Childhood · Nostalgia · Parenting · Stories

In the Circus of Life, Let Us Remember Love

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The lights dim, and the first preview lights up the screen. Next to us, the speakers shake with war sounds, and in front of us, large, scary men clad in all black seem to be lunging our way.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see my daughter’s face. Zoey’s eyes are clouded with concern as she burrows her chin down into her coat. For a little girl who really doesn’t like movies, I wonder if bringing her to this show will leave her scarred for life.

* * *

After stumbling across The Greatest Showman soundtrack and listening to its catchy, joyful, life-affirming tunes, I knew I needed to see the movie. And when I put it on in the car one morning as I drove Zoey to school—and she knew most of the lyrics to This is Me by the time we arrived—I knew we needed to go see it.

Yet I was hesitant about the idea. Although she’s almost seven, Zoey and I have never been to a movie together. Even talk of going to one makes her panic a little, her response always the same, “But movies scare me. Do we really have to? Can’t I just watch something on my Kindle?” Her reaction to seeing movies has always surprised me, as I use to love going to them as a child.

But this time was different. When I asked if she’d like to go, she offered up a resounding ‘yes’.

* * *

Thankfully, after the previews end and the movie starts, Zoey perks up. She watches the whole thing, barely blinking, enthralled by the story. I’m sure it helps that there are exotic animals and choreographed dances and—of course—scenes filled with the music she has grown to know and love over the past few days, but even so, I’m still amazed at her entrancement.

As we leave the theater, Zoey twirls and leaps beside me, pretending she is the trapeze artist who gracefully and bravely flew through the air into her partner’s waiting arms.

She’s working on story comprehension in school, so I toss out the question that seems to be commonplace these days:

“So what was that about, Zoey?”

“Love,” she quickly responds.

Before I can agree, she continues her answer.

“I mean, the guy and that girl do get together, and Barnum goes back to his family at the end, but it’s not a love story,” she clarifies. “It’s more of a love lesson.”

I stop walking and turn toward Zoey, the early afternoon sun causing me to blink as I look her way.

“How so?” I ask, my curiosity getting the better of me. 

“Well,” Zoey replies. “I think it’s trying to remind us that if you surround yourself with everything you love, happiness will find you.”

It seems the movie has left no scars, just a perfect pearl of beautiful Zoey wisdom. I smile, breathing a sigh of relief, as I bend down and pull her in for a hug.

“Yes, Zoey,” I say. “You’re right. Just like love and happiness have found me, right here, wrapped up with you.”

* * *

Later that night, as I lay next to Zoey as she slips into sleep, I think about her take away from the movie and the lyrics to one of its main songs, a song that is in both the opening and closing scenes:

It’s everything you ever want
It’s everything you ever need
And it’s here right in front of you
This is where you wanna be

And there in the dark, listening to Zoey’s soft breath, feeling her damp hair splayed out on my chest, I can’t help but think of the heart-wrenching happiness I feel right here, right now. It’s always in moments like these—and like the one we experienced in the parking lot earlier—where everything else seems so much less important. All the money in the world? Who cares. A big house, a fancy car, or expensive toys? Totally not necessary. All the things considered luxuries? Don’t really need them.

It’s simple, really—a lesson so obvious that even a six-year-old could find it hidden within the bright lights and vibrant colors and hear it tucked away in the words of a few amazingly produced songs:

Be with the people you love.
Live a life you love.
Love who you are.
Do everything with love.

In this crazy circus of life,
if we just remember to simply choose love,
we will have everything important.

We will have everything we ever really need.

* * *

IMG_2580Just like P.T. Barnum did in The Greatest Showman, this sweet little girl of mine has a million dreams about living a life surrounded by all the things she loves. I’m equal parts proud and honored to introduce you to something Zoey is simply in love with, her own little corner of the internet, The Zoey Chronicles. She’s beyond excited about this little project of hers, which we created to help her learn how to type, become a writer, and most importantly, follow her little heart and live a life that is authentically hers. Check it out here, and while you’re at it, maybe leave a comment or like. She’ll probably love you forever for it, and perhaps along the way, she’ll teach you a lesson or two. I can practically guarantee it, as she’s done it here time and time again.


coreyCorey is a writer, graphic designer, and mom to her amazing daughter, Zoey. Here at The Nostalgia Diaries, her goal is to simplify, enhance, and engage people’s lives by helping them focus on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.


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At The Nostalgia Diaries, our goal is to help you simplify, enhance, and engage your lives by focusing on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.

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Childhood · Nostalgia · Parenting · Stories

Week 48: Be Brave, Little One—And I’ll Promise To Do the Same | Everyday Nostalgia

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Dear sweet girl —

There we were, walking down the hall to our apartment, your feet moving slower than usual, your hand tightly gripping my own.

Normally the journey to our front door after school involves you dancing and twirling so that your hands are in the air instead of wrapped up in mine. Normally you are chattering away, singing a silly song, happily laughing as your smile casts extra light into the fading day.

Yet there you were, quiet and close beside me, doing none of these things.

I tell myself you are tired, but I know better: because I can read between your lines—the ones that I’ve grown to know over the past six years—I know something else is going on.

I stop walking, and your stride stops, too. I kneel down in front of you, and when we’re face to face, our eyes meet, and I look at you, open and waiting.

Because I know that’s all it ever takes, that simple acknowledgement that I’m here, ready to listen, and, just like I expected, you finally speak. Continue reading “Week 48: Be Brave, Little One—And I’ll Promise To Do the Same | Everyday Nostalgia”

Childhood · family · Nostalgia · Parenting · Stories

Week 45: I’m failing at dinner—but not as a parent | Everyday Nostalgia

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It’s 7:48 in the evening, and my daughter, Zoey, and I are almost finished with her bedtime routine.

Almost.

I close the chapter book we are currently reading, set it on her nightstand, and turn off her lamp.

Darkness fills the room, and I feel the bed shift beneath us as Zoey finds her way over to me. She lifts my arm and settles into the spot on my chest she has come to claim as her own.

“Know what time it is?” I ask.

“One of the best parts of my day,” Zoey replies. “I’ll go first.” Continue reading “Week 45: I’m failing at dinner—but not as a parent | Everyday Nostalgia”

culture · Nostalgia · Parenting · Stories

Week 25: Weaving a Web of Intentional Kindness | Everyday Nostalgia

Weaving Together a Web of Intentional Kindness | The Nostalgia Diaries Blog

It’s early evening, and we are standing in the checkout line at the grocery store. In my hands, I hold a shopping basket filled with chicken and cheese and tortillas and an assortment of vegetables—lettuce and carrots and peppers and tomatoes and…a pack of gum?

I glance at my daughter Zoey as she hops from foot to foot beside me. “What?” she asks, making her eyes big, obviously knowing exactly what my look means.

I point to the gum, and she shrugs her shoulders. “It’s strawberry flavored,” Zoey says. “And you said we needed some fruit.”

I look back at basket. She’s right: the only fruit I see are three pink, cartoon strawberries dancing across the plastic gum wrapper. I sigh. In my haste, I’ve totally forgotten the bananas I need for my breakfasts and the blueberries Zoey requested for her lunches. Continue reading “Week 25: Weaving a Web of Intentional Kindness | Everyday Nostalgia”