Tag Archives: Love

Pip Bull

Pippa turned 9 last week. She wanted a very specific celebration. Dinner at home with her favorite foods and a night at the Ritz Carlton in Sintra. She likes being fancy. She loves hotels. Her birthday was a Monday. The hotel stay was on Friday and in between she wanted the partying to continue.

The thing about Pippa is that she’s a pretty easy kid. She doesn’t really demand a lot. She doesn’t want much. She says her favorite things are to be at home and play with her toys and give out hugs and kisses to me. She had to write a poem recently about her best friend and she wrote it about me. When asked what her and her best friend liked to do together she wrote cuddle. She is the best cuddler.

Pippa is fiercely loyal. She really hates hurting the people she loves. If we get angry with her, she actually thinks about what she did to hurt us and she gives out these wonderful sincere apologies. When she cries her hazel eyes turn bright green. This makes her sadness seem even more acute.

Sometimes I like to mess with her and talk about the men I am in love with…none of whom are her father. Men like the Portuguese guy who sells butter on billboards around town, or Channing Tatum (now that he is single). My priest always tells Pippa to attack me when I mention these men. He calls her his warrior princess, but she prefers “Pip bull.”

There is something magical about Pippa. I have never met anyone like her before. She’s funny to be sure. She is extremely smart, but doesn’t care about her grades. When I ask her why she doesn’t write neater or study for tests, her answer is always that same, “who am I trying to impress? The only opinion that matters is God’s and he doesn’t care about my cursive.” True. She always dances like no one is watching. Her Tuesday flamenco dance class is the highlight of my week. Watching this little girl dance with such intensity is mesmerizing. Maggie thinks it is creepy that her sister never smiles while dancing and Pippa’s answer is, “flamenco is a dance of passion, it is not a dance for simple people who want to just have fun and smile.” Also true.

I never worry about Pippa being hurt by rude or mean kids because she sees through them. She has told me why kids are jerks and why she just ignores them, or feels sorry for them. She is wise beyond her years. I often say I want to be like Pippa when I grow up because she really is living life right. She defends those she loves, she loves passionately, she sees humor in everything and she doesn’t worry about things that aren’t truly important. I didn’t teach these things to her. My Pip bull discovered early on that life is meant to be enjoyed and how you enjoy life is to love with your whole heart. I hope her love helps to transform the world.


Since my youngest daughter was able to speak, I have been writing down her funny expressions in a note I call “Pippaisms.”  These sayings have helped me appreciate the joys of parenthood.  On days when I think that life isn’t that funny, I read them over.

Pippa has a way of seeing the world that I adore.  Yesterday, as she and I were walking to the grocery store, she said to me that she loved Portugal.  She said she understood it and that understanding is the key to life.  It is really, isn’t it?

If people took the time to understand each other, we wouldn’t be where we are as a society.  Pippa gets this.  She wants a “change-a-matic friend.”  When I asked  her what that was, she explained to me a transgendered person.  She told me that making friends with everyone and listening is the key to happiness.  Why does my 8 year old daughter understand this and millions of hate filled people don’t?

Sometimes my heart hurts and then I see my baby girl who is pure love.  I really hope she becomes President someday…she told me she plans on running when, “she gets hair on her vagina.”   Seeing the world through Pippa’s eyes makes me happy.  I think I want to be her when I grow up.

We love BIG.

I have been gone from Portugal for almost 4 weeks. My priest stalks us daily. Anyone who happens to wander past the cottage has to speak to him on FaceTime because the kids are always busy and more interested in playing with their friends than chatting with their dad.
He is on FaceTime with us during meals. We eat and he chats. He watches the evening news with us as someone holds up the iPhone so he can see the stories.

My priest misses the noise, the constant singing, dancing and chaos…so he tries to make up for it by being here with us, if only by FaceTime.  People don’t really understand that he didn’t make it home this summer to look after our dog, but that’s because they don’t understand our particular brand of crazy.

Our family loves big. We get mad at each other, we fight, but we always love. We love our near toothless 16 year old Bichon Frise. When it was suggested by the vet that we don’t leave her for too long, my priest stayed home. He loves big. He knows I would worry obsessively about Piranha if we were all gone, so he sacrificed. We do that for each other.  In this world, where everything seems disposable, including relationships, we strive for love.

I will admit that I have a hard time watching the world I grew up in looking so different. Friendships change. Parents do not appear responsible for their children or their actions, but a lot of this I equate to loving big. When you love big, you can’t be selfish. It is not all about you. It is about your family, your community and your planet.  When I watch kids litter, or be cruel to one another, I get sad and then I get mad.  It is our job as parents to show kids the power of love.  We need to be there for them, supporting them, correcting them, holding them accountable and most importantly teaching them what it is to love.

To love big, it takes a lot more than words.  It takes commitment and patience and perseverance.  My priest is alone thousands of miles away from the family he adores because we want our children to understand that love isn’t limited to humans…we love our dog big because we are committed to her, we don’t give up and everything and everyone is worthy of love.  We need to spread this message because I feel like daily I see a world where the opposite message is evident and that scares me for future and for our planet.

Love big people, it feels good.