The boy who is my heart

Update Mother’s Day 2020: I wrote this post about my son lightyears prior to Angel Boy 2.0. because without him, I wouldn’t be a mommy at all.

Since the birth of his baby sister, AB 2.0 and I repeat this conversation pretty much every single time we speak or we’re together. (A little needed reassurance about his place in the world.)

“Who’s my very favorite boy?”

“I am, Grandma!”

And who’s my second favorite boy?”

“DADDY IS. DADDY IS!”

“You’re right! Now…who’s my favorite GIRL?”

“CharChar is, right, Grandma?”

“You got it, T. And then who’s my second favorite girl?”

“MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY!”

Just keeping it straight for the second little boy who is my heart.

(P.S. My poem was published in Waterways: Poetry in the Mainstream Volume 34 #4)

 

The Yellow Steamroller

So much depends
upon

a yellow
steamroller

buried
in the dirt
 
behind the shed
On one bitterly cold wintry afternoon, I embarked on a major yard cleanup project. I raked all the pine needles shaken loose during the fury of Alaska-borne winds that roared down the coast to Southern California.
Metal rake clanged against metal.
Then I saw it, a bright yellow igniting the dirt and pine needles, suffused with a gleaming radiance through the brown. 
steamroller1
I threw down the rake, crouched on all fours, and with bare fingers dug through the wet fecund soil to uncover an abandoned yellow Matchbox toy from the spot where there once was a sandbox that my son’s dad  built for him when we first moved to this house in 1985.
I discovered in situ a three-inch wide artifact imbued with all the wonder of my perfect four-year-old child, the same age that my grandson is right now, thirty-five years later.
I gently brushed away decades of encrusted soil and sand.
steamroller2
sandbox
I was engulfed in wave after wave of memory.
I was there. Really there. 1985. 
I saw him–my precious four-year-old son in this beautiful huge sandbox filled with fresh, clean sand.  
I watched him as I often watched him from the bay window in the kitchen overlooking the backyard where I would wash dishes and keep an eye on him, keeping him safe–always keeping him safe–as he played in the sand with his dump trucks and cherry pickers and this steam roller and his buckets and plastic cups and forks and sticks with his cats and dog always near, and the loveliness of the memory set me on my heels and I cried.
Happy tears for the exquisite soft rosy glow of healthy well-fed cheeks, the deep Imperial jade green eyes, the curls that were my curls, my boy, my angel love.
The boy whose every breath contains a whisper of the intangible all encompassing LOVE I possess for this being who was a part of me before he was a part of the earth and sun and sky and sand.
The boy who is — and always will be — my heart.
I shut my eyes tight to keep the pictures from disappearing, but the ephemeral/evanescent impressions floated away with the tears that spilled out for the remembering of the beauty of a luminous child playing in a sandbox, singing to himself and constructing sand sculptures of the future, or, in his case, building words and spinning thoughts and erratica.
Those grains of sand that between his fingers mashed and smashed into forts and tunnels were the detritus of the granite from whence his brain reformed them grain by grain into skyscrapers of words and sentences that flow like a path from the back door to the sandbox.

And what eventually happened to the steamroller? It’s still here in the garden, living a new life helping another curly haired, green eyed little boy weave his own stories…

In a way, a sort of homage to…
The Red Wheelbarrow
William Carlos Williams
so much depends
upon
a red wheel
barrow
glazed with rain
water
beside the white
chickens.

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.

What Does a Cosmo, the Trauma Unit, and Mother’s Day Have In Common?

For this #MothersDay, I’m honored to welcome a special guest poster on Enchanted Seashells by Princess Rosebud…my very own daughter-in-law, or as we fondly refer to her, DIL. I know you’ll love this post as much as I do. Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

What Does a Cosmo, the Trauma Unit, and Mother’s Day Have In Common?

As we sit 20,000 feet up in seats 1C, 1D, & 1E, our little team can almost exhale as we head home from Boston to San Diego.

Rewind ten days.

What would you do at 4:00 a.m. when you’re terrified in the Emergency Room. Your husband is in agony. The surgeons’ don’t know what’s up and the pain meds aren’t working?

You call family.

Nobody wants to make that call. I knew that waking up MIL in the middle of the night to tell her that her Angel Boy was in the Emergency Room hooked up to morphine 3000 miles away would put the ice-cold, fear-of-God in her.

I took a deep breath and dialed. When she did not pick up I knew the panic she would feel when I called again right after.

No one wants to see their DIL’s number twice in a row in the middle of the night.

When I got through I told her calmly what was happening. I could hear the panic in her voice but she responded exactly as a mother should. She said that she was on her way. Not just hopping in the car or on the bus. She was booking tickets to fly across the country without a moment’s thought. I knew that I had opened them to that sick pain and fear I was feeling – but it had made me feel better. I knew whatever was coming I did not have to face it alone. And that’s what good mothers do. They take on your pain, so you can feel better.

From then on, I counted the hours until they arrived. Literally. I did not leave AB’s side until they got there and I knew another loved one could watch over him.

It had been fifteen hours in the hospital without even a cuppa. I had screamed, cried, fought, and begged every RN, CRN, resident, consultant, physician, surgeon, radiologist, you name it. But now I knew I had some people on my team.

Team AB.

The next ten days after the surgery went by on auto-pilot. I’m convinced Team AB drove the whole floor nuts. We were on their ass 24/7 – from wash clothes, to walks, to IV, to test, results, more CTs — we did not stop for a moment to breathe.

But me and MIL were on the same team, working together, side by side, to make sure our AB got better.

It’s true when they say you have to laugh or you’ll cry. Too true! In amongst all of the drama and fear we belly laughed. I mean really laughed. Even when Jason’s roommate “One Tooth Tommy’s” girlfriend overdosed him on her street Xanex. Or or when I got some sympathy gas in the canteen in front of a table of young cute residents.

The day AB was getting discharged, I woke up and I looked over in our hotel room to see MIL sleeping and next to her an empty glass of wine, vodka tonic, and the remains of my Cosmo. What can I say? It had been one of those weeks.

And now as we head home to San Diego, it could not be more perfect that tomorrow is Mother’s Day.

Because it’s definitely time to celebrate MIL.

When an emergency hits – it comes out of nowhere and the whole world stops.

Everything is stripped back and you see people for who they really are.

Raw.

What we saw this week was the purest and selfless love of a mother.

AB, you are lucky to have such a mom.

And I am lucky to have a friend, a partner in crime, and the best MIL you could wish for!

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

 

 

Hello Kitty Is My Soul Sister: Princess Rosebud’s Hello Kitty Birthday Party

Taking my son to the airport after a fun week of Mother’s Day and birthday celebrations, he says in that snarky tone he’s perfected after thirty-two years,

“What’s the deal with you and Hello Kitty?”

Hello Kitty 4My tugboat man, who also serves as my HK enabler ‘cos he thinks I’m adorable – uh, note to single girls — only marry a guy if he thinks everything you do is adorable — responded,

“Hello Kitty is for girly girls and your mom is one-thousand-percent girly girl.”

Well said, my captain, well said.

I’ve thought a lot about the reasons why I’m so drawn to Hello Kitty and I think it’s ‘cos she’s like my pretend soul sister.

HKwatchThe Urban Dictionary defines soul sister as “someone who fully understands you.”

Yup, that’s about right.

I’m not sure if I can pinpoint the exact moment when I first became aware of Hello Kitty.

With a son, it was never really on my radar as he was growing up. Shelves full of dinosaurs and skateboards were the aisles we aimed for at Toys R Us. We dug in the dirt; not so much matching dresses or spa days for us.

hello kitty pajamas and slippers

Sexxxyyy!!

I guess it was more of a gradual appeal;  a (grown-up) friend wore a Hello Kitty watch and I was drooling — drawn to the Swarovski crystals surrounding HK’s face and I HAD to get my own; I walked by a Hello Kitty display at Target (great point of purchase placement)…

OR

…maybe it was always hovering in my subconscious, fermenting and fomenting—until one day I succumbed.

hellokittycupI was hooked.

I fell in love with that adorable mouthless face. One watch led to a ring and to a matching bracelet and then slippers, and OMG the cutest hat with an anchor! (!!!! had to have it, right? It was a nautical theme)hkhat

OK, most people associate HK with little girls, but did you know that there is a secret society of adult women who collect HK?

More often than not, when I wear my HK tee-shirt, I’ll be approached by women I do not know,

Princess Rosebud wearing glasses.

Princess Rosebud wearing glasses.

“Pssst…excuse me” [pointing to my shirt]…do you collect?”

It’s like the Skull and Bones society for women “of a certain age.” Haha.

I confess: I’m an ADULT COLLECTOR of HK. Recently at the Baltimore Airport during a layover, a Southwest employee saw my HK watch and struck up a convo about her collection that includes the HK toaster, which I really need. Really.

We were whispering, “Are you one of us?” “Yes, tell me what you have” and we each listed the items in our collection.

There we were, two college graduated women of adult children — I am not kidding. It was surreal. I mean, who wants to talk about the depressing economy or the strange weather? BORING! Hello Kitty is a sweet, innocent diversion that makes us happy. What could be wrong with that?

Since I really can’t for the life of me logically explain the appeal,  I wanted to explore the psychology of adult women who are obsessed with  enamored of HK and thought someone should write their dissertation about the marketing genius of this huge pink kitty head with a bow. And sparkles.

I discovered a WordPress blog that seems to be a dissertation of sorts; check out http://hellokittydevotee.wordpress.com/dissertation/

BTW, HK is worth about FIVE BILLION DOLLARS yearly in licensing. And finally the ultimate…did you know that HK teamed up with one of Taiwan‘s biggest airlines? What a great experience–a Hello Kitty extravaganza; from meals to mascots to boarding passes.
hellokittyairlines2hellokittyairlines

HKparty1Which might in some small way explain the excitement I felt for my very first Hello Kitty Birthday Party! I’m not going to tell you how old I am; does it REALLY matter? I think not.

We spent the morning and early afternoon hiking Crystal Cove State Park (read about that HERE). When we returned home, hubs was exhausted and immediately fell asleep.

So much for that birthday cake he was sposed to make.

chocolatecoconuticecream

Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream

I threw together a One-Bowl Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting and Chocoate Coconut Ice Cream.

The cake was out of the oven and cooling before he woke up. Figures, right? If you want something done, ya gotta do it yourself. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

I challenged my tugboat man and my son to create dinner all by themselves. OK. We’re talking a Ph.D. Yale professor and a maritime academy graduate with a BS in Engineering.

Two smart, functional, adult men, right?

OMG, watching them write a grocery list and take off to the store offered tons of fun.

“Mom, do you have jicama? Mom, where’s a knife?” “Rosebud, can you chop this onion for me? Uh — how do you chop cilantro?”

I kept looking up recipes on my computer because I felt sorry for them.

Birthday barbecue

Hubs chose to make Mango Salsa with Blue Corn Chips for his appetizer; my son’s contribution was a Jicama Kumquat Salad. It was delicious.

I thought it’d be a good idea to barbecue because I had a feeling the kitchen was going to take me a week to clean up. This was a smart decision. We had potatoes, asparagus, beets (from the garden), corn, Smart Dogs, and it was all absolutely yummy.

Best of all, it was made with love.

HKparty2

keep-calm-and-love-hello-kitty-165

The Convoluted Logic of Our Mother’s Day Tradition

depositphotos_5078841-Happy-Mothers-Day-with-Daisy-FlowersIt started with my own mom; she presented ME with gifts on Mother’s Day — thanking me for being her daughter — and any excuse to shop is a good one, right?

I was born on Mother’s Day, so it makes sense to give me lots and lots of presents. Even though it only occurs that way every seven years, it’s still always within the same week.

I enthusiastically carry on the tradition with my son; well, because — uh –if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have a reason to celebrate Mother’s Day at all, would I?

As my son would say, “Duh.”

This year I got him an array of products from Kiehls — skin cream, shaving cream, shampoo, and penned a mini-poem:

You have always been my Angel Boy

As your mom

Every day has been filled with joy.

Other girls wanted to be doctors, lawyers, teachers — all I ever wanted to be was a mom.

While all the other mommies are having breakfast or brunch or lunch, I’ll be spending my day driving to the airport to for a Southwest Airlines delivery of my Angel Boy. Can’t wait!

Best of all, he’ll be here all week and that is my best birthday present ever.

Happy Mother’s Day to cat and dog lovers!

crazycatlady

 

happy-mothers-day-bitches

A Mom Knows These Things

A Generation Fabulous Blog Hop: The Best Thing I Learned From My Mother

Me: “Hey, Mom, guess what?”

Mom: “You’re pregnant.”

Me: “How did you know that’s what I was gonna say?”

Mom: “A mom knows these things.”

MommyThat’s my mom. She was born in 1915 and died in 1989 from pancreatic cancer. She lived with us until the end. I cared for her with the help of a wonderful hospice team.

I was a mid-life baby –born in 1954. She was afraid that I was going to be affected with Downs Syndrome, although they didn’t call it that. At that time, it was  referred to as Mongoloidism, which is no longer in technical use as its considered offensive. They didn’t have genetic testing back then and it scared her that  I was such a good baby, always happy and never cried.

The doctor told her I would make up for it by causing her heartache when I was a teenager, and I did — but that story is for another time…

My mom became a registered nurse at a time when abortions were illegal. She often told me that the horrible things that she saw in the hospital — the aftereffects of a botched backroom abortion — were the reasons she was one thousand percent pro-choice right from the beginning.

“A woman has the right to choose whether or not she wants to have a child.”

That’s something I learned from my mom.

“No man has the right to tell a woman what to do with her body.”

I learned that from my mom, too.

These forward thinking ideas were even more remarkable when you consider that her father — my grandfather — was a Rabbi. My mom was one of seven children. They moved from town to town as my grandfather moved from synagogue to synagogue  — a nomadic life.  Although she was born in Minnesota, my mom spoke with a slight southern drawl because the family spent many years in the south.

They eventually ended up in Detroit. I loved hearing my mom tell the story of climbing onto a city bus and walking to the back along with an African-American girl who had been told to “get to the back of the bus”. The bus driver kicked my mom off for being a troublemaker.

meandmommyObviously, that’s where I got my big mouth. I learned to speak up for those less fortunate — to fight for those that have no voice. I learned to speak up when I see child abuse or animal cruelty. As proud as I was of her, I know she’d be equally as proud of me.

My mom taught me what it meant to be a mother. She abhorred daycare and nannies and was disdainful of mothers who worked. She told me that people shouldn’t have children if they don’t want them and if they can’t take proper care of them.

No stranger would raise HER grandchild.

“A child deserves to have a mom who will selflessly dedicate her life to her child with unconditional love.”

I always knew I would be a stay-at-home-mom — my mom showed me how.

And also thanks to my mom, I wear perfume every day — Chance by Chanel. It’s my signature, even if I’m just going to the gym. I learned that from my mom, too.

“Don’t save perfume for special occasions.” Fragrance can turn rancid and sour smelling. This is what she said when she presented me with my very first bottle of real parfum — Joy by Jean Patou.

“Wear it every day. Wear it for yourself.”

meandmom

My mom and me. I think I had just given birth…not sure where my baby is!

Along with a love for cleaning the house with bleach, collecting seashells and blue glass, my mom passed on the shopping gene.

My passion for the finer things in life are directly related to that first mother-daughter dress, my first pink satin ballet shoes, my first silk blouse, and my first treasured cashmere sweater.

When we enjoyed a bit of retail therapy, Mommy (yes, I called her Mommy) liked to buy me things because she said it made her happy.

Her favorite saying was, “It’s only money.”

That cracks up my tugboat man — although she passed away a few years before we met– he says he’s now paying the price (literally) and carrying on the tradition – under duress. Ha ha ha!

Thank you, Mommy. I miss you so very much.

This is a bloghop!