If Tomorrow Never Comes…

I was just thinking today about the beautiful song “If Tomorrow Never Comes”. Do my children really know I love them? Have I told my husband how deeply I love him?

I’ve always found it hard to express my feelings in words. Writing was easier so I stuck with that, but of course that was only good for so long. When we first got married I had to force myself to say “I love you” to Glad. It was hard, but can you believe that it was also hard for me to say it to my babies? I had to make myself do it at first because it has just never come naturally to me to verbalize my love for them. Besides, I couldn’t very well send my baby a note that said “I love you”, could I? At times I’ve done better at saying it and at other times I’ve just given up because I wasn’t doing as well as I thought I should.

Lately I’ve made the effort to make sure I tell each of them “I love you” at least once a day. For the children it’s usually when I tuck them into bed. Logan has gotten used to it and now he says “I love you” to me even before I say it to him. The first time that happened I melted. It’s so nice to hear that from your child. Since he has only recently started talking he was never able to say it before.

Just today I was dressing him and he hugged me and said “You love me” (meaning, of course, I love you, in his messed up personal pronoun use). I could tell he meant it and wanted to express it. This is the first time he has said it of his own accord and it meant so much to me.

With Glad somehow I find it harder. I guess I’m like most women and expect that he should say it first. I do want to hear it from him, but it seems most men also have a hard time verbally expressing love. I’ve realized that, like it or not, I need to be the one to say it. I have told him before that I like to hear it and he has made the effort to say it, but it died out after a time. Lately I’ve been bugged by his not saying it but I couldn’t bring myself to ask him to say it. I mean, what woman wants to constantly be reminding her husband to say “I love you”? You start to feel like a nag and that isn’t romantic. Just today I realized that it doesn’t matter who says it as long as one of us does. He will respond to my “I love you” with his own, so I guess that will have to do. I can’t expect him to be perfect.

I do know that he loves me; he just expresses it differently, mostly through how hard he works to provided for us. Look at this list:

1) He is working to get a preschool for the children from the local slums going. This is going to be a free school for those who are most needy, the ones who’s parents can’t even afford to send them to the government schools. It’s a huge undertaking. He has to scout out the slums, find a house nearby to use for the school, set it up, train teachers and staff, and get sponsorship from local companies for it. And he is doing all this with a minimal knowledge of Tamil. Mostly he is able to get someone to go with him who speaks Tamil and can translate for him. It’s going slow, but we hope to have the first (of hopefully many) schools open soon. See the link below where this project is covered.

RPI – Relief Projects India

(Make sure to browse the rest of the site. Relief Projects India has many projects going, mostly with abandoned babies, handicapped children, and educating the public about female infanticide. They could use all the support you can give. Glad and I personally know the couple who head up the projects and can vouch for them as being people who are there for the children and not the money.)

2) Three days a week he is teaching public speaking as an after school course to 7-11 year old’s.
3) Four nights a week (9-10:30 p.m.) he is teaching English to a Korean executive.
4) Every other week he helps a friend with seminars.
5) Once a week he oversees the children’s entertainment center in a large hotel during the Sunday brunch.
6) He is on call regularly for events where he sometimes does balloon sculpting.

Sometimes I forget how much he really does for us. Maybe that is why he’s so tired all the time. My job is to be there for him and let him know how much he is loved and appreciated.

So now take a minute to watch the song “If Tomorrow Never Comes” by Garth Brooks, and think about what it means for your life and family. Country music is not really my style but this song is an exception.

Early Morning Thoughts

I don’t know how long I’ve been lying awake now, nor do I know why I’m so wide awake, but it is 4 in the morning and I can’t sleep. While lying in bed my mind has been working overtime. I can’t stop it no matter how hard I try. I just can’t sleep. So I’ve given up. I’m awake and I might as well do something constructive.

I’ve had many thoughts pass through my mind over the past hour or so. Mostly though, I’ve thought about the blogs I read and why I like them. Each one I’ve chosen for a different reason, so I thought I’d list the reasons here.
First there are the blogs written by memebers of my family. I do like to know what my family is up to and how their lives are (since none of us are good letter writers, this is a good way to do it), but the fact of the matter is that they are the worst bloggers. Some of them have not

(at this point Lila woke up, so I went to nurse her and now she too is awake)

updated their blogs in over a year. I think most of them prefer facebook as a way of connecting. While facebook has its uses, it is not useful for writing and expressing your thoughts. I only use it to keep a connection with family and some old friends, but all my important stuff goes here. I’m considering deleating some of their blog links since it is obvious they don’t use them, but then I don’t know if I should.

Next there are a few that belong to friends. I read them because I know the people who host them, not necessarily because I find them interesting, though some are.

And then come the ones I read because I like them. Even these fall into several categories. One would be the ones I read but rarely or never comment on, simply because they have so many followers that my comment would be lost in the shuffle.
You’ve probably noticed I have a lot of “mommy blogs”. I like these because they help me feel I’m not the only one who is having a tough time being a mommy and we all have our good and bad days. I also get ideas and insight, or maybe just a few laughs from them. I enjoy these ones the most.
Some of these blogs attracted me because of their unique layout and design, others because the content is always interesting, and others because I find the person writing them to be interesting – they transfer their personality to their blog and that makes reading it all the more interesting.

Lila is begging for my attention now. She tries to carry on a conversation with all the coos and gurgles and sounds she knows. I don’t recall Logan trying this hard to communicate at this age. She acts like she is really saying something and she expects that I understand exactly what she is saying. It is so cute.
She walks very well now while holding my hand, and a little by herself. Of course she tires easily and will get down and crawl more often than not, but I think by her birthday she will be walking well on her own. Right now she is staring into the fish tank. It facinates her. She loves animals just as much as Logan does, maybe even more so.

I just hope she doesn’t make a habit of getting up this early in the morning because it is out of the norm for me. She did the same thing last night, spending a whole hour awake, talking and playing. Tonight she is quieter but also more wide awake. What a day we are going to have. I may need more coffee than normal.

Two Years Ago

I’m sitting here thinking about two years ago. It doesn’t matter that it is still a few days away, the event I have in mind. Maybe it’s because we are celebrating Logan’s birthday tomorrow that I am thinking about it. What is it? Well, his birthday, of course. I mean the actual day he was born.

He wasn’t even due yet. I was only 7 months pregnant, yet I was lying in the clinic bed, the doctor telling me that they’d have to perform an emergency C-section. My water bag had been leaking all day and showed no sign of stopping. Logan had a strong heartbeat but he wasn’t moving. The doctor was worried. I was scared. I remember looking at my tummy and thinking it looked like a deflated balloon. A tiny lump on the right side of my tummy showed where the baby was lying. There was no water left by the time he was delivered.

Yet he made it.

He was taken to a larger hospital a few hours later as the small clinic didn’t have the needed facilities for a premature newborn. Glad went with him. I didn’t even know all that had happened or that was happening for the first few days. Glad would visit Logan twice a day, and then come back and be with me. He deliberately didn’t give me all the details of Logan’s condition because he wanted me to rest and not worry about the baby. He stopped breathing the day after he was born and had to be put on a ventilator for 5 days.

Yet he made it.

I left the clinic on the fourth day after he was born. I desperately wanted to see my baby, to hold him. So Glad took me there. I wish he had prepared me. I walked in to see my baby covered with tubes and needles. I just stood there, wanting to touch him, wanting to cry. He was so tiny, so thin you could see all his bones and every joint. I would have cried but the nurse saw and told me firmly, “Not in front of the babies”. That hurt. But I braved it and forced myself to touch my baby and feel how soft he was. Then it was time to go home. I had to rest, but I didn’t want to leave my baby.

When I got out in the hall, I broke down. I don’t know how long I cried for. It hurt so much to see my baby like that. I didn’t know if he was going to make it. I was sure he was going to die. All the way home I couldn’t stop crying. I got into bed and tried to stop but I couldn’t. It hurt too much.

Yet he made it.

Over the next few days before he came home, I had a constant fear that he was going to die; that the next call from the hospital would be to inform us of that. I started to dread calls from the hospital. My heart would pound at the mention of it, until I heard whatever the news was. It was always good, but until I knew, it was hard.

On the tenth day after he was born, he came home. He made it! He never had a single health problem relating to being premature from the day he came home.

I think God has a special plan for his life. If Logan hadn’t been born that day, he would have died. So God had the water bag break so I would go to the hospital. The cord was wrapped around his neck so tightly that the doctors had to cut it before they could deliver him. Had he moved around it would have tightened and choked him. So God made sure that he didn’t move, not even a toe, until after he was born. That lack of movement saved his life.

He made it!

Now as he turns two, I think about how special he is. When I ask him for a kiss, he opens his mouth wide to get one. When I tell him I love him and ask him to say, “I love you, Mommy,” he will blow a kiss.

Tonight as I was putting him to bed, I told him the story of his birthday (the toddler version of course). He lay quietly, listening carefully, something he doesn’t do very often. Then when I told him it was time to get into bed, he didn’t make a fuss. He lay down and didn’t wiggle around like he usually does. He must have been thinking about the story.

My baby is growing up.

Here he is at 8 days old.

And here he is at two.

Of Books and Christmas

It’s November…you all know what that means. It’s almost Christmas! Yippee! I love Christmas – the decorating, hiding gifts, baking, snow…oh yes, I like snow at Christmas. Sometimes I wish it would snow just for that month, or even just that week. It just doesn’t have the same feel without snow. And the candy canes. I miss them so much because they remind me of Christmas. I can’t find them here. Thankfully I can bake my own fruit cakes so I don’t have to go without those, but I always wish I could find some candy canes. This year I’m thinking of making a fruit cake and decorating it to look like a candy cane. If I pull it off I’ll be sure to post a pic.

Speaking of which, I need to get a good Christmas family pic, and by that I mean it has to look Christmasy, with nice clothes, and a good background. I have no experience with Photoshop, but I wonder if I could get it done at a shop? (I’m thinking out loud here, bear with me.) I want to send it with my Christmas cards, which I need to send soon if I want them to get there on time. Gotta dig out that mailing list, the one I never use during the rest of the year. Pretty much everyone I know uses e-mail, except my grandparents. But I feel that nothing can replace a Christmas card in your hand that you can open and look at over and over. E-cards don’t do the subject justice.

What else do I have to do? Plan gifts. I’m ahead in that this year. Some are covered already, but I’m waiting on Logan’s as I have to see what he gets for his birthday. We’ve invited some people for his birthday, so as a rule, I don’t buy stuff I or the kids need or even want for our birthdays’ until I see what gifts are received. It can save money in the long run.

On the topic of gifts, I have been blessed with a husband who could care less about them. He will give one if necessary, but it will be up to me to select and wrap it. That is why I never get gifts from him. On my birthday he gave me an envelope with money. That is how much he hates shopping for gifts. I’m just wondering if there is a way to talk him into actually taking the time to get me something, hide and wrap it, and give it to me. It’s just always been a tradition in my family to give gifts and I miss it. Even a simple gift means a lot to me. But I can’t get my hopes up. I figure if I give him enough gifts he will eventually get the point and get me one. (Or maybe he won’t, in which case I’ll have to ask him to do it…but I know he hates it. What a dilemma.) What do you think, Sweetie? Will you get me a gift this year?

In other news, I had the day off today, meaning someone else kept Logan and I could do what I wanted as long as I had Lila. (Sadly, mommies don’t get a full “day off” until their kids have moved out.) So at 11 this morning I went to a bookstore. I love to read and was determined to find a book for myself. I can’t remember the last time I bought myself a book. Usually I just find the e-book of what I want to read, but today I wanted a real book. I think I spent 2 hours in there. Lila took a nap on my shoulder since I couldn’t bring the stroller to the upper level of this small shop. I didn’t have Logan along so I could go slow and take my time. It isn’t easy for me to decide what I want to get if I don’t have something in mind beforehand, so it took a lot of searching, selecting and discarding, and searching some more before I made up my mind.

Under the section of “Self-help” books were a large selection of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series. There was “Chicken Soup” for every possible category: the traveler, mother and daughter, father and daughter, teen, kids, love, and more. I’d love to have the whole collection because these are books I read over and over. We already have two of them in the house, so I settled for a third: “Chicken Soup for the Mother of Preschooler’s Soul”. Yes, I knew that was for me. I also picked out a parenting book called “How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk”. I’ve read a summary of it before, but I feel it’s nice to have the whole book, in print, so I can study, mark, and store away the knowledge I will need for the day my kids start talking. 🙂 I also picked up a pocket-sized book for Glad about wine – making, harvesting, how to tell one from the other. I thought it was a find as he likes to make wine. I hope he reads it. Last of all I got a height chart for Logan. I’ll get a pic of him by it and then you’ll see why he was hugging it tonight.

I was happy with my bookstore adventure. I would have stayed longer but Lila was getting fussy and I had to get her home. After she slept, I got some coffee, a pack of chocolate cookies, and sat down with my new “Chicken Soup” book and read it cover to cover. There are some things you just don’t understand until you experience them: motherhood is one, raising children is one, and it’s so nice to hear from people who understand what you are facing and can help you laugh about it when you feel like screaming. That kind of time out can truly refresh your soul and help you keep going. Get one of those books if you don’t have one, and if you do, go read it again or get a new one. Then take a time out and read it. You’ll feel better.

Contemplation

 

Oh to be a child again. I wish I had time to just stand on the balcony and watch the world go by.

20 Years Ago Today

Something happened 20 years ago today that changed our family. No, we didn’t win the lottery or make a trip to the moon. This was the day my mom was in the hospital having her 8th and last baby. Yes, my little baby brother, Ezekiel John, is now 20 years old. He told me his birthday wish is to forget the last 20 years, but I plan on remembering some of it for him, so here goes.

Zeke (as we have called him ever since I can remember) was born 2 days before my 11th birthday. (Uh oh, now you know how old I’m turning.) Actually, my first memory of him is that I named him. Yes, I had a dream shortly before he was born that this old man came and said his name was Ezekiel and that he was the baby. How’s that for weird? Well, my mom went for it and named the baby after the dream, though she debated whether Ezekiel should be the first or middle name. I’m happy it was the first as John is waaaay to common.

Let’s see what I remember about when he was a baby. I had to take care of him a lot, I remember that. He had measles at 11 months old and was in the hospital for a while but made it through.

He hated potty training. I have a picture of him on the potty, smiling through his tears. (Zeke, you can be happy I don’t have a scanner or all those old pics I have of you would be here.)

Once Zeke was old enough to talk, he didn’t quit. (I think all of us owe you an apology for shushing you each morning before you started talking. Josh, Steve, Anaik, back me up here.) I guess we all liked being quiet in the morning and he loved to talk, so we would shush him before he even started and he would get mad at us. He had a knack for starting a conversation right where he left off, even if it was a few days later, and you would have to stop and think about what he was talking about.

I remember his 5th birthday well because I made a cake for him, not just any cake, but a large train. I used loaf pans for the cars, frosted them, and added chocolate covered nuts for the coal. Since I also made a big cake for my own birthday 2 days later, we were eating cake for days after that.

After that I moved somewhere else for a time and wasn’t living with him much, actually until he was 10. Then my mom wanted me to take over his schooling (we were all home schooled). So I was his teacher for grades 5 and 6 for sure. Did I also do grade 7 with you? I can’t remember. I made sure he did everything the books said, and he wasn’t too happy about that. He hated writing especially. If the book called for a sentence answer, he would make it as short as possible. One thing we did together was work on research for a Canadian province. He had to find all sorts of information about it, along with pictures. At the time I wasn’t too internet savvy so we used Encarta and library books for our research, and we printed color pictures from Encarta, probably draining all the colored ink from the printer. But it was a fun project.

His 12th birthday is also a memory for me because he and I were the only ones there. My mom and the others in the house were gone for a month to the US and we stayed in our house in Mexico, and both had our birthdays while everyone was gone. I told him that since he was now older I would get him a movie that he hadn’t previously been allowed to watch. Since he liked sci-fi’s, I got “Independence Day” for him. It scared him so bad he couldn’t finish watching it, though he decided to watch it again the next day.

And I will have to stop here as a few months later I again moved away and haven’t seen him since. I recently joined Facebook ’cause my dad wanted to show me some pics (which you haven’t posted yet, hint, hint) and I found Zeke there, so now we are in touch more.

I have also seen how his writing skills have grown. Though Zeke is technically a Taurus, he has a strong Gemini influence, having been born on the cusp. His mind is like that of a Gemini. He thinks a lot, loves to read, can write well, including poetry, but in other areas like food and movies and creature comforts, he is Taurus all the way. Got the best of both worlds.

So I hope you have a happy birthday and that you don’t forget all of the past 20 years. Just remember the fun stuff, like how you loved reading books and playing with Lego and watching Star Trek when you were finally allowed. Hopefully some day we will visit each other again. Maybe you should come for a visit here since it’s easier for one person to travel than 4, though I miss Mexican food terribly and would love to have some authentic tacos, enchiladas, re-fried beans with tortillas, nachos, tamales, and on the list goes. You will have to eat some of that for me.

And now a toast (raise your glass, whatever you happen to be drinking will do). May the next 20 years be better than the last and may you enjoy them enough to not want to forget them when you turn 40. (I’ll see what I can do about that frying pan you wanted, Zeke.)

I’ll close with a recent photo of him. Doesn’t look much different from when I last saw him, just taller. (Sorry, but I post pics of every person when it’s their birthday. You made it easy for me this year.)

Vacation Highlights

Well, I finally get to sit and write about our vacation. I am only going to put the highlights as most of the 10 days were spent doing routine things – mostly things involving the care of the baby. So here we go with what we did on vacation.

Glad drove some people in the car while Logan and I went with the rest by bus. We took a night bus that had beds instead of seats all along the sides. I’ve never seen anything like it. The aisle was no more than a foot and a half wide and the beds were about 5 ½ feet by 2 ½ feet. It wasn’t very easy to sleep in as I spent most of my time hanging on and trying to not fall out of bed.

Inside the bus. See how squishy it was?

The trip takes about 14 hours so most prefer it to be while they are sleeping, which in a way is good as you get something done while you are sleeping but it was hard to nurse the baby while the bus was swaying side to side. There is one portion of the road on the way to Goa that is very winding and it takes a good two to three hours to drive it. On the way back it was easier as that portion of road passed before I went to sleep and I slept better on the way back than on the way there.

Happy boy having fun on the bus.

Once we got there we made our way to our hotel. It was a simple place, mainly just set up for sleeping, though we also had a fridge and TV in the room.

Samsung

The view from our balcony.

The view from our hotel room Trying to get us in the pic.

The beach was just a 10 minute walk away. Logan had his first experience of being on the beach. Well, he didn’t like it too much but he put up with it, mostly because of the wind and heat. Goa is extremely hot and you have to have an aircon in the room to just feel comfortable. Every time we stepped out of the room it was like walking into a sauna, the humidity was so thick.

Down on the beach Logan got his first taste of waves splashing on him, sand on his feet, and being sticky and tasting sandy milk. After the second or third time at the beach he didn’t mind it so much.

What he did enjoy was the pool. Every time we took him in, he would kick and have a great time, and he would also tire himself out enough that I would put him on a sunbed (in the shade of course) and let him sleep while we swam. His after-swim naps were some of his best.

Samsung

Even superman has to sleep

One highlight to remember is the night that Glad sang to me at dinner. Every night they had a “band”, a man who could hardly sing, with his guitar. So one night I’m sitting eating. Glad had gone to get more food from the buffet and I was about to put the baby into the stroller when I heard “Sit down, Honey, I’m going to sing for you.” So he sang for me in front of all the old couples who were there and afterwards they were all congratulating him. It was so sweet. He was nervous during the first verse so he couldn’t get the cords but kept playing anyway and got them on the second verse. Oh, you want to know what song he sang, do you? It was “You Fill Up My Senses”. Such a beautiful song.

Another highlight was going to the Saturday Night Bazaar, something they have every week. Our band was playing so we went to see them as well as do some shopping. I found a Goa shirt Logan’s size and Glad had to get him a superman shirt, so Logan did the most shopping that night. I got a nice top and Glad got some too. Then we got a whole roast chicken to take back to the hotel for dinner. This bazaar is full of all kinds of things, and not just ethnic Indian things either. There are many foreigners who go there to sell their wares. Items range from clothing to jewelry to bedding to ornaments, food and more. The big thing about it is you don’t pay the price they first give you. If you do they know you must be a dumb rich tourist who doesn’t care about the price. Everyone bargains to get the lowest price possible. It’s tricky but some people get real good at it.

On our last day there we wanted to do something special so we set out to the beach and on the way met someone representing a major company here that was giving away prizes. We got a top prize so decided to walk to the hotel to claim it. On the way we met two others doing the same thing and each time we got a top prize. The last guy took us to the hotel and in order to claim the prize you had to take the tour of the property and listen to them try to sell you on their holiday package. In the end, we didn’t qualify for their packages, which we didn’t mind, but we did get the prize (all the prizes we scratched on the cards were the same) – paid stay at one of their hotels for up to 14 days in Goa or 7 days in Singapore. Well, we might use it, you never know. And of course, being that a beer company was hosting this, we got a large bottle of beer. This outing took most of the morning but it was something different and we did enjoy ourselves.

The only nice thing about coming back to Bangalore after being in Goa is that the weather here is much cooler and not so humid. Otherwise I didn’t really look forward to coming back to work. What am I saying? My work traveled with me. He was a very good boy for the whole trip. Actually, he loves going out in the car and seeing new places. He gets bored being in the same place for too long.
Well, I can’t think of anything more that stands out. Most days were spent sleeping, eating, resting, going to the beach, and of course caring for the baby.

Oh, one thing comes to mind. Twice I got to go shopping without the baby. Glad kept him in the hotel while I went to some nearby store to indulge in the womanly art of shopping. I think that was so sweet of him. Once the baby was sleeping and once he was awake but happy. Glad hates shopping and I think Logan does too, since the last time I took him, he gave me a hard time. He fussed and cried and I ended up buying something that didn’t fit. Oh well. And I made sure to not be gone too long (1 ½ hours max.) so the baby wouldn’t freak out when he got hungry. It felt nice to be able to shop without bouncing him and trying to get him to be quiet at the same time.

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