OHBD 2015

OHBD 2015

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hug Me Like You Are Happy With Me!


My eldest made me a mom and opened my eyes in so many ways since. My youngest is constantly reminding me of a number of the things I first learned with her brothers.  They are pictured below sharing a special moment a few holidays back.
I remember a difficult  daycare drop off with her one Friday when she was three. I tried all my usual tricks to settle in her peacefully. I let her visit the baby room (she is a baby freak) and say hello to the little chubby cherubs who beam when she steps in the room. We stopped by the bathroom to “go potty” when I was pretty sure there was no biological need. I gave her many, many “huggies.” She just didn’t want me to go. I reminded her she was a big girl. And we practiced her telling me, “Have a good day at work, mommy.” Normally, she does just that and my day starts with the sense my life is in order. But not this day. . .   I finally ran out of time and creativity. I walked to my car with the sound of her sorrowful wailing (Ma-a-a-a-a Ma-a-a-a-a-!!) ringing in my ears.  

As I drove off with a knot in the pit of my stomach, I recalled the times I felt that way when my boys were younger. There were days when they wanted mom to stay and I couldn’t. I remember questioning my decision to work and whether I was doing right by my precious children.  I can still see the picture in my mind’s eye of my eldest’s beautiful tear stained little face pressed up against his daycare window pane crying for me one of those times.
As my boys grow, their need for mom to be there doesn’t look quite the same. I get requests to come to school presentations and sporting events. They ask for help with homework or affirmation after a tough day at school.  Or some times they just want me to listen. Later that same week as my teenager was sharing his views, he said something that made me feel bad. I stopped him. His usual fun loving, animated face disappeared and was replaced with an anxious, sad look.   I watched as what I said to him sunk in. His shoulders drooped. He remained quiet for a moment or two. 

He then said, “Gimme a hug, Mom!” I said, “Wait a minute.  . . let me get this straight. You made me feel bad. When I told you, you felt bad. And now you want me to make you feel better.” He said without hesitation, “Exactly! That’s what moms do.”    I wrapped my arms around him. But apparently my embrace reflected traces of the feelings he stirred up. He added a qualifier, “Hug me like you are happy with me.”  Whatever bitterness remained melted as I was reminded I had a then fourteen year old who still needed his mom (although not expressed in front of his peers). And he gives me so many reasons to laugh and to learn. 

I can’t make it right for each of my kids every day.   I hate that but I know I need to accept it. But the times I can I cherish. And reminding myself of those, and watch them grow into their uniqueness, helps me survive when I can’t. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

My Date With Harry Potter -- Fulfilling Promises and Resolutions


A couple years back, I saw an email come through at work from my boss’s assistant . They had some free tickets to the Harry Potter Exhibit. I hit reply instantly and requested two.   Good thing I was fast on the trigger finger because they were immediately snapped up. I knew my then nine year old fan would be thrilled. I read the series with my eldest son. He was about the age of the young Harry when we started the series. My second devoured the books on his own when he could read at that level. 
I went home and shared the good news. He was thrilled. Then was the matter of finding time to go. I put as one of my new year’s resolutions that year: spend more time individually with each of my kids. Easier said than done with work, school and sports activities. Weeks went by and I was afraid the passes would expire before I used them (and I felt the guilt start creeping in). 

Around the holidays, my meeting schedule is lighter. So I decided to take him to work with me since I couldn’t find a full, free day. We would go to lunch and then head to the exhibit in the afternoon.  Lunch was a success. But for a kid who loves his food, that isn’t saying much.  We then headed to the Seattle Center. Turns out the program was so popular we could only get an evening time. 

We took the opportunity to explore. We took some fun pictures together in an old fashioned photo booth. We played chess with a huge plastic set the size of my toddler. I lost. He goes to a chess class and knows much more than I do.   He enjoyed explaining to me what he had learned. And it was wonderful to be just us.

In the evening, part of me wished I didn’t have to get in the car and head back downtown. I was tired. Damian was pumped though and I couldn’t bear to disappoint him. When we arrived, he was literally bouncing with excitement as we waited in line. He walked trance like when we entered, studying each exhibit, drinking it all in. I was a bit mortified when he obliviously walked in front of people as if he was the only one there.   I honestly don’t think they registered for him.   

I loved seeing the light in his face.  He recited parts of the book and remembered little details I had long forgotten. He only showed a touch of disappointed that the “grand room” (which was movie set cut away) was not “very grand”. He chose as a memento a replicate of the wand Dumbledore used in the films. My heart skipped with his as we sprinted through the Seattle rain holding hands and trying hard not to get his new wand wet.  One mommy promise kept; one part of my resolution fulfilled.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Motherhood Benefits -- Courtesy of Facebook

Facebook gave me the opportunity, with a small time investment, to keep in touch with a wider circle of friends and family.  I enjoy seeing the photo of the day from a grade school classmate, hearing about a winning team from a colleague, and exotic vacation adventures and mishaps provided from all parts of the world.  I like sharing my writing and photos and getting the instant “like” or comments. 

I have come to learn about another side of my husband through Facebook.  His friends are many of his former colleagues and assistant coaches, former students and athletes since he has been a teacher and coach for decades.  He also connected with friends and acquaintance from his native Greece before he emigrated over 20 years back.  Since those communications are in Greek, I can only imagine what they say but it reminds me of the person he was before we met.  He uses games like Farmville and Cityville to interact with a broad variety of people.  Getting updates that my city born husband is “harvesting his crops” or “has found a pig on his farm” makes me smile.
When our then thirteen year old son asked to join Facebook, we said, “No.  All your friends live around us.  You can call them up or ride your bike to visit them.”  But he persisted.  When we were in Greece visiting my husband’s family, he asked again if he could join.  He appealed to his father’s desire for him to share a connection with his homeland.  “Dad, If you let me join I can keep in touch with my friends here and your family.  Given the time change and distance, phone calls and visits are hard.”    Hmmm . . not a bad argument.  After setting parameters (we were friends, no “unfriending” us, no inappropriate content and a lecture on dangerous folks lurking on the Internet), we relented.  He had his own request. “Please, don’t post messages on my wall.”  We agreed and chuckled.  I was reminded of when I was his age.  He immediately set up his account and invited friends from both Greece and Seattle. 
Now an additional enjoyment of Facebook is the peak it gives me into different sides of my firstborn.  His “likes” evidence our shared interests and those that are uniquely his.  His status updates on everything from getting braces to painting a wagon to going to a Seahawks game demonstrate his wide ranging thoughts.  He is visibly growing up as you can see from this image I captured of him (despite his best efforts to hide).  And I have very mixed feelings about that.  Facebook allows me to watch a portion of his life without intruding.  He posted two quotes that had me laughing out loud because they captured his essence. 
“The man who smiles when things go wrong has thought of someone to blame it on!”
 “Don't be so serious. If you can't laugh at yourself, call me...I'll laugh at you.”  Thank you Facebook.