A Mother’s Memories on Mother’s Day
This morning I woke to dreams and memories of my two kids, Nate and Kelbi, and considering that tomorrow is Mother’s Day, I hope they won’t mind my sharing two favorite memories I have of them, as moms are wont to do.
Kelbi & The ‘Gabage Man’
One morning, after changing her diaper, my daughter, Kelbi, and I were sitting on the carpet in her room reading a book, when suddenly she looked up, looked at me, and said, “Uh, oh! Was tat?”
Whenever Kelbi, or someone else, spilled something, broke something, or was scared of something she would say, “Uh, oh.” This phrase would then be followed by “I sorry,” “Tat’s okay,” “It happens,” or “Was tat?”
So, when she looked at me and said “Uh, oh! Was tat?” I realized that she had become aware, for the first time, of the somewhat scary sounds the garbage truck was making outside her window. I put the book down and explained that those sounds were being made by the garbage truck, not sure if she knew what a garbage truck was.
She walked over, in her unbalanced wobbly way, to her toy box and pulled a little rubberized plastic dump truck her brother had given her, which she had named “Truck,” and asked me, holding it up, “Gabage truck?”
I told her that it looks a little bit like that, but a little different too. As she stared at her truck, I asked her if she would like to see the garbage truck and she nodded. So, I scooped her up and we went outside. The garbage truck was one door down from us, coming in our direction, and the garbage man was busily picking up the garbage bags and throwing them into the back of the truck.
Kelbi pointed and asked “Who tat?” And I explained that he was the garbage man, the person who takes away Kelbi’s poopy diapers so that her room won’t be stinky. I explained that he also takes the garbage from all the families and he makes sure to take it far away so that our neighborhood won’t be stinky either. She seemed fascinated and smiled. I told her that we really needed to be very grateful to him and all the garbage men because they had a very hard and important job.
Thinking I had satisfied her curiosity, I asked her if she wanted to go back in now, but she said “no” as she intently studied what the garbage truck and the garbage man were doing as they slowly approached our garbage.
When the garbage man picked up our garbage and threw it into the truck, Kelbi shouted: “Tank You!” “Tank You!!” “Tank You!!!!” Getting progressively louder with each ‘tank you.’
I realized that she was waiting for the response ‘You’re Welcome,’ which I had taught her is what you say when someone says ‘Thank You.’ (We had been recently practicing all of the magic phrases… Thank You, You’re Welcome, I’m Sorry, Excuse Me, and Bless You.)
The garbage man had noticed us standing there and having looked up at us a few times realized Kelbi was shouting something. He cupped his hand to his ear, indicating he could not hear, and I walked down to the sidewalk, Kelbi in my arms, Truck tightly gripped in her hand.
As we approached the garbage man, she suddenly got quiet, and squeezed me harder. The garbage man looked at me and I said to him that I had just explained to Kelbi what an important job he had in taking away her poopy diapers and she had something to say to him. And I looked at Kelbi and she softly said, “Tank you.”
He smiled and said this was the first time that anyone had ever thanked him. He looked at Kelbi and said, “You are very welcome.”
Kelbi smiled, bouncing her giggly happy legs, which were half-way wrapped around my waist, and she hugged me even harder.
We waved good-bye to the ‘gabage man’ and started walking back up the grass to the house. She had her “Truck” in hand and pointed to it and said to me “Gabage Truck.” I asked her if that was his new name, and she nodded yes.
And, so, every week on garbage day, until we moved, the moment Kelbi heard the garbage truck coming down the street, she would shout out excitedly “Gabage Truck, Gabage Truck,” and she would grab her truck and insist on me picking her up to go outside to say “Tank You” to the “gabage man.” And every week we did just that. And every week she shouted “Tank you!!!!” And every week the “gabage man” shouted back: “You are very welcome!”
Nate & His Mother’s Skydiving Birthday Wish
On the day Nate was born, in the middle of the night, I whispered to him, “When you turn 18, we are going to celebrate by going skydiving together!” and I kissed his little nose and I studied every inch of his beautiful face. It was a moment I wanted indelibly imprinted in my memories.
When he turned one, I made up a magical story about our great adventure going skydiving together on the day of his 18th birthday, and gently flew him around the room, as he giggled and laughed excitedly.
When Nate turned two, he was already showing his athletic and adventurous spirit, jumping off of anything he could climb onto. And as we were playing and laughing, I told him that when he turns 18, he and I will go skydiving together to celebrate. He smiled and yelled, “Yay!!!!” and jumped off some stacked up cushions. I don’t think he knew what skydiving was, but I guess it sounded like fun to him and we both yelled, “Yay!”
It had become my little tradition to mention to Nate on his birthday, how we would go skydiving together when he turned 18.
And, so, on Nate’s third birthday, I said to him, “Nate, guess what?! When you turn 18, we are going to go skydiving together to celebrate your birthday.” and he asked me what skydiving was. So, I explained that skydiving is when you go up on a plane, with parachutes on, and you jump out of the plane, and…. he went running out of the room screaming “Nooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!”
Hmm… well, that was unexpected.
I assured him that he didn’t have to worry because it would not happen for a very long time, not until he was a young man, but it would be a lot of fun. “No, no, no.” he shouted back and cried. So, naturally, I did not mention it at all on his 4th birthday, nor his 5th birthday, nor his 6th birthday, nor his 7th birthday. But I had not given up on the idea. He just needed to be a little bit older, I told myself.
So, on his 8th birthday, I asked Nate, “What do you think about us going skydiving together, ten years from now, to celebrate your 18th birthday?” He looked at me for a moment, and asked, “You mean jumping out of a plane together?” I nodded and he exclaimed, “Are you crazy?!? We could die!!!”
Okay, so, skip ahead a few birthdays to when Nate turned 15. He’s over six feet tall, he’s in high school, he’s a jock, he’s an amazing pitcher, he’s adventurous and daring, and his 18th birthday is a few years away, so, anticipating a completely different response, I mention that I thought it would be so cool to go skydiving together on his 18th birthday and I asked him what he thought about that.
He stared at me with incredulity, making one of those teenager faces they all seem to have in their repertoire of facial expressions, and announced with all seriousness: “Mom, you can go if you want to, but I could injure my pitching arm, and then there goes my professional baseball career!”
“Hmmm…” I responded with a smile, “Yes, I didn’t think about your professional baseball career.”
So, fast-forward three years later, to the week of Nate’s 18th birthday. I have not given up, this is my last shot, and I’m taking it.
“Hey, Nate! I have this great idea for your birthday!” but before I can get another word out, he says, “No, I am not going skydiving! The only way I am ever jumping out of a plane is if it’s on fire!” I stood there almost wanting to laugh and cry at the same time.
On that day, I had to accept that the dream I had, on the day he was born, to go skydiving with Nate on his 18th birthday was my dream, not his. And even though I had envisioned that moment for the entire 18 years of his life, I had to let that dream go.
However, the bigger dream, the more important dream, was for him to grow up to be a good man and a good father. And he has exceeded my dreams there. Last year, at the age of 28 he became a father, an amazing father! And although he never made it to the big leagues… he injured his pitching arm slipping on a wet floor at the restaurant where he was a waiter working his way through college… he instead studied to be an EMT, a paramedic, and a firefighter. He has already saved a number of lives and I couldn’t be prouder of the man Nate has become.
But I skipped ahead and missed the end of my story.
The night before Nate’s 21st birthday he called me up and asked, “Mom, what are you doing tomorrow?” I responded that it was his birthday and, of course, I had blocked out the whole day for him. “Great. I’ll stop by in the morning to pick you up. Wear your jeans, hiking boots and something warm.”
Ever since Nate was a baby we have gone to the coast, be it hiking or just hanging out at the beach… Monterey, Half Moon Bay, Carmel, Big Sur, San Francisco… we had covered the central coast of California thoroughly and frequently. I assumed we were probably going to spend the day out on the coast hiking – my favorite thing to do.
So, the morning of his birthday I was looking forward to our day, thinking about what else I should throw in my backpack, when the doorbell rang and there was Nate.
“Guess what we are doing today, Mom?” he said with a big smile on his face.
“We are going skydiving!”
Martie Hevia (c) 2011 – All Rights Reserved