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Happy Birthday

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Yesterday was my mother’s birthday.  And with all the craziness of the past couple of days (you know, what with the break-in and all), I failed to mention it when I dropped the monkeys off at her house yesterday morning.  Not exactly a stellar moment. I was well on my way to work when I remembered and gave her a quick call to send birthday greetings.  She was in the car, on her way back to her house after taking the Girl Child to school to then pick up Monkey #1 to then take him to school.

You see, that’s what she does. She ferries the monkeys for me on my days with them. Well, that’s just one of the things she does. She does ever so much more for me – for all the monkeys – and I am afraid I don’t let her know how much we all appreciate it.

Among the many things she does, she:

Is a chauffeur for the monkeys. She takes them to school.  She picks them up from school. She takes them to the doctor and to the orthodontist. She takes the Girl Child to dance three days a week. She puts miles and miles on her car every week – and never asks for gas money.

She is the homework manager.  She keeps track of missing assignments and project due dates and science fairs and…and…and…well, everything.

She is a teacher. When it was decided that the Middle Monkey had not transitioned well to middle school and perhaps needed to try on-line learning,  she has stepped out of her retirement and is serving as his learning coach. She spends all day cajoling an at times quite reticent (and quite loud about it) 12 year-old to complete his tasks. She is having to relearn high school algebra (yes, he was placed in a math class 2 grade levels above his own), just so she can assist him. I know it hasn’t been fun, but she’s doing it – for him. Because he needed it.

She is my errand runner. Dropping off prescriptions, dropping off the dry cleaning, picking up things I might need from the store but forgot to get.

She is a Dance Nonna. She takes care of all things dance related for the Girl Child. Other than ferrying her to class, she makes sure there are tights and shoes and costumes and rehearsal schedules.

She’ll bring us dinners and does the laundry and sometimes even surprise me by cleaning my kitchen.

Why, you might ask, does she do these things?  Well, because she wants to help and to feel the she matters.

And, yes. I repaid her by forgetting her birthday.

Ugh.

So, my sweet Momma. Our sweet Nonna Monkey. Thank you for all you do for me. Thank you for all you do for us. I know there are times when I don’t express how very much I appreciate you. I know there are times when I seem annoyed. But, I could not manage my life or the lives of The Monkeys without you. And for that I am eternally grateful.

Happy birthday.

I love you.

Milestones

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wpid-CAM00120.jpgThis has been a week of milestones here in Happy Monkey Land.

The Middle Monkey crossed over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts, earning his Arrow of Light.

He also “graduated” from elementary school.

One of my favorite classes EVER graduated from high school.

The group of students that I “looped” with for three years, “graduated” from middle school (as I watched some of them at their ceremony, all I could see were the scared little third graders that walked into my class on that first day of school six years ago).

But, on this, my 100th post (such a milestone in itself), that I write about two HUGE milestones happening today.

1.)  Monkey #1 is turning 13 today.

2.) Thirteen years ago, I started this magical mystery tour of motherhood.

Both momentous in their own right.  Yet, neither one could have happened without the other.  And ironically, both of them almost did not happen.

The day of his birth was a difficult one.  Very difficult.  His labor wasn’t easy.  For two and a half hours, I tried to push him out.  I can remember watching the monitor and seeing his heart rate drop dramatically with every contraction.  The nurse was busy with two other births.  So, she was not as vigilant as she could have been.  I was a first time mother.  So, I didn’t know what was normal.  But, for two and a half hours, this continued.  Finally, the nurse sees what is happening on the monitor, and decides to get the doctor.  And with a little bit of help, my monkey was born.

My baby was here!  Finally!

But there was a problem.  His cord was wrapped around his neck.  Four times.  It had been impeding his progress – as well as slowly choking him.

And now my sweet monkey was not crying.  And he was bluish.  And he was limp.

For 20 minutes the team worked on him.  Suctioning.  Pounding.  Massaging.  Thankfully, I remember none of that.

All I can remember is saying, “Can someone please bring me my baby?”  Over and over and over.

And then after 20 of the longest minutes every recorded, his cries became stronger, and my little bundle of monkey was brought to me.

And he was pink.  And he was healthy.  And he was strong.

In the past thirteen years, I have frequently thought about the bullet that was dodged that day.  I think about the what COULD have beens.  But, each time I do, I thank God that all of the could have beens didn’t happen.  And that my sweet monkey is everything he SHOULD have been.

Quirky.  Creative.  Brilliant.  Curious.  Active.  Asperger-y.

Some think of the number 13 as a terribly unlucky number.  One to be avoided at all costs.

I chose to think of it as very VERY lucky.

So, happy birthday, my dear Monkey #1.

Rawr, rawr, baby Dino.  I love you more.

At this moment…

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At this moment, thirteen years ago

My life was about to change forever.

At this moment, thirteen years ago

I was (not so) patiently awaiting your arrival into this world.

At this moment, thirteen years ago

I was both excited and terrified.

At this moment, thirteen years ago

I thought I knew what it meant to love another person.

But,

At this moment, thirteen years ago

I  did not know that I was terribly wrong.

Because,

At this moment, thirteen years ago

I had not yet held you in my arms.

And, once I did

I would see

That there is no love

Like the love

Of a mother for her child.