Saturday, August 22, 2015

Love, more

Once again I return to this completely ignored space to acknowledge my twin boys' 15th birthday.  This is a long post but they each deserve their own letter. 

August 22, 2015

Dear son,

You walked towards me in the grocery store parking lot, your shirt untucked and black pants covered with flour.  Your black store hat had finger prints where you tugged it with flour on your hands.  The car window was down and I waved to you.  You waved back and our exchange caught the eye of the older man standing by a parked car next to me.  He smiled at us.

He then walked over to our car to tell us that his son also worked at this grocery store starting at age 14.  He went on to tell us with great pride about the son's various jobs at the store and how he saved money to buy special things then realized they weren't all that special.  The gentleman told us he was a salesman and he understood it is long days in the store but it teaches responsibility and the value of hard work.

He clearly loved that his son had worked at this store and asked you about your experiences.  He then said that his son decided as a little kid he was going to Harvard.  "And guess what?" he said as he shook his head, "he got into Harvard!"

Then he pointed his finger at you and said "You can go too.  Do well in school.  Working is good but school is most important."

"Yes sir" you replied followed by "Have a good evening" as you waved.

He waved back.

And you were pretty quiet on the ride home.

You've got the whole world ahead of you.  Make the most of it my six foot tall son.  Who will always be a little man in my heart.

Happy Birthday my son.



August, 22, 2015

Dear son,

As you know our close family friend, who is like an older auntie to you and your siblings, has been diagnosed with cancer and undergoing treatment.  She does not drive so I've been helping arrange rides to and from the hospital for treatment and occasionally driving her myself.  She asked that you and your siblings join her for a chemotherapy session.  So one afternoon last month we sat with her, talked, laughed and told stories to pass the time as an IV dripped medicine into her arm.

A few weeks later it was time to drive her again but your sister and I had to leave the hospital early for a dance performance.  Wonderfully you and your brother chose to stay with our friend until the chemo session was finished and get a ride home with another close friend.  As I was leaving you got up to rearrange the chairs and announced "Dance party!  Where's the disco ball?"

Which made our friend laugh and brought smiles to other patients and staff in the area.  

Keep using your powers for good.

Happy Birthday my son.



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Happy Birthday Happiness

Darling Daughter,

You are eleven years old today.  You are also 5'8" tall (I'm clinging to that 3/4" I have over you) and you carry yourself with a confidence many 21, 41 or 71 year olds would admire.

On the final day of 4th grade last year you excitedly came up to me to say who would be in your 5th grade class.  You mentioned a student's name I had never heard and I asked if she was new to the school.

"No, she's been there since 1st grade" you said matter-of-factly.  "She doesn't like me" you noted as if you were mentioning a grocery item.

I stopped walking and grilled you.  What had she done?  How could anyone exclude you or be mean?

You shrugged off my questions and this student's behavior.  "I don't let it bother me" you informed me and walked ahead.  Clearly if this person's conduct didn't bother you, I should follow your lead.  Not only in this case but in life.  Your confidence and ability to forgive should be bottled and shared with those who could sorely use it. Like your mother.

You've been this way since preschool.  Your teachers told me you decided as a 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old what you wanted to do and if classmates joined you that was fine and if you were alone that was fine too.  You've continued this through elementary school.

This year in your own way you are being a buddy to a classmate going through a rough time.  It reminds me of what I wrote in your Birthday Letter when you turned five years old.
"The teacher reminded me of how you talked about a particular boy a fair amount last year. She then disclosed it was because no one else would play with him. He had a tendency to hit or lash out in other ways. You told him early on he couldn't hit and he listened to you. For a good part of the year you were the only classmate who would play with him. Now he plays fine and is welcomed by the other kids. You helped him figure it all out and welcomed other kids to play with him."
In that 2009 Birthday Letter I asked you to use your powers for good.

I'm glad you listened.