The Root of All Evil (Part one?)

There I was driving on Interstate-80, tired, hungry, and above all else – thirsty. I had just finished an ACLS class where I’ve been for the past two days learning how to save the lives of my fellow humankind. The radio was tuned to NPR where Ira Glass was talking to some guy about rubber duckies that somehow floated away into the Pacific Ocean never to be played with again. But I was not listening, I was hardly hearing the radio at all. Like most days when I have a long drive ahead of me, I go into auto-pilot: my hands and eyes are directing the car towards home, safely and legally, while my mind blurs and focuses on matters miles away from my body.

On this particular drive, my mind wandered to a book by Yann Martel. I read “beatrice and virgil” many months ago, but there was a scene from that book that suddenly popped into my head. In vivid detail, Yann Martel describes the plight of several Jewish women running away from their Nazi aggressors, and in their struggle to flee they are caught in a river and could go no further. They were surrounded by Nazis from all sides, their only solace was the river water flowing waisthigh. One by one, they drowned themselves – because death was far better than being caught in the evil hands of those Nazis. Tears welled up in my eyes, and as they rolled down my cheeks I was suddenly triggered back to my car – still heading home, and still driving safely, Ira Glass still talking away on the radio. But I continued to cry and I found myself asking the whys and whats, unanswerable question directed to the heavens, asking God for whatever FAITH I have left in him.

What makes one human being want to hurt another human? What makes a person like me want to spend hours learning how to save a stranger, while another goes to great lengths to kill another? It makes no sense to me when humans are risking life and limb to save lives in Japan, while other human are losing life and limb to destroy other lives in Libya. How can I help? Where to I start? What is the root of all this evil?????

Usually when my emotions are up-heaved and the adrenaline is pumping and passions are running high – I push my Superhero button and my mind and body is deluded into thinking I have superpowers. The energy allows me to run faster, think clearer, and do almost the impossible – just like how I saved that mannequin in my ACLS class during a mega code. I truly, truly want to do something to nurse this grief in my heart, make a difference and become a stronghold in the face of evil. I want to give to humanitarian causes. I want to fly to inner city neighborhoods and plant my skills and knowledge in the soils of despair and crime. I want to do something…anything…and everything.

I am capable. I am willing.

But I am not available. There is a dark and evil force that is too strong to break right now, because I am in auto-pilot and I am being directed to follow my daily routines and sub-routines in order to function within prescribed parameters. I have to get home and give the dog a bath, clean the house, go shopping, then pick up the girls from day care.

My tears have drained away for now but the grief remains. My questions remain, and the answers are waiting for my searching soul. I will be available to go on that quest, right after all the planned and random routines have been acted away, and little ones successfully sent to sweet slumber. I will again explore my superhero button and battle the cobwebs of sleep to find that root of evil and axe it away.


Lovely Jelly Rolls

These are my baby Isla’s arms. They are my jelly rolls. I nibble at them for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and every hour on the hour for snack (except when she’s sleeping of course). They are delicious, these chubby arms, and so lovely. And lovelier still when she coos and giggles when I nibble at them, my lips chomping with delight.

I am sad because I know these jelly rolls don’t last…they start to fade away around six months…at about the time she starts crawling away. When Sophia had her jelly rolls, the only attention they got was the meticulous wiping of the folds during bath-time. But when they disappeared, I surely noticed their absence.

Lately, these jelly rolls have become a constant reminder of how lucky I am to have a healthy child…again. Chubby arms, chubby legs, chubby rosy cheeks - such wonderful signs of health could easily be taken for granted. Which I did, until some things outside of my comfort zone pried my eyes open to the sad possibilities. I have several friends who are trying to get pregnant and most of them have experienced that joy of pregnancy only to be heartbroken by a miscarriage. One friend has had several miscarriages and now that she is pregnant again – she is deathly afraid of another miscarriage. Just the mention of “baby” or the tune of a lullaby brings her to tears. And I feel for her and the others. I have been there. I know what it’s like to wish for more than anything in the world, to bargain everything else in my life just to have that one wish come true. I remember the pain of having that wish granted only to be taken away. I remember the secret sadness I felt when someone else had pregnancy news. I remember thinking what a horrible person I was for being so angry at someone else’s good fortune – but I truly felt there was no justice in the world because I knew what a good mother I could be and there were bad mothers out there having babies right and left.

Another sad possibility is to bear a child that is not so healthy. I have a friend who gave birth only 24 weeks into pregnancy, and that precious baby is fighting for her life in the NICU. I cannot imagine the heartache, worry, and agonizing stress the parents are going through right now and into the future.

For some odd reason, while my healthy child was gestating in my womb and I went on a pregnancy leave of absence…I came across a blog about a mom who lost a disabled child. And from that blog I followed links to other moms who have also lost children. As I read their stories of sorrow, their struggle to move on, and their quest to find answers to why it happened, I couldn’t wipe the tears from my eyes fast enough. The blogs were so painful and heartbreaking, yet I couldn’t stop reading. I couldn’t understand my obsession.

Life is a mystery and the forces of heaven and nature intermingle with our destiny – at least with mine just recently. I returned to work two weeks ago. And last week, just minutes before my shift ended, I received a patient assignment that put things into perspective: A little 20 year old girl with cerebral palsy, quadraplegic, absolutely helpless, nonverbal, mentally disabled, and just recovering from sepsis. At first I was afraid of taking this complex assignment because of all the tubes she came with and how fragile she would be. Upon entering her room, the first thing she did was smile at me, and of course I fell in love with her right away. At first I felt so sorry for her, this poor child trapped in such a wrecked body. I was afraid to touch her for fear of breaking a bone or inflicting pain that she couldn’t express. I went home feeling absolutely sad.

Back to work the next morning, I met the mother. Then immediately I remembered the blog stories, the thoughts and feelings of the mothers, their wishes to make others understand that having a disabled child is a gift. After just a few words, I felt a connection to the child’s mother, and as such felt more comfortable and competent at caring for her daughter. She said “if I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing” – the exact same words the blog mothers said. Having this child has given her and her other children such a special appreciation and perspective on life. I laughed and cried with her as she shared her thoughts and experiences. I left that day feeling better about the child, because of a mother who did not and will never give up on her.

I wonder if I would have acted differently toward the child and mother if I did not have the understanding that the blogs gave me. Would I have acted like the night-shift nurse and become frustrated at the mother for being critical with the care given to her child. Would I have continued to be afraid of caring for the child and limited my rounds. Who knows, but I sure am lucky to have found the blogs and coincidentally apply that knowledge to my job. Furthermore, I am acutely aware of the fragility of life and realize how lucky I am that the daily concerns for my children does not include “Is she getting enough oxygen?” or “Is her skin breaking down?” or “Will the germs on my breath kill my child?”

Cam and I are lucky for our healthy children. And we promise to never take their health for granted.


My Husband: The Man, The Legend

Today is the birthday of the love of my life. My dear, sweet, and absolutely super husband. So, after a well deserved breakfast prepared by his supergirl daughter and me, his super(sexy) wife, I decided he also needed a little space here in etherspace devoted just for him.

Yes, it is no secret that he is the love of my life. If he was nothing more than just another guy off the street that I just happened to fall in love with, that would have been enough. But no, he is so much more. Before I met him, I was a poor heartbroken soul who was ready to give up on love and run away to the nunnery. But there he appeared in my A&P classroom wearing a labcoat and lecturing on the intrinsic anatomy of a cat. As I listened to him, I decided right then and there that I wanted to marry him. Never mind that he was my teacher and that I knew nothing more than his name…I wanted to marry him. But just so I don’t go jumping into an inferno like I had done so many times before, I checked off the list one by one. YES, I had a list- well thought out and itemized after the latest nasty break-up.


#1: He must love the outdoors.

Cam is an absolute outdoorsman, more so than me. He had braved freezing winter in a tent, caught and tagged birds in the wild, hiked up to Machu Picchu and waded chin-high into muddy waters. But all his adventures before he met me were not what sealed the deal. It was when we went on a camping trip and we needed to build a campfire but we had no kindling. Then like a lumberjack, Cam said “don’t you worry little lady, I’ve got it under control,” and then he pulled out his axe. My jaw dropped and my eyes popped out into little hearts.

#2. He must be into science.

Science is a big deal to me, I loved the subject since I was in elementary school and always got the trivial science questions right on Jeopardy. It was a definite must that my one and only loved it too - I imagined me and the one in our old age sitting on our porch chairs, sipping our iced teas, and discussing the theory of relativity. So when Cam took me on our first date to the Newport Aquarium in Kentucky and named all the fish in their scientific names, I felt like I was on a date with Einstein. “This is the Zebrasoma flavescens,” he said, pointing at a yellow tang, “a saltwaterfish species of the family Acanthuridae…” You had me at Zebrasoma baby.

#3. He must love children

Let’s face it, my last few relationships were disasters when it came to children. They did not know how to interact with them. I, on the other hand, am infatuated with kids. I think they are the most precious creations on earth and I go into a sad withdrawal if I don’t get to hear their laughter or pinch their deliciously chubby cheeks on a daily basis. So, when I first introduced Cam to my little nieces and nephews, it was actually a test. He played with them, wrestled with them, told jokes, and made them laugh. It wasn’t long before they were competing on who got to sit next to him in the car. I was amazed. Not only did he pass the test, he obliterated the competition - me.

#4. He must want to travel.

Traveling is one of my biggest loves, and it is a must that The One is there to share the world with me. So, not even six months into dating, Cam asked me “If you could go anywhere in Europe, where would you go?” Florence was my reply, and Florence was where we went. This man was proving himself worthy, and he wasn’t even trying that hard.

#5. No smoking

Cam was a social smoker, but he quit when he met me. Enough said.

#6. He must like my friends.

You would think that liking the friends of your significant other is a given - but you wouldn’t believe how many loser boyfriends I’ve had who couldn’t stand my friends and vice versa. Note to self and everyone- if your boyfriend speaks badly of your friends, then he’s probably not The One- DUH! However, Cam was a big hit with my friends. Not only did he like them, they liked him back.

#7. Must have a good relationship with his family.

This item came after the latest boyfriend dodged his parents every chance he got, and I tried my best to reconcile his relationship with his dad. But I had no such problems with Cam. It was clear that family was important to him. He was raised by very supportive parents and grew up with amazing sisters. I’ve never met a guy so close to his family. Not only that, his cousins and aunts and uncles and other further relations have birthday reminders in his I-Phone!

#8. Must be a romantic

Romance is essential for any relationship to work. Cam certainly wowed me the first time when he drove me in his rickety Toyota 4-Runner to a secluded field in the middle of podunk Ohio. It was the middle of the night, dark, and the nearest house was miles away. I had just met this man and no one could hear me if I screamed! Then he pointed up at the sky as several shooting stars streaked the night. “The Perseids meteor shower,” he explained, “it happens once a year. Make a wish.” It was my very first meteor shower, and I was in awe, not only of the magnificent spectacle in the sky, but of the man standing with me. “Did you make a wish?” I asked him . I almost cried when he said “My wish already came true,” as he spooned Ben and Jerry’s Bananas Foster Ice Cream into my mouth. This guy was for real! Real, because the romance has continued through the years. Even now, when I appear before him in my wrinkled pajamas and stinky morning breath…all traces of that youthful beauty gone…he still makes my heart go aflutter with his romantic ways. And yes, every year in August, we still drive to where civilization ends to watch the Perseids in the clear night sky, kids and dog in tow.

#9 Must be appealing to the eyes.

Okay, so I admit I can be shallow - I was looking for someone tall, dark and handsome. Someone with the face of Keanu Reeves and built like Matthew McConaughey. Although it was not number one on my list, physical attraction still had some importance. But then again, I would be looking forever if I was set on someone who looked like a god and still have those awesome qualitites. No one like that exists, right? Wrong. Cam proved me wrong. While I believe in love at first sight, true love comes only after seeing the person for who really is. I did think Cam was very handsome the first time I saw him, but he became even more attractive with every moment I spent with him. These days, Keanu has nothing on him, but we’re still working on his six-pack.

#10. Must love me wholeheartedly

While this is the last must on my list in the beginning, it has now become the most important. I did not expect Cam to love me wholeheartedly in the beginning…I had just met the guy! It would have concerned me greatly if he said he loved me wholeheartedly just minutes or even days after he met me. There are con-artists out there who have broken many lonely hearts while stealing away with their money. No, that kind of love can only happen after going through hard times, seeing the ugly, and experiencing the worst that could happen (I will spare you the gruesome details.) He is still with me, and still loves me, after all this time….wholeheartedly.

I remember a hazy past back in the Philippines, when I was wee, sitting on a painted bench by the sea, watching a setting sun, and dreaming of faraway lands hidden in the orange horizon. I remember a single thought of destiny, that there was someone out there meant for me, and that when it happened…it’ll be forever. Well, that little girls dream did come true. Cam was and is truly The One. He is my knight in shining armor, my beloved Romeo, my superstar, my gallant champion. He is my Superman.

Happy Birthday Cameron, I love you.

Forever, your Honeybear.


My social butterfly

My darling daughter always amazes me. Not only is her beautiful face beyond comparison, her personality is golden. Yes, I tend to place my daughter on a sky-scraping pedestal. I see in her a person who will achieve great heights and realize her dreams with jaw-dropping tenacity. She has accepted her baby-sister with amazing grace, loved her immediately from the very beginning. She is eager to help me with diapering and feeding, and fetches washcloths and binkies without hesitation. My fears of her exhibiting signs of jealousy have been completely obliterated. Since the arrival of her baby-sister, my husband and I have demanded more of Sophia, asking her to play quietly, instructing her to settle down more often, and making her wait until after baby-sister is asleep or done feeding before we could attend to her requests. And although there have been moments of stubbornness and resistance, those times are negligible compared to the many times Sophia waited patiently with a smile, yielding to the baby’s more immediate needs. And yes I do feel guilty for asking so much out of her – but like a grown-up she seems to understand that she is no longer the only child in the house.

What amazes me most of all is her social intelligence. She can go into a room full of kids she has never met before and within minutes become everyone’s BFF. She is an absolute social butterfly. Her active imagination and penchant for laughter and silliness has made her popular among her friends. The parents of her little buddies call to see if their children could have play dates with Sophia. Her classmates at school jump up and down with excitement and can’t wait to hug her when she arrives. At the park, I am always in awe at how easily she makes friends with the other children. It doesn’t matter if the kids are older or much younger than her, she’ll approach them, say hi, then in the blink of an eye they are running around like old friends. The other day, a girl twice her age arrived at the park and Sophia said “Hi little girl, you want to play with me?” Such confidence. Such a free and easy spirit to assume that everyone wants to be her friend, and she’s never been refused.

Which is why it took her by complete surprise when one little girl said no. Sophia was playing in this spinning rocket contraption at the park and she was having a great time all by herself until this cute 3-year-old girl came along to see what Sophia was doing. Sophia graciously stopped spinning, acknowledged that the girl was smaller than her and politely asked “Would you like to play with me? You can get on and I will spin you.” The little girl screamed “NO!” It was a growl of negativity, a very loud and very mean rejection. The little girl’s mother came and reprimanded her of course, but it was too late. Sophia was shocked, but most of all hurt. No one has ever refused to play with her before, and she didn’t know how to take it. The tears welled up in her eyes and she ran to me. “I want to go home mommy,” she kept saying through her tears. I felt so bad for her, but it was a good time as any to learn a lesson. I tried to explain that it’s okay, that some kids just want to play something else or want to play by themselves, that some kids are just not as ready as she is to become friends and need more time, that some kids are too young or too small to do the things she could do, that some kids are just plain spoiled and the parents should be spanked (that last one I kept to myself). It took some time, but she finally calmed down. And that cute little 3-year-old, blue-eyed blond and all, eventually came to Sophia to apologize and asked if they could play. And like best friends they played until the mosquitoes swarmed and ran us all out of there. But not before the little girl’s mother came to me and asked if they could play together again sometime. My social butterfly persevered once more.


Barefoot Essentials

My dear husband got me the Vibram Five Fingers for Christmas, and last night I broke them in. These funny looking running shoes with toes were an eye-catcher. I was the only one wearing them at the gym. Needless to say, my shoes were a magnet for snickers and furtive pointing, and will probably be the subject of conversation for many gym groupies. And once upon a time, I was one of those fools who laughed at these ridiculous shoes and labeled the wearer as some gung-ho freak for the next shoe hype.

But after reading that book “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall and a little further research, I was convinced the true hype was from the expensive, highly padded shoes I’ve been buying from shoe giants like Nike, Asics, and Reebok. The shoe industry got it wrong. “Protecting” runners’ legs and joints with heavy shoes that provided padding and buffers and cushioning was doing more harm than good. Humans are natural runners, using only the beautiful feet we were born with. Our feet were designed with balls and toes that support and balance our bodies everytime they land on the ground. And as we use our feet more often, pushing our skills from walking, to tippie-toeing, to jumping, to running…we naturally build the muscles and develop strength to match our ever increasing needs.

Those cushioned shoes are preventing our feet and legs from developing those muscles and strength, hence foot and leg injuries occur. In fact, foot and leg injuries have increased despite the advances in shoes cushioning and padding. And it is clear why. The more we protect our feet, the weaker they become.

As I walked around the treadmills at the gym, I noticed the feet of other runners with their big shoes. They landed on their heels, which is the exact opposite of how we should land. Try jumping barefeet and notice how we land on our forefoot and toes, the natural way of landing and balancing. Our heels were not meant to absorb the shock of our whole body when it lands, the shoe supposedly absorbs it…but in the long run our knees and backs pay the price.

The Vibram Five Fingers felt so comfortable, and I could actually feel the ground with my feet. I felt a connection, a sense of awareness of the surface I was walking on. I felt that same nostalgia and summer glee of walking outside after winter months of staying indoors. It was like putting on a brand new pair of shoes and I couldn’t wait to run with the wind. My feet felt free to move, did not have that cramped feeling of imprisonments. My feet felt healthier and more balanced.

So come on, bring out that super-athlete in you. Go out there and run barefoot, it’s so good for you.


Vaccination Consternation

Yesterday, everything went to hell at the doctor’s office. The girls were getting their shots. Sophia had a total of 5!! Isla had 3!! The poor dears, their tearful screams were enough to send me to an insane asylum…I felt so bad! At first, Sophia had no idea she was getting shots, and she was all happy and cooperative, a perfect angel. But as soon as the LVN came in the room with the needles, there was no reasoning with her. It took a full 10 minutes just to get her sweater off as she screamed bloody murder. With all the ruckus, the baby put in her two cents and started her shrilling cry. And to top it off, the LVN was no help as she just stood there watching me and Cam wrestle with our perfect daughter to expose her arms just so 5 needles can be jabbed into them. Sophia was surprisingly strong, it was like tackling down a tarp in a category 5 typhoon (believe me, it's impossible). “I really don’t have all day,” the LVN said disapprovingly. Why don’t I stick those needles up your a$$ and see how you like it B!@tch! We finally called another person to help hold Sophia down. HOLY MARY MOTHER….it was so painful to watch. Her gushing tears were making me cry. Then it was Isla’s turn and I had to hold her legs down. I felt weak with guilt. With all the screaming and the LVN rushing about, I was concerned about her getting all the needles right.

When it was all over and after about 15 minutes of calming the girls down, we finally left and headed for Coldstone Creamery for well deserved treats. Candy Cane ice cream with rainbow sprinkles and marshmallows made all the owwies go away. That and 5 princess stickers. Let’s see what happens next year.


Where the wild things are

Traveling with children certainly changes the destination and adventure. When it was just Cam and me, we were free to wine and dine in the poshest restaurants; we scanned cities with thoughts of romance and relaxation; we jumped on tour buses at a moment’s notice, route unknown; our itineraries included words like “class 5 rapids” and “extreme downhills” and signed waivers were required before we let our adrenaline do the walking; we went to bed every night without really sleeping (wink wink) and woke up every morning to a new city; we signed up for dangerous missions and packed whatchamacallits with our unmentionables; and need I mention all the hot cars we wrecked and the bottomless glasses of martinis we drank – yeah, shaken not stirred.*

(*disclaimer: the last few events took place only in the author’s so called mind, but exaggerations are so much more fun to write.)

Now that we are traveling with kids, the adventure really begins in the airplane…no, at the airport…well actually, the trip to the airport. Okay, so the adventure begins even before we leave the house. Packing is pretty wild. It’s not just clothes anymore. We have to figure out a way to haul the car seat, stroller, booster chair, and toys along with our baggage. Then somehow stuff diapers, bottles, breast pump, snacks, books, lap tops, DVD’s, extra clothes, and more toys into a luggage that’s already ripping at the seams. And the trip to the airport is even wilder because we have to turn around and return to the house at least three times to retrieve items we’ve forgotten or think we’ve forgotten. But the really wild part is at the airport. If you haven’t gone through security with a stroller and a baby strapped to the carseat…well you haven’t really lived. And let’s not talk about the plane-ride if you are pregnant, have back pain, epilepsy, or heart-problems.

When we arrive and finally get to enjoy the city/resort/jungle/wasteland we’ve chosen to throw our hard-earned money at, the first thing we do is rest-up, and sleep, and rest some more, and sleep some more. We must always have a plan when we go out; our maps clearly show where the public restrooms and play-areas are. Dining choices are limited to “kid-friendly” restaurants and must have diaper-changing stations in the restrooms. There’s nothing wilder than using a beautiful restroom sink as a tub to bathe a toddler covered in poo (yes...sh!*t happened, it really did). Tipping the server is a wild adventure as the percentage increases with every utensil dropped, drink spilled, food thrown, and yes even glassware broken. The looks we get from strangers are no longer because we are a cute couple in love but because there’s a baby screaming and the other child is wrapped around my leg. Hotel fitness rooms are no longer essential with all the running around between zoos, aquariums, playgrounds, amusement parks, museums, ice-cream shops, toy stores and any storefront colorful enough to catch a kid's interest.

When we finally return to our hotel room, it’s a whirlwind to get everyone cleaned up and ready for bed. We are so tired but happy, smiles in our faces and all the wildness temporarily spent. As we hug and kiss our kids goodnight and tell them we can’t wait to visit all the wild places again the next day, Cam and I know just how lucky we are to have these adventures at all. We would not change a thing. Not one wild minute.


I (also) have a dream...

I dream of a day when the liberals and the conservatives elected to their thrones can walk together hand in hand and have civil conversations and not judge each other by the parties they belong to but not judge each other at all. I dream that one day, the news media will actually report the facts and not muddle the truth with insinuations and opinions that can sway the minds of those easily swayed. I dream of a time when I don’t have to worry about my daughters getting cancer or developing a chronic disease because of the air they breath, or the water they drink, or the food they eat. I dream of a place where my daughters are free to roam without fear of some stranger snatching them away. I dream of a fair world, not the one we live in now where families lose their jobs, then go homeless and hungry because the government chose instead to use billions of dollars to bail out a fat-cat on Wallstreet. I dream of a day when the budget for teachers is overflowing and students get the rightful education while the military has to hold bakesales just to fund another killing machine. I dream of a day when the healthy organic locally grown vegetables are a dime a dozen and those mass-produced, picked-before-ripened, trucked-in from another country variety packs rot on the shelves because they are too expensive for the average consumer. I dream of a day when huge, gas-guzzling SUV’s stop polluting the air and clogging my parking spots because people have come to realize that they are not driving on rugged mountain roads but smooth paved highways. I dream of a day when the government actually represents all the people and not just the top 1% who have the money and the means to sway officials to their elite causes.

Yes, I also have a dream today. I live in this imperfect world and struggle to make it better for my children. I strive everyday to exalt every valley, to lower the hills and mountains, and to straighten the crooked places. A better place, a better tomorrow, a better world. That is my hope.

Happy MLK day to one and all.


Pipe Dreams

We got together with some friends: 3 husbands, 2 wives, and a whole lot of kids running around in my tiny house (and this was after running around in the park for 3 hours!) I played the good hostess: pizza, chips, salsa, popcorn and beer all around while playing referee/coach to the kids and babying the baby (I’m really getting good with this multi-multi-tasking thing!)

The conversation: investing. Who’s money? Mine, his, ours. The idea: if each family had $10 thousand to spare, let’s all pool it together and make millions in the stock market! If not the stock market, maybe have a brilliant idea, invent something, and again make millions! The three guys were all excited, spouting out plans to lure investors, suggesting companies (evil vs. good) worthy of our time and money, checking out stocks in real time (the I-Phone came in handy), naming billionaires who have done it (and bygosh, why couldn’t we!)

The guys were about to pee in their pants with the excitement of spending money they didn’t have. The other wife and I ate the chips and rolled our eyes. Patiently, we listened to their pipe dreams, nodding our heads appropriately. They were like children who have just cracked open a piggy bank. They wanted the yachts, the beach house, the Learjet, and a small private island – all they had to do was play the stock market: buy low and sell high – just how hard can it be! Now, show me the money!

Calmly, the other wife said: if she had to trust her money with anyone in the room, it would be with me – the only other woman in the room. I beamed with pride. My husband laughed (laughter stopped short with my evil eye). He claimed I was too emotional and could not be trusted with money (such bravery to speak about me like that, even if in jest). He said I think emotionally. What does that even mean?

But then again, much beer was imbibed that night, and so the discussion and dreams became more grandiose and eventually dwindled down to nothing. The night ended and we returned to reality. Pipe dreams to be continued at the next smoke-out.

That night, as we snuggled in bed, I asked my husband again if he would trust me with his money. “Yes, of course I would trust you. You have really good judgement,” he said. Good answer, honey. See how fickle men can be depending on the company they are with? Now who’s thinking emotionally.


But why mommy?

This morning, I interrupted my 4-year-old Sophia from her morning cartoons to ask her to change out of her pajamas. However, she had other fashion plans and told me she really liked her Rapunzel sleep wear and would like to wear it all day. I argued that while the outfit looked really pretty on her, it was only for sleeping and she needed to wear something else for playing, and so in my most commanding-I-am-the-boss-here voice, I took my charge as a mom and asked her again to change for the tenth time. As she reluctantly marched to her room, in her whiny-I-never-get-my-way voice, she asked “but why mommy? Why can’t I wear my jammies all day?”

The same confrontation happened at breakfast when she wanted to eat macaroni and cheese instead of cereal. I explained that we can eat Mac and Cheese for lunch, it wasn’t appropriate for breakfast. Again, in that voice, she asked “But why mommy, why can’t I eat what I want for breakfast?”

For both questions, I gave a reasonable answer, but later I began to question my answers. Why indeed can’t we wear that or eat this at certain times of the day? Why can’t we wear pajamas all day if they are comfortable and why can’t we eat mac and cheese for breakfast? Why am I making my daughter follow a routine that I don’t necessarily follow myself. I sometimes go to sleep in my scrubs and go to the store in my jammies simply because they felt comfortable right then and there. And I admit I’ve eaten a cold pizza or ice cream for breakfast and cheerios for dinner because I wanted to. Why am I putting limits on my daughter on the littlest things, when I am trying my best to open her mind and teach her to be a free spirit? And who exactly says that we can’t eat what we want for breakfast? It’s the first meal of the day…we should be able to eat what we want. We have the rest of the day to replenish or reduce our consumption. And oh please, if that pajama is comfortable enough to sleep in, it certainly is good enough to play in. If Sophia is free to decide for herself what is comfortable and likes the clothes she wears at any time of the day, then that is the first step to being comfortable in her own skin.

the zen warriors