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Archive for June, 2010

Your grandpa was awesome! Week #26

Dear Luki,

In two days you will turn one year old. One year old! Typing that just now made me a little dizzy. Time is spinning way too fast and I can’t seem to keep my balance.

Even though you will not remember it or even realize that it’s happening, we are throwing you a birthday party on Saturday. There’s going to be tasty food, and a cake, and lovely decorations, and I know everyone is going to have a wonderful time… but I also know that it will be one of those moments in which I will miss your grandpa more than ever. It seems terribly unfair that he didn’t get to go to a single one of your birthday parties.

But today, Luki, I want you to know that, although you only knew him for five short months, you remind me of your grandpa every single day.

You see, a few weeks before he died, while you and I were visiting him and grandma, he made you laugh for the first time. Your grandpa started jumping in front of you like a frog and suddenly, you began to giggle so hard that you could barely breathe. It was magical.

But what I remember most about that moment aren’t your delightful squeals, it’s your grandpa’s face. He looked so proud and overjoyed to have provoked those giggles! And now, every time I see you explode into a fit of laughter, I think of that day. I can see him, a wide smile spread across his face and a twinkle in his eye.

It’s a wonderful, happy memory that you helped to create. Thank you.

So Luki, even though your grandpa won’t physically be there on Saturday, I am convinced that his presence will be felt amidst your laughter.

Don’t you ever stop laughing sweet boy.



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It's his ear's fault

It's his ear's fault

He may look like a baby who just kicked crawling in the butt, but in actuality Luki has been sick for the past few days. It started with a runny nose and some chest congestion, and then, over the weekend, I noticed he was a little warm and discovered he had a slight fever.

When we saw that he was remaining still for more than thirty seconds at a time, we figured something must really be wrong, so Ton Ton stayed home from work yesterday and took him to the doctor. The diagnosis? Double ear infection!

My poor baby!

They put him on a round of antibiotics and he’s been doing much better for the last 24 hours or so. And by much better, I mean he has been walking/climbing/crawling/opening-and-closing-kitchen-cabinets without so much as a millisecond break to catch his breath.

As sad as I am about his ear infections, his visit to the pediatrician helped clear up a little issue we’ve been having with our son.

You see, when the doctor looked in his left year, she couldn’t see whether it was infected or not because he had too much wax in there. Can you believe it? All that wax and he’s not even one!

There is a reasonable explanation for this: Even though Luki looks exactly like me, he seems to have inherited his father’s exceptional ability to produce ear wax. I googled it and it is hereditary.

Every few years, Ton Ton has to go to the doctor to have his ear canal irrigated and he always comes home talking about how everything sounds so much sharper and no wonder his bandmates kept telling him to lower the volume on his guitar. (I’m sorry, was that more information that you needed to know? Do you not come here to read about my husband’s ear secretions? I apologize for that.)

The point I’m trying to make is that the candle factory in Luki’s left ear totally explains why he’s been ignoring us every single time we tell him to stop licking the electrical cords. Or leave the remote control alone. Or please, for the love of God, do not open the kitchen cabinets and suck on the Windex!

It’s not that he’s headstrong…it’s that he couldn’t hear us! Poor baby. So young and so misunderstood.

What? You want to know how come he immediately starts to pay attention any time the words saltine, banana, or strawberry come out of our mouths?

Obviously, his right ear is reserved for food related matters only.

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It's official

It's official

He’s been doing this for a couple of days now, but I was just able to capture it on camera. If you have a kid, you know how it is — as soon as you want to get a picture of a new milestone, he immediately stops doing it. Put the camera away, and he’ll start walking all over the place again. He’ll walk to the moon and back. But none of your friends will believe you.

Today, I finally got lucky. Or maybe it wasn’t luck. Maybe I was able to snap these pictures because this is it. It’s not something he’s just trying out for size anymore… it’s The Real Deal! Maybe he, like so many humans before him, has chosen the upright position as his primary method of transportation.

The open mouth thing? It totally helps him keep his balance. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.

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Your grandpa was awesome! Week #25

Dear Luki,

I’ve been having a tough time deciding what to write about this week. Sometimes I wish I could tell you about the things your grandpa liked — his hobbies, his passions, his major interests… but every time I try to start a letter like that, I can only think of one thing: us.

I have no stories about his devotion to a favorite sports team; no anecdotes about him going fishing and bringing home a big catch; I can’t share any tales about him playing golf, or poker, or collecting antique cars.

There was only one thing your grandpa cared about. And it was his family.

So, I can tell you that I remember going to the park every Saturday to kick a soccer ball around with him and your uncle Ani. That he stayed up late every time I had a Science Project due and helped me cut the pieces of construction paper in straight lines. That he ironed my pants.

That he called your grandma from work to remind her to take her medications. That he built her a custom closet. That he made her a cup of tea every morning before leaving the house.

I can tell you that he taught your uncle Ani to change the oil in his car. That he wired your dad’s sound system. And that, from the moment he heard you were coming, he talked of nothing else.

And maybe you’ll read this and think, “how boring… to lead such a simple life, to have no passions or hobbies except for your family.”

But I want you to know, Luki, that he was happy. Really and truly content. In need of nothing else. I never once heard him say, “what if” or “if only” or “I wish I would have.” In us, he had it all.

May you grow up to find that same satisfaction, my son.



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Father's day, a day late

Father's day, a day late

I spent the weekend out of town with my mom. We went to DC to see Silvio Rodriguez in concert and it was super fun. I will dedicate an entire post to Big E’s antics while we were there, but right now I just want to send a little shout out — albeit a day late — to Daddy Ton:

You know, this whole becoming parents thing was kind of his idea. He was the one who’d bring it up coyly, nonchalantly… maybe we should start trying, it’s not such a crazy thought, babies are cute… I would stare him down, tell him he was delusional, and pour myself a third glass of wine. “What do we know about babies?” I’d say. “Nothing! That’s what.”

Our pregnancy was totally unplanned. When I peed on the stick and saw the two lines, I felt a wave of emotions and, to be perfectly honest, most of them were unpleasant. Ton Ton, on the other hand, only felt one thing: complete and utter happiness. He started jumping for joy right there, in the bathroom, and hasn’t stopped since.

This past weekend, his first one all alone with Luki, he absolutely rocked daddyhood. They went shopping, picked out an inflatable pool, and spent most of their time together relaxing in the water. Ton Ton kept me abreast of everything by sending me dozens of picture text messages.

And as much as I loved hanging out with my mom, walking around my beloved college city, drinking sangria, and seeing my most favoritest musician live, in person…I missed the hell out of those two.

Good call on the whole wanting to become a father thing, Ton Ton. It’s definitely the best idea you’ve had to date.

Hey! Please click the link below to vote for my blog. I’m trying to rule the Internet. And when I do, I’ll totally make you ambassador to a nice, tropical site.

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Your grandpa was awesome! Week#24

Dear Luki,

Father’s Day is this Sunday. And, as it tends to happen whenever a holiday pops up on the calendar, I am missing your grandpa more than ever.

I still remember everything about the last Father’s Day we spent together. I was eight and a half months pregnant and your dad and I hosted a barbecue to celebrate some of the fathers in our lives. We bought your grandpa a hat that said #1 Grandpa and he absolutely loved it. He was so proud and excited, so ready to live up to the hat’s message.

I posted a picture of him in the hat and wrote about that day in my blog. And I said that you were a lucky baby to have the #1 Grandpa.

I still find it incredibly difficult to believe that things have changed so much in the past year. That you won’t ever get to wish him a Happy Father’s Day. That he won’t get to relish all the joys of having a grandchild. That I won’t get to buy him a present ever again.

Even though it’s been more than six months since he passed away, those truths still seem mistakable, unintelligible, surreal.

But the thing about good fathers, Luki, is that they leave indelible marks on the the people they come in contact with. Your grandpa only had two biological children, but there are countless people who bear his stamp. People whose lives he touched, people who learned something from him, people who admired his way of looking at the world.

A few days ago, the faucet in our kitchen sink broke. If it had happened a year ago, I would have called your grandpa and asked him to repair it, but instead, we had to call a friend. A friend who knew your grandpa and worked with him for some time. He fixed it right away. And when I thanked him for a job well-done, he said to me, “your dad taught me how to do this, he’s the one you should thank.”

And I do thank him. I thank him every day. But not for teaching a young man how to fix a leaky faucet…

I thank him for spreading himself out so much. For leaving bits and pieces of him all over our world so that we could stumble upon him when we least expect it. Because when you put all those traces together, they continue to form the picture of a #1 Grandpa.

You are still a lucky, lucky boy indeed.



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Competing birthdays

I love my birthday. LOVE IT. I have no qualms about celebrating it the entire month of October. Feel no shame in soliciting lavish and extravagant gifts from my family. Suffer zero remorse when declaring it The Most Important Day of the Year every single year. I truly and honestly believe that October 24 is far superior to all the other days on the calendar.

I mean, I care about the traditional holidays and other people’s birthdays, but not as much as my own. Not at all. This year, for example, I am contending for The Worst Wife of the Decade Award by abandoning Ton Ton on Father’s Day and his birthday.

It’s not completely by choice. On Father’s Day weekend, I’m going up to DC for a concert. But it’s not just any concert. It’s Silvio Rodriguez, one of the most amazing Latin American voices of all time, my favorite musician ever, the same one who has been denied a U.S. visa for the past 30 years and was finally approved last month. It’s a dream come true. A once in a lifetime opportunity. And Ton Ton isn’t really a fan, so I’m going to the show with my mom.

On my husband’s birthday, I’m going to be at a conference for work. A legitimate, important, serious gathering of the minds IN NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA! LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL, BABY! Ahem. I mean, work, work, work. Busy. Busy. Busy.

If Ton Ton ever abandoned me on my birthday, it is likely that the whole ordeal would end up in divorce. Unless the abandonment was part of his plan to throw me off course the giant surprise party he was hosting for me. In Paris. With all my friends. And a special guest appearance by Silvio Rodriguez. Then I guess I could forgive him. Maybe.

In conclusion, Ton Ton is a saint. And I’m a terrible person.

But that’s not really the point I intended to make with this post. You see, even though I can’t stand the thought of there being a more important date than October 24, for the past few weeks I have been preparing for July 2 as if it were the King of the Calendar.

July 2: The day Luki was born.

There’s going to be a party. With a theme. And custom invitations. And special favors. And plenty of food. And I may even try my hand at a craft project for the decor (I just need to figure out how to cut in a straight line first).

Ridiculous, I know. He is turning one, he won’t have any idea of what’s going on. And also? It’s July 2. Not October 24. What is wrong with me?

You could say that motherhood is making me into a more selfless person. That I’m becoming more mature and finally coming to the realization that it’s not all about me. That I love Luki so much, I’m willing to give up The Most Important Day of the Year to him, because July 2, 2009 was The Most Important Day of my Entire Life.

You could say all that.

And I would respond that if July 2 is upping the ante with a themed party and handmade decorations…October 24 better get a trip to Paris. And a special guest appearance by Silvio Rodriguez.

P.S. I wrote some more about Luki’s birthday celebration on Peanut Butter & Guava, my new blog over at the Charlotte Observer.

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