a relationship

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long ago, rudy and i met, by a random chance encounter. i mean there i was at a tupperware party (the “in” place to be back then), when i happened to glance to my left. and who do i see?

rudy. checking me out.

(yeah. strange that a guy was there… but there’s a story behind that story as well).

being a girl with not a lot of social knowledge, i was sitting there, on a couch, not talking to anyone – well, not because i couldn’t make the effort to converse, but rather the situation was that everyone was talking to everyone else. because they all knew each other. from work, or somewhere. so, i just sat there, the girl no one knew. the girl who had tagged along with her friend. the social butterfly. the one that was somewhere, socializing.

so, of course, trying not to look awkward while rudy just continued to smile (which, honestly, was very pleasant) and stare, i’d look around the room as if i was doing exactly what an independent person would do. whatever they want. and, well, i know, even though i had slunk lower into the couch, i was pulling that off – looking cool and confident.

maybe.

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Fast forward to year 34 of marriage.

it’s been a roller coaster of a ride: ups, downs, and all-arounds.

beginning with:

not wanting to keep our hands off each other.

to:

raising three kids and feeling tired, but wanting to instill good values, “to bring them up right”, no matter what.

then, somewhere in between:

beginning careers that would add to the balancing act of a married relationship.

and wrapped around:

being overwhelmed with how to “handle it all”, while trying to forge a comfortable life. (even when rudy had to live and work outside of california. having had spent a year in honduras, 3 years in arkansas. leaving me to “hold down the fort”.)

unfortunately, leading to both of us:

forgetting the importance of not wanting to keep our hands off each other.

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the other day i began to send rudy morning – memory – texts. simple, quick reminders of us.

how we met.

walks we’d taken.

saying ‘i love you’ for the first time.

our anniversary.

babies that were born.

and so much more.

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ours is a relationship that constantly revolves around evolving.

just do it

i have a pile of books to filter through. lessons to lightly write. work to get done. yet. here i sit. unwilling to get on-task. me. a teacher. always reminding my students to stay on task. to concentrate. to get their work done. but, i am finding that the task, though necessary, has not quite found its way into my educator thoughts.

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in a while, i will sit in front of those school books. those teacher’s manuals. and i will review. yes i will. because, review i must. for my own sanity. and to ensure starting the year off right, properly educating students. who will be depending on me to fill their days with classroom ooo’s and aaah’s, and just as important, life lessons.

but first, i need to sit here and think.

“mom, can we talk?” brad asks.
“yeah, sure,” i say, with a smile.

i guess my teacher tasks will have to wait even longer to imprint my brain with information.

the life and times of owning pets, and the reason i renamed my cats

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long ago, probably about five, six, maybe seven, eight years ago brad announced he knew someone, or talked to them in passing, or something, and mentioned that the person had told him about a cute, little, itty-bitty, barely-born, newly-arrived kitten.

he wondered if he could have it.

hum.

i have forever been opposed to pets because kids tend to think all they have to do is pretty much nothing. just occasionally (operative word here) engage with their newly obtained hobby. goldfish died due to an overload of food. while on the other hand, hamsters starved to death.

for me, it was too much to handle. little kids running around asking mommy this, mommy that, mommy, mommy mommy, which caused me to forget there was a pet in the house. i had tunnel vision. hence, supervised kids. unsupervised critters.

which meant no more pets. no. never. not on my watch.

until brad showed me, and roberto (a huge pet advocate), an adorable photo of the kitten he had mentioned. he caught me off guard. sly kid. the kitten’s big green eyes and fluffy fur was hard to resist, for all of us, apparently. please, please, please they both whispered, hands clasped into steeples, prayer-mode.

ok, i said.

say what? what did i say? i asked myself.

really?! they both screamed.

really, i mumbled.

as they were walking out the front door, i said, bring home two. (again, what the heck was going on with me?)

two? you sure?

yeah, you know, to play together.

within the hour they brought home Cassandra and Skyler (named later that afternoon by the boys). fraternal twins. one black, one multicolored. both with green eyes.

i was smitten.

still am.

roberto recently moved out and brad is a busy 17 year old. both engaged elsewhere, most of the time. so, aside from brad allowing them to sleep in his room, the girls belong to me. i tend to them 99% of the time, and i even renamed them. (the kids don’t know this, they’d probably think i’ve gone bonkers, but oh well, a caretaker’s got to do what a caretaker’s got to do, right?)

cassandra’s now-name is chicka-chicka-boom-boom (which, ironically, is the title of an adorable kid’s book about the lower case letters of the alphabet climbing a tree, thinking they know what’s what) because of her diva personality and i refer to skyler as skitter. so sweet, yet so nervous. she has never been able to fully relax.

ah, there she is. I can hear chicka-chicka-boom-boom’s deep guttural mew call me. ¬†she wants in the house for a quick nibble of chow and a full-on vigorous back rub. she likes her cheeks gently caressed as well.

spoiled. i know.

 

A Boy. A Teen. A Birthday.

IMG_3021Those of you with teens know how it is, people exclaiming how hard life must be raising a kid within the realm of disobedience, rebellion, and all together a know-it-all attitude. A kid who doesn’t care about much, except themselves.

Well, I am here to say: Not in my household, not with my kid.

(Ok, ok, I admit nobody is perfect, there are days…… but today’s writing isn’t about that.)

Because today I celebrate Bradford Ramon Antonio. Today, he turns 15 years old.

Brad defies the term of what many people describe a teenager to be.

He is very conscientious, well-mannered, respectful, helpful, polite, inquisitive, and very aware. He’s a conversationalist, open to any discussion. Brad talks about his day, his life, his dreams, desires, and overall hopes about not only his future but the future of our world.

I am his mom.

And I am here to report.

Brad isn’t simply a teenager. He’s much more than that. His voice is as valid as mine. His perspective on life is his own. And like any teen, he simply wants respect, to feel valued and heard. To know that he is surrounded by love. Love of family, friends, and a joyful life. He wants to believe that when he falls there will always be someone to help him up.

Brad is a boy. Mentally and physically working his way through his teen years. Learning. Trying. Expressing. Enjoying. Succeeding.

And so today, today is the day, to say,

Happy Birthday, to the one and only, Bradford Ramon Antonio!