The First Day of School is nearly here! Although it happens every year, it always happens differently and it is always somehow new, and there is always somehow a first new something.
Back to School often means packing things as if to put into a bag — packing up books, new binders, new pens, new pencils, new laptops, new tablets, a small special lucky something, packing up notes, packing up memories of the summer, packing up treasures to take to the dorms, packing up and making room in that packing for more packing — Back to School is so very often about Getting Prepared that sometimes we forget to pack up something intangible but imperative: thanks.
This back-to-school season, we’d like to to thank the people who make it happen — all the people who make it happen. To that end, some thank yous are in order…
To Parents/Grandparents/Step-Parents/Nannies/Aunties/Caretakers All:
Thank you for raising wonderful, open-hearted, funny, kind, inventive, delightful, impish, creative, athletic, artistic, empathic, open-minded, adventurous, brave, giving, clever, awesome humans. Thank you also for being those humans. The world needs you, and so on behalf of the world (and ourselves): THANK YOU FOR GETTING US READY.
Thank you for giving so much more than your expertise to our children/to us/to your colleagues/to your field. Thank you for sharing your compassion, your humor, sometimes your weekends, sometimes part of your summer vacations, your creativity, your intelligence, your insight, a particular piece of your particular attention to each particular student, for seeing potential and promise in places many of us forgot to look, and for showing us how to find those things ourselves (both as students, as parents of students, as colleagues of yours, etc.).
YOU ARE HEROIC AND WONDERFUL AND ALL TOO UNSUNG.
To Students: THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.
To Administrative Staff: Thank you for keeping us in order.
To Custodial and Security Staff: Thank you for keeping us safe, in all the ways you do.
To Coaches and Directors: Thank you for your guidance and direction.
Here’s an order/some advice: dream more. Start now. Reserve some time, every day, for big-dreaming.
Darlings, your daydreams matter.
So do your nightdreams.
So do your afternoon walk dreams.
So do your so-seemingly-impossible-but-also-weirdly-possible-wonderful-what-if dreams. Those especially.
American poet e.e. cummings is famous for his refusal to capitalize his name, for some of the most heartfelt and adventurous free verse poems of the 20th century, and for this very important quote:
DEEDS CANNOT DREAM WHAT DREAMS CAN DO.
It’s true. It’s always true. And in context, as we discovered when we realized that we ought to search out the original poem from which those seven words came, it’s even more true:
Behold, the final four lines in e.e. cummings’ poem [freedom is a breakfastfood]:
deeds cannot dream what dreams can do
—time is a tree(this life one leaf)
but love is the sky and i am for you
just so long and long enough
Those four lines, so true.
Time is a tree (this life one leaf), love is the SKY…
We weren’t pulling from this poem when we designed the DREAM BIG charm, but probably somewhere in the back of our consciousness, it was there, like a little beacon, a remember-me flash of feeling and form, mixed up with the melody of Blondie’s new wave ambient anthem ‘Dreaming,’ some fragments of Mama Cass singing “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” the semi-recent re-appreciation of “Once Upon a Dream” from Sleeping Beauty (having daughters brings all the good songs back), and so many other dreamy-centric songs, other poems, pieces of prose and…we had to make something to remind us to hold space for this under-celebrated practice. Because unless you are a child, or remarkably lucky to have not had your dreaming impulse ever go dormant, dreaming is…something we sometimes let ourselves forget to do. It can slip away slowly, like a second language you rarely speak, or it can vanish with haste, often because other circumstances make the practice of dreaming seem…less important than other matters. This is a mistake, and an almost tragic one — almost, because unlike some things, dreaming is something you can always pick back up.
Dreaming is paramount. Dreaming generates wishes and wonder and will. Dreaming is the fuel of doing because, as per e.e., dreams do infinitely more than deeds — they make us brave. Dreams set us free, they give us scope to hope and shape our futures and beautiful nows. There is no one ideal dream, no one version anyone needs to hold onto (precious, like a magical orb)
Dreaming is indulgent and empowering. Dreaming is liberation. Dreaming is vital. Dreaming is something that requires little other than giving yourself permission to consider…more and welcome abundant possibilities, maybe shyly, maybe rapturously, maybe awkward, maybe quiet, but always inviting and making room for wonder.
We made our DREAM BIG charm as a reminder of this — something to wear, something to give, but most importantly something to delightfully affirm every wearer’s fundamental right to DO IT AND OFTEN.
And this month, should you find yourself selecting treasures and keepsakes for your friends or family or favorite person, keep in mind that if your shopping basket crosses the $125 total threshhold… DREAM BIG can come home with you. With our cheering. For free. Use code: DREAMBIG
OR, being great at being yourself, with a little nudge from your father
I always knew what he was capable of. Constantly surprising us kids, never shunning hard work, constantly “going for it,” and upping the game of life. Growing up with Joe Pagliei as my Dad, life with this “man from nothing” was really “something.”
He let me puff his cigar at 8 years old after I begged him to try (yes, it was horrifying… but that didn’t keep me from taking up smoking a number of years later… but he got me out of that soon enough by having his doctor scare the bejezzuz out of me. Big thanks for this Dad!).
Then there was the goat incident. Dad brought one home from the racetrack in the middle of the night (don’t ask). We called him “Elmer” and gave him old shoes to gnaw on in the backyard. Soon, Elmer was on the shed. Surprise, this one didn’t last long (the neighbors were the thankful ones this time).
Dad was always destined for one thing: whatever it was that he wanted to do.
Larger than life, my smartly dressed high-school hall-of-famer, NFL championship team member, much smarter-than-he-looks papa (known as “Big Joe” to the neighborhood kids) also made an excellent fried-egg-n-grits breakfast, taught me to jitterbug, and dressed in drag as “The Godmother” for Halloween (his Italian Mafioso mother version of Brando, with knee-high stockings, hairnet, and an automatic in her grandmotherly purse, was spot on). And a million other hilarious, awesome, embarrassing, and brave things.
He was always on to great things, with each and every little thing, creating his remarkable story the whole time.
It took 3 years, but really a lifetime. I can’t say it was a total surprise, Dad writing his autobiography, because he has been telling these sometimes outrageous stories for YEARS and people have been urging him for YEARS to write and share them. But when he actually put it out there, when he said “I’m writing my book” we were all sort of like “wow, is Dad really writing a book?”
Yes, he was and he did. And it is GREAT. And I am so proud of him.
As I said earlier, I always knew what he was capable of, because if he had the passion and discipline to become great at fatherhood, football and the casino business, he could become great at other things, like being an author.
But it isn’t just passion and discipline. His real secret? He has always just been great at being himself.
Dad can say, do, be anything he wants, always (despite a humble upbringing and starting with very little, and many other obstacles) because he is a believer in instinct, the voice inside, his “gut.” He doesn’t look outside of himself for answers. He makes his own. He is, truly, self-made and self-reliant.
My dad understands, and taught me, the secret of being unapologetically oneself. He took this secret and created a colorful life, multiple careers, a family, amazing friends (both celebrity and non-celebrity) and now a book.
Dad, the world needs that special thing that only you have- thank you for being YOU. You have roasted, hobnobbed, rallied, danced, competed with, loved, cared for and blessed all of us who know you in one way or another.
Oh yes, and about that “nudge” from his dad. Big Joe says, “ If I were making my own decisions at the time, I would have stayed behind as a Clairton Bad Boy and not taken advantage of the ticket out that football was offering. I had this girlfriend at the time, and even with 105 colleges vying for my services, I had no interest in college. It was my good fortune that my father, Alberto, who arrived in this country 30 years earlier with no job or language skills, had the good sense to tell me, ‘You no go to-a-college; you no-a my son.’
Pop, thank you, and I’m glad I listened. I would have missed out on all of these memories if it weren’t for you.”
A real-life Zelig, Joe’s story starts in during the Depression Era, in a humble a steel-mining town in Western Pennsylvania, where he lived under the same roof as the local neighborhood numbers runner, and from there he never stopped surrounding himself with colorful characters. Going on to a professional football career, he has taken his natural-born ability for being everyone’s buddy and woven it into a narrative that covers much of the “back nine” of the 20th century.
As one of the top casino hosts during the Golden Era of Atlantic City, Joe entertains with how he was personally recruited by Donald Trump as the first employee hired by the future president when he decide to get into the gaming business. While working at the casinos, Joe found himself moving with an A-list crowd from sports and entertainment, including Sammy Davis, Jr., Rich Little, Don Rickles, Bobby Rydell, Charo, Chuck Norris, Joe Dimaggio, Mickey Mantle, Joe Namath, Billy Martin, Lawrence Taylor, Sugar Ray Leonard, Joe Torre, Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes, Pete Rose, Julius Irving, Willie Mays, and Tommy Lasorda, along with other NFL hall-of-famers, and an assorted cast of high-roller types.
Friends, you can find it here!
At the end of the book, Dad says, “Being truthful with yourself and those around you makes it possible to go through the day with a winning attitude. I think I’ve been successful at relating this, because no man can be more blessed with a positive family than I am.”
Thank you for instilling your positivity in me, and for your many gifts Dad, this book being such a special one. When they make the movie, I will be buying the first ticket! I love you!
To Have And To Hold All The Wonder Yet Received (and to make room for more, because it’s coming)
Wedding Season is upon us all, particularly if you’re the bride/mother of the bride/sister of the bride/best friend of the bride/father of the bride/groom of the bride/bride of the bride/best man of the bride…
This is a season for grand adventures, for starting out, for starting over, for starting something transcendent and transforming, for going forward without reservations with love, hope, heart, bravery, and will.
With this heart, I thee wed.
This is a season to celebrate unions, to reaffirm commitments, to surround and be surrounded in love, to pay particular attention to this most important adventure — the one you begin when you both say I do. With those words — you both embark on everything else, together, thereafter and onward.
Waxing Poetic emphatically believes there is no one right way to do a wedding, just as much as we believe there is no right way to tell (or write) a story, to make a poem, to make an adventure, or to be — just as long as you are true to yourself, true to your beloved, and you grant yourself permission to MAKE THIS MOMENTOUS MOMENT YOURS (however it makes sense to you), because it is.
We love weddings. All the weddings. All the love. All the varieties.
In fact, we encourage and celebrate making the event a celebration of YOU and your wondrous intended — whether that means a rustic-meets-luxe barn wedding or a grand catered affair or a portable disco party or something very sweet and quiet in a small chapel or a rolicking adventure with mariachis or costumes or something dreamy and simple and perfectly apt for the two most important people there…all of it is wonderful, so long as it is wonderfully yours.
Elopement more your speed? Yesssss….We swoon for a good story. Tell us yours?
Medium sized, traditional, with a cello player? Of course!
Micro-sized with a hot air balloon, two betrothed beloveds, and someone to make it official? YES YES.
On a subway en route to see the Yankees? Why not?
Beachside? Always yes.
Vineyard? Delicious yes.
Destination as in your own backyard, your parents’ house, a favorite pergola in the botanical garden where your grandmother was a docent and where you first learned about and to love peonies? YES YES YES.
Wedding disguised as someone else’s party in a beautiful location where guests are invited under the pretext of said party but is in fact a surprise wedding? OH DEFINITELY YES (one of us did this, in fact, and it remains one of the best decisions we ever made…and perhaps someday you’ll read about it here, but today, just know that…it was glorious.).
Wedding as yet undescribed in our list but involving you, your beloved, and whomever you deem necessary with whatever method of celebration and ceremony you both choose and whatever manner of attire/scene/theme/adventure/duration/color palette/music/dancing/no dancing/endless mexican street food or exquisite amuse bouches or your favorite barbeque or perhaps something very classical and/or…it could go on but really; ANYTHING else that you wish to include and request the honor of and your friends/family/chosen family’s company for? YES YES YES.
You found each other. You’re celebrating the intersection of one another’s journeys and wending a new way together, and we…are just starry-eyed and cheering for all of it. You are in love and you are declaring that to all and we are…joystruck.
And now, because we love it, some Latin:
Amor Vincit Omnia (you know this one: “love conquers all”)
Amor Magicae est Realis. (you should know this one: “love is real magic”)