Last year, I wrote a post honoring my mother for Mother’s Day for all that she has done. This belated Mother’s Day, I am writing an open letter to my pride and joy, my two sons.
Dear N & M:
Words cannot describe the love and joy the two of you have brought to me. I could have a challenging day at work, but at the end of the day, I remember that I am coming home to two of the best boys (now growing into men) in the world–you!
Of course, I am biased since I am your mom, but let me support my assertion by providing some examples.
Nick, you came into this world as a millenial baby. Thanks to you and the mass media hysteria about ‘Y2K’ (the codename for the year 2000), my New Year’s Eve 1999 into 2000 was to be quite frank, boring. Little did I know that you were just a few days away from trying to make a grand entrance into the world!
You were supposed to be born in March, but decided in mid-January after you dad and I traded in his sporty Saturn for a Saturn SW (station wagon) that we were ready for you!
Thanks to your shenanigans of turning overnight from a breech position and then refusing to exit during induction, you were born the day after my boss’s birthday–thank you for sparing me the moniker of suck up of the century, lol!?
Well, we figured out you were smart fairly early on when you couldn’t yet walk, but you already knew how to operate a five disc CD changer – and pick the music you wanted to hear. You had good musical taste too!
Healthwise, you have always given us a run for the money, so to speak. Thanks to mother’s intuition, when you wouldn’t sleep through the night for the first three months, I rejected the pediatrician’s insinuation that I was a nervous first time mama.
Oh, no, I wasn’t haven’t any of that. I sought out a second opinion and by the way, that African American woman doctor from New York (my home state), Dr. Harris, was far superior to the patronizing male doctor who incorrectly insisted you were colicky.
After taking the time to listen to me, Dr. Harris took into account your short medical history, did a quick physical and without any X-ray or sonograms, diagnosed your condition and gave me a referral to a specialist to seek confirmation and a solution.
She was spot on and diagnosed you correctly with a double inguinal hernia and suggested we get them repaired ASAP before your intestines dropped and got twisted in the open slits which hadn’t closed up yet.
I have more stories–I’ll save those for another day 🙂
Even more impressive than your good naturedness throughout early childhood health woes is how well you adapted when we drop shipped you (figuratively speaking, of course) into Fukuoka, Japan at age three and a half. Within two months, you had picked up so much Japanese at youchien (daycare).
Friends commented on how you sounded like an adult when you spoke Japanese.
Oh. my. god. I still vividly remember the look on the taxi driver’s face that time we went to Costco in Fukuoka and you told him in Japanese that he was taking us the wrong way. I thought he was going to have a heart attack. A tiny gaijin (foreigner) child who not only speaks fluent Japanese, but is impertinent enough to correct the taxi driver and tell him how he should go to a complicated out in the country (think ‘inaka’ aka the sticks) shopping center. Priceless.
Or what about the time you helped me out my talking to the gas company when I was trying to communicate with them to see how to get the gas connection to our apartment restored. Oh the dead silence when I said ‘chotto matte kudasai’ (please wait a moment) – let me put my 4 year old son on the line.
Yeah, they must have thought I was crazy and even crazier was the fac that the 4 year (you, Nico-chan) could hold a conversation with gas company staff and in Japanese…..oh gaijin-sama, how ever could this happen?!!
I could brag about you all day and all night and for a lifetime. Oh, and so could your grandmother, aka ‘Mamie’ – your American mamie, that is. Ask her someday for a few stories–she has tons. She visited Japan two times to see you and your brother!
Some of your later childhood years included joys and sorrows / trials and tribulations. The main theme can be summed up as transitions–some not as smooth as others from the Center for Highly Gifted Students (elementary school) to a magnet middle school and then being uprooted in 11th grade and moving out of state.
You somehow always pull through even when times are tough. Your middle name is resilience – like the phoenix always rising from the ashes.…must be due to the Phoenix Rising concerts I took you to when I worked for USP?
Soon you will embark on a new chapter of life — college bound in just a few months. For the past few months, it has sunk in that you are no longer a boy. You can now vote and in France, you are registered for military service if ever called to serve your other country. It has become almost a nightly ritual to hug you and say that I miss you already even though you are not gone yet.
And now let me talk about Max.
Well, Max, you had the great fortune of having an older brother ‘onichan’ in Japanese who was my super helper. Nick would help grab me a diaper or a bottle whenever you needed to be changed or fed. He didn’t feel threatened by not being the sole center of attention.
You are special in that you were born in Japan. Thanks to your jet black hair and jaundice at birth, the nurses in Toono Clinic had trouble distinguishing you from the Japanese babies.
You probably don’t remember this, but you had frequent ear infections and in Japan, the ENT specialist insisted on restraining your arms with what looked like a straight jacket so that he could puncture your ear druma to drain fluid. We went so frequently that you started to cry just looking at the examining room table.
Yes, I did ask about ear tubes, but the ENT must have wanted the repeat business and refused to put them in. Had to wait until we moved back stateside and yes, that was the first thing I did after getting health insurance back home — get ear tubes to put you out of your misery!!
Fast forward to your childhood in Kensington. You liked to keep us on our toes between cooking snacks in metallic packages in the microwave and staring at the resulting flames to accidentally flushing toys that caused a $1,000 blockage in the plumbing system….umm, isn’t it ironic that you are now a Technical Staff Sergeant for a ground rescue and safety services unit (Civil Air Patrol)? We love you all the same!
Your fiery temper flared up over insignificant cultural differences such as refusing to eat Canadian pizza where the toppings are covered by the cheese to refusing to go to school.
Regretably, it took me awhile to connect the dots for your reluctance to go to school before getting you a visual development assessment and finally a diagnosis! I had no idea that when you were reading, the words from one page floated to the next. I can only imagine your frustration! So happy your grandmother told me about vision therapy!!!
Our move to Happy Valley was rough, but you have done the best out of everyone to pave your own way here through your participation and achievements in Civil Air Patrol I am so proud of all that you have become–a confident, caring leader!!
Ok boys, I could write a book about you both, but since Mother’s Day came and went and I still haven’t posted this, I will end it here.
N & M, know that I love you both to the moon and back — and as Buzz Lightyear would have said — to infinity and beyond!