Tag Archives: memories

Beautiful Boy

We went to dinner last night, and then took Nick for a haircut. Great Clips, as you do. He patiently waited for his turn. Then, when it was his turn, he smiled and made small talk with the hair stylist.

He made small talk with the stylist.

For years, the same stylists would try to talk to him and he smiled at them with nothing to say. Or at least, without the ability, confidence, social skills to say anything. There has always been a lot going on inside, it just didn’t have a way out.

The stylist looked at me a couple times during the haircut and said “Does he ever get upset?” and “He is sweet down to his core.” and to him “You are my very favorite client.” and “You have made my whole day. We should all be more like you.”

The stylist next to her poked her head over and said “He smiled the whole time, didn’t he? I have never seen him not smiling.”

Sometimes a simple haircut can make a mom’s day too.

With his sister away with a friend for the weekend, he is enjoying his special time. We had donuts for breakfast and have already made cookies and played foosball.

He asked if I was letting him catch up to me in foosball. The truth? Nope. He loves foosball and is getting better and better every day. He’ll be beating me soon enough, so I’m taking all the wins I can right now. And when he beats me, he’ll know it was because he won, fair and square.

We’re honest with each other like that. At the end of the game, for a split second he might be sad that he lost, but faster than you can even realize it, he’s happy that I won. Because he loves me and he wants me to win everything. He roots for everyone before himself.

As we were making the cookies he started singing “Beautiful Boy” quietly to himself. I didn’t even know he knew that song but I joined right in singing with him. He smiled even bigger.

I asked him where he learned the song. It’s from a movie he likes, so no mom points for introducing him to the greats. We sang it together once and then he started changing the words to be Beautiful Fiona and Beautiful LuLu. He didn’t want to be the center of attention.

But he is the center of my attention. Even when I’m not doing a great job of showing him that. So I grabbed him, and we danced a little, and sang some more.

Me and my Beautiful Boy. 

photographic memory

Yesterday, my mom asked what was my favorite childhood Christmas memory. I tried to answer her question, but my answer was not a true memory or even a specific memory. My memories are stories that I have crafted to match the photos taken during my childhood Christmases. I have no idea if the stories I believe to have happened are even remotely close to reality.

Who is to say that my reality would be the same as my parents’ or brother’s reality, anyway? We all perceive things differently during a normal day. Throw a big holiday on top, add 30-35 years, and my realities may be much more fictional than anything else.

But I have those photos. I have proof of what I wore and what I looked like. I have proof of the gift that was my favorite, as determined by what item was clutched in my hand for the rest of the night. The rest is made up of fuzzy edges and fantasy.

My mind fills in the time between the photos with true memories. If I have never seen a photo of a certain moment, but I can recall all the details, then I am fairly sure it is an accurate memory. Or at least as accurate as a 30-year-old memory can be.

I wonder, now that I photograph so much of my children’s lives, will anything be left for fantasy? Will they need to remember any of it? The flip camera records anything the Nikon misses. How much of their childhood will have the fuzzy-edged glow that mine has?

My grandfather took a lot of photos. I adore those photos. I feel special when I see he took a whole role of film of just my brother and me. He played around with lighting and with our expressions. I have no memory of having most of those pictures taken, but the love I feel seeing them now, brings tears to my eyes. I wish I had more than just nine Christmases with my grandfather, but I am thankful every day for the way he taught me to see life through the lens of a camera.

For dad

Because we are so alike, I feel that I can honestly tell you I have not bought your Father’s Day present yet.  I know what it is.  I have it pictured specifically in my mind.  I just have to get it.  And since you aren’t coming until the beginning of July, and I have obviously missed the mailing it to you on-time deadline, I have a little time to play with.

I have borrowed this idea from a woman in my writing group.  I wish I could say that it was all my brain child.  But again, I’m too honest for that.  I can tell you that I think you are the perfect recipient for this gift.  It was “made” for you.

So here goes – I won’t make you wait two more weeks wondering what awaits you.  

I am going to buy you a journal.  In this journal, I would like for you to write whatever you remember from your childhood.  Stories from your parents.  Anecdotes from my childhood. Stories of early fatherhood.  Your life with mom before we came along.   The bits and pieces of our history that only you can put into words.  

(And to be fair, if you would rather work on a computer and we can fasten them into the journal, I am totally fine with that. But a journal to hold these stories seems so much more appropriate than a computer disk…)

This is a selfish gift to give.  Someday I will get it back.  But how lucky will I be to have your written words to help pass our history on to the next generation.

Happy Father’s Day!  I love you so much.

the ladies

Many moons ago, before I met my husband, before I had my children, I had roommates.  My friend K and I moved to here together.  We lived in a duplex, found jobs, threw parties and had a lot of fun.  Then one day a sign went up in the yard.  The owner of the duplex was going to sell our home, right out from under us.

So we went on a hunt for a new place to live.  Sure, there was a possibility the new owner would keep us around, and not raise the rent, and not creep us out, but there was also the possibility of the opposite.

We drove around the neighborhoods we wanted to rent in.  We had only the highest of standards with the smallest of wallets.

We stumbled upon a house that was being worked on.  We went right in and asked some questions.  We tracked down the owner and made him an offer.  Our offer was considerably less than what he was looking for.  But we kept bugging him and we haggled and we charmed.

We realized a third would make things perfect, because upon closer inspection, this was a house with three bedrooms, an office, a den, a dining room and a living room, not to mention a pretty big kitchen.  Coming from our four room duplex, this was huge.  

Don’t be fooled into thinking it was a palace or anything.  It needed work, it had some wood paneling, the air upstairs sucked (that’s another story), eventually there would be flooring issues.  But we wanted it.  Badly.

So we found our third, made our deal and walked into our “new” house.

I was given a set of magnets by one of my roommates that represented us.  It was a three pack that included a red head, a blonde and a brunette.  They were sexy.  They were us.  They were perfect.

Fast forward to the current day.  I have become immune to the sex-kitten look of the ladies.  They are just part of my refrigerator.  Kind of like the handle, or the logo, or the butter dish.

the ladies

The ladies reside on my refrigerator lo these many years later.  A couple of us have needed the help of some hair product to retain the colors, and two of us need to add some stretch marks.  But we were a force to be reckoned with and this little reminder helps me get through the day sometimes.

My son is rather fascinated with the ladies.  He takes them off the fridge.  He puts them back on the fridge.  He rearranges them.  He smiles at them.

My mom thinks I have introduced him to his first crushes.  Some years down the road we may have a magnet issue under the mattress, instead of a magazine issue.  But for now, I will go on assuming that he just likes the ladies because they look like girls who have the world at their fingertips.

making memories

What an amazing day.  My daughter Maggie and I got to spend a much needed day as just the girls.  My parents are still here and mom took care of Nicholas who is still spiking a fever the moment the “purple” runs out.  (Motrin, for those of you who don’t speak toddler.)

First we went to the pediatrician to get the bad part out of the way early.  Two shots, which she took like a champ.  Then we were headed off for smoothies, a haircut, kindergarten registration, shoe shopping, lunch, and a cruise through the pet store. We both had a ball.

I think I sometimes forget what a true delight my sweet four-year-old can be.  Especially when she is not vying for my attention, stealing it away from her brother, the laptop, the phone.  Hmmm.  Maybe a deep look at my priorities is in order. (Though the little brother will have to remain a priority, I think some daddy/son time and some Maggie/mom time might be in order on occasion.)

She got to pick where we went for lunch (with my right to veto).  I vetoed Chuckie Cheese and McDonald’s on the grounds that their food is not actually food.  We compromised on Wendy’s.  She got to do things like pick any table in the restaurant.  She chose a little two-seater, which would have been impossible with a high chair pulled up to it.  She said it was just perfect for two girls. When she dropped her oranges on the floor, I reassured her it was all good and got her some more.  (I would like to imagine I would have been as happy and carefree with both kids, though the constant pull in two different directions usually makes outings like this exasperating.) We even got a little frosty to celebrate.  

“Thanks so much for making today so special,” she said.

“Thank you for making today so much fun,” I said.

“I hope you don’t die soon.”  Her eyes welled up with tears.

“I’m planning on being around for a really long time.”

She looked at me with those big brown eyes of hers and my chest hurt a little.  If only I could promise to be here forever.

Christmas past

Two years ago today I sat on the couch with what seemed like a beach ball under my skin.  I was preparing for life with two children.  Life with one child was wonderful.  Life with two children seemed downright scary.

This birth was particularly complex compared to the first one.  The first involved me, my husband and the baby.  This one involved an 18-month-old sibling.  Very different.

I decided to schedule the c-section for 2 weeks earlier than the due date.  I was nervous about this, to say the least.  I was petrified I was doing harm to my unborn child.  My doctor reassured me that he would be fine.  It also worked that my husband could take more time to be with us.  My family could take more time to be with us and my daughter was starting school the following Tuesday.  I had become the mother who let the calendar decide when a person would be born.  Nevertheless, we went ahead with our very scheduled birth.

And he was great.  Two weeks early he was 8 1/2 lbs.  Had I gone the other two weeks they predicted another 2 pounds.  Ummm, no thanks.  I was so relieved to find out that everything was fine.  His schedule fit our schedule.  Whew.  And he moved off the nerve he’d been squishing for 2 months (literally) which made me very happy.

Back when I had Maggie, I didn’t realize that she wasn’t crying when they first swept her over to the cleaning area.  The doctor was talking to me about my great abs.  Ha!  I fell for it hook, line and sinker.  Only after I heard the cry did I realize the doctor was distracting me with ab talk so I didn’t freak out.  (I still wonder if the ab talk was sincere or total BS to keep my attention.)

So with number two I was waiting with my head craned to the side.  I didn’t have to wait long.  He let out a huge squeal.  The sound of hearing him cry for the first time was so amazing.

I spent what seemed like two weeks in recovery due to an epidural “mishap” that left me numb on one side for a good 4 hours.  I couldn’t get out of recovery until I could move both legs.  At one point I remember thinking “What happens if this leg never moves.  When do I get to see my baby?”  But slowly, slowly, sllllooooowwwly, I got motion back and was released to my room.  Nicholas had been sleeping the whole time in the nursery.  We met again in the room and he set to eating.  (He hasn’t stopped eating since.)

I have pictures and video thanks to my mother-in-law’s husband.  I know what was going on when I wasn’t there and for that I am forever grateful.  My husband never let our baby out of his sight.  (He knew there would be hell to pay if our baby was given a shot or a pacifier or other countless things I had forbidden.)

In a few days my little bundle will turn two – weighing in at 32 pounds and saying about as much as he did that day he was born.  For two years, I have been counting the many ways that I am the luckiest mom around.