It has been a dificult week for us, and for our family at St. Francis Parish and school. Haley, an eighth grader who has been battling leukemia since the 2nd grade, died Monday. It is breaking our hearts. Although we have a strong Christian faith, and believe she is in the arms of Our Lord, it for those left behind that we mourn. Once you become a parent, it feels as if the world's children are your own; and the loss of one child is felt in hearts of the parents of the world. Dante is acutely aware of this death;the eighth graders pair up with the kindergarteners as 'bible buddies'. They attend Mass together every Friday, and do activities with them after. Haley was Dante's best friend's buddy. He came home crying on Monday. He told me "I don't want to die, Mommy. " and "we need to say a prayer for Haley tonight." His own faith brings me to tears as he is such a sweet and sensitive boy. I have held my own boys closer to me this week. Knowing that with each day they move a bit farther away from me is heartbreaking enough, but the thought of ever having to attend their funeral makes me unable to breathe. I don't know how people live through it. I don't know how anyone would want to. And I pray "not me, Lord, please not me!" I could never be Isaac, and offer up my son. I would rather run and hide and even give up my own salvation than lose my children. Perhaps I am not as faithful as I like to believe, maybe that is part of my panic. If i were called, REALLY called, would I be obedient and follow? Especially during this upcoming Advent season I think of Mary and her answer of "yes." "Yes-I will walk in the face of shame and bear a child who others will think is conceived out of wedlock, Yes, I will bear a son whom I will love and watch him die an agonizing death. Yes, I will do your will." I am humbled by Mary's faith, shamed by my own sense of fear of losing my own children, and pained by the loss of a young life. So as I stuggle with my emotions, I continue to pray for Haley's family, that they find peace and comfort in their own faith, and their faith community at St. Francis. I hope they find peace even the prayers of sinners like me, who hope I will never be called to such a sacrafice.
Maya was my first dog as a 'grown-up.' I had her longer than I have had my children. What a wonderful girl! She filled up spaces in my heart I didn't know I had. She was a reflection of the Divine; loving, forgiving, protective, only in the moment needing only to be loved in return. Because I loved her so much, I helped her out of the pain of cancer and into the Ever After through euthenasia. It was one of my most difficult moments, but the love she showed me for nine years helped alleviate my pain of losing her. While she was laying on my lap, looking up with loving eyes that were masked by physical pain, I asked her through my tears to let me know that she was fine-that there was life after what we know of here.
During the week it took to have her cremated, I kept smelling whiffs of roses in my stairwell at home. I have no roses or rose scented cleaning supplies. Being a new Catholic, it made me think of our Eternal Mother, Mary, and lessened my ache and emptiness. I got the call a week later to pick up Maya's ashes from the vet. I received her in a beautiful cedar box with her named engraved on top. When I opened the box, nestled inside was a plastic bag filled with ashes. And on top....a single pink rose.
Jonah is such a lovely age. I hear about the 'terrible two's' but haven't much experienced them. Yes, he has his tantrums, but he is mostly just a little warm snuggly boy who smells like sunshine and grass and milk. He often asks me, "Mommy, are you happy?' to which I answer, "Yes, honey, I am happy, are you happy?" This time I was cooking dinner and standing in front of the stove. Jonah was in the living room playing on the floor. He stopped playing with his fire truck, walked over to me, wrapped his arms around my knees, squeezed me, looked up into my eyes and said "I am happy. I am happy because you love me. Are you happy because you love me?"
My heart stopped beating. My eyes grew misty and I felt that I would explode with love. I scooped him into my arms and he wrapped his arms around my neck. I breathed as deeply as I could; I want to always smell his little boy smell, feel his soft thin hair against my cheek. I want this moment to las t forever. But these are the moments that are the most fleeting, for as quickly as it begun, it was over. He wiggled free of my arms and ran back to his firetruck. I watched him for a moment and then turned off the stove. Tonight, dinner would have to wait.
Most little boys are rough around babies. Not Jonah. He adores them!. He will gaze sweetly at them, stroke their hands and say "Oh, how cute!" When we were driving to pick up Dante from school, he said,' Mommy, we need a baby.'
I laughed and said 'Where are we going to get it?"
Here are some pics of Dante's first day of kindergarten. In some he is holding a 'schuel tuete', or 'school bag' filled with treats. It is a German tradition to give to the children on their first day of kindergarten. He is going to St. Francis of Assisi Parish School. He was in Pre-K here last year so he is happy to have some friends he already knows. He will be here through 8th grade. We will have to figure out what to do about high school when the time comes-I don't know how we will afford 10 grand per year for two kids!! (plus the commute is 45 minutes to San Diego, or 45 minutes north to San Juan Capistrano).... so God willing-we will stay at St Francis and see what comes down the road. For now- we love the school! I will be a room mom again this year as well as helping out in the nurses office twice a month. I am sure this year will fly by again. What will i do with myself when Jo Jo is in school, too? (Not wanting to think about it!)
Jonah is going to be a talker like his brother. Well, maybe not as much as his brother. Can anyone really talk more than Dante? Jonah also has a quick wit along with his hot temper. Between the talking and the temper, imagine my delight when we can actually sit through Mass! However, perhaps Jonah listens more than we give him credit for. Father Peter was finishing up his Homily last Sunday and stated, "Yes, my brothers and sisters, the Truth hurts."
Dante caught his first fish yesterday! We went to the lake near our home and Dante got two catfsih, one right after another. They were biting like crazy. They are palm -sized catfish, but to Dante they were prized sport fish. Guess who handled them in her bare hands and helped pry the hook out to release them?! Dante is/was so excited he couldn't stop smiling. He also can't stop talking about it. I guess it is a reprieve from his incessant Star Wars Talk. I guess this means we are fishing again this weekend!
We have been trying to potty train Jonah for the past few months. While at my parents he became very fixated on 'bathroom' type of things. My sister was getting ready to go to work and Jonah said to her "You goin' to work? You be home soon? You wearin' underwear?"
Dante lost his first tooth yesterday! It has been loose for over a week and he has been very concerned that we might have to get a pincher to grab it and pull it out. It fell out on its own in the car on the way to swim lessons. We put it in the tooth fairy pillow from Grandma before he went to bed and in the morning there were four quarters in it's place, and fairy dust on the bed and his cheek! He is so enamoured with the fact that he was kissed by the tooth fairy! He won't let me wash the glitter off his face, and keeps looking at himself in the mirror and smiling at the shimmer still on his cheekAnd I thought he would only care about the money... Now I have to worry that Mommy might be easily replaced! :) Dante is now an official 'big boy.' How glorious the days of children!
I have decided that sugar is from Hell. It is evil and it is why some people (The smart ones) forbid halloween and say it is the day of the devil. Sugar is from the devil. Who ever thought of giving a bunch of kids a shitload of candy late at night?! (Satan) And who ever thought to continue the tradition year after year?! (The DEVIL!!!!!) WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING? My neighbors may as well have passed out crack pipes and a lighter... My kids are practically foaming at the mouth today and I am ready to shoot myself. Yes, I finally see now why HALLOWEEN IS LUCIFER'S DAY!! sugar=cocaine=the devil's playground. Next year we pass out little bags of carrots... I refuse to contribute to this madness....(although we did pass out playdough this year which was a big hit. Better the mess than the high anyday.) Or maybe pass out Xanax for all the mommies and teachers?! HELP......ME.......
Dante was coughing and said to me, “Mommy, I think I swallowed a grasshopper.” I laughed and said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Because I am sick. I must have swallowed a bug or something.”
December 12, 2005
Dante says to me “ mommy, I can’t take it anymore! I can’t wait for Christmas one more day!”
Christmas morning, Dante is SOO excited and runs downstairs at 6 am to see if Santa came. He starts screaming; “he came! He came! Santa ate my cookies!” It is the first year that Dante understands the idea of Santa, baby Jesus, and presents. When he opened his gifts, he would lovingly turn them over in his hands, stroke the boxes and exclaim how pretty they were. We would encourage him to actually OPEN them. Before he did rip off the paper he would say to me “ What is it mommy? I ‘ve wanted it my whole life!”
January 14, 2006
Dante's first day of soccer! He was so excited and woke up early;it was almost as if it was Christmas day again. He had three meltdowns before leaving the house at 8:30 am because he was so anxious to go. When we got there he giggled uncontrollably and wore a grin that was contagious. We video taped and took lots of pictures. Unfortunately, I turned off the video right before he decided to pull his pants down and moon the crowd. When I finally stopped laughing and got him to pull them up again, I asked him why he pulled his pants down. He yells across the field at me "BECAUSE MY BUTT ITCHES!!!" Nice. All the parents were cracking up. I wonder if someone else got it on tape...Darn it that i didn't get it on video! We could have been the 10,000$ winner on America Funniest Home Videos!
Deacon Jim was in town for a retreat, and I drove him back to San Diego. We decided to stop at McDonalds before the drive, so the boys could play before being cooped up in the car. Jim took the kids to the play area, and I went to get the food. When I brought the food back to the table, Dante had decided he wanted to sit next to Jim. I put the tray down and sat down, and Jim took his baseball cap off. Dante looked at Jims head and said with great awe” Whoa. You don’t have any hair. What Happened?!” Jim and I just chuckled but Dante was very concerned that he didn’t have any hair. He leaned back in his chair to look at the back of Jim’s head. He nodded to himself and said to Jim, “Oh. It’s all right. You have some in the back.”
March 9, 2006
Dante and I were laying (lying?!) on the couch this morning, and i was kind of dozing since I worked last night. I of course, was still in pajamas (jamanas as Dante calls them) and hadn't brushed my teeth yet. Dante had his face right next to mine, looked in my mouth and then scrunched up his face and says "PEEYUU! You stink on the inside!"
May 3, 2006 Hi all- here are some pics of our outing to the wild animal park. It was a gloomy day at the coast, so we decided to drive inland to the park and experience 'africa hot' weather. (amazing the difference in weather in 30 miles...) We had a fun time with Dante's friend Jason. This week was the last week of the butterfly exhibit, so I was glad to have seen it. They come every year, and they are always so beautiful! We went to my favorite Lorakeet enclosure, as well. Jonah gets so excited when we feed the birds. Today I had 4 birds land on me! Two on my arm, one on shoulder (screeching in my ear) and one who decided to nest on my head! Dante also had two land on him, and it made him very nervous. Just like last time, he has a love-hat e relationship with the lorikeets. He wants to go in and feed them, but gets the heebies when they land on him! When we were driving home, he said "mommy, those birds really freak me out!" It was a lovely day. Have a wonderful week- Love, tonya and troupe
We went to the wild animal park today. I love digital cameras-the kids can play around with it without the worry of wasting film. I gave the camera to Dante so he could take pictures of rocks and trees, etc. Whenwe came home and I went to the computer to download them, I have about 10 pictures of very nice BOOBS on my camera. Not my boobs, but boob shots of various women at the park. I asked him what he was taking pictures of, he smiled and dreamily said "Ta-Ta's!" Maybe that extended breastfeeding wasn't such a great idea...
July 5th 2006 Dante was playing with a snail outside this morning. Jonah ran up to see what he was doing and accidentally stepped on the snail. Dante of course, screeched and was at first upset; but ever the optimist and since it is his birthday, nothing can get him down today! He looked at the snail, got a big smile on his face and said" Oh! Now it's a slug!"
August 15th 2006
Dante had a bump on his elbow and asked me what it was. I said “It looks like a pimple.” He said, “No it’s not- I think I must be growing a horn.”
August 20th 2006 We were at story time at Starbucks. The librarian asked the kids what a child kangaroo was called. Dante called out ” Ninos!” On the next story, the librarian asked who rides a school bus- My brilliant boy answers “the bus driver!” (well duh- how could we not know that?)
September 5 2006 I was washing Dante’s hair and he was getting impatient so I told him “ Hold on a second-I need to rinse.” He perked up and said “Is it a spot free rinse?”
Dante has his first loose tooth! He has been very nervous about it and is constantly asking me if we are going to have to go to the dentist and use a pincher to get it out. I try to reassure him and say it will fall out on its own. I even tried to ease his fear by telling him that grandma is getting him a present for having his first loose tooth. He threw up his arms and shouted "Hooray! A present!" Then he got serious again, touched his mouth and said "I hope it isn't a pincher!"
We just returned from a two week road trip to Washington State. We camped outside of Redding the first two nights at McArthur Burney Falls. It was beautiful and the sites were nice and big with pine needles on the ground, instead of dirt. It was gorgeous- the waterfall is 129 feet and over 100 million gallins of water flow over it daily. There is also a nice lake there with a swimming area and paddle boat rentals. We of course had to rent a boat so the kids could fish off of it. We saw lots of bass and trout jumping, but none on our lines! We plan on going there again. Redding is a pretty fun town, too. We went to Turtle Bay Explorer Center and crossed the 'world famous' sun dial bridge. It is an actual working sun dial and spans across the Sacramento River. We broke camp on Sunday and drove up to Portland. We then spent 5 days at my parents and Dante celebrated his 6th birthday (really! he is SIX!) at Big Al's- a mongo bowling alley and arcade near my family's home. He is absolutely in love with my sister's youngest son, Alex, who is wise and all knowing at age 11. Dante was his shadow, and actually has his first ever sleep over at his cousins' house! Alex was very accommodating and i think enjoyed his status as KING for a few days. We all (my parents and sister and her clan) went camping for three nights near Crater Lake. It was so nice there, too. We fished and toured Crater Lake Park and just relaxed. We have become experts at telling 'fish tales' as Dante insisted the four rainbow trout that he was given by some avid fishermen were really caught by him. He has the whole story down about reeling it in, almost falling in the water, etc. It is the only time a lie is not a lie and he cherishes it! :) We then said our good -byes to the family and drove to Santa Cruz and rewarded ourselves with a hotel room instead of a campsite The kids loved the pool and hot tub. It's a neat little eclectic town. Allan even bought himself some 'earthy hippy shoes' as a souveigner. We then drove the coast as far as Cambria-stopped to see the Sea Lions on the coast along the way and then zipped on down to SD on the Hwy 101. Its a much more scenic route than the I-5! We came home the night of July 4th, just in time to light our contraband sparklers and spinners purchased in Washington State and watch the Fallbrook fireworks from our neighbors backyard. It was really a great trip and the kids were AMAZING travelers and did the 10-12 hour drives like real troopers. Praise the Lord for portable DVD players! The only disaster was the GI-NORMOUS spider crawling up my leg while we were in the car driving home from L.A. The F-bomb was dropped, along with a few other choice expletives as i frantically tried to get it off me, find it again, squish it, re-squish it, and get its shriveled freaky carcass out the window against the wind, without it flying back into my face and in revenge, eat my eyballs. All the while Allan was trying to figure out why I was so hysterical as he wove in and out of traffic while I grabbed his arm and head trying to get away from the arachnid from hell. Did i mention it was CRAWLING UP MY LEG?! Allan, exasperated, kept telling me to stop grabbing him, stop swearing in front of the kids, and what the hell is going on anyway?! I think the word SPIDER should suffice, don't you?
The boys are sleeping-we did a 2 mile walk today. Jonah loves the stroller, and Dante rode his bike. I knew Dante was getting tired because he started stopping every hundred yards or so and say' my motorcycle is out of gas, i need to fill it up.' Whenever i asked if he was ready to go he would say, 'no, it's not full yet.' I had to bribe him with a chocolate milk with whipped cream from Starbucks to keep him going. We did get out and walk along the water for a bit, until Jonah tried to bolt in. He threw an enormous temper tantrum when i picked him up and wouldn't put him down. I had to practically sit on him to get him strapped in the stoller again. He throws tantrums like Dante did, but his peter out much faster. He screams and kicks and bashes his head for a few minutes, then finds his thumb, sighs, sniffs, and starts sucking and blinking his big eyes with tears still clinging to his lashes and drying on his cheeks. It's very dramatic and pathetic. :) Jonah is still sick with the cough and boogery nose. I think i will take him to the MD tomorrow to get him checked out. Being a nurse i am always torn about taking him in. Part of me knows its probably viral, will last 10 or so days, just give Motrin and fluids, blah blah. but then the mommmy part of me freaks and thinks It's cancer! It's meningitis! It's a foreign deadly something and i am irresponsible to not take him immediatly to the physician! (or is that just the neurotic part of me?!)
We are the richest country in the world, and yet cannot offer charity or even humanity to others who want to better their lives, and the lives of their children. I know if i were in their shoes, I would do all i could to come to America. As far as 'doing it legally'- I think if the poor had the $2000-dollars it took to just start the paper work, they would probably spend it on food for their children! It also takes YEARS to process. My sister-in law was trying to sponsor her mom to come here; it took SIX YEARS to get her here. And that is with a family member here in the states, willing to sponsor and pay for her to come here. If I lived in a third world Latin American country, i think i would take my chances to get here rather than watch my children starve. Why do we see white guys on the corner with signs that say ‘will work for food” and 98% of all immigrants work? Immigrants work, sometimes with false SS cards, so they DO pay taxes yet cannot get the benefit that comes with it. For those who DON”T pay taxes, ‘legalize’ them, and they can. For those who send their money home, those family members in turn buy food and products exported from the US, which in turn benefits our own economy. Why do Mexicans ‘illegally’ cross the border? Many reasons for sure, in part because NAFTA bottomed out the miniscule wages they already made so we can buy cheap goods from rich companies like Wallmart, who offer little insurance to their employees.(but they do have a ‘how to apply for Med-cal” part of their orientation.) America spends more on health insurance for Wallmart’s uninsured, (at 56 million dollars a year) than we do for ‘illegals.’ The average hourly wage in Mexico is $4.60 a day… How do we justify a county of 300 million++ -2/3rds of whom are suffering from ill effects of obesity, and be unwilling to help others who cannot even afford to feed their children? I think the biggest irony is that we claim to be a Christian nation, and yet turn our hearts away from those who suffer, or are looking for a better life.
Romans 12 states:
....Rejoice with those who rejoice and be sad with those who sorrow. Treat everyone with equal kindness; never be condescending but make real friends with the poor. Do not allow yourself to become self satisfied. Never repay evil with evil but let everyone see that you are interested in only the highest ideals. Do all you can to live at peace with everyone.
Also Matthew 25 : 24-46
Then the King will say to those on the right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you? And the king will say them in reply, ' Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for the of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.' Then he will say to those at his left. Depart from me you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared, for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.' Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did wee see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not administer to your needs?' He will answer them, ' Amen i say to you, what you did not do for one of the least ones, you did not do for me.' And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.
So- I think if we can remember to see Christ in all we meet, even the unkempt, the unclean, and the unwanted, (whom he most loved, and most ministered to) we shall be less likely to judge, and more likely to love. Just my thoughts on the subject… Pax Christi
I want to kick some 5 year old ass. I don't trust people that say they 'love kids.' Kids suck. Unless they are related to you and generally well behaved. We were at a party today that my six year old was invited to. I like the child who was the birthday boy, as he is one of the 'well behaved ones.' But two of the others are destined to spend some time in county jail. Dante, my boy, walked through the playground like a puppy who had just been kicked before he burst into tears and put his head on my shoulder. I could tell by the cry that it was a 'my feelings are hurt' not a 'i hurt myself' kind of cry. Between sobs he managed to tell me that the other boys decided they didn't want to play with him and called him a LOSER. Simple kids stuff? Proabably. But it brought back all kind of memories from my own childhood that I was ready to commit a felony. Now I don't want to be an over protective mother, but the mamma bear syndrome attacks hard when someone-anyone, hurts my boys.Little bastards. After I wiped Dante's eyes, and reassured him that he is the greatest kid in the universe and told him the little shits- i mean kids-are not being nice and to leave them alone, I scoped the playground like a sniper until i found them kicking sand in a girl's face. I smiled, called their names, and beckoned them to me. They stopped their torment and ran to me. I got down on one knee, looked right into their eyes, and let them know that I was watching them. Not that they cared, but I felt better as they ran off, stopped, looked back at me and then ran a little faster than before. Maybe they are thinking about being nice. More than likely they are thinking of ways to slash my tires. Just as i am thinking of ways to dispose of their bodies without getting caught. DON"T MESS WITH MOMMY.
We had a GREAT time with Allan's family in a cabin in Big Bear. Allan snowboarded on Saturday while the boys and i went to the 'kiddy hill' to innertube and ride the alpine slide and go carts. (all day fun for $40.00!) Jonah is a speed freak and would whine and push my hand off the brake whenever i applied it while flying down the mountain on the alpine slide. He also threw a fit and wouldn't get out of the go carts when our time was up. Yes, he is two and was also over-tired from our late night drive up the hill the night before. He is usually in bed by 7 pm and didn't go to sleep friday until midnight!! (and was of course up his usual time at the ungodly hour of 6:15 am. So we drove him back to the house with all the cousins where he slept for a good three hours while Dante and i went back to the hill to innertube and have snowball fights. It was great fun! This morning my brother-in-law and I went on an awesome hike to Baker's Peak-a nine mile round trip hike with an increase of 1200 feet elevation! We hiked through some good snow patches and got some great views of the valleys. The thing we were most amazed about was that the trailhead was only about 10 minutes from town, yet we saw not a soul the whole 4 hours we hiked. NOT ONE PERSON. It was pretty amazing-especially for a holiday weekend in a resort town in Southern California. ( i think my wait in line at starbucks in the village was longer than the whole dang hike!)