Summer: Tans, bikinis, watermelon, BBQs, hot sticky car seats, baseball, long days, beaches, vacations, piña coladas and the list goes on…

But not always, this summer has been a learning experience for me. As I get older, I seem to learn more. How could that be? I thought it was supposed to be just the opposite, as we get older … we learn less.

Well, don’t get me wrong, I’m not learning algebra or chemistry.

What I seem to learn is life lessons, those lessons that change you some how, change your direction and your heart. And this summer I’ve changed again.

My son Nicholas had a bit of a hard time finding a job this summer break. He’s 16 and has a pretty extensive resume for a 16-year-old. Years of volunteering with special needs kids and working at local camps. Plus he has his web TV show and button business. But this year he wanted to spread his wings a bit further and combine his advocacy passion with his other passion … politics. Go Nick, you’re at the ripe bold age of 16, I guess it’s time to start your career — the kid kills me.

But with some networking and hard work, he was able to connect with  a local assemblyman and ask him if he could intern there. His email read, if you have room this summer for a passionate hardworking advocate, then I’m your guy. The next day Tom Abinanti’s office called and hired Nick. So, off Nick goes with briefcase in hand, dressed in business casual. Off to help conquer the world, and make it right. All Nicholas has ever wanted to do is to make it right. And by goodness, I think he just might do that.

The pride I feel for Nick — is beyond what I thought my heart can hold. I am so overwhelmed by his goodness, his courage and his direction, all at 16. What was I doing at 16?  Jeezeee — I thank God for such a special gift. My Nicholas is an amazing young man who I know with all my heart will make a difference.

My other gift, my Joey,  brought me such joy this summer. My Joey turned 14 on July 8. My very special boy who for the last 12 years has tirelessly fought the demons of autism turned 14. His birthday is such a mixed bag of sorrow, fear, love, hope and celebration. And guilt of course; always guilt. Do I do enough? Can I do more? Is he happy? But one question I didn’t have to ask this year. … Does he know it’s his special day? Yes, this year without a doubt my son realized July 8 was his day. This is a major deal. And he was so excited and overjoyed — that it pushed all the fear and worry away for a few hours and it was just JOY. Utter Joey, joy. Enjoying the day and sharing the moments. Loving the attention, the cupcakes, the balloons, the hibachi restaurant and the 100 renditions of “Happy Birthday.” He knew and I am thankful. Yes, he knew.

Pride and Joy — not the usual Summer — no beach talk, suntans or camps. We go to school 12 months  a year and we all work the summers — even Nicholas now. But we are blessed with pride and joy. Personally, I think it might be better than beaches and luggage and delayed flights.

So to this summer, thanks for the life lesson, I have to admit in its own special way, it’s even better than a tan.

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  • vickie lombardi July 13, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    Hi phyl..great job…proud of both Nick and Joe…mom

  • Erica Hezi July 13, 2011 at 12:18 am

    Beautiful as always, Phyl!

  • Jeannine July 12, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Thank you for sharing what you truly are thankful for this summer season. It’s so easy to focus on the negative – about what we do not have. I see this as a reminder for me to be grateful for all the special gifts in my life that may get overlooked. You are an inspiration to all moms everywhere.