Archives for December 2012

Chasing Tail

This morning, shortly after breakfast, the two of you were asking to watch TV.   We prefer to only let you watch when we need to keep you occupied while we are cooking, or something where we need you out of the way, rather than a default entertainment system.   You were both starting to whine, then I took a small blanket and tucked it into my pants so that it hung out as a tail and I waived it at you.

One would think I had just waived a red flag in front of a raging bull.  The two of you were instantly engaged chasing me around the kitchen and living room, and down the hallway as yo tried to grab my tail.  We all laughed so hard that my sides hurt.  I sat down on the couch to hide my tail, but you two kept going after it.   Anna, you kept insisting that “people don’t have tails,” and we’re quite upset by mine. Lucas, you were just fixated on grabbing it, and my sitting on it did not deter you.   You kept insisting MINE!

But the moment I got back up and ran, the chase and laughter was on again.  Mom said that our escapades explained why you kept putting a napkin down your pants.

Peas Don’t Do That

I knew it was only a matter of time, dear Anna, but you recently discovered that you can put things up your nose, like peas.  Normally, when either one of you do something that you should not, such as putting your feet on the table, I  don’t tell you to stop, or to put your feet down.  Instead, I ask you “where do your feet belong?” and you know what to do.  By having you think of the answer, perhaps you will internalize things better.

But with the pea, that got a direct command to not put anything up your nose, lest it get stuck up there.   You promptly took the pea out of your nose, and without any delay in which either mom or I might object, you promptly ate it.  Anna, that’s the kind of thing I might have expected from Lucas, but not you.

But as far as food up various orfaces goes, I suppose it could be far worse.  My brother once got a soft pretzel stuck in his ear at an Andreas Volenweider concert, but that was only because he didn’t have ear plugs and never thought to use tissue.  But the most extreme would be my former coworker Zach.

You see,  he  got a nose-ring that he was a little embarrassed about.  It was the kind that is shaped like a ‘C’, that goes through the middle of the nose, and has two little balls on the ends.  Because he was was self conscious about it, he twisted it up inside his nose so that you could not see it.  Except that he also happened to be fighting allergies, and his job was to answer the phones for customer support along with about 3 other support reps who had no idea that he got the nose ring.

No idea, that is, until he sneezed something fierce, only to exclaim “Oh my God! I just blew my balls off!”. His coworkers had to put their customers on hold as they burst out laughing, but the point is still the same.  Anna, don’t out anything up your nose, please.

Martial Arts & Barfing

It’s been many years (decades already) since I did martial arts. I did judo and hapkido.  One thing I recall from training is always being prepared for an attack at any moment.  It was less about always being defensive, and more about looking for ways to anticipate and avoid trouble or danger.

Fast forward to modern-day mommy hood, and those same skills take on a new perspective. You see, dear Lucas, though the frequency has diminished greatly, you periodically make it known that you could barf at a moments notice.  So when we sit down to a meal, when we do not have a bowl handy for that purpose, I find myself scanning the table and thinking “what would I do if you barfed now?”

Forgive me, dear reader, this is not intended to be gross.  Rather, my point is that I have developed highly refined skills for instantaneously responding to unexpected projectiles.  I find myself thinking “in a pinch, dump my salad on the table  and use the bowl” or “unbuckling you from your chair is too slow…  Take the entire chair to the sink as a unit with you in it” or “grab the corners of the towel and make an upside down parachute over a plate.”

So while I may be pleased with my own resourcefulness, dear Lucas, I can honestly say that I wish this were not a skill so honed by experience.

Grannie Annie

I read the following at my Grandma’s funeral:

There are so many things I remember about Grandma, each and every memory surrounded by love.

Growing up, we lived in Reston and Grandma in Springfield… less than an hour away, and I remember ALWAYS wanting to go to Grandma’s house. And when we got to spend the night there, that was even better.

As a young kid, I recall rows upon rows of crabapples lining the streets where she lived. There’s really nothing special about crabapples, except that my brother and I would pick buckets of them from high in the tree branches so that we could make crabapple jam. Today, I don’t have the slightest memory of what it tasted like, but the memory of making it with Grandma still sticks with me.

When I was 16 and started driving, the farthest place I was allowed to drive was from our house to Grandma’s, and I had to call home as soon as I got there. There was always one particular spot along the way where I could not remember whether to turn right or left. I went to the right, only to realize that I should have gone left, except that I did that so many times that the wrong turn simply became part of the way to get to grandma’s house.

And once at Grandma’s house, there was always a unique feeling to being there. The best I can describe it would be fresh, line-dried linens, the smell of cookies, the sound of laughter, and lots of hugs with “Oooohhhh, I just want to eat you up!!”

When Grandma moved to Florida, I remember when we would load up into the back of Dad’s small plane and fly down as a family. I also remember that while Dad always kept an eye on the weather for our return trip, that I was delighted when various storms meant that we had to stay another day or so. No matter how long the stay, we never wanted to leave Grandma.

Even now, despite knowing she was fighting health issues for quite some time, and that she is in a better place today, we never wanted for her to leave us either. I’ll miss you, dear Grandma.

My brother and I, who were forever bickering when we were younger, were usually on our best behavior w/grandma. This wasn’t because we had to be, but because she brought that out in us. How could anyone NOT be on best behavior when she simply radiated love for all those around her.

It was less than a month ago that I took my kids back east and we made the drive from Virginia to Connecticut to see grandma. The time we spent there now seems oh so incredibly short. I am so grateful that we made the trip to see you one last time, and that you got to see Anna and Lucas. While I don’t know how much of that day my kids will remember, I will never forget.

That trip was the beginning of saying goodbye. We both knew that it was likely the last time we would see each other, but dare not say it in words. Instead, it was said with our tears as we left. Grandpa gave my little Anna a small, green, plastic ring, and after a few minutes on the road, she remembered having left it behind. She threw a fit and wanted us to turn around to get it, but I could not bring myself to go through another goodbye, lest I be filled with the tears I now shed as I write. I’ll miss you, dear Grandma. I love you.

In time, I know I will begin to let go of the loss, and all that will remain is that deep sense of love, acceptance, warmth, and other words that pale by comparison to just “Grandma.”

When I left for the airport yesterday, my little Anna asked where I was going. I told her I was going to say goodbye to Grandma. In her 3-year old wisdom, she told me “grandma is not gone… She’s in heaven.”
Yes, indeed she is,
looking down on ALL of us with love.

Goodbye, dear Grandma.