[ Thursday, April 23, 2009 ]
Inspired by a conversation with Jeff and a product in a catalog, I decided to write here my life wishes for Kate.
1. I want you to fall in love completely - at least once - and do something crazy because of it. And if things don't work out, I want you to accept it as a life lesson and feel that it was worth it.
2. I want you to travel the world with an open mind about the people, history and cultures you encounter.
3. I want you to experience the extremes of nature, where humans were not supposed to be: climb a high mountain, dive deep into the ocean, cross a desert, walk through the jungle.
4. I want you to learn as many languages as you can because you will realize the importance of communication and understanding.
5. I want you to be politically engaged - vote, campaign, organize - because the world sometimes requires loud voices.
6. I want you to see extraordinary beauty in ordinary things. Appreciate sunrise and sunset, enjoy making food from scratch, watch a tree grow, take time to really listen to a piece of classical music.
7. I want you to place your happiness above all else. There is no higher duty than the one we have to ourselves - to arrive at the end of our lives with wonderful memories and few regrets. I want you to defend and never sacrifice your own happiness for anyone or anything.
8. I want you to know that you are loved unconditionally and that although I will encourage you to reach high, my love for you will be the same whether you fail or succeed.
9. I want you to love yourself and see you as I see you: a beautiful being with many facets that include qualities and flaws. A single flaw or quality will not define you, because you are a sum of those things.
10. I want you to always know the difference between who you are and what you do. During the inevitable low moments of your life, when your job is awful, your relationship is damaged, you can't seem to do anything right, money is short, or whatever else may happen... I want you to remember that you are still you, amazing and special and worthy of enormous love.
11. I want you to be kind and generous to people, animals and the world around you. There is always a chance to leave the world a little better than you found it, always a chance to make someone's day or life a bit better, always a chance to exercise your power to do good.
12. I want you to measure your life in memories, not things. Remember that the only true measure of success is happiness.
Those are my strongest wishes for Kate... joined by my deepest hope that she will also not be a model, an actress or a spy!
[ Monday, April 20, 2009 ]
Kate gave us the scare of a lifetime last week. She goes to math and reading classes twice a week after school, and her grandparents pick her up at the end of the lessons. On Thursday, because they were a little late, she decided to simply walk out on her own while the school teachers weren't looking. She took the elevator down, walked out and sat on the curb to wait. In the meantime, people noticed her missing and started a manhunt in the building. I only learned of the incident after she was picked up safe and sound, but the "what if" thoughts kept me up all night. Elsie tried to explain to her why it was dangerous (a concept she didn't have) and ended up scaring her with the notion that a stranger could take her away and she would never see her family again. My heart broke at the thought of her being so scared, but if it helps to keep her safe, so be it.
[ Thursday, April 16, 2009 ]
A few weeks ago Kate (out of the blue) said to me "It's going to be Bunny's birthday, he is going to be 5!". Bunny is the stuffed animal/blanket she's had since birth and continues to be her most prized possession. I went along and asked when Bunny's birthday was (Easter, obviously) but then Kate asked me to throw a tea party for Bunny on his birthday, with cake and guests. I was envisioning a pretend party with other stuffed animals and empty tea cups but Kate was dead serious. We ended up with 10 real guests, printed invitations, an Easter egg hunt in the backyard and - for me - a weekend filled with baking. The cake decorating tip and I became best friends and I don't think my fingers will ever be the same. It was well worth it, though. Her party was a great success, she had a lot of fun and we even brought all the replacement bunnies together (they live in Gigi and GrandDad's house and Daddy's house).
[ Thursday, April 09, 2009 ]
Things got a bit dramatic here for the past couple of weeks. I had gone to France for a week on vacation. Unfortunately, that trip coincided with Elsie's sister taking a turn for the worse in San Diego, and Elsie flew there to be with her. With both women gone, Kate was set to spend a lot of time with Daddy and GrandDad... and then she got sick. No school for a week, no time outside the house, and almost no interaction with GrandDad. Her routine was messed up so badly (coupled with news from Elsie's sister's death) that Kate surprised us with consistent meltdowns each day we tried to drop her off at school. One day I had to walk out to my car staring at her crying face at the school window, calling for me. I'd go for a session of fingernail-pulling before I sign up for another morning like that one. It's been a very tough couple of weeks but we seem to be getting back to normal. This morning she shed a few tears but - unlike other days - didn't hold on to my leg or sobbed uncontrollably. Cross the fingers, maybe the meltdown days are coming to an end.