Monday, July 18, 2011

First 60 Days - Christmas in July

I brought children into this dark world because it needed the light that only a child can bring. ~ Liz Armbuster

Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.  ~Rabindranath Tagore

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big thin back and realize they were the big things. ~ Robert Brault

July 17th is 60 days into my 40th year and it's the anniversary of the most important day of my life. I became a mother on the17th of July in 2007. I know I am not alone in feeling this way. There is no feeling like being a parent. Kids test every inch of you. They bring out every emotion you possibly have and a few you had no idea existed. Within 60 seconds, they can piss you off, scare you and make you laugh out loud - sometimes on purpose and sometimes without even realizing it. My friends and relatives with older kids tell me it doesn't get easier. It just gets different.

I have never been much of a worrier. I don't stress easily either. This year has really tested my self-confidence professionally, but that's another post. In any case, I have to say that a little piece of me is less trusting and more worried since the kidnapping and murder of Leiby Kletzky, very close to where I live. I couldn't write this post without talking about the effects of this news on me as my son turns another year older. I have always wanted to raise a free range kid. You can click for a full understanding, but in a nutshell, it's a child-rearing philosophy that is based on raising kids to be self-reliant. That can mean letting them pick their own wardrobe, making their own sandwiches or even sending them to the store alone or letting them get home on their own after school! While I still value this school of thought, I have to admit that the Kletzky case has left me a little uneasy about how to pursue free range childhood for my son. He is much too young to walk anywhere alone, but the time will come where his father and I will have to make these kinds of decisions. I most certainly do not blame the little boy's parents. All of the blame belongs to the sick individual who took him from his family. I think all parents deal with hard decisions like letting their kids walk home alone for the first time or taking public transportation, dating, etc. As parents we do the best we can in the world we have. I cannot think of this little boy's case without a lump forming in my throat. And it makes me so very sad that someone like me, who always sees the glass half full, is now reconsidering that notion.

On a brighter note, I often look forward to Ethan's adolescence, filled with athletic events, crushes and best buddies. But I don't want to lose the wet kisses and tight hugs that he randomly gives me in private AND in public of his own accord. I hear that will end some day for fear of embarrassment, and while I look forward to being that embarrassing parent, I never take his kisses  and hugs and quirky noises for granted. I firmly believe he is who he is going to be for the rest of his loving and affectionate with a serious mischievous streak and flare for drama! It's been a 4 year adventure that has tested me in many, many ways. And I have no qualms with asking for a break, leaving him with his father for a few hours or even overnight while I refresh alone or with girlfriends (who need to refresh as well).

So how did we celebrate our 4th anniversary as parents to this child? SESAME PLACE on Saturday and TOYS R US on Sunday. Has anyone noticed that Toys R Us is like walking into a time warp? The "new" toys are not new at all: Scooby Doo, Star Wars, Transformers, and Alphie. Remember Alphie, the talking robot?

Well that's what Ethan was into? Some fake tools, one robot, light sabre and $200 later, it was Christmas in July. It's was a great weekend, one that I will never to be taken for granted for we are not guaranteed another day. Kiss your babies goodnight, even if they aren't babies anymore.

I have to admit the toy shopping was fun.  That camera you see? It is cool for a playskool toy. It takes up to 1000 photos and you can download the photos using a usb cable. 
Who doesn't remember the Mystery Machine and Scooby Snacks?
I think Ron was really hoping that Ethan would like the chain saw. He was playing with that thing well after Ethan had moved on to a different toy.

Oh, and Ron was definitely into the light saber. I have to admit, I was swinging it around too.
I know this post has been a little all over the place, but that's the kind of month it's been - all over the place. That goes for the photos of the month I chose.

PhotoS of the Month

I have 2 photos that really inspired me this month. The first photo is the part of the Rocky Mountains that surround Salt Lake City called the Wasatch Mountains. This is a view from my hotel parking lot in Layton, UT at 9am in the morning. They were simply breathtaking. I felt like I could reach out and touch them.

My second picture is quite literally a world away from the one above. This is my brother-in-law, Erick "Arc" Elliott. He is an up and coming artist and I was privileged to see him perform at the Nuyorican Poets' Cafe in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I was so truly impressed by his stage presence, his music and overall performance. While my husband and I were quite easily the oldest people in the audience (even though we were the only ones who knew that - wink), the music has a wide appeal. It's one of things I love about hip hop - the storytelling aspect of the genre is applicable to all of our lives. We all have stories to tell and there are always others who can relate to those stories in some way. My husband was beaming with pride about his little brother who is 13 years his junior and whose diapers he helped to change. It was really nice to be part of his early audiences! We may never get a chance to see him in a small venue again. His star looks bright.

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