“Grandma, something real bad happened.”

That story is now; we need to go back in time to a week ago before it’s Grandma to the rescue.

It’s all a bit convoluted, but I’m accurately depicting the chain of events. I hope you can follow along and it’s not too confusing.

Contained in the box of gifts for his half birthday was a little ball from the dollar store that caught my eye because it was soft and squishy and was an actual face of a tiger, not simply a cartoon rendering.

This:

He has lovely eyes and an endearing quality, don’t you agree?

When T FaceTimed me as he was opening the box, Dad set the phone down so I could watch him and we could chat about all the items. As soon as he picked up the ball, he fell instantly in love. He gave it a hug and stroked his cheek with it, which is the sign for mother (although he’s not aware of that).

He immediately said, “Grandma, I love love love this tiger. Do you know what I’m going to name him? I’m going to name him Tiger.”

I said, “It makes me happy that you love him, I thought you might, and Tiger is a perfect name!”

He gave Tiger another hug.

I said, “Hey T, how about whenever you hug Tiger, that will be exactly like a hug from me. It’s Grandma hugging you all the time. What do you think about that?”

“Every single time you hug Tiger, it’s ME hugging you back.”

“Grandma hug!”

And then he started kissing it. So yes, my heart overflowed again and broke at the same time because it’s still not safe to travel to give him real Grandma hugs.

Later on, Mom texted me that Tiger had become his new “favorite” and he wouldn’t go anywhere without him and slept next to him on the pillow.

So the backstory is simple. T really really bonded with Tiger and he was the object representation of my unconditional LOVE.

Now you’re all caught up, right?

Yesterday in the late afternoon, my phone rang and this is how FaceTime started.

No “Hello”, just “Grandma, I got to tell you. It’s bad, real bad. Something bad happened.”

“Hello, my T.”

“Oh yeah, hello Grandma, you aren’t gonna like this.”

Now if you’re wondering why I was so calm (which I was) it’s because I know beyond any shadow of any doubt that if something really catastrophic had occurred, I would have heard about it from mom or dad, and they wouldn’t have allowed a four-year-old to become the messenger of something terrible that had befallen one of them.

Anyway, my Grandma-spidey-sense kicked in and I could pretty much figure out what constituted a crisis in his lovely little life.

“What happened, tell me!”

“OK. Listen. but I have to show you. You aren’t gonna like it. I’m gonna flip.”

When he flips the camera to show me what’s in his hand, my crystal ball vision was confirmed.

There was damage to the tiger ball. One ear had been slightly chewed off.

“Oh my. Poor Tiger. How did that happen?”

“Well, Grandma, Charlotte used those two little teeth of hers to tear off his ear. Can you believe it?”

“I hope she didn’t eat it, did she?”

“No. I was being kind and shared it with her for just a minute and she damaged him.”

“T, that is pretty sad for Tiger, I agree. I understand you are sad about it. How about if you put it up on a high shelf so that Char can’t get to it and I’ll fix him the next time I’m there. You know how good I am at fixing things, right?”

“OK Grandma, I will. I know exactly where to put him.”

“Now let me see your beautiful face for a minute.”

“There we go. That’s good.”

“I’m going to flip MY camera because I want to show you a surprise I have for you.”

I walked into his bedroom.

“Look, T. What do you see?”

“NO WAY!”

“Yes, way. As soon as I saw how much you loved Tiger, I went back to the store and got another tiger, just in case something happened to him. And the balls were all so cute, I got a kitty cat and a sloth, too. See?”

“DADDY YOU HAVE TO COME HERE AND SEE WHAT GRANDMA HAS.YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT. HURRY AND SEE!!”

Soft Sloth Squeeze toys Mini Change Color Squishy Cute animals Anti stress  Ball Squeeze Soft Sticky Stress Relief Funny Gift Toy|Squeeze Toys| -  AliExpress

“A sloth? Show me again. Grandma, you know how much I love sloths, don’t you?”

(Says Daddy, “Good call, Grandma. He was really upset.”)

“T, I’m going to mail them to you first thing in the morning and you should have them by Saturday. That’s three days from now.”

“Grandma, can you go to the post office NOW and mail them to me?”

“It’s a bit late in the day, so it will have to be in the morning, but I promise I’ll do it first thing, OK?”

“DAD, GRANDMA’S GOING TO MAIL THEM TO ME FIRST THING IN THE MORNING.”

“Now we have that problem solved, don’t we? That will make everything better, don’t you think? Maybe it will be a good idea not to let Char get too close to the balls so that she doesn’t chew on them, right? She’s still such a little one and is learning what can and can’t go in her mouth. We need to be very careful with her.”

Apparently we were done with that subject and his fears were sufficiently allayed because he entered the Twilight Zone with his next topic…

“Grandma? I’m going to pick you up from the airport tomorrow. It might take me a week to get there, but I’m going to be there and the first thing you’ll say is, ‘There’s my Theo!!””

“Whoa, um, T, I’m not actually going to get on an airplane tomorrow, you know that, don’t you?”

“It’s going to take me a long time to get there, probably a week, but I’ll be there.”

“I hope I can see you really soon, Angel Boy, and then I will give you the BIGGEST HUG ever.”

“OK, Grandma, Bye.”

And that was it.

Whew, good thing I’m Grandma to the rescue. Crisis averted.

If only all disasters were so easily solved, right?

If only.

“I am wonderful.”

Here’s another example of an empowered child, as told to me by my DIL (daughter-in-law).

Two years ago on the first day of preschool (I was there but didn’t witness it personally), T’s friend was holding her mom’s hand and as they walked up to the door, she stopped, threw back her shoulders and declared, “I am wonderful” and walked inside to face the world.

Apparently, no one could figure out exactly where the phrase came from, as mom said she didn’t recall saying it, but we all agreed THAT is the level of self-confidence we should strive for.

We could put that on our bathroom mirror to see every morning as a daily affirmation, our anthem. We are wonderful warriors.

Take a deep breath, hold your head high and say,

I AM WONDERFUL

Wonder full. Full of wonder.

Wonder: a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.

We could hope for nothing less than to be full of wonder: tending to excite wonder; surprising, extraordinary.

It makes waking up every day just a little happier to be full of wonder as opposed to full of anhedonia; reduced motivation, unable to experience joy in any of the things one had previously found fulfilling. In the DSM-5, anhedonia is a component of depressive disorders, substance-related disorders, psychotic disorders, and personality disorders, where it is defined by either a reduced ability to experience pleasure, or a diminished interest in engaging in pleasurable activities.

It’s like living in a world that’s shades of gray as opposed to one that’s full of color.

Colorful/wonderful.

Convo #726 with the Brilliant One and a Life Lesson: “Here I am!”

Whether you’re a parent or a grandparent, never ever forget that children absolutely absorb our words, positive AND negative.

If your goal is to raise happy, healthy, empowered, imaginative THINKERS, remember that every word you say to them becomes ingrained in their fertile brains and becomes a part of their belief system.

Although I really and truly believe this and it’s been my lifelong philosophy (minus a few weeks of Angel Boy’s angst-filled teenage years), this was reinforced yesterday in the most casual and BEST way.

During one of my FaceTime calls with T, he said, “Grandma, I’m gonna flip the phone and show you this. You’ll think it’s amazing, I know you will.”

He flipped the camera to show me a crystal that his other grandma sent to him.

“Can you believe how sparkly it is, Grandma? I’ll save it to show you after the virus.”

(It seems as if now everything is always “after the virus.”)

Then, wait for it,…wait for it…he says,
Oh, I almost forgot. I’ll flip back. Here I am, Grandma. Here’s your beautiful boy.

He smiled at me with his daddy’s Imperial jade green eyes and those curls that have a life of their own.

Without a trace of humor or artifice, he was very simply repeating exactly what I said a zillion times, “Could you please flip the phone back so I can see my beautiful boy?”

And when he does, I say, “Oh, good. there you are. That’s who I want to see; my beautiful boy!”

He ABSORBED the positive affirmation–and knows deep inside where it counts–that he is my beautiful and smart and very loved little boy. He KNOWS he is valued for being who he is, not for any accomplishments, but simply for existing.

Haha, my work here is done. He is truly and beautifully empowered, inside and out.

Here’s an easy-to-save graphic with a few important positive affirmations for our children and for ourselves.

wp-1476487823521.png (545×699)

What’s Your Inspo?

Friday thoughts…

(inspo = something or someone that serves as inspiration or motivation.)

deviantart.com/ignisfatuusii/art/In-the-Magic-Forest-3311904

I’m a forever child, never to grow up, still talking like the perpetual thirteen-year-old that I was/am, and sometimes a fairy princess in an enchanted forest with flowers in my hair surrounded by gentle creatures.

It used to irk my son when I’d repeat key phrases from South Park or Beavis and Butthead that were sooo INAPPROPRIATE, but now he laughs with me. A snarky chuckle, but a laugh nonetheless.

One day when he was in graduate school, we were eating lunch with a few of his friends and he put me on the spot and made me imitate Towlie from South Park. “Wanna get high?” in that Towlie voice. Good sports, we all laughed. I knew they were laughing AT me, but it wasn’t in a mean way. I laughed at myself, too. The jokes on them though, ‘cos whatever I did as a mom inspired my son to become a professor. HAHAHA.

Here’s Towlie in case you didn’t have a teenage son in the 90s…

NEVER GROW UP, that’s my mantra. (A girly Peter Pan without leaving all the narcissistic destruction in my wake.)

Just now at the ATT store I noticed that I was the ONLY one who was enthralled with two little starlings who walked all around me in a circle, not a care in the world with regard to humans and cars, and then I looked up and saw a gigantic White Egret. There was a UPS man parked right next to me and he followed my gaze as I was looking up, so I said, “Look at the beautiful white egret!” Nothing. “It’s a BIRD.” Nothing. “It’s really special!” Nothing. He continued with his stressed and frenzied pace to get those packages delivered and delivered and delivered. He looked at me like I was slightly off center but I wanted to tell him that he’d have a better day if he stopped just for a minute to BREATHE and LOOK UP.

There are miracles all around to be seen and heard. The simple things are the greatest bringers of joy and gratitude. It’s also true a Chanel handbag can bring its own kind of joy, as much as a seashell. Same.

Back to inspo

What’s MY inspo? Now it’s mostly Theo and Charlotte, and always my original Angel Boy, that’s a given.

I’m putting the finishing touches on Theo’s half birthday gift, another one of my personalized books with photos and beginner words that I write just for him.

Yes, we celebrate half birthdays around here. It’s a tradition started by my mom, the original Charlotte. Hee hee. Not only did I get presents on my dad’s birthday, I received gifts and HALF a cake on my half birthday in November. The same was done for AB and now his kids. I think it’s an awesome tradition.

When my son turned twenty-one, I embarrassed him (yet again) in front of his friends with my speech about my love for every breath he’s ever taken and then gave him a gift of a star that I named for him because he was and will always be my entire universe. Check it out: International Star Registry, Scutum RA18h 47m 46d D-12′ 24′

Do you celebrate half birthdays?

What’s your inspo?

And There She Goes…

Like the metamorphosis of a butterfly, babies change from inert objects to crawling on all fours to becoming bipedal.

Uh oh, Angel Girl 2.0 started walking yesterday! You can see T in the water with Dad looking on. In the blink of an eye, they’ll both soon be at university.

Now and forever, they’re always walking away.
“Hey, wait for me!”

(Yup, it’s Puget Sound with the Olympic Mountains off in the distance.)

Love the fashion statement, dinosaurs and polka dots!

That little red wagon has many stories to tell. I acquired the first one here at Casa de Enchanted Seashells when T was about a year old and he loved it so much that Mom and Dad got him a duplicate for their home. This is the same one: Radio Flyer 2-in-1 Walker/Wagon. If anybody needs a very sturdy, stable, well-made wagon, try it! If it can survive AB 2.0, you can be sure it’s worth every penny.

Same age, same wagon, always walking away. Nice outfit, though, and you can see the curls are already making their presence known.

“Hey, man.” Convo with the brilliant one.

No one can pinpoint the etymology of this phrase with regard to our extremely precocious almost 4.5 year-old, but yesterday was the first time I heard it.

We were FaceTiming so he could tell me about their week-long camping trip. He was regaling me with how much fun he had and how he went surfing and how his baby sister enjoyed her first time living on the feral, as we say.

As an aside, he started referring to his almost one-year-old sister as “Missy” and when I asked him who he was talking about, Mom took the phone and said he started calling her that after I sent an Amelia Bedelia book where the child she babysits for is called “Missy.” T has a very active imagination.

As, we’re chatting and he shows me some new crystals he got at a yard sale–green and purple, his two favorite colors–I heard Dad in the background say, “Tell Grandma about the lake we went to this morning.”

“Oh yeah, hey man, I jumped all the way in from really high, you would have been too scared, little Grandma!”

I said, “What lake?” and “What did you just say?”

And he replied, “Let me ask Daddy.”

He walks over to where Dad is sitting on the sofa (I’m dragged along on FaceTIme) and says, “Hey, man, what was the name of the lake we went to?”

My son started snickering and said. “It was Kachess Lake”.

T said, “Hey man, it was Kachess Lake”.

I replied, “Oh, I saw the pictures and thought it was Green Lake.”

He corrected me, “No, man, it was Kachess Lake. Hey man, did you see me jump?”

“I did. You are a brave boy. Hand the phone to Dad for a minute, please.”

“Hey J-boy. What’s up, man? Where did he get that?”

*snickering again*

“We have no idea; he must have heard it somewhere or maybe on Sesame Street, that’s all we can think of, but literally EVERY other word out of his mouth is ‘man this or man that’.”

“Hey man, I’m gonna hit the red button now. Is that OK, Grandma?”

“Yeah, man, that’s cool. Catch you later. Bye, Angel Boy.”

Have you ever heard a little one use that term in the proper context? He sounds so grown up, so sophisticated. SOOOO precocious. Heaven help us when he’s an actual teenager.

“Vas ist Los” or “Was geht ab” auf Deutsch

What’s up?

This is just a random post to test the waters with the new WordPress format WHICH I HATE HATE HATE. For me, it’s taking all the fun out of writing. It’s clumsy and NOT user-friendly. 

By now if you have read even a couple of my posts, you know that I am unapologetically a MOM first and foremost. All I ever wanted was to be the mom of one boy, and my wish came true. Not only is he brilliant and kind and a great dad, he’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever known. 

He’s a professor of German language and philosophy. That’s actually what his Yale PhD is called: Germanic Language and Literatures.

At my insistence, he’s been teaching it to Angel Boy 2.0  but it’s harder than it seems. We do refer to raccoons as Waschbär, though, so that’s progress, I guess. 

I don’t speak Deutsch, I do better in French or Spanish, but I used to help when he was first taking German in high school, like conjugating trinken to getruken.

We practiced with 3X5 cards every day until his conversational skills surpassed my ability to decipher even a single word.

When he did his junior year abroad in Goettingen, I visited him (as the good Jewish mommy-drone that I am) and was continually impressed by his fluency and beautiful accent. People thought he was a native speaker, and I was/am so proud of my Engel Junge (Angel Boy). 

I learned to say Tschüss instead of auf Wiedersehen every time we left a store, and that’s about it for my language skills.

He wrote a book entitled The Geological Unconscious
GERMAN LITERATURE AND THE MINERAL IMAGINARY 

It probably won’t be read by too many people but that’s OK ‘cos I’m mentioned in it, so my life’s work is done.

Here’s the link to that post: https://enchantedseashells.com/2020/05/14/happy-birthday-to-meeeee/

What’s in a name?

Romeo and Juliet
Spoken by Juliet, Act 2 Scene 2

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Do you like your name, the name you were given–the name on your birth certificate?

I don’t like my name.

For as long as I can remember, every single time I hear someone call me by my name, my very first thought is “that’s not my name”.

Is that weird? Am I weird?

For a nanosecond, I have to remind myself that it’s ME they’re referring to, because not only do I not like my name, I really feel that it’s not actually my name.

“Oh, you’re talking to ME?”

I don’t know what it is, but it’s not the one that’s on my birth certificate.

I remember telling my mom that I didn’t like my name and that I was also curious why my brother had a middle name but I didn’t, and she told me to choose my own middle name and it wouldn’t be legal nor official, but it would be something special just for me.

So I named myself Aurora, because that’s who I identify with. Aurora means dawn, but I chose it because of Sleeping Beauty. Princess Aurora (also known as Briar Rose) is the daughter of King Stefan and Queen Leah. On the day of her christening, Aurora was cursed to die by the evil fairy Maleficent. We all know she’s awakened by the prince’s kiss of true love. My mom read me that story so many times, i memorized it. What she failed to impress upon me was that it was just a fantasy, not real life.

Only one person has ever known that’s my secret name.

Some call me Rose or Rosebud, even Angel Boy refers to me as Princess (which is pretty funny when he does it in public, haha), but none of those are my given name, either.

When I meet new people or I’m introduced and asked what I like to be called, half the time I don’t have an answer or I say it doesn’t matter or I’ve even asked what do they think my name should be? What do I look like?

Additionally, no one can spell my real name right and that’s part of the problem, I think. I’ve spent my entire life correcting the spelling which only contributes to my possibly delusional introspection that I’m a mistake–an aberration; a typographical error.

Maybe I don’t really exist. Maybe I’m a character in a fairy tale minus the fairytale ending.

Being and nothingness. Maybe Sartre had it all figured out–this little existential crisis of mine isn’t even original. (Or NON-existential, in my case.) This existentialist philosophy is a study of the consciousness of being. Or not being, which is tiring my non-existent brain.

Except the one name I always respond to with a smile in my heart is “Grandma”.

Or “Mom”.

Because that’s who I am.

Always. Always. Always.

“Is that a keeper?” More chat with the brilliant Angel Boy 2.0.

My little guy and I LOVE LOVE to search for rocks and seashells and feathers and other treasures.

It doesn’t matter if we’re walking in the neighborhood or at the beach or in the mountains, we make time to search for Mother Nature’s precious gifts.

Holding a rock in his little (but almost as big as mine) hand, he says, “Is this a keeper, Grandma?”

I take a look, think for a minute, and reply, “No, not that one. It’s not asking me to come home. Let’s leave it for someone else to find and bring to their house.”

“How about THIS one, Grandma?”

“Oh YES, T! That’s exactly the kind I love. It’s perfect.”

“OK, you bring it home with you and I’ll see it when we come to your house.”

“Why do you love rocks so much?”

“Great question, T. I love them because they make me happy and I like to collect pretty things. Why do YOU like rocks?”

“They make ME happy, too, Grandma!”

“OK. Think about this. You like it when you get presents in the mail, right? Well, this is getting presents too, but they don’t cost money and we get to have so much fun finding them together, so when we’re not together, we can remember what fun we had.”

“Hey, T, is this the kind that you like?”

I’m holding a pure white oval rock.

“Oh yes! Do you want it, Grandma?”

“That’s very kind of you to think about me, T, but this one is for you. Let’s look for more.”

At this point, all my pockets are full and weighted down by rocks and seashells, and my backpack has no more room, either.

“T, look at me, I’m all loaded down! Let’s leave some to find next time, OK?”

“Grandma, we love rocks so much, don’t we? I put the special ones in the little box you sent me. Where do you keep yours?”

“My special favorites are on the windowsill in my bedroom, so I can see them every day and think about you.”

“Can you take a picture of them and send it to me?”

“I sure will, little buddy.”

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That Dreaded Call at 3:00 A.M.

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2020 Update:
I’m going to re-post an old one from 2014 because I just saw this meme that triggered a memory. There have been many other moments like this, but the one that came first to my mind was at the hospital where we waited hours for the surgeon to walk off the elevator and tell us what the hell happened to my baby boy, and IF he was going to survive. Or not. I was strong, I was calm, I didn’t cry at all in front of anyone, but at one point, I remember going to the bathroom to cry a bit in private so I wouldn’t scare DIL, and I looked at myself in the mirror and told myself that if I cried, he died, so STOP IT and I forced myself to only think positive thoughts about the outcome. I’m not one that likes the anxiety of a cliffhanger, so I’ll tell you that he DID survive AND thrive, and that’s why we now have Angel Boy 2.0 and Angel Girl 2.0. But on that day and for two months after that, every day might have been his last, and I’m grateful for his every breath. If you know me IRL, you’ll know that is a very true statement.


May 2014

free_wallpaper_of_baby_a_cute_baby_holding_a_teddy_bearThey are always our babies, no matter their age, ya know?

Right now, things have calmed down a bit. Fingers crossed, we’ve avoided a crisis of nightmare proportions…

 

…Monday 3:00 a.m., the incessant ringing of my cell jolts me awake.

I can’t find the damn phone and it stops ringing only to start again.

This time I found it buried under a pile of clean laundry.

When I saw my daughter-in-law’s name on the screen, I almost didn’t want to answer it.

Nothing good comes from a phone call at 3:00 a.m.

Nothing.

And not this time, either.

With a bad connection and dropped words, trying to hear/not wanting to hear, she told me that my son, Angel Boy, was taken to an ER in Rhode Island because of excruciating stomach pains and vomiting.

“What?” That’s all I could say. She had to repeat herself a few times and talk slowly. I wasn’t comprehending.

The pain was worsening and his belly had become distended and was filling with fluid.

The first thing you think of is appendicitis or even a burst appendix, but the tests were inconclusive.

There were other diagnoses floating around but none of the tests pointed to a specific diagnosis: gastritis, diverticulitis, colitis…

The pain was overwhelming and not responsive to morphine.

There seemed to be no other alternative than to admit him and prepare for more invasive testing.

A surgical team was hastily thrown together as exploratory surgery seemed to be the only option.

We’re in California. I’s 3:00 a.m. What do we do?

The Universe was in alignment and we were able to get the last seats on a direct flight out first thing in the morning and we arrived at the hospital in time to discuss Angel Boy’s medical condition.

Whatever it was, was serious, and needed immediate intervention.

Or. Or I won’t say, but you get the picture. OR is NOT good.

Because his belly was continuing to distend as it filled with fluid and the pain was increasing, there seemed no alternative than a laparascopy with a camera.

The head surgeon speculated about what he might find: a possible bowel obstruction AND something with his appendix.

We gave him the go ahead to fix what he saw, no matter what he found.

We all kissed him goodbye as the first pre-op drugs entered his body and the surgery commenced at 8:00 p.m.

At 10:30 the surgeon came out with a smile.

Apparently, my son had a congenital defect we were never aware of — because up until then it had never caused a problem.

An abnormal sac or pouch that develops at a weak point in the intestines is known as a diverticulum. In some instances, people are born with a diverticulum in their intestines. This condition is called Meckel’s diverticulum.

Meckel’s diverticulum develops between the 5th and 7th weeks of fetal growth.

Because the condition is present at birth, it is classified as a congenital health issue. Although it generally remains silent, life threatening complications may arise.

And they did.

It was a perfect storm of a worst case scenario.

He had a massive bowel obstruction; intestines were strangulated and all knotted up. By the time the surgery started, two feet (24 inches!!!) of intestine had lost blood supply and died, all within a time span of twelve hours. The surgeon removed the necrotic part, did a resection, including eight inches of colon and removal of his appendix.

Without this life-saving surgery, there is no doubt that this Mother’s Day would not have been. It’s anticipated that he’ll have a rapid recovery — he’s already walking around around due in large part to his overall good health and fitness level.

Now, as soon as he’s released and we can fly him back to SoCal, my Mother’s Day will be spent caring for my Angel Boy and nursing him back to health.

His future is as bright as it ever was; this was just a brief course change in a life full of joy and adventure.

P.S. The surgical team at Rhode Island Hospital were/are AMAZING. We lucked out with a guy who clearly enjoys what he does, who knew his way around this type of surgery, and explained it all to us with intelligence and humor.