Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Carry That Weight

My grandmother, age 93, is resting comfortably today after undergoing surgery yesterday to remove a cancerous tumor. The burden on my father to coordinate her care and fill the void of last year's enormous loss of Grandpa has been great. Dad has rallied, organized and supported a team of cousins, friends, nurses and doctors to help manage his mother's care; all from nearly 2,000 miles away. He does so with humor, friendship, love and a remarkable capacity to curb his frustration as he deals with the bureaucracies and complexities of caring for a loved one from far away.

The love that my father has for his mother -- and her for him -- is a beautiful example of our capacity as humans to experience devotion and respect and appreciation throughout a lifetime. Just five minutes with them offers a glimpse of tenderness, concern, love and usually, a hearty laugh. She gave him the gift of total, unconditional love as she raised him and now he offers it back to her in spades.

The decision to operate on my 93-year old grandmother has weighed heavily on Dad, and it was hard for him to consider putting her very fragile body under the stress of surgery and recovery. I know he questioned it and worried over it, but apparently, it was the right decision to make. The relief for my father, and those who care about him and Grandma, is enormous.


Some might consider my father's interest in YouTube videos to be yet another addition to the eccentricity column for my old man. On a semi-regular basis, Dad finds videos that he considers might be of interest to our boys and e-mails them to me. Over the past year, I've probably lost nearly a day of my life watching home-made videos that he's forwarded of animals at "watering holes"; tractors plowing wheat fields at record-breaking speed while backtracked to an Aerosmith song; and ancient folk singers scratching out decades-old recordings on tinny black and white film. Many of them I've viewed while shaking my head at my old man; many others have remained neglected in my in-box.

Today he sent us this little diddy from his i-phone, "Ikey", with the note that I may or may not want to share it with my boys. This generally means that they would probably get immense pleasure and delight from it, but that I might not want the behavior replicated in my living room.

He's thoughtful like that.

In fact, my father is one of the most thoughtful people I've ever known. Quirky, for sure, and absent-minded on occasion, but truly at the top of the list of thoughtful and caring human beings to ever walk this great, green earth.

And so today, while I watched this video, I thought of my Dad. Not just because he sent it, and not even because the Beatles will always remind me of my childhood lived to the soundtrack of Abbey Road. I was reminded of he Christmas when our family received a book on juggling and Dad learned a few tricks. Wham-bam, next thing you knew, the guy was constantly in motion. Oranges, apples, softballs, and small animals were tossed in the air -- much to the delight, laughter and cheers of us small kids.

I also thought of my dad as the man he is today: Juggling his mom, career, marriage, fatherhood, grandfatherhood, and the enormous heart of his that feels so much joy and pain. Carrying that weight a long time.

But, no matter how many balls in the air, TJ still makes me laugh and cheer for him.

This morning, Dad is sitting in a hospital watching over Grandma's golden slumbers, hoping to make it back home soon, and searching Ikey for some distraction. And I am still laughing and cheering for him.

Thank you, Dad. Thank you for showing me that the love you take is equal to the love you make.

In honor of my Dad and his 65th birthday that I did not acknowledge on the internet last week, I offer you this four minutes of spectacularness:

Monday, March 30, 2009

Seem's Like Just Yesterday...

Happy 5th Birthday, Max. Thanks for the laughs, the smiles and all the hugs. You make me very getsited to be your mama.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dude, Where's My Spring?

The Ides of March brought a little winter tease. The barely bursting buds of Spring are not happy. The monkey boys, however, were quite delighted...

I call this photo "restraint". My arm still hurts from to holding myself from shoving snow down his pants.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Kitchen Krakatoa

Max burst into the house upon arrival from preschool asking if we had the "gredients" in our kitchen necessary to make a "balcano", like, um "NOW!". The urgent young vulcanologist barked out "baking soda, food color and binegar" faster than you could yell Vesuvius, so out to the yard we went with all the makings of sodium bicarbonate lava.

Pompei Before the Flow:

It was pretty exciting, in a bubbling pink kind of way, and I'm sorry that I don't have any action shots to show for it. But photographing an erupting volcano requires skills that I apparently don't possess. Getsited little boys...those are not nearly as rare around these parts.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fountain of Youth

I've found the secret to feeling like a 5th grader = get a new little bike and a cavity filled on the same day.

Who says you can't go back?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Check out Sam in his bowling shoes. This week, he LOVED wearing someone else's shoes. Which was good, since Elton John didn't seem to mind that he was borrowing his cape, either.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Prepared For Emergency Landing

Much to our collective delight, we're enjoying a spontaneous visit from one our favorite people this weekend. The boys and I loaded up for a late night airport pick-up last night; dragging blankets, dollies, sippy cups, books, bathrobes, etc. As we sleepily stumbled into the car well after 9 pm, Max scurried back to the house to get his shoes.

"Oh, sweetie, you don't need to bring shoes..we won't be getting out of the car," I explained.

"I'm bringing them just in case..." he offered, sounding just like his emergency-contingency plan father, who would be so proud. And then he completed his sentence,

"...we want to stop for an ice cream cone."

My sweet-tooth DNA overpowers the always-be-prepared chromosomes. Yes!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Time Marches On

Oh, thank goodness it's March already! I had been fearing that February would last forever. It's not even the end of the first week of the month and we've already jumped some big hurdles that were hampering us last month.

On Monday, Max got to spend some time at the hospital getting tubes in his ears to help ward off the transient synovitus that rendered him unable to walk twice during February. He's happy, healthy and selectively tuning out my requests for him to wash his hands while simultaneously jumping off the furniture. Never again will I take his bionic hearing/jumping achievements for granted! Additionally, both of our cars were returned (finally!) from the collision repair shop where they each had multiple visits due to our "his and hers" car accidents of February. I will forever fear the little red corvette (baby, you were much too fast) and won't ever again curse a safety restraint after both boys escaped unscathed from their first vehicular bang up. No one has fallen down the steps yet in March, and the sun is shining in all her Springtime glory. So far, March is singing a pretty pleasant tune.

And today, I registered my baby for kindergarten. I'm not sure how it is that I was able to unstrap him from his infant carrier and watch him bound into the gymnasium of an elementary school, because I swear he just spit up all over my nursing bra. Gaaahhhh! Where is the damn pause button on these kids????

Our tour of the elementary school went exceptionally well and I was delighted to see how eager and curious Max was about all the new places to discover at school. His favorite was the library where he found books on diggers, dinos and whales faster than you can say dewey decimal. I think he'll do just fine.

To celebrate his foray into academia, we went out for a warm cocoa in the sunshine. We talked about all the neat things we'd seen at the school, what he was getsited about, and then gulped down the whipped cream while contemplating the sweetness of life.

While sipping my coffee and smiling at my big kid smeared with cocoa and cream, I looked out the window of the cafe at a group of moms who were gathering with strollers and tiny tots with fists full of cheerios and sippy cups and blankies tucked warmly around their pudgy red cheeks. Some of the babies were nodding off, others were fighting the restraint, and the moms all had a familiar look. Distracted, eager and exhausted. Ready for some exercise after being up for seven hours already and desperate for the fellowship of a kindred soul who was sleep deprived but still making a go of it.

I watched them gather, hug, and coo; recognizing myself in each of them. And I suddenly ached. I ached for the stroller that I no longer push. Lumps formed in my throat as I tried desperately to swallow my coffee; struggling with balancing the passage of time and a hot caffeinated beverage. The next thing I knew, all the patrons of the coffee shop joined in singing the chorus of "Sunrise, Sunset" while I watched my former self out the window and saw the reflection of my current self tearing up.

That was when it hit me. Max is totally ready for kindergarten, and I am so confident in his ability to thrive and shine and learn and discover and wonder. He will be fine.

He will be fine without me pushing him along, handing him Cheerios and cheering for the garbage trucks, airplanes and doggies. He's no longer a tot in a stroller with floppy hat tied underneath his three chins. He's a running, jumping, getsited big guy who is ready to learn and discover and begin a new voyage.

All aboard? I guess so...

3 days old, which was really just last week. I swear it was.