poolside chatter

Sometimes the most challenging conversations with your child are the times when you are least expecting it. On a long drive down Highway 17 as the sun is setting, the kid is going to ask questions about sex…because you driving down a twisty, winding mountain highway is not nearly challenging enough. Or when you are gripping tightly to the steering wheel while driving up Interstate 5 in a windstorm it will be the perfect time to ask why their grandmother, your Mommy Dearest, never calls or writes or visits. So it would follow that while you are lounging by a hotel pool, your son will float up to you and pose a question that is guaranteed to make you sweat…not because it is over 100º even as the sun is setting…not because you are experiencing your usual round of hot flashes that come without warning and literally leave your hair and clothing soaked…if only! Nope. He floats up to the edge the pool where you are lounging, smiles and…

Hey Mom, I was wondering…do you think my biological parents loved me?

Oof!

So begins one of those hard conversations, the ones that make you sweat. Still I can’t shy away because this is Daniel discovering his story. He already knows our story of when he completed our family circus and it is a great story; he’s the first one to tell you that. But as he begins to discover who he is, as all children do as they grow up, part of that self-discovery includes his story before he joined this circus.

Do you think that they loved me?

So , taking a deep breath, I tell him yes. Because I was his nurse the day that he was born, I am privy to some of the more intimate details of his parents and his biological mother’s pregnancy.

Yes, son. I am absolutely certain that your biological parents loved you so much while they were pregnant with you.

Big tears fill his eyes as he slowly sucks in his breath. I hold myself back from reaching out to hold him tight. I wait. I wait to let him guide this narrative like I have learned too many times the hard way to do with the hard conversations with all of my kids. He exhales then meets my eyes.

But I was so, so tiny and so, so sick and they were afraid so they asked for someone to be brave for me like you and Dad. Right?

Right.

But they did love me?

Absolutely.

He looks away discreetly wiping away the tears then looks back at me and smiles widely.

I’m glad that they loved me.

Me too, son.

Then he reaches out to hug me, hug me so very tight. Now I’m the one fighting back the big tears filling my eyes. I know that I was brave enough to be his mommy when he was so, so tiny and so, so sick in the NICU; but god help me, I need to even braver for conversations like this because I am certain that there will be more to come. I’m thinking that for now, I will avoid drives on mountain highways with him alone in the car…for now.

and just like that, a new tooth fairy is born

When Hollie was in first grade, she literally was the only first grader, at least at Athenour Elementary School, who had not lost a tooth. You can’t imagine how hard this was on her…or on her parents who thought that something was wrong. But the family dentist assured us that all was good. In fact, he told us it was better to lose the baby teeth late rather than early. Still the shame of it, to be the only first grader in Mrs. Miller’s class to not be flashing a toothless smile. Until that fateful day when, miracle of miracles, Hollie lost her very first tooth just two months shy of her 7th birthday.

Thus began the long and illustrious career of our family circus’ tooth fairy. He was good at his job too…creative, consistent and he looked good in that pink tutu too.

Fast forward years and years later and here we have been with poor Hazel Faye, literally the only first grader in the whole wide world, in the universe even, who had not lost a tooth. You can’t imagine the stress, frustration and resignation as she imagined that she would NEVER lose a tooth.

Toothless at last!! And a little more than a week before she turns 7 too. Oh happy day!

Yes, and just like that, a new tooth fairy was born.

A pretty generous tooth fairy, the elder tooth fairy grumbled. Turns out the newborn tooth fairy found herself with no singles but being a quick thinking, creative tooth fairy, she decided $5 was fair for the first. She even managed to convey that message to Hazel Faye too. She might be young and new at this job, but it seems that she is a creative and quick thinking as the elder tooth fairy. Still, he grumbles, she needs to stock up on some tooth fairy currency. Because nothing sucks more than hitting every open store after 10PM trying to get change including a golden dollar coin. That might have happened one time to the elder tooth fairy.

Congratulations, Hazel Faye! You are even more adorable toothless!

kids, here are 10 things I may or may not have told you

You made me cry…a lot

Hollie and me – 1987. No apologies for the hair and glasses because 1987.

I wanted that last piece of pie…cake…cookie

Hollie, Zoë and me, 1992. Yes, those are matching Christmas sweaters. A gift. Funny how my darling husband didn’t receive one.

It hurt.

Hollie, Zoë, Abby and me, 1994. One child might never forgive me for this picture.

I was always afraid…still am…don’t judge, especially if you are not my child.

Hollie, Zoë, Abby, Jodie and us, 1996. Apparently we didn’t realize just how busy we were then as people told us ALL THE TIME that “we must be busy.

I know that I am not perfect.

And the Family Circus is completed, 2002. Also the year where any doubts of me being a perfect Mother were solidly squashed. Have a teenager and you will understand.

I watched you as you slept…still do.

Hollie, 1990

I carried you a lot longer than nine months.

Zoë, 1998

It broke my heart every time you cried.

Abby, 1997

I put you first.

Jodie, 1999

I would do it all over again…times five…to the infinity power.

Daniel, 2008

Kids, I can’t begin to express my gratitude that I get to be your Mother, Mommy, Mom, times five…to infinity and beyond.

I thank you all for calling me Mama, Mommy, Mom, Mommy Dearest, OMG-Mom, Mother; and, thank you , for needing me, teaching me, forgiving me, loving me, accepting me, modeling me and, most of all, amazing me because I get to say that I am Mom to these five remarkable people.

BONUS!! I have to say that I must be a pretty okay mom because these two perfectly, exquisite children  call me Mima…and give the best hugs.

 

for the love of the shrimp lover

Because his endocrinologist says he’s not gaining enough weight. Because nothing ruins a delicious meal more than having to say eat your chicken…eat your rice…eat your vegetables…yada, yada, yada, through the entire course of the meal. Because nothing provokes a day filled with anxiety for him than when mom pulls chicken out of the freezer to thaw in the morning. Because this child truly, truly, truly takes the term picky eater to a level that pretty much every other parent ever could never understand…remember when I first started this blog and we were just trying him to get food INTO HIS MOUTH and hopefully chew it and swallow it? Because this child has caused me to break every rule or belief I have had about feeding my family and my family will never, ever let me forget that….EVER!

And because he tells me that he is a shrimp lover as he eats a plate full of shrimp, I keep a big bag of frozen shrimp on hand and have no problem sauteeing a pan full with garlic, butter, lemon and red chili flakes just for him. I just got him to literally inhale more than 100 calories there. He then asks for seconds which I will happily oblige…AFTER he eats his vegetable please.

no apologies for the cuteness

With holidays comes adorable Easter dresses.

Bonus if they are dressed alike because what can be more adorable…

…especially when the darlings are at an age where they can’t really complain and protest. Actually at this age they LOVE it! So seize it while you can.

It’s a very narrow window of time when you can truly get away with such cuteness…

…and enjoy the total cooperation; because it’s fun that we are all dressed the same!

Remember that when the day comes (and it WILL come) when the kids look at these memories and then back at you wondering out loud, “What the hell were you thinking, Mom?!

Then you smile back at them because you have no apologies for such cuteness and you are absolutely certain that someday they will do it to their children too.

Scroll back to the top if you don’t believe me.