Why do children say the things they say?

Mother and Child

When the Son was four years old, I heard him say the three words every parent dreads to hear: “I hate you.” He didn’t yell or say them in the middle of a tantrum. Instead, in a barely audible fashion, he whispered them. Refusing to believe what I’d heard, I asked, “What did you say?” Furrowing his brow, he repeated the phrase but this time he silently mouthed the words.

Distressed at the thought my little man had stopped loving me, I called my sister, a non-practicing psychologist at the time. She assured me I had nothing to worry about. On the contrary, I should rejoice because it was obvious he felt loved. Confused I asked her to explain. “Bella, only a child who is secure in the knowledge he or she is loved can utter those words.”

Not content with her explanation, I kissed and hugged the Son every time he walked past me. I had worked too hard to create this little human to see him turn on me.

We were living in the Caribbean when the Son turned seven. In the middle of Hurricane George (one of the worst to hit the island of Puerto Rico), he decided it was the perfect time to complain that I never listened to him. Winds, that at 155 miles an hour, had us clinging to each other praying the roof wouldn’t fly off and his only question was, “Yeah, you look like you’re listening but are you REALLY hearing me when I talk about my Pokemon?”

Stifling the sarcastic response of, “It’s hard to to hear when the wind is rendering us deaf and very well might suck us into an infinite vortex,” I reassured him there was nothing more important than Pikachu, Charizard, or Blastoise.

Once again I was compelled to dial my sister who after laughing for ten minutes replied, “Only a child who feels heard says something like that, Bella.” Hearing silence on my end she elaborated, “In other words, he’s playin’ you, sistah.”

My beautiful boy, an expert manipulator at such a young age? For the second time, I refused to believe her and made it a point to both listen and hear my little one. No multitasking while he talked. I made it a point to hang on his every word.

The Son turns 25 in two weeks. This morning, after waking me at six to make him breakfast and pack his lunch, I heard him curse under his breath. “I’m late, mom. I have to hurry or I’m going to miss my train.” A rushed kiss and a half hug and he was out the door.

Two minutes later the phone rang. “Mom, I dropped my beanie on my way to the stop. Can you go out and look for it? It doesn’t have to be right this minute but keep in mind it’s a 32 euro Nike hat.” (Code for go out now)

Not stopping to stretch my muscles, I hobbled down the stairs. Looking left and right, I pondered which way he’d gone. I decided to go right. Alas, two blocks into my journey I realized the beanie was nowhere to be found. I quickly turned around and in doing so, caught my reflection in a parked car’s window. It was 43 degrees but in my rush to retrieve the beanie, I had left the house wearing only a short sleeved nightgown, a pair of black velvet house slippers, and the worst case of bed hair I’d ever had. I looked like I’d escaped from a mental asylum.

Not wanting to dwell on my current state, I tried to focus on the task at hand and continued my search. Ten minutes and two blocks later, I finally found the infamous hat. Holding the wretched article at arms length, I saw a man looking down at me from a second story window. His open mouth and confused stare conveyed what I was thinking. I looked like a lunatic.

Tired and cold, I crawled up the stairs. Stopping midway to catch my breath, I remembered something the Son had said the night before. Discovering I hadn’t yet washed his favorite jeans, he’d commented, “Mom, you never do anything for me.” Entering the house, I threw the beanie on the table and poured myself a cup of coffee.

This time, no call was made to my sister. I already knew what her answer would be. Only a boy who has too much done for him is capable of uttering such words.

What do your children tell you?


Note: This post is not meant to portray the Son as selfish, but instead, to exemplify the silly things children say when they feel secure in their parents’ love.

Living in the now with Snapchat

Colors of Autumn

Last week I received a notification that someone had subscribed to my blog. I was in shock. In shock because it’s been ages since I’ve written a blog post.

Clicking on my site, I was saddened to see it still had the autumn leaf wallpaper from last fall. I felt emotional, mental, and physical pain to realize something I had worked so hard to build had been nary but abandoned.

I cringed at the thought that I had joined the ranks of bloggers who work tirelessly to build a relationship with their readers only to stop cultivating it.

Nevertheless, in spite of my apparent indifference, someone had shown an interest in my earlier work and clicked the subscribe button.

Feeling like a wretched ingrate, I pushed myself to put things right. I updated the theme, changed the wallpaper, added some things, deleted others, and in the end, felt happy with the results.

I wish I could tell you I’ve been lazy, or that I developed writer’s block. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The truth is things have been rough at Casa Bella. In the past year, the Significant Other has had three surgeries, a close family member has ended her marriage after 25 years, and I’ve had to conquer yet another bout of pneumonia.

Yes, once again life has gotten in the way. And this time, I have not been practicing the art of “dolce far niente” for the sheer pleasure of doing so, but because I’ve been forced to do so.

During this process, I’ve given new meaning to living one day at a time. The journey has not been an easy one but we seem to be coming out of the woods. Healing has been set in motion and believe it or not, smartphone photography is one of the things that has kept me sane.

Waiting in hospital emergency rooms and in doctors’ offices lead me to the discovery of apps like Snapchat. For those of you who haven’t heard of Snapchat (something I seriously doubt), it’s an app which allows one to take pictures which once viewed, disappear instantly. That is, unless you choose to add them to your “story” or “memories,” (Snapchat’s equivalent of a cloud). Snapchat followers can view your story as many times as they like for up to 24 hours, and then like magic, it’s gone. It’s important to note they can also replay an individual snap once.

My snaps, quite like the changing seasons, have varied this past year. There have been hospital snaps, surgery snaps, and grieving snaps. There have also been funny snaps, silly snaps, and snaps that don’t seem to make much sense. And while my new “hobby” might seem a worthless pursuit, let me assure you that capturing these moments has lead to many a discovery.

The writer in me has recognized that these snaps or moments, when strung together, allow a story to unfold. This alone has allowed me to focus on the positive and stopped me from worrying about what the future holds.

I’m grateful to my new subscriber for reminding me that unlike my snaps, my writing can last for as long as I want it to. And while I’m not ready to give up snapping, I am eager to resume writing blog posts.

I don’t want to end this post without saying I have missed you, dear readers. I pray you’ve missed me too. Stay tuned for upcoming posts and if you’d like to follow my adventures and finally discover what country I live in, follow me on Snapchat! Not only will this give you a window into my day to day, you’ll also get to see what little Roxy is up to!

If you wish to do so, my Snapchat username is: curvybella. You can also add me by using the snapchat code located on the right hand column of this blog.

Thank you for your patience and loyalty. I am deeply grateful.


When does the suffering stop?

Writing #2

Time flies.
Ah, my favorite idiom. And quite accurate considering it seems like only yesterday I was sun worshiping on a beach in Spain.

Today is a different story.
I’m knee deep in paper–all the way from toilet paper destined to be stocked, to receipts that date as far back as the Bush administration.

You’d think it would be easier to toss everything in a Hefty bag and be done with it (something I seriously considered when the pile grew so much, I thought I’d have to name it).

But I’m glad I didn’t. If I had, I would not have come across a little folder titled, “The Son’s Poetry.” Not very eloquent on the outside, I agree, yet what lay inside brought tears to my eyes.

Though truth be told, I think most mothers will agree there’s not much a child can do, create, or perform that won’t bring us to tears. But I digress.

On this occasion, I chanced upon a series of poems written by the Son for one of his high school English classes. One of them, not only left me bawling, but also perfectly captured my sadness after the recent tragedy in Paris.

This piece raises the rhetorical question of when does it end?
When does the slaying of innocent lives stop? When can we stop blaming the thirst for power for our suffering? When do mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, and children stop grieving for the loss of a loved one who has died at the hands of murderers?

I’m afraid that like most rhetorical questions, these do not have a definitive reply.

We will continue to seek answers until we realize world peace can never be achieved while there are those willing to kill to obtain power.

Yet in spite of this gloomy outlook, the idealist in me believes there is strength in unity; that together, we have what it takes to spread love. We can start in our homes, with our spouses, our children, our neighbors, our colleagues.

Kindness, respect, and compassion will reign, but only if they are present in our lives.

That said, I want to share the Son’s poem with you. May it incite you to reflect, not only on the recent tragedies, but also on why devastating circumstances such as these are still a reality.

The tragic loss of it all

We sit on the couch my mother and I
Enveloped by warmth we deeply sigh
The TV blaring we both scream out why
The pain, the torment, just makes us cry

Out in the Congo, people are dying
killed by the rebels it’s not a lie
Women and children everyone dying
The pain, the torment, just makes us cry

And in another corner of the planet
A father and neighbor senselessly die
A ten year old boy shamelessly planned it
The pain, the torment, just makes us cry

The waves of terror rise but never fall
The killing the torture at a mighty high
They fight for their lives, the old and the small
The pain, the torment, just makes us cry

And much as they try to put up a fight
The battle will never result in a tie
Victims keep dying night after night
The pain, the torment just makes us cry

Pastors and peacekeepers try to advise
Preach and bring peace as bullets fly by
Deep seeded faith is our only device
The pain, the torment just makes us cry


Note: The Son has allowed me to publish this piece and it has not been modified in any way. It is just as I found it.