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?

XOXO,

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.

Roxy turns five!

Roxy birthday

Hello Everyone,

Our little Miss turned five this weekend! Our celebration was nothing short of spectacular as Roxy was finally able to return to the dog park. I’ve spent the last six months curbing her little outbursts by rewarding good behavior. Unfortunately, munching on too many homemade peanut butter doggie treats has resulted in a slight weight gain. While the extra pound makes Roxy all that much cuter, she now has to lose it to fly in the cabin when we travel this summer.

On another happy note, the Son graduated with a Bachelor of the Arts in Communication. And with Magna Cum Laude to boot! Like the Grinch, I felt my heart grew three sizes upon seeing my baby’s name on the graduation ceremony program. Indeed, it was the moment that finally allowed me to exhale.

I also want to take this opportunity to offer an apology for my absence. A shout out to Monica and Nan, whose support have helped me through these past ten months. Thank you, ladies! I love you! Much like Lemony Snicket, my life has been a series of unfortunate events, ranging all the way from surgeries to the unexpected death of a family member. It has not been easy, folks, but I’m still standing.

I have missed blogging, writing, and most of all, visiting your blogs. Please forgive my absence. It has not been intentional. However, with so much worry hanging in the air, my muse took to hiding. Nevertheless, things are looking up and guess what? Summer is just around the corner and you know what that means!

Yes, another summer of blogging from sunny Spain! I look forward to getting back in the writing saddle and catching up with your blogs. I have missed you!

XOXO,

What makes this place feel like home?

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“Wait for me in front of the shop,” says the Significant Other before pulling out into the busy street, the smirk on his face a telltale sign that says he knows I won’t comply.

Looking around, I take in the beautiful French windows that seem to be a staple of every facade in the colorful street.

A strange neighborhood.
Strange, as in, I’ve never been here before.

The excitement of exploring every nook and cranny overwhelms me.
My senses are alert.

I can hear people doing their chores.
I can see women walking their dogs.
I can taste fall in the air–a mixture of chestnuts and hickory.
I can touch the crackling leaves that fall from the trees.
And I can smell the aroma that wafts from the little bakery called Kismet.

I feel someone grab me by the elbow. “I thought I told you to wait by the shop.”
“When do I ever do anything you ask?” I reply.
Looking up at the bakery sign, I wordlessly utter my desire to go in and have coffee.

As I sit and sip my wonderful latte, I think of the little bakery where my mom and I spent so much time this summer.

Rey’s Cafe.
A charming space filled with rattan furniture, bright light, and a wonderful array of pastries.

I close my eyes and instantly see it.

Colorful beads hang in the windows, clacking and changing color every time someone opens the door. Wine and liquor bottles fill the shelves. Jars of spices and marmalade sit side by side in an orderly fashion.

This is a place where people gather to have long conversations.
Where people sit and read a newspaper, a cup of coffee their only companion.
Where women share recipes and discuss the latest hat trend.
And where my mother and I sit for hours talking about anything and everything.

Coffee after coffee, time passes, yet we refuse to be clock watchers.
Instead, we sit huddled together, giggling as we recount funny events we’ve seen.

I smile as I remember how my mother and I labeled Rey’s Cafe “our spot.”
Our spot, which also housed “our table” and “our chairs.”

The Significant Other walks toward the cash register to pay for our coffee. Yet I’m reluctant to go. Sitting in this bakery has filled me with nostalgia of time spent in Rey’s Cafe.

I think that perhaps it was the beauty of having coffee together that made us feel this way.
Or perhaps it was that Rey’s Cafe, with all its magic, felt like home.

Do you have a favorite place that feels like home?

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