One Year on This Earth

1 year, 12 months, 365 days, 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes, 31,536,00 seconds, not counting the nine months before he took his first breath on March 8.

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That would be Theo–Theo-dorable–Angel Boy 2.0

The most amazing grandson in this or any other universe.

I never really thought I’d succumb to the stereotype and become THAT sort of obnoxious grandma, but I did!

I am THAT grandma.

Hee hee.

I don’t have a REAL name yet; Grandma is how I refer to myself when I talk with Theo–my son likes to call me Granny cos he’s snarky–and I figured I’d let Theo make the decision. I’m pretty cool with just about anything.

Angel Boy 1.0 (the original) was born on March 23, so we have two special days to celebrate this month.

And lucky me, they’ll all be here (DIL included) for a couple of weeks so I can be a part of this momentous event!

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Getting party ready at Casa de Enchanted Seashells!

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Some outdoor furniture.

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A vintage toy, a favorite of AB 1.0

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You can’t start them too early to think about animal rescue, am I right?

Oh, and happy birthday to my first and foremost Angel Boy, without whom there would be no AB 2.0, honestly and truly my very first love. There was never a more amazing child.

I wrote this poem for him a couple years ago in this post (click on the title):

The Boy Who Is My Heart.
So Much Depends On A Yellow Steamroller.

The Yellow Steamroller

So much depends
upon

a yellow
steamroller

buried
in the dirt
 
behind the shed

 

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I’m BAAAAACCCKKKKK!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Today it rained nonstop in SoCal and you probably saw the record breaking weather on your local news; I’d say our drought is pretty much over. Heavy rain on the deck!

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It was a perfect day for a DIY matcha green tea mask. It’s so easy; just a teaspoon of powdered matcha mixed with a bit of water and a few drops of rosehip oil. Leave it on for about twenty minutes, rinse off, and moisturize.

Did I scare you?

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What else is new with me?

Angel Boy 2.0, my adorable grandson, is going to celebrate his first birthday in a couple weeks. I can’t believe a whole year has gone by.

This is a view from their living room. The Salish Sea (Puget Sound) with the Olympic Mountains seem so close it’s as if you could almost touch them. Spectacular!

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No whales, but lots of boats. This is a busy waterway.

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And during a recent visit, a perfectly positioned squirrel watching us at Golden Gardens, an amazing park near the Chittenden Locks in Ballard, near Seattle.

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So what’s new with all of you?

 

A World of Firsts

A first grandchild brings memories of other firsts:AB2.0That first moment I knew I was pregnant.

The first time nausea was how I defined each waking moment, a fog of nausea and exhaustion no amount of sleep could erase.

That red letter day I woke up and for the first time in four months wasn’t running to the bathroom to throw up.

It was a day to celebrate. My mom made blueberry pancakes and I not only kept the entire stack down—I gorged on a second serving.

The first time I looked really and truly without-a-doubt pregnant.

That was about the time I felt that first flutter-butterfly kisses from the inside.

The insane feeling of the first kick – and how it was so much more intimate than anyone had warned me about.

That was my baby in there!

A HUMAN attached absolutely and for all time —with his own arms and legs and brain and thoughts and feelings and it was overwhelming.

The first Braxton-Hicks contractions.

I called my mom and she rushed over in less than fifteen minutes to take my vitals and reassure me that this was NOT the real thing. Not yet. (She was an RN.)

The first real contraction.

The first realization that it hurt so much more than I had anticipated.

And then, outside of my body for the first time, unattached but wonderfully connected by heart and soul; the first time I was able to hold my precious baby boy.

Who is now having his own first baby boy.

Simply crazy.

No way I’m that old, right?

I guess there’s a first for everything.

Why Being a Mother Means Forever

OK, here’s the real deal on parenthood.

IT NEVER ENDS.

Like that proverbial albatross in the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, being an active parent doesn’t end at eighteen or twenty-one.

They don’t tell you that in the Guide to Being a Mom and Dad — oh wait, there IS no real, nitty gritty “how to” manual that tells it like it REALLY is.

But I’m here to tell you — from my own personal experience — BEFORE you think about the joys of having a baby — is that there’s never an end date on your responsibilities and obligations.

Not that it’s bad or anything; but this is an important point to remember.

Here we are, tugboat man and I, NOT on vacation, NOT hiking or camping a newly discovered wilderness area, but on the east coast in sweat-producing humidity, doing HARD physical labor (not unlike the labor of childbirth) helping Angel Boy get his house ready to go on the market.

Sweating profusely, I might add.

I’m wearing sweatpants and a stained shirt, helping to empty the house and into the dumpster.

Eight years of JUNK.

And all done out of love, ‘cos we’d do anything for that baby boy, whose smile for me is and will always be the sun and the moon and the stars.

You’ve been warned.

Gotta go, I’ve been called back to work.

Just a heads up that parenthood lasts FOREVER.

AND P.S. if you’re in the Rhode Island area, or relocating to RI, let me know. I’ve got a great house perfect just for you!

Princess Rosebud’s EMPOWERING Solo Adventure

(Blogging from the train, which is OK except for spotty wifi and my paragraph edits aren’t working, so this post won’t look exactly right.)


“It’s never too late to become empowered” she said.

Well, thank you very much for that unwanted opinion.
At 6:15 a.m., I was the first one in line when the Amtrak Station opened up.
I’m on my way to Santa Barbara to meet my son/DIL and have a little camping and hiking vacation. This is something that tugboat man and I had been looking forward to, but alas, he was called back to work immediately upon arriving home, so I decided to be a BRAVE princess and venture forth into the big scary world all by myself.
What was I thinking??
Confession: I’m not much of a traveler. Although I do travel alone from time to time, mostly tugboat man and I are together and he takes care of everything and all I do is stand here or sit there and do as I’m instructed, moving from point A to point B.  It works out better that way for both of us if he takes the lead. I mean, he’s so GOOD at it, and it reduces my stress level (and his) if he does all the thinking.
But this adventure is all my own.
My son’s dad picked me up a little before 5:45 a.m. to give me a ride to the train station, which is why I was there bright and early at 6:15.
I had many questions for the Amtrak employee:
1. Where do I go?
2. Where will the train be?
3. How will I know it’s the right one?
4. Where will I sit?
5. Where will my son pick me up?
6. Where will I find my suitcase?
7. Will you lose my luggage?
I explained to her that I never travel alone and I’ve only taken the train one time twenty years ago, and that’s when she proceeded to give me a life lesson that I didn’t expect, didn’t ask for, and didn’t really need.
“I never travel alone.”
“Well, you DO travel, don’t you?”
“Yes, but when my husband and I travel, he takes care of everything”
That’s when she said, “It’s never too late to become empowered”
I have to admit her tone was ever-so-slightly snarky, and this was corroborated by the nice young man from the United States Marine Corps (whom I have attached myself to for dear life).
He was standing next to me listening to all of my questions and I believe that he felt sorry for me (reminded him of his mom) and felt like he was performing in the intereste of our national security to guide me on the train when it arrived, and now we’re sitting next to each other.
He’s on leave for Memorial Day to his family ranch in Los Osos.
Of course, I thanked him for his service and I must say that I feel very safe and in good hands until my son collects me from Baggage lol.
Stress level is high, but if I could make my way SOLO to Goettingen, Germany to stalk visit my son while he was there for his junior year abroad, I can certainly sit on a train for four hours with my own personal USMC escort, dontcha think?
After all, like I keep telling my Angel Boy, that umbilical cord will stretch, but will never evereverever BREAK.
There isn’t a place on earth he can go that I won’t follow.
I know that sounds like a threat, but it’s really not. It’s just a mother’s LOVE.
I stand corrected…an EMPOWERED mother’s love.
Here’s a few pics from the train…
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Happy Mother’s Day To My Son

Vintage Angel Boy

Vintage Angel Boy

Because, of course, without him, I wouldn’t have a Mother’s Day at all.

This was brought to my attention one year by my facetious brilliant child who remarked that in fact, HE should be the one who garners all the attention, because without HIM, I’d have nothing to celebrate.

I thought about it and he’s right and the day belongs to my Angel Boy.

I’ve enjoyed thirty-four years of receiving gifts and presents and all the little things that go along with this one day set aside to recognize mothers; handmade cards and macaroni hearts (I’ve kept them all) and coupon books for hugs and dishwashing (still waiting to collect on a few of those.)

Now that our nest is empty and I don’t wake up to a sweet little boy snuggling in bed with me; that embodiment of Mother’s Day with every smile and giggle, there’s only one thing I desire, and this is true of a lot of other empty nest moms I’ve talked to.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

What do we want?

TIME!

When do we want it?

NOW!

My cell phone rang and the little screen flashed “Angel Boy”, which always makes me verrry happy, because as much as texts and emails facilitate instant communication, there’s really no good substitute for hearing my only child’s voice.

Me: “Was ist los, mein Kinde?”

(That’s pretty much my entire body of knowledge of German, which is Angel Boy’s Ph.D.; Germanic Languages and Literatures)

Him: Hi, Mom.”

Me: “To what do I owe the honor of an actual telephone call?”

Him: “What do you want for Mother’s Day?”

(By unspoken agreement, this query includes my birthday, which is either ON Mother’s Day or within a few days of it.)

Me: “YOU know what I want.”

“It’s that little four-letter word. It’s what I always want. Say it.”

Him: “You want TIME, right?”

Me: “Yup, that’s it. I want YOU. I want time BEING with you. I want to spend TIME with you.”

“Don’t buy me any THING. What I want is priceless.”

And that’s the truth.

Ever since he left SoCal to pursue his lofty academic goals mostly on the East coast, TIME has become a precious commodity.

Now I know why my mom counseled me to spend every second, every minute — with my child, because she knew that once they grow up and fly away, all you’ll be left with is memories.

That’s why I got up at 4 a.m. and did as much housework as possible before he woke up so that every minute could be spent caring for him, playing with him — just BEING with my Angel Boy without having to say, “in a minute” or “not now, I’m busy.”

If I had to give advice to mom nowadays, I’d tell them to spend more precious time being present in their children’s lives, and spend a whole lot less time on their electronic devices.

Because one day, their children will be gone, and you’ll regret the hours you spent on Facebook.

Although I’m not seeing my Angel Boy ON Mother’s Day, he planned a camping/hiking trip for us in a couple of weeks, and that’s when I’ll bask in the glow of TIME.

I can’t wait.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

IT’S RAINING IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA!!!!

It started raining in the middle of the night, so hard it woke me up.

Rain, wind, five inches of snow in our local mountains — is this May or is it December?

I was worried about my little hummingbird and her full nest.

How would they weather the storm?

First thing this morning, I looked out the kitchen window and there she is, swaying back and forth on the hummingbird wind chimes under the eaves, safe and dry.

See the rain coming down? What a smart mom to choose a home that’s protected from the elements and allows her to survey the entire back yard.

hummyMay8rainHumans can learn a lot about good parenting from other species.HummyMay7

There is no more important job than caring for her young.

Soon enough, they’ll hatch and grow and fly away, leaving her with that empty nest she worked so hard to build.

Maybe that’s what her tiny little hummingbird mind ponders as she sits there hour after hour.

And I know exactly how she feels.

SIGH.

Another Empty Nest, Another Sad Mom

Another empty nest

Poor mama bird, I know how she feels…

 

I found a broken shell from a newly hatched baby under the ficus tree. A pair of warbling vireos make a home year after year in this birdhouse.

 

It’s so sad that she puts all that work into building a nest and feeding her babies and they always fly away.

They always leave mommy. *sniff*

I guess that’s the way Mother Nature intended it to be, but it still sucks.

Facebook is full of moms who can’t wait until their children turn eighteen, almost pushing them out of the nest with a packed suitcase and a sigh of relief so they can resume their “lives”, but that’s not the way I feel about it.

As much as I’m bursting with pride at the independent and successful young professor he’s become, his bedroom is still quietly waiting — just as it always was, with fresh sheets on the bed, clean clothes in the closet, and his favorite books lined up on the shelf.

In the beginning, when he first left for college (years ago), the hardest thing to deal with was the silence — the QUIET was deafening. I have no idea how one child could fill up the space with his presence, but he did.

Now, nothing makes me happier than a call telling me he’s coming home for a visit (sigh) so I can load up on the ingredients for his favorite foods.

You know how mama birds feed their young, don’t you? They regurgitate partially digested insects and worms directly into the beaks of their babes.

I’m not THAT extreme, but you know what I mean.

It’s one of my greatest joys to watch my son eat.

I admit it. I do. I sit across from him at the table and soak it all in, every single mouthful.

(Don’t feel sorry for him, he’s used to it.)

And then he leaves again, and the quiet fills our house and our hearts.

Can you guess that I’m missing my Angel Boy right now?

Scars. Life. Love. Goodbye, 2014

All I ever wanted to be was a mom.

There’s a half moon shaped scar on my left leg where I slammed my shin into the sharp serrated metal step of a shuttle bus.

Out of breath from running, dragging my suitcase, frantic after a six-hour flight to the East coast, my tugboat man carrying everything else, and thank goodness he was able to function in a time of crisis.

I was pretty much inconsolable and incoherant but determined in my resolve. All the way across the country, I said over and over, “I just need to get to him. I just need to get there.”

I was literally running out of time.

I didn’t even know I was injured until the next day.

It was sliced to the bone and I never felt the pain, never felt the warm blood dripping down my leg, sticking to my socks, drying hard on my jeans.

I’m sure it needed to be sutured, but that constant pain, like the pain of the C-section that brought my baby into the world, is a wound I’ll always associate with birth and life.

You see, my life almost ended on April 29, 2014.

When I think of 2014, there’s really no other moment in time that so defines my year. Or my entire life.

Up until April 29th, the sun would rise and the sun would set; my tugboat man was either home or out to sea. I shopped, went to the gym, shopped some more. Life was pretty much uneventful.

Six months later, from the perspective of time, I can see that my life was split right down the middle; before the phone call and after the call.

In early April, tugboat man and I had an amazing road trip that culminated at Zion National Park; hiking and camping and revelling in the magnificent beauty of nature.

But that one particular day stopped me in my tracks.

It was one of life’s pivotal moments. What if we had been out of cell range? What if we hadn’t made it in time? What if he hadn’t had the surgery in time? What if?

It could have gone either way.

The path not taken probably would have caused my disappearance from the world of blogging, of social media, and maybe you’d have thought to yourself, “I wonder what happened to Princess Rosebud?”

I wouldn’t have survived. I’m not being melodramatic; I’m stating this as a simple truth. I would not have survived.

All I ever wanted to be was a mom. 

I was one of those little girls who always had a doll. I didn’t so much want to play house as I wanted to be Mommy. I wanted a baby of my own one day to love and nurture and care for and take care of — and protect from all harm.

It didn’t matter how smart I was or how well I did in college; it was is my calling.

My passion.

Lucky for me that my dream came true when I had my Angel Boy. From the very beginning, he was my amazing joy. His smiles, his bright eyes; they sustained me like no food ever could.

Even now, a phone call or an email from him makes the sun shine a little brighter, my day a little happier.

Oh, he was sick from time to time with the normal childhood illnesses; he broke a bone or two from skateboarding, but he grew strong and tall and his mind was a whirl of shiny brilliance and creativity.

No one clipped his wings.

I always told him he could do anything. He has no limits.

He was limitless.

The Boy Who Was My Heart 

You know how you think you’ll be when you’re a mom, but no one prepares you for the reality of it; the limitless love, the fierce primal desire to protect from harm and pain and sadness — and most of all the fact that none of those feelings end when they’re grown up and on their own. 

That’s still how I still define myself. I’m Angel Boy’s mom.

That 3:00 a.m. call that propelled us to the airport for a six-hour flight that caused me to run and trip on the metal step of the shuttle bus so we could rent a car for the final hour-long drive to the hospital to see my Angel Boy’s face before his emergency surgery was the most horrible moment of my entire life.

Nothing else mattered. Nothing else matters.

We were all thrust into a vortex of a limbo world. Waiting to get to him, waiting for the emergency surgical team to assemble, waiting by his side as he was prepped — watching his body contort in agony that I couldn’t do anything about, his eyes filled with pain — but I could feel each spasm in my own belly — and finally waiting for the surgeon to appear. Not really talking, not watching the TV that was mounted at an odd angle on the wall in the waiting room; a desolation of uncertainty.

For three hours I was stationed in the hallway, the first to hear and then see the elevator doors open, my eyes fastened on the surgeon’s face.

He wouldn’t even need to speak; I knew his face would reveal everything.

And the huge smile on the surgeon’s face lit up the universe. No words were needed.

Everything was going to be OK. He survived. It was tricky, worse than we thought, but he was fixed.

He was whole.

My Angel Boy made a complete recovery. He’s healthy and happy.

And alive.

I see the scar every day and it’s a constant reminder to not take anything for granted; that I almost lost everything — but I didn’t.

All I ever wanted was to be a mom.

Goodbye 2014…
Cheers to a healthy and happy 2015!

POSTS ABOUT THE SURGERY:

1. That Dreaded Call at 3:00 a.m.
https://enchantedseashells.com/2014/05/01/that-dreaded-call-at-300-a-m/

2. Time To Exhale
https://enchantedseashells.com/2014/05/06/time-to-exhale-hospital-update/

3. Full Circle From Hell to Happiness
https://enchantedseashells.com/2014/05/10/full-circle-from-hell-to-happiness/

4. What Does a Cosmo, the Trauma, Unit, and Mother’s Day Have in Common
https://enchantedseashells.com/2014/05/11/what-does-a-cosmo-the-trauma-unit-and-mothers-day-have-in-common/