Video Now

This morning my son woke up and told me Grandpa’s butterfly was gone.  I turned quickly to glance up at the lampshade to make sure it was still hanging there.  Whew.  It was.

My dad’s ashes are in a butterfly necklace and I have it near my bed.  I look at it every night when I go to sleep and I must admit I talk to my dad.   My son and I have never really discussed it.

“Grandpa is in there mommy.”  Sebastian holds the necklace and tells me it is so cold.  He starts blowing on it with his hands cupped the way I do with his hands when he is cold.  He holds the necklace for a long time.  “Grandpa likes this momma.”
My dad died four years ago.  I held his hand as he stopped breathing.  I’m a little sad today about something and thus my blogging.

Stop what you are doing right this moment and go video your parents and loved ones.  Ask them questions.  Get them on film.  What I would give right now to just pop in a video and watch my dad.

Last year I did this with Sebastian’s grandmother and I know he will cherish it.  My dad left before Sebastian was born and I am heartbroken he will have only my stories to know him.

I just sat here for a minute staring at my little boy.  The back of his head, still scruffy with bedhead, playing with his cracker car.  He just turned around and said, “Mom, I am not a TV.  Stop looking at me.”

Funny.  We don’t have a TV.

Maybe someday we will be able to pull our memories from our brains and dump them onto disk for others to see.  Albeit a scary idea, it calms me a little now and helps the regret of not filming my pop.

GO get a Flip Camera.  They are $100 – film your parents… your siblings and your best friends.  🙂

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Being a Mom – Anna Quindlen

On Being a Mom
by Anna Quindlen

If not for the photographs, I might have a hard time believing they  ever existed. The pensive infant with the swipe of dark bangs and the  black button eyes of a Raggedy Andy doll. The placid baby with the  yellow ringlets and the high piping voice. The sturdy toddler with the  lower lip that curled into an apostrophe above her chin.

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in  disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three  almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people  who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of
disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell  vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor  blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed  more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their  jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves.

Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at  its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible  except through the unreliable haze of the past. Everything in all the  books I once pored over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach., T.  Berry Brazelton., Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping  through the night and early-childhood education, all grown obsolete.  Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are  battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the  pages dust would rise like memories.

What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the  playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations –what they  taught me was that they couldn’t really teach me very much at all.

Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then  becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it  is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to  positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice  and a timeout.

One boy is toilet trained at 3, his brother at 2. When my first child  was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he  would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived,  babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden  infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is  terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust  yourself. Eventually the research will follow. I remember 15 years ago  poring over one of Dr. Brazelton’s wonderful books on child  development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants:
average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for  an 18-month-old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his  fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind?  Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane?  Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk  just fine. He can walk too.

Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes  were made. They have all been enshrined in the  Remember-When-Mom-Did-Hall-of-Fame. The outbursts, the temper  tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell
off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The  nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the  youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her  geography test, and I responded, “What did you get wrong?” (She
insisted I included that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald’s  drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from  the window. (They all insisted I included that.) I did not allow them  to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while  doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly  clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There  is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in  the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I
wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how  they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I  had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner,  bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and  the getting it done a little less. Even today I’m not sure what worked  and what didn’t, what was me and what was simply life. When they were  very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they  were because of what I’d done. Now I suspect they simply grew into  their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back  off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often  tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how  it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the  world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential  humanity. That’s what the books never told me. I was bound and
determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to  figure out who the experts were.


Blisters on my feet

I always thought fire walking was a scam.  I believed there was some trick to it.

Last night, I walked on hot coals.. 10 feet.   I watched them fire up the briquettes, roast them for a half hour and shovel them on the grass right before I walked across then.  They were flaming red hot.

It was scary. I am usually not worried at all.. this one was a knee shaker.

I did feel it.  I have two blisters on my feet to prove I did it.

I’m not sure why it works.  Why I don’t have 3rd degree burns.

I’ll post a picture once I figure out how to do that in wordpress.   Fun.

David Fabricius Home

is the guy who facilitated it.  I like the guy as a person- he lectured a wee bit to much for my taste.. when we finally got to the firewalk it was a blast.

Bicycles are like the Blue Angels

I read some stats yesterday about child accidents. One of my first detailed memories was of my brother Sean dying in our home. (In his fort outside our home actually.) It has made me a little paranoid as a mother. I try really hard not to be a nervous Nelly. I still am at times.

I am always calculating the odds. It is the nerd part of me, I used to be a pocket protector wearing computer programmer – I can’t seem to get that out of my system. I was researching accidents. It is sick. I know.

Riding a bicycle is one of the top rated accidents for children. Looking at the stats, a good way to avoid injury is to not let a kid ride one. I would never, ever make that decision for my child. He is getting a bicycle as soon as he wants one. I want him to experience the freedom, the wind on his face, the excitement of that bike.

Yesterday I squealed all day as I watched the Blue Angels buzz the Bay Bridge and my building. I am lucky to be right on the water and it was thrilling. The sound.. I could see the pilot and their helmets. The rush I got from this was all about fun. Whhhoooooossssh! My son yelling “Airplane go fast momma!” He claimed Elmo was driving one of them.
Chris Daly, a supervisor in San Francisco, wants to bar the Blue Angels from buzzing San Francisco. There was an accident a few years ago in an air field, very very rare and he is certain it will happen here. He also claims this show of military might is offensive to such an anti-war town.

I disagree. Being overprotective we lose our spirit and our joy for life. Ride kids Ride!! Fly Blue Angels Fly!!!!

The Blue Angels are not showing military strength: they are celebrating what the Wright Brothers created, the ambition of young men and women who want to go FFFAAAASSSSTTTTT and the celebration of innovation in our culture.
Bicycles are dangerous. The Golden Gate Bridge is dangerous. Life is dangerous. I for one do not want to live in a bubble. (unless of course it is airborne floating around)

Life is too precious for bubble wrap.