising thousands.
The Bright SpotTM - Not quite sure how our little boy grew up so fast, time surely flies, but one thing is for sure, we are proud of his dedication to great causes and hope you decide to help as he prepares to take the bitterly cold Penguin Plunge for Special Olympics Connecticut!
The Positively Me program offered to 3rd grade girls to boost confidence, teach assertiveness & expression, and offer strategies to prevent bullying was positively fantastic!
Offered free by the Junior League of Greenwich, this intensive 2-day event encourages new friendships while the girls develop strength and resilience through skits & role playing, dance, journaling & thoughtful conversations about the painful consequences of bullying.
Why 3rd grade?
Unfortunately, bullying is starting earlier & earlier; it’s a topic Phillip & I have covered often over the past 15 Seasons on our parenting radio show “Let’s Talk!” currently on WGCH, formerly on WSTC & WNLK. (All shows are (All shows are archived on this site.)
One of our popular recurrent guests and parenting experts, Dr. Michelle Anthony, experienced something similar with her little 2nd grade daughter. That painful situation prompted her to co-author Little Girls Can Be Mean – 4 Steps to Bully-Proof Girls in the Early Grades.
Positively Me: only 4 sessions per year, 36 girls per session. The program has run for 5 years and waiting lists get longer year after year. It was marvelous to see the girls beaming each evening at pick-up, full of laughter and stories and joy.
They brought home beautiful button bracelets that matched button cards where each color represented something special, drawings/writings/self-portraits in their special journals, t-shirts with signatures of each participant, water bottles, sparkly feather pens, tote bags with the adorable Positively Me logo and mountains of coping skills to nip future snafus in the bud!
The program taught them to take pride in themselves and their accomplishments; achieve great things; stand up for what they believe in and to be Positively Me!
The girls had a special visit from a martial arts Sensei (master) who had them write their greatest fear on a wooden board and then he taught each girl how to smash through that wood with their bare hands…breaking through their fear. That was a popular activity! Other events included a yoga class, pajama party and crafting dog toys to donate to Adopt-A-Dog.
It is no wonder this program continues to grow and expand.
The Bright SpotTM - A poem – with permission from our 8-year-old - to share with you written in her Positively Me journal:
LOVE is my Guardian
When Days like Today Get in my Way,
I’ll STAND STRONG!
Positively Me Snippet
Superhero Big Brother & Adoring Little Sister ages 2 & 15 & ages 8 & 21…
No one has to tell you time flies. But sometimes we need reminders that making every moment count does not mean filling those moments with endless, scheduled activities.
Sometimes the best memories are the quiet ones, just chilling on the trampoline with your brother or sister, stuffed animal or dearest friends.
Listening to the birds chirp, watching an airplane fly by, smelling freshly-cut grass, discovering shapes in white, puffy clouds.
The Bright SpotTM - Life is fast enough. Slow down & enjoy the simple pleasures all around you.
Our 8-year-old was asked to be Mary at Christmas Eve candle light services.
It was such an honor.
An orchestra played and a harpist filled the air with melodic sounds of yesteryear.
……………. She was so reverent and checked on her baby often during the hour.
The children sang like angels and the bell ringers sounded heavenly.
The Bright SpotTM – Everything. Our daughter made us proud. Our family felt blessed. And the Sanctuary was filled with love, light & joy. Merry Christmas!
And to all who celebrate different creeds, let’s enjoy one another’s traditions and learn about the beauty of each other’s beliefs.
Celebrating Christmas Eve 28 years ago (above) & Christmas Eve 2013 (below) with Elise, one of my very best friends in the world.
Charming, beautiful, smart, a powerhouse in the world of finance, an amazing dressage horsewoman, polo player, horse ranch owner, an entrepreneur, world traveler and devoted friend now and always.
Whether hanging out in California in the 80s or hanging out now on the couch in New England…
Elise is just a wonderful friend to be with.
Always fun, always creative, always goes the extra mile.
The Bright SpotTM - The Girlfriend Network ~ when you find a friend who is dear and true, honest and there for you, never let him or her go. Love you, my friend! b
It was a long 2 years without Grandma but she came calling for Granddad in his dreams this week.
He He became deaf, and she turned blind just a few years ago, but they always sat beside one another for 60 years, and when she was gone, he lived in silence beside an empty chair in the den. Click here: Is This The End?
Granddad fell in love with Grandma instantly. She was engaged, but that didn’t deter him. He knew she was his only one and promised to love her till the end of her life. They married and he fulfilled that promise day after day.
He was determined like that. He fibbed about his age to defend his country in World War II saying he was 18 when he was really 16.
He was stationed in France, and worked as a specialist sending morse code messages when his communication’s truck was hit by a mortar and his arm was blown off.
A female physician – rare to have a female doctor in the war zone in France at that time – sewed it back on…it functioned perfectly!
Granddad was sharp as a tack with very dry humor. Once, he was in the hospital for a respiratory illness that required a chest x-ray. The doctor came into his room looking shocked. “I don’t know how to tell you this,” he said, “but you only have 1 lung and it appears where your other lung should be is a black mark that could be a tumor.” “Oh, that other lung shriveled up years ago,” Granddad answered matter-of-factly, “forgot to tell you.”
Grandma & Granddad gave our little one Tidmouth Sheds for her train table. I put a photograph of them next to it so she could link that the gift was from them. I do that with many special presents so the kids know from whom it came.
Our daughter said she will never give up her piano from Granddad even if she plans for a grand piano in her future. “It will go somewhere special in my house and I will keep it forever!”
Just as Granddads do, he was the explainer of all things.
No place was better than on Granddad’s knee…
…& on his back!
Or hanging out grabbing a drink at the pub.
Granddad slowly went deaf in his late years. Soon he could only hear female voices. Later, on the phone, he could only hear mine – high-pitched & loud, I’m told. But then came the day when even my voice was inaudible.
It was crushing for me because I like family to stay connected especially because we are so far away.
Granddad was 88 years old. He wasn’t on a computer. I immediately printed out this website and Phillip had it bound and we sent these 300 pages of family stories and photos to Granddad in book form so he could read them over time at his leisure and keep up with family news he could no longer hear.
He was kind and sweet and dear and loving. He will be deeply missed by the family. But he’s in his beloved’s arms once again and that gives us great solace.
The Bright Spot TM – We did not lose Granddad, for someone is only lost if their memories aren’t kept alive. We’re a picture-snapping, video-taking, storytelling family, so Granddad lives on. Thank you for sharing his story.
“Wow! Wow! & Wow!” our 8-year-old repeatedly exclaimed in-flight.
That perfectly described our wow-tastic foliage tour of NY state & New York City – compliments of Wings Air Helicopters.
This has been a particularly glorious Autumn! Comfortable temperatures, blazing leaves, plenty of sunshine. Phillip & I took these pics from our cell phones.
Our pilot, Brett, flew our family & 2 of our kids’ friends from Westchester airport over the Empire State Building and around Manhattan island.
The George Washington Double-The George Washington Bridge
The Freedom Tower & The Statue of Liberty
Roosevelt Island, the East River along the FDR & the Queensboro Bridge
The 840 acres of beautiful Central Park
……………The curved landscape of New York City along the East River & Ward’s Island Bridge
The Henry Hudson River, West Side Highway & Skateboard Park, Baseball & Soccer Fields
So if you want some bang-waving, ponytail-flying wow! wow! & wow! family fun, take yours on a bird’s-eye tour of Manhattan * 7 days a week * from sunrise to sunset!
The Bright SpotTM - Wings Air (914) 202 – 3440 also offers helicopter charters, flight training, aerial photography & full-service aerial film production!
I answered my cell on a sunny Friday while I was upstate with the kids. “I’m going to marry my sweetheart on Tuesday,” said the voice. “I was wondering if you & your family would come and represent my family since I’m alone here.”
Incredibly touched, I said it would be our honor! And with that, we attended a beautiful wedding 4 days later. Our friend was from Haiti and his family could not fly in for the ceremony.
My husband was father-brother-friend all wrapped into one, our daughter was a flower girl & I took delight in capturing memories on film.
Our friend was marrying into a loving, close-knit family.
His bride was stunning.
His in-laws were welcoming & kind. And we were moved by the warmth & joy that surrounded all of us this beautiful August afternoon. May we all be so blessed to have such an affectionate family.
The Bright SpotTM - Blessings to you, our friend, and your radiant wife. Peace on your journey of life together. b~xoxo