Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Red Flower

Typically, in our house, we don't condone murder.  This includes ants, worms, and butterflies.  (But excludes flies and cockroaches, in an understandable caveat.)  This rule also includes flowers.  As in, "Mommy, Dano just keeeeeeled a baby flower in the back yard!"

Yesterday evening, Fernando and I were laying on our bed, just talking through life.  The windows were open, and some unseasonably cool Phoenix weather was making life particularly sweet.  We laid there listening to the sound of our kids laughing, spraying each other with the hose, and tossing tennis balls up on the roof.  (Don't ask.)  

Suddenly we heard Daniel exclaim with his usual exuberance, "I'm going to go give Mommy this red flower!"  Violet squealed (with her usual sidekick exuberance) and then we heard footsteps, a screen door open and shut, and more footsteps to the side of the bed where we were resting.  And then I was peering up into two beaming-with-pride faces, wet and sweaty from outside play, offering me one perfect red bloom from one of our hibiscus plants.  

It was lovely.  Then we noticed, it was a little TOO lovely.  We started to launch into our "please pick flowers up from the ground, don't pick them from the bush" speech, but then stopped.  His face was too precious to deflate.  That bloom was so incredibly beautiful, and I realized in a moment that it meant a thousand times more in my hand in that moment than it ever would had we left it, unnoticed, on the bush on the side of the house.  

Maybe it was the cool weather and magical evening, but I couldn't stop looking at that bloom.  It sat in my hand for a long time, and then on the counter next to me after that (because let's be honest, dinner doesn't make itself).  

I think I thanked him a dozen times for that flower.  And each and every time, without fail, he puffed up with pride and flashed me that sweet, cock-eyed, almost sympathetic smile... the one he pulls out when he knows he's done good.  "Mommy, I knew you'd love it.  It's red, and red is your favorite.  I love you Mommy."  

And somewhere halfway through making those sandwiches, I made a decision.  No, I won't encourage picking off living flowers.  But every time one is presented to me in the future, regardless of where it comes from, I will exclaim with joy.  I will shower praise and thanks.  I will make sure that as long as this season of sweet-son-who-is-giving-Mommy-spontaneous-thoughtful-gifts lasts, I will enjoy it.  Because it won't last forever.  

In the meantime, I will keep writing these things down so when these precious seasons DO end, I will have some way to savor the memories.  Because we all know my memory is toast.  

(What color was that flower again?)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"I'll Love You Forever"

On our most recent camping trip for Violet's birthday, we started what I can only guess will be a new Amaro family camping tradition:  Bringing a tub of books with us and reading to each other at the camp site.  We read in the tent.  We read at the picnic table.  We read around the fire.  It was delightful, to experience some of our favorite well-worn books in a fresh new surrounding.

Somehow, "I'll Love You Forever" made it into the camping pile.  It's a book I had been avoiding intentionally for years, knowing my tendency to get a bit emotional while reading it.

At lunch one day, the kids picked it out of the pile and handed it to me.  I lost it on page two, and Fernando took over only to fall apart on page 4.  (There is a REASON we don't read this book.)

There we sat, two grown adults, bawling our eyes out in the forest.  Our children just stared at us, bewildered, asking why we were crying, unsatisfied by my wails of "I just love you so much!!"

Since then, they won't touch that book with a 10-foot pole, whispering loudly that "This is the book that makes Mommy cry".

After we got back home though, Daniel casually said to me, "You know, Mommy, some day I'll grow and grow and grow until I'm 32 and then I'll live somewhere else."  (pause)  "Away from you."  (pause)  And he flashed me his mock-super-sad face, as if waiting to see if he could trigger the water works again.

When I didn't succumb to a waterfall of emotion, he dropped it and went off to play legos.

As of right now, I'm black-listing that book permanently.  It's just too much of a risk.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Professional Dream Killer

Weeks ago in our parenting Bible study, we read a portion that warned parents against imposing their own career ideals and goals on their kiddos.  We kind of patted ourselves on the back, agreeing that hadn't done this and truthfully had no opinions about our kids' future careers.  It's that silent self-congratulatory attitude that parents get right before they get smacked in the face.

Yesterday, over dinner, Daniel declared that he would like to be a construction worker.

And suddenly, just like that, it turns out that I DO have an opinion about these things.  Moms tend to develop opinions when their sons make declarations like these.

Fernando and I exchanged furtive glances across the table.

"Honey, do you mean that you want to draw the design and tell people what to do?"  (Look at me.  Hoping for a promotion in the career my son doesn't even have.  I should win some kind of award for this fabulous parenting.  And by fabulous, I mean terrible.  I am not proud of this blog post.)

"Nope!  I want to be a construction WORKER.  And build candy stores.  And giant cars.  Not little ones with my legos."  And then in case I hadn't heard him, he sounded it out, "CON-STRU-CTION-WOR-KER."

More furtive glances between me and Fernando.  The kind that silently agreed to funnel a bit more money into our retirement accounts because THIS kid wasn't gonna be able to support us in our old age.

Time to revisit that Bible study chapter, I'd say.