For a Princess-in-Training

How could anyone resist this sparkly butterfly shirt and frilly tutu?

Not me, that’s for sure.

I can’t wait to send this to the one and only Angel Girl 2.0 and watch her twirl.

There’s not much else going on in SoCal on this quiet Sunday.

PS I kinda wish they had this in MY size so I could feel like a princess ballerina, too.

The Big Four-OH-MY-GOODNESS

March is the birthday month the two Angels share but there’s no way I have a child/boy/man who turned forty today at 9:42 a.m. NO WAY.

In my mind, I still see him as being four or eight or even as an obnoxious and sarcastic teenager, but FORTY?? A dad with two kids? AND a fully tenured professor?

It’s not possible. I’m still shaking my head.

I needed to do the math to make absolutely sure I was correct and there’s no doubt about it. I gave birth to the original Angel Boy forty years ago today after a seemingly neverending 24 hour labor that resulted in an emergency Caesarean section.

Stubborn girl that I am, I tried and tried to push him out but his gigantic head got stuck (TMI) and I only capitulated to the C-section when I saw his heart rate was being compromised. I really wanted that whole Mother Earth experience but of course would never harm my baby boy to satiate my ego. I can always look at that perpetually lopsided scar where the surgeon had to open me up FAST between contractions.

He’ll always be the love of my life, my shiniest and most lovely baby boy.

Even today, I can feel the weight of him hugged tightly in my arms, despite the fact that he’s now over six feet and no longer sits on my lap (‘cos that would be just plain WEIRD.) This is one of my favorite photos if we can ignore my horrible haircut where she obviously didn’t know how much curly hair SHRINKS when it’s not styled properly.

I am forever grateful for this sparkly emerald green-eyed boy.

He called me a bit ago. What’s he doing on his birthday? He took the day off so he could go to the Dirt Exchange, fill the car up with soil and mulch, and spend the day gardening. He has a green thumb to match those eyes.

Read more about AB and his almost catastrophic illness in 2014 here:
https://enchantedseashells.com/2020/07/24/that-dreaded-call-at-300-a-m-2/

And more about the birth here:
https://enchantedseashells.com/2014/03/22/i-fell-down-and-a-baby-popped-out-2/

And more about my love for this special boy who will always be my heart here:
https://enchantedseashells.com/2020/05/10/the-boy-who-is-my-heart/

I Know What Boys Like

I’m talking about my magical ability to pick out great birthday gifts, haha, not anything else!

Do you remember that song from the 80s by the Waitresses? Once it gets into your head, it’s there FOREVER, trust me.

Here’s the question: what do you get a five-year-old that really and truly has EVERYTHING in the world?

Angel Boy 2.0 has a surfboard, a paddleboard, skateboard, bicycle, skiis, his own swing set and climbing frame, so many toys he could open a store, and his very own bouncy castle.

I’ve been noticing for quite a while that when we FaceTime, he takes photos and loves to look at pictures he calls “memories”.

For his special birthday present, I found a child’s camera by Rikum that takes pictures and video with fun filters and frames. Best of all, it’s rechargeable and not reliant on batteries.

I’m hoping to nurture a real interest in photography because I love it, too.

And it was a hit! He got so many MORE presents for his birthday, but I’m told the top three most favorite was a remote control intelligent robot, a remote control truck with huge foam wheels, and my camera.

I absolutely recommend this product if you’re looking for a cool gift that isn’t a video game and will encourage lots positive self esteem, interaction and creative skills, while learning to observe the world through the lens of a camera. (This is an unsolicited product review; I received no compensation of any kind.)

Yay for knowing what boys like!

Happy Birthday, Mommy

If only she could see her namesake or the one that’s a curly haired clone of the other one, that would be truly awesome; however, today we’d be celebrating her 106 years on this earth and that wasn’t meant to be.

She died in 1987 from pancreatic cancer, still one of the most horrible and painful diseases. We took care of her here at home with the help of hospice. Since she was a head nurse, she taught me things like how to do her IV and heparin locks, and she’s the reason why I’m a great caregiver and caretaker. I’m forever grateful that I was able to care for her until the end.

Angel Boy 1.0 was –without a doubt– the love of her life. Here she is with AB at 18 months, the same age as Angel Girl 2.0 is right now. They were best buddies. She would be so very proud that he grew up to be a great dad AND a tenured professor before he was forty years old. (Notice the clever way I slipped that in?) We knew he was VERY smart.

Always fashion forward, I found some old pics of me and mommy. It’s true what they say. You never stop missing your mom, no matter how old you are.

I wonder what I’m reaching for…

Here I am the same age as AB 2.0, just about five years old. Funny thing to share is that I still braid my hair like this in pigtails (like right now) and I still don’t know how to throw a ball, but I DO know for certain that my ribbons perfectly matched my outfit. Always. Check out the saddle shoes that were never dirty.

Happy birthday to the original CharChar; you are missed.

Convo #926 With the Brilliant One

“Grandma, you should have seen this. Daddy catapulted himself from the cushion onto the sofa.”

“T, what was that big word?”

“Daddy CATAPULTED. You would not believe it.”

“I hope Daddy is OK! T, that is such a wonderful word, very descriptive, and I’m so proud of you for knowing it and for using it correctly in your sentence!”

“Now. Look. Feast your eyes on this, Grandma. It’s a new bench for the kitchen table. It’s nice, huh, Grandma?”

“Oh wait right here. I’m going to put you down and you can watch Mommy make dinner for a minute. I’m going into the Grandma room. I want to show you the present I have for you in our special drawer. It’s a surprise. It’s sparkly just like you like and it’s shiny.”

“Well, hold on. Let’s think about this. If it’s a surprise, do you want to wait until I’m there before you show me?”

“No, ‘cos you’ll forget by then.”

“But what if I don’t forget? What if I remember?”

“Oh, don’t worry little Grandma, you’ll forget.”

SEE?”

“Wow, it IS sparkly and shiny, you’re right about that!”

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

(It’s a Christmas tree decoration from last year, a shiny little silvery disco ball.)

“Don’t forget to put it back in the drawer so you can show me again.”

“And Grandma, don’t forget to bring me a surprise for the drawer too, OK? I’ll be at the airport to pick you up.”

“Do I EVER forget?”

(The answer is obvious. I never forget.)

As a side note, when he was out of the kitchen getting my present, I asked, “He seems to think my visit is imminent. What have you told him?”

“Don’t worry, imminent means something different to T. He doesn’t really have a good grasp of time.”

This is the sad plight of grandparent’s new reality…not to be able to hug and play with our angel boys and girls, and to miss the excitement of Daddy catapulting himself around the house.

Still, there’s always always something to be grateful for, right?

“What are you doing?”

“What are you doing, my beautiful boy?”

I asked that question because T had pretty much glued his face onto the phone’s screen and all I could see was one gigantic green eyeball.

Laughing, he said, “I’m trying to climb in the phone to get to you”.

“Oh T, wouldn’t that be a great invention if we could actually do that?”

“I’d climb in and come to you, too, if I could.”

“Grandma, don’t go anywhere, I want to show you something.”

“I’ll stay right here, I promise not to move.”

“SEE?” I flipped you. It’s dark outside already. What’s it like at YOUR house?”

“Look. It’s exactly the same color. Getting dark.”

“DAD, GRANDMA HAS A DARK SKY TOO. WE ARE THE SAME!”

“Look at Char! She is trying to grab the phone from me. No! It’s my turn, Char!”

“Can I please say hi to her, T?”

“Char, this is Grandma, remember?”

“That’s enough, I need to talk to Grandma again.”

“Mommy says it’s time for my bath now. I have to go.”

“I love you, T.”

He paused.

“I love you, Grandma.”

“Grandma?”

“Yes?”

“I can’t wait to see you. I miss you so much.”

“Me too, my beautiful boy. Me too.”

And he was gone.

2020 totally sucks.

I am so distraught and depressed. Like so many of us, I’ve missed out on spending time with T and baby sister, valuable time we’ll never be able to get back.

Tomorrow the eyes of the world will be on us.

If I don’t hear that President Biden will be at the helm, healing our country and repairing the damage of the last four years, I don’t know what I’ll do.

I really don’t.

Trees and Coffee

TreeGrowsInBrooklyn.jpg

Every single time I pour out a half drunk cup of cold coffee, I am reminded of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

Each and every time, I become Francie in her belief that this is what rich people do; to waste coffee is a luxurious act of defiance against personal poverty. I didn’t grow up like Francie but I hate waste, so it’s become a conscious act of extravagance.

I first read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn when I was about ten; I had a VERY active imagination combined with an overabundance of empathy and I would take on the persona–I BECAME the character I most identified with–and so I became poor Francie.

Just like I became Laura Ingalls Wilder in Little House on the Prairie or Anne Frank or Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden.

In my case, these multiple personalities weren’t anything more than trying on a new dress or pair of shoes; I always returned to my own authentic self–wolf lover, nature lover, underdog defender, wearer of rose-colored glasses—but it was part of the process of individuation to slip on these other personas and feel as if I was walking in another’s shoes to learn about how other people live and think.

Mom Katie Nolan believes that Francie is entitled to throw her coffee down the drain if she wishes, saying that it’s good for poor people like them to be able to waste something.

“There was a special Nolan idea about the coffee. It was their one great luxury. Mama made a big potful each morning and reheated it for dinner and supper and it got stronger as the day wore on. It was an awful lot of water and very little coffee but mama put a lump of chicory in it which made it taste strong and bitter. Each one was allowed three cups a day with milk. Other times you could help yourself to a cup of black coffee anytime you felt like it. Sometimes when you had nothing at all and it was raining and you were alone in the flat, it was wonderful to know that you could have something even though it was only a cup of black and bitter coffee.

Neeley and Francie loved coffee but seldom drank it. Today, as usual, Neeley let his coffee stand black and ate his condensed milk spread on bread. He sipped a little of the black coffee for the sake of formality. Mama poured out Francie’s coffee and put the milk in it even though she knew that the child wouldn’t drink it.”

“Francie loved the smell of coffee and the way it was hot. As she ate her bread and meat, she kept one hand curved about the cup enjoying its warmth. From time to time, she’d smell the bitter sweetness of it. That was better than drinking it. At the end of the meal, it went down the sink.”

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn–Betty Smith

Did you ever read this classic? What did you like about it?

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?

Daddy’s Girl

Happy Belated Birthday, Daddy!

His birthdate was July 20, and he used to “give” me his birthday so that I could receive presents on that day as well as my own.

I’m not a narcissist, but here it’s all about me. And my daddy, the first one to refer to me as Princess and Rosebud. All I’ve done is combine the two to create my persona.

Nothing much has changed; that’s still about how much of my body gets wet in a pool. Can’t mess with my curls, right?

My contribution for #throwbackthursday

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.