Have you ever thought about the meaning of the phrase “have it all?”
On a recent school visit in New Jersey, the excitement of the day started from the moment my car pulled into the parking lot. Even before I could get out, kids ran to the chain link fence, wildly cheering, waving, and calling for me. The fence shook with the excitement of so many bodies pressing against it, and I couldn’t help but leap out of my car, and run toward the love💓. I stretched my arms as far as they could reach, and felt the hugs of heavy bodies pressing against me, and I took in the mix of many arms embracing my back and neck. It’s as if I belonged in this place, and was being welcomed home.
That’s how powerful kid love can be; it can make you feel as if you have it all, like the world looks straight at you and says, “I love you sooooo much.” Turning, I saw Julie, the library media specialist at the school. Julie’s bright blue eyes danced with excitement, and her soft gray hair framed her happy face. As I moved down the hallway, I noticed as she walks, it’s as if she leaves a trail of heartbeeps. Following this heartbeepy path, I arrived in her library, a space that’s as happy as Julie’s sweet face -- a space that reaches out and immediately embraces you with the promise of a million stories 📚.
Sitting at a small table was a group of students who were my “real” welcome committee.They sat wide-eyed, and I couldn’t figure out if their stunned expressions were for me or for the plate of “Pop Hearts” in the middle of the table. I think it was mostly their desire to dig into the Pop Hearts😉. Julie took my favorite flavor Pop Tarts (strawberry frosted) and cut them into hearts. It was the sweetest, yummiest, and most clever breakfast I’ve ever eaten; it’s as if she found a way to make edible heartbeeps😂.
As I visited with the welcome crew, Julie had Jason Mraz’s “Have It All” on repeat, and it played softly as we chit chatted together. She shared with me how the song embodied everything about LivBits and how it inspired the kids to create special Pop Tart notecards for me. She also informed me, it would play as I entered the auditorium for my whole school keynote speech later that morning. I can only say at that very moment, I understood my message better by hearing how Julie saw me and my work in the words of a song.
Here’s the the lives that you’re gonna change…
I’m humbled someone imagines my LivBit work to be as meaningful as the words of Mraz’s music, because “Have It All” is like an anthem for heartbeeps💓! When you look at the music video for the song and see the part where the little girl beckons Mraz into the school, it’s a PERFECT example of #KidsCanTeachUs. Later, my mum told me Julie’s gift to me was bigger than the song, the Pop Hearts, or the kindness she shared with me that morning, Julie created an opportunity for me to see myself through someone else’s eyes.
Here's to the infinite possible ways to love you...
Maybe this is surprising for some of you. You might think with all of the experiences I have, that I understand myself deeply. But, honestly, it’s still hard for me to believe my voice matters to the world. My mum explained, the experience with Julie was proof of how I CREATE heartbeeps for other people. As I remembered Julie skipping around the table snapping pictures, and softly signing to the music, I knew my mum was right.
May you always lead from the beating in your chest...
After my keynote, I visited classrooms, and it was clear how much the students had studied, wondered, and embraced my work. It was clear how much they wanted to tell the world their stories too, and I was so incredibly happy to help them do that. Each moment in Julie’s school felt a little magical, and I could see her beaming with pride as the students worked with my mum and me.
I want you to have it...all you can imagine...
Just as the day was coming to an end, I was greeted in the hallway by a girl who looked about the same age as me, and who I recognized from the morning welcome committee. We had the same caramel color hair and she was wearing a beautiful flower crown and a message shirt that said, “Girls Rule!”💪 In a small way, it’s like she was a reflection of me. I chatted for a moment with her, and keeping true to the reflection, she was a hugger like me. She asked if she could give me one last hug to last her a long time. I was so happy to oblige 🤗.
May you know the meaning of the word happiness...
I’m still thinking about what happened next. My reflection turned to my mum and said, “I really wish I had a mom like you.” She said these words softly, but purposefully, and her eyes held a small bit of sadness I couldn’t really understand. My mum matched her embrace and hugged her deeply. She looked down at her face and whispered, “You just gave my heart a gift. I hope this hug stays with you even after I leave.” The girl nodded, then walked away slowly, and at the end of the hallway she paused and gave us a small wave.
Here’s to the lives that you’re gonna change…
Later that night, as my mum and I were getting ready for bed, we talked about the excitement of the day, the teachers, the kids, our favorite friend, Diana and how grateful we were for our time together. Then, we revisited what the girl had said to my mum and how it made both of us feel. It’s not that I don’t appreciate my mum and all she does, but I guess sometimes I don’t see her how other people see her, especially other kids. Maybe part of “Have It All” is having moments where you are reminded of really important things, like how good people can be for the world and loving them better.
Here's to the infinite possible ways to love you...
My mum took one of the notes from the Pop Heart box Julie had given me. We read it together. It was from the girl in the hallway. Like all the other notes the kids wrote to me, the front had a giant hashtag, and it was perfect: #KidsHaveVoice. Her note on the back was unforgettable. She shared how much she hoped I smiled when I read her words and how she loved LivBits and my message that kids have a voice. Her very last sentence though will live with me forever: “My voice got me a better family.”
May the road less paved be the road that you follow...
You see, this girl was new to the school, and she used her voice to get herself and her younger sibling help when her own family didn’t care for them. I’m going to be completely honest and share that I am still processing this. I never imagined my message impacting another kid in this way, but now that I see it did, I understand even more completely how vital it is for kids to use their voices. I want kids to know when they do, their voice matters💓.
I want you to have it all...
It’s true you just never know how you impact people. Maybe you truly “Have It All” when you see yourself, your message, your love reflected back in ways that change your heart and help you see the world with more empathy.
I hope after you read this blog, you will think about what “Have It All” means to you. I hope you might love someone a little better; use words that lift someone’s sorrow even for a minute; hug someone so hard you feel their heartbeep; write a note with words that someone you love can take with them into the future; or reach out to someone you miss and tell them your life is better with them in it.
It’s like this experience helped my heart see the world more clearly. And, when your heart sees the world better, you really do have it all 🌎.
If you believe it then anything can happen...
Thank you to all my New Jersey friends, but most especially, to Julie who saw me in a song that now lives in my heart forever.
You can have it all! I toast you 🤗!
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Hi, I'm Liv and I am super excited to share my thinking with you!