the adventure science

It’s Fall Break y’all which, here under The Big Top, means adventure time and because it literally only took me FIVE tries to have a kid who likes wandering aimlessly around a museum; we are off to explore…

Explore SCIENCE! Science because someone is really digging 8th grade Science making things move and soon, blowing stuff up – code for setting off rockets.

I kind of like science, Mom. I like it a lot. 

He tells me this often.

Literally every time we sit down to work on science homework.

The Tech Studio where we begin and create with high school students from Japan and help them practice their English language skills.

The view from space

Embrace Baby Warmer Yeah, this meant a lot to both of us because ex-micropreemie, NICU grad, NICU mom, NICU nurse.

Engineer multi-colored bacteria, like a boss…yes, he wanted to immediately wash his hands after admiring his handiwork.

Equipped with his five senses, man explores his universe around him and calls the adventure Science. ~ Edwin Powell Hubble

It’s an adventure…an exhausting adventure.

seeing red

When I see him like this, I see the same strong will that was with him when he was just a one pound micro preemie fighting to live.

I see focus.

I see strength.

I see a determined thoughtfulness that astonishes me as I see this amazing boy child of mine becoming a young man.

A young man who has just earned a red belt.

And a brand new dobok…not a moment too soon because he was outgrowing the old one.

outshines the morning sun

In a few days I will FINALLY be the mother of only one teenager! Words can’t describe the flood of relief that comes with that statement. Of course having four adult children trying to do adulting kinds of things brings a whole new set of worries because I’ve been there and yes, done that…and that…and that…and that too.The attempt to restrain myself sometimes is so damn hard. I hope these grown children of mine will come to realize this. I’m sure that they will. I did.

Meanwhile, I am enjoying this young teenaged son of mine. When he smiles at me and talks to me I indeed do come undone. Look at him, my son!

That hair though!

Okay, not everything can be perfect at this age.

Still there are moments where I find my heart so full when he is sharing with me his thoughts, feelings and observations.

My son!

Pride is not the word I’m looking for.

Confession: I was listening to the Hamilton soundtrack before I sat down to write this.

Lately I am more than aware of the man this son of mine is becoming. I literally have never, ever known someone who is so kind and so fair to all. When he was but a one pound baby fighting as only micro preemies fight, I was aware how strong his heart was thenas I am always cognizant of with every mighty, tiny baby I care for. But lately I am all the more aware of just how mighty his heart is.


He makes me want to try harder to be a better person…a person like him, my son. How lucky I am to bask in his warm presence that, yes, outshines the morning sun. Added bonus, he calls me mom.

That hair though!

the emotions of donating, tossing and keeping

Spring has sprung and currently under The Big Top there is Spring cleaning going on. Living with a circus act that borders on potentially the next episode of Hoarders, one can imagine how much exhausting fun that can be.

Let me tell you.

But with a list of stuff to address room by room by room on a list firmly affixed to The Big Top fridge…where EVERYONE can see it, things are slowly getting done…slowly because this circus act is a bunch of pack rats. Imagine the pain and suffering that is involved in sorting through ephemera that is old boxes that once housed cell phones from years ago, extension cords, mugs and wine glasses galore from art, wine and food festivals of days gone by, stacks of video tapes and games with nary a VCR or compatible gaming console anywhere…and on and on and on…

And a room with a toy chest and shelves that house all the treasures belonging to who was once a little boy…treasures long forgotten and ignored…until we spend a weekend beginning to sort through. We’re going to empty the toy chest sorting it all into piles I gently suggest…things that are broken…things we don’t ever play with ever anymore…things we want to save.

What about all the Hot Wheels and the Lego sets andI can see all the stress and emotions as he begins to question.

Right now we’re just going to go through the toy chest in your closet. The toy chest you haven’t opened in three years I bet.

With relief, he laughs, More like four years.

He knows.

A few hours later, we are surrounded by a large pile to toss, a smaller pile to donate, an even smaller pile to keep and an empty toy chest save for a few scraps of crumpled paper on the bottom.

Oh hey! that’s my name!


What about all these Hot Wheels?, he points out the plastic bins stuffed full of, I imagine, all the Hot Wheels cars known to man that are stacked on the closet floor.

I think we’ve done enough today.

Well…except for this.

Fourteen years later, a shoe box full of NICU memories finally on display. Just in time, you know to thoroughly mortify the teenager who was once the micropreemie.

A toy box emptied. A shoe box emptied. You can’t imagine how much was accomplished in spite of a boy’s room still full of so much growing up.

Spring cleaning, exhausting y’all! Emotionally exhausting y’all.

as always, sticking together

Almost fourteen years ago, I managed to capture an amazing shot of the men in my life and what proved to be one of my most favorite photos of them.

A photo of the hand of our son, Daniel Quinn, scarcely 30 weeks adjusted age and just 2 pounds and the newest member of the Kilo Club, as he tried to grasp the index finger of his father’s hand.

One year later, as we celebrated Daniel’s first birthday and the finalization of our adoption, it served to remind us just how small he really was and how far he had come then.

A year after that, it would receive a special photo journalism award in a local photography show as it astounded the judges with one who truly was Fearfully and Wonderfully Made…it also irritated a local photo journalist that an amateur photographer would receive such an award…over her entry.

Today that photo is properly framed and hanging amongst so many other treasured photographs of our circus act here under The Big Top.

But today, inspired by the works of Red Methot’s Les Prèmas, I tortured my men with a photo shoot…as a mamarazzi will do.

Fourteen years later we prepare to celebrate tomorrow, as we do every year, because every birthday of a 1 pound baby boy born 4 months too soon is something one must always celebrate. We celebrate our preemie, Notre Préma, as parents should. Tomorrow this most extraordinary and most favorite son shall be FOURTEEN YEARS OLD which absolutely deserves all the shouty caps and everything else that we could possibly offer him. Oh, and I should add that we couldn’t possibly be more proud and happy that we get to call him our most favorite son…as we do every day. On the cusp of completing his fourteenth year, he is suddenly aware of the fact that he is our only son…but yes, absolutely, our most favorite son…something that we all celebrate here under The Big Top.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world it is best to hold hands and stick together.

Robert Fulghum