Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dear Gavin

Maybe it's because you are the middle child, but I really have a soft spot for you kiddo.  This year you have such a wonderful teacher, Mrs. Clement for first grade.  She sees in you everything that I do and maybe more.  She told me that in all her years of teaching she has had lots of very smart children who have been drilled on the presidents of the US or taught to read early by persistent parents, but only had four truly "gifted" students, and that you are one of them.  I have always known that your mind works differently than the rest of us, but she says you are brilliant.  In class you will come up with the answer in a completely different way then the other kids, and it is still correct.  She told  me that you will change the world someday.  I am so thankful that she can see beyond your quirkiness and lets you figure things out in your own way.  You are voracious about writing and drawing and aspire to be an author and illustrator when you grow up.  I love that your imagination is amazing and you can think up such complex plots with great detail.  I treasure the books you have already written and have every faith in your future goal.
You love animals.  You get that from me, you know.  When we had those kittens you would love on them, sometimes too much.  You always were the one to snuggle up with Aspen and I know how much you must miss her.  Before Christmas you had your mind set on buying a black lab puppy.  You took all the money you had in your piggy bank and brought it to me in a ziplock bag and asked if it would be enough to get your very own pup that could sleep with you in your bed.  You were part of the wheels on our newest endeavor of getting a guide dog puppy.  I know that our dog will be the most loved of any and that you will help to train him for his service role.  He may even be that black lab you wanted so much.
You are persistent.  Even as a baby I remember trying to let you cry it out at night and listening to you wail for hours until I could no longer bear it and I would come get you.  When you get your mind set on something nothing can get in your way.  Although this can be frustrating for me, I can see this trait taking you far someday.
You are helpful.  You are always the first one to offer to do something for me, and the first one up getting their chores done on Saturday without complaint.  You take your job of feeding the cat each day very seriously and make sure that she feels loved too.
You are talkative.  In school this gets you in trouble sometimes, but I secretly love it.  I'm glad that you feel comfortable talking to both kids and adults and can carry on a good conversation.  You have no fear of asking an adult a question, whether it's a waiter for a refill of your drink, or the lifeguard for a pair of goggles.  Cameron uses you to do this for him often and you happily oblige.
There are so many things that I just adore about you and I can't wait to see what you make of yourself someday.  I am so very proud that you are my son.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dear Cameron

Now that you are 10 you are a real, big kid.  As much as you yearn to be older so that you can watch PG-13 movies and have more freedom, I yearn for you to stay little and forever be my baby.  I'm so thankful that you were my first.  You were such a good baby and toddler, you slept well and played with those Thomas trains in the basement for hours without making a peep.  You eased me into my role as Mom and I won't forget that.  You are my soft one.  You are compassionate and gentle and you really feel things with your heart.  Last week at Pop Pop's funeral you sat beside me and held my hand.  When my tears came you whispered for me to squeeze as hard as I needed to and you kept looking up at me, reassuringly to tell me it would be ok.  I want to remember that forever.  A few weeks ago I dropped some ice on the floor in the kitchen and asked you to pick it up.  Moments later I turned to see your eyes flooded with tears because Aspen would always eat the ice that fell on the floor and you missed her desperately.  Now that you are in fourth grade, school has gotten tough.  Sometimes this means a couple hours of homework at night and I hate it just as much as you do.  As much as I want you to learn, I just want you to be mine when you come home and I hate hounding you to get it done.   I am thankful that you did not inherit my weakness in math, in fact it is because of your gift with numbers that you made it into the gifted Signet program at school and I am terribly proud of that.  I am glad that for one day a week you can go to your special class and let go of the regular pressures of school and let your mind take you where it may, exploring whatever interesting subjects appeal to you.  You still love legos and video games,and you are masterful at the piano.  I love to hear you practice and can't wait for you to realize your potential with music.  You have such a strategic mind that lends you towards games like chess, Battleship and Monopoly and have become a real opponent, I don't have to let you win anymore.  How lucky I am to be your mother. I cherish the nights that I can read you Harry Potter and sit and chat with you about your day.  I hope that you will always confide in me and trust me with your problems and concerns.  I am here for you always, and know you always come first.  I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


I realize not everyone has a great relationship with their grandparents.  For them I feel profoundly sorry.  I had the best Granny and Pop Pop in the world and they have been a huge part of my life.  Granny passed away 5 years ago now, and yesterday Pop Pop joined her.  These past years have been tough for him without Granny around, but he has still been present at all of the important holidays and milestones and we have been able to go and visit him many times.  The kids adore him.  I will always remember when Cameron was little and loved trains just like Pop did.  He went and found his old metal train set and got down on the floor to help Cameron set it up.  I am thankful that a few years back he accompanied us on our annual beach trip and he was able to sink his feet in the sand like he had been yearning to do.  When I was little Pop wouldn't play games with the rest of us, unless it was double solitaire.  He taught me how to play and would play with me for hours.  I don't remember him ever telling me he was too busy or he had to go do something else.  Once I stayed overnight in their house and was found sleepwalking into Pops bedroom.  He had not gone to bed yet and watched me climb into his bed and fall right asleep.  Instead of waking me he just went and slept on the sofa himself.  Mason was born soon after Granny died and Pop Pop was here visiting when I went into the hospital.  He was the first visitor and we named him Mason Harding after Pop's last name.  He was honored and was one of the first to hold Mason.  I think the two of them had a special bond from that day forward.  Mason always wanted to tag along on my trips up to see Pop and he had no hesitations of climbing up into his lap and playing cars or asking him to read to him.  I hope when he grows up he can remember some of those experiences.

Pop has been in the hospital since before Christmas.  He had fallen and broke his back which began a cascade of other problems, as often happens in the elderly.  I was so thankful to be able to go up on two occasions, once with just my mom and then this past weekend with the whole family to visit him in the hospital.  He perked up and was the same, peppy Pop both times.  I honestly thought he was getting better and would be getting out of the hospital soon.  I wish I had known to say my goodbyes but what a gift it was for us all to see him once more.  I am glad that he is not in pain anymore and that he is with Granny again.  These have been some lonely years for him and I know the two of them had a glorious reunion yesterday.  I will miss him dearly  but I know he is in a better place.  Thank you Pop for staying such a constant in my life, you will always live in our hearts.

And a Happy New Year

Our low key New Years included watching Spiderman, eating fondue, skyping with Becky and family, and then waking the kids up for the ball drop.  Cameron was the only one that managed to stay awake.  Then we blew our horns and hit the sack.  We sure missed them Tolers this year.  Our only resolution is to try to work on having more love at home and peace between brothers.