Donna Smaldone
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Tuesday / December 11 / 2012

4 reasons you need a little ChaCha in your life

My niece Caroline Grace (pic taken April 2012)
My niece Caroline Grace (pic taken April 2012)

As I float above an endless ocean of pillowy clouds en route home from eight days in San Antonio with my Sissy and her Chicks, I can’t help but reflect on the lessons I learned from my 3-year-old niece, Caroline Grace… my sweet “ChaCha”.

The spunk in her brilliant blue eyes is matched only by her sense of wonder and relentless desire to let you know you’re loved. Time and time again this week, I found myself wanting to be her when I grow up.

Here are 4 reasons we all need a little ChaCha in our lives:

"Auntie Outing!" Frozen Yogurt date with ChaCha (December 2012)

“Auntie Outing!” Frozen Yogurt date with ChaCha (December 2012)

(1) To grow more thoughtful. I don’t believe that “selfish” is a bad word, but ChaCha’s outlook has challenged me to be a little less selfish in my day-to-day activities. With permission from my baby sister, I kidnapped each of her girls for one-on-one “Auntie Outings”. ChaCha and I indulged in frozen yogurt treats and then went shopping. We looked at toys, stuffed animals, and dress-up clothes. But the time I witnessed her baby blues glow the brightest was when she saw a purple shower poof she wanted to get for her big sister. The simple $1.39 item made HER day because she knew her sister wanted a new one and she simply couldn’t wait to surprise her. Just imagine if every Christmas gift we gave this year was rooted in thoughtfulness like that.

(2) To feel. ChaCha’s compassion and empathy are like none I’ve ever witnessed. She feels everything. Deeply. If something concerns you, it concerns ChaCha. When she accidentally stepped on my toe, she was so sad, she cried. When my sister got turned around on an unfamiliar street downtown, ChaCha’s brow furrowed with concern. Every single time she frolicked with her new puppy Shelby Lu, she took a moment (or two, or three) to hug my sister and utter, “Thank you so much for Shelby, Mama!!”  It’s true she wears her emotions like a neon billboard — but she taught me that sometimes being that vulnerable can be just the thing someone else needed at that moment.

(3) To find the good. As we watched the movie released more than 40 years before ChaCha’s birth, I was taken by her likeness in the wee one “who was no more than two“. The resemblance of ChaCha in Cindy Lou Hoo from the 1966 “How The Grinch Stole Christmas!” is uncanny. The delectable innocence, the cushy eye blinking, even the delicate (stinkin’ cute) voice. But more than anything, I became entangled in her prevailing belief there is good in everyone. Yes… even in the “Grinch” that’s in my life (and yours). Perhaps if I emulate ChaCha’s belief, my heart will grow three sizes today.

(4) To be silly. Ah yes, ChaCha has a loud-n-silly side, too. A side I love just as much as the others. Her effervescent giggles and squeals hold captive even the gruffest of hearts. If something tickles her — literally or figuratively — her whole body laughs with wild abandon. It’s contagious! She enticed me to follow suit, which resulted in newfound freedom to be me. Isn’t that what The You Evolution™ is all about?

She is unabashedly ChaCha and this Aunt is beaming with pride. Thank you for opening your heart to me, sweet ChaCha. I adore you! xo

12 responses to “4 reasons you need a little ChaCha in your life”

  1. Shery says:

    I find myself anxiously awaiting new pix posted by both you and Deborah. The pure joy of the girls reading the shopping list announcing the arrival of Shelby, to Sea World to chilling doing your nails!

    Missing my “baby’, I found such comfort in your carousel photos remembering when he and I rode one together. His part time work last winter at Busch Gardens was stringing 4 million lights…the same ones you saw at Sea World.

    So, yes, your Cha Cha gave me a little ha ha, and right now, I really needed that. XOXO

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Awww, thank you, Sher! I love the sound of your Mama heart in what just shared with us. Thank you for that. xo

      Love,
      Donna

  2. Julie says:

    Love, love, love, love, love this post… and I have loved all of your pictures of you and Caroline and Lainey and Debbie and your Mom!!!! And I love you most of all!!!!!! <3

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Sweet Jules… I know you understand the need to add a little “ChaCha” to your life! Thanks for the love! Love you, too!

      Love,
      Donna

  3. Sue Mills says:

    Donna,i found your story about cha cha so heart warming and thoughtful of a wonderful aunt like you. thank you Sue

  4. Debbie says:

    Awww! You really captured my girl. She’s one of a kind… And takes after you in a lot of ways. Xoxo

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      So glad it’s “Mama Approved”! I love your Chicks, Sissy. All three of you warm my heart in such a big way. I can’t say enough about what a beautiful time I had sharing life with you over the last week. I love you like crazy!

      Love,
      Donna

  5. Jennifer says:

    You have such a beautiful family Donna. I feel blessed to be so close to them. And Cha-Cha is definitely ALL of those things 🙂

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Thanks, Jen! I love them like crazy (I know you do, too). Thanks so much for reading and sharing with us.

      Love,
      Donna

  6. Kelly Moore says:

    Precious!!! Thanks for the Cha Cha insight! Love it!

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