"What we do in this life, echoes in eternity."
Maximus, Gladiator
"Our creator would never have made such lovely days, and given us the deep hearts to enjoy them, above all thought, unless we were meant to be immortal."
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mi hijo hermoso

One of my favorite movies is Happy Feet. Apart from little Mumble's cuteness, and the tenderness of the love story between him and Gloria, I love the movie because it shows the strife of one individual to find his mission in this life, no matter the cost. The scene that touches me the most, to the point of tears even though I've seen it countless of times, is when his parents take Mumble to the singing teacher for music lessons. His mother is worried that if he doesn't know how to sing, he'll never find his true love, and the teacher believes that she can teach Mumble to find his own heart song. I can see Mumble's little face, yearning to please, to learn his heart song, to prove he is a penguin after all. The teacher explains how he needs to feel the song in his heart, and let it take over him, and even breaks into song herself to show him properly. Mumble takes a deep breath, and he starts to sing, but not with his voice, but his feet. The total joy and desire to express his feelings is so overwhelming that it spills out of the screen. Memphis (Mumble's father) groans in frustration, but Norma Jean (his mom) laughs. The teacher claims the class is a fiasco while she faints, and Mumbles dances away. 
In my relationship with my children I have been Memphis, Norma Jean and the teacher, in different circumstances. As every other mother, I want my children to be happy, productive people, but I want them also to be approved of and liked. At the same time I revel in their uniqueness and independence. Balancing all these desires is not an easy task. Where do I draw the line between letting them find their own mission in life, and leading them to what I think they will excel at?
If it were up to me, my boys would be soccer players who play the guitar and maybe even sing in a band. I'd love for them to know how to dance, speak well in public, maybe even win a Soccer World Cup or a Grammy. For the girls, I'd love to see them win a gold medal in gymnastics, or ballroom dancing, or an Academy Award. When it comes to my kids, I dream high. 
I don't doubt my children could achieve anything they set their minds to, but I wonder how much they do because they think Jeff and I will approve of them. What if they don't think they'll fulfill our expectations? Will they leave their own dreams on the way in order to pursue mine? I certainly hope not. I hope they feel we support them in whatever they do, whatever they choose. I know that is easier said than done, and I pray for help from above to lead me in my journey as a mother. 
The other night my Gorgeous Boy was sent to bed and lost his chance to watch a movie because he was fighting with his sister. He obeyed without complain, but from the next room, I could hear him crying softly. My heart broke in a million pieces. I wanted him to learn a lesson, but at the same time I didn't want to be the one to make him cry. I wanted to dry his tears, and tell him I loved him, and that I was on his side, forever. Growing up is hard for him, and for me. He's my poor guinea pig, my poor beautiful boy, whom I love so unconditionally. 
I want to dry his little boy's tears, and help him and be with him when he becomes a man and needs someone to love him above all, in any circumstance in life. Last week a boy in our neighborhood committed suicide, and I wonder what was so bad, so irreparably broken that he didn't think there was a solution for him. I didn't even know his name, but on the night my son was crying because he couldn't watch a movie, another boy was crying through a nightmare, the nature of which I cannot even fathom.  I've seen this boy's dad at church, and these last few days I've seen that poor man's face in my mind wondering what was so wrong that his child didn't feel it was worth being alive. I look at my son and wonder how I can shelter him from sorrow and heartache, how can I teach him he's priceless, a treasure sent from heaven. I pray our Father in Heaven to lead him in his life journey, to help him find his heart song, and help him express it in his own way, and to help me learn to listen to it with my heart and celebrate it with my soul.
My beautiful boy; he sleeps like an angel, a smile lighting up his face. When he wakes, he'll add one more note to the song of his heart. I know the melody will turn into a symphony, and I'll dance to it whatever its genre; let it be classical, hip hop, reaggeaton, or even country. I'll dance to it.  

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Harry, A History

Yesterday i finished reading this book, and since I have been wanting to post about my obsession with Harry Potter, I've decided to just link the review I wrote for goodreads. I hope you guys don't think I'm too crazy!

Harry, A History: The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon

Harry, A History: The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon by Melissa Anelli

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
OK, how do I start? Ever since I found out about this book, I've been wanting to read it, and even after I bought it, I took a long time to finally pick it up. Once I opened it though, I couldn't put it down.

Just the name, "Harry, A History" and the cover, a couple of old looking books with a familiar set of round glasses on top, brought tears to my eyes. So many memories...

I started reading Harry Potter after "Goblet of Fire" was released. I was expecting my first child, my husband was working nights, and we were living in a state thousands of miles from any family. Yes, I was lonely and friendless, and Harry walked into my life and became such a beloved friend that I lost myself in the series. I read the first four books in a week, and I reread them over and over.

Those three years until "Order of the Phoenix" came out were a torture I could only endure by participating in the online HP community, AKA, The Leaky Cauldron.

When I had the blue book in my hands, I quickly forgot the speculations I and others had raised on the online forums, and I ate the book up. In the early hours of the morning I finished reading it, and instead of happiness, I felt cheated, devastated; I hated the book! However, I reread it over and over, went online, and learned to love this change in Harry. Eventually "Order" increased my obsession for HP and JK Rowling.

I've dragged my kids to midnight book release parties, to celebrate HP birthday at the library, and for number 7, my husband gave me the perfect gift, and we took our whole family to Scotland for the book release.

I totally, utterly, completely love "Half Blood Prince" and "Deathly Hallows." I can read them over and over.

Well, you might be wondering what does my HP experience have anything to do with this book? I loved this book because even though I never had the joy of meeting JK or going to movie premiers, Melissa and I share this love for this story that has meant so much for us. I don't know how I ever survived childhood without Harry Potter!

I love her recounting of the "shipping wars", the fan fiction, the movies, interviewing JK with Emerson from mugglenet, etc.

I was a follower of leaky (I still visit the website every once in while) and I remember reading the interview for the first time; I felt like Melissa and Emerson were representing all the fans. I was grateful for the questions they asked, and the answers JK gave them.

I loved learning how HP came to pass; the chain of events that made this book so wonderful and popular. I loved learning about the music groups like Harry and the Potters.

I know!!!!!!! What a geek! But boy was it fun! And now, no more books to read, just the movies.

I'll never forget the anticipation, that feeling of magic in the air, when I got my hands on the newly released books for the first time. No one knew what happened, and I hurried home and read through the night, and I felt like I was living Harry's adventures by his side. I'm a little sad that my kids won't be able to experience that; but I have two images brandished in mind: my six year old son, who was just learning how to read, sitting on the hotel hallway, trying to read "Deathly Hallows," and now, seeing him, almost three years later, reading 200 pages of "Goblet of Fire" over one weekend, his eyes lit with the magic that emanates from the book. I'm reading HP for the first time again though him.

I loved that Melissa wrote this book, and that I could see that in spite of the details, our experiences were similar; except for the little detail of the two day interview with JK at JK's house. I'm so envious about that!!!!

View all my reviews.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I'm feeling lucky!!!!

Happy St Patrick's Day!!! I have not one drop of Irish blood in me, but my kids might have a vague trace, so in honor of that part of our heritage, we celebrate St Patrick's big time. By way of celebration we start by  making leprechaun traps, and setting them up the night before. One day we might actually get lucky and trap that pesky leprechaun, and have googles of gold coins and be rich for the rest of time. So far, we haven't succeeded in trapping a single thing, but we are always rewarded for our efforts in chocolate, green sprinkles, and candy. Here are some snapshots of the kids, who got up from bed like a lightening bolt in order to check their trap. "I heard a squeaky sound, like something small getting smashed. I was worried about the little guy!" Swan Princess said this morning, while eating her green scrambled eggs and toast. 

El Cangri had a leprechaun scavenger hunt at school, and he looked so lovely I couldn't help taking this pic of him:

Today while the two kids were at school I prepared dinner: slow-cooked corned beef and cabbage, and I made soda bread in the shape of a four-leafed clover for snacks. The day was beautiful, blue skies, light Spring breeze, and bright, warm sun. We went outside to enjoy our snacks, and drinking my mate, enjoying the beauty of the day, and listening to the happy laughs of my kids, I thought that the little green man left me a treasure far more valuable than gold, or even chocolate. 

Swan told me someone at school didn't believe in Santa Claus (I know, big leap from leprechaun to Santa Claus), and she said she did not know what to think. I reminded her, "If you don't believe..." "He won't come," added Gorgeous Boy solemnly. These kids of mine are bright kids, they can put two and two together, and they know Jeff and I get some presents for them, but they still believe in Santa Claus and all the plethora of magical beings who visit us as the seasons change. 
I feel "lucky" that my children still believe in magic, and still have that sparkle in their eye and their little expectant laughs. And I feel lucky my eight-year old put his tooth under his pillow tonight for the tooth fairy. Childhood goes by fast as Spring breeze; I want to enjoy, savor, salute, this magical time in my children's lives, in my life, and keep it treasured in my heart for ever and ever. 

Monday, March 09, 2009

New blog!!!

I have been attending La Leche League meetings for almost 2 years, and I want to go through their leader program someday. However, I have so many things going on, and I have those books I'm working on, that I can't do it right now. But I offered to set up a blog and be the administrator, so here's the link: Mother LLLove. If you know of anyone who would like to attend our monthly meetings, or that needs help, support and/or information with breastfeeding, please let them know of our blog!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Well done Anoop

I'm a sentimental person; I cry when I see children playing, when someone cries, when I hear a sad or moving song. Well, last night I was watching American Idol, and I was dismayed that my DVR hadn't recorded the last 5 minutes because the show went too long. I missed the best part of all, when they were going to say who, between Matt and Anoop, had made it to the top 12.
I frantically searched the web for the information I wanted, and I found out who had made it though, but this morning I saw the video, and I cried. So much happiness, so much hope, that it spilled over the screen and yes, it made me cry. 
Here's the link for you, and go Noop Dog!!!!!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

High School

A few days ago Jeff brought High School Musical 3, and we all snuggled up and stayed super late to watch it. I was very hesitant to go down t the basement and watch a movie with the rest of the family because I was so busy reading a parenting book about spending quality time with the family, and duh!, I thought, go and do it instead of reading about it! So I'm proud to say I obeyed that nagging voice of conscience and I went and saw the movie and I loved it. 
I know some people still have nightmares about High School, but I loved every second of it. To give you some background information I went to a Catholic girls only school, and I attended from 3rd grade all the way to 12th. High School in Argentina is 5 years, and in my school there were two classes. I took the Humanities emphasis, and my friends and I despised the girls in the Commercial track. We were so more cultured than them, you see. I sat next to the same girl for five years, just because on the first day of first year I had promised her I would, and boy did I ever regret a promise more! But I kept my word, and I have the funniest and most tender memories of that hippie girl who, I realize now, was such a wonderful friend to bear my tempers. I became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon Church) on my third year, and she was always very supportive of me and my decision. She was really the only one I could talk to without thinking I was trying to convert her to my new faith. 
Contrary to what some people may believe, a school just for girls was a lot of fun! How we talked to the mother superior to turn in into a school for girls and boys, but she always said no. To my astonishment, when I went back to Argentina three years ago I found out they had finally admitted boys! Can you believe it? But I wouldn't have changed a thing. We didn't have mass every day, just for special occasions, but there was a prayer service before school started (we went in at 7:15) and a lot of the girls, myself included, went if only to find shelter from the cold in the winter. I found peace in the church, and even though I wasn't a believer, I loved going into the darkened chapel and just sitting on the hard wooden pews. My school was Franciscan, so the church was very simple, and I appreciated the opportunity to just go there and hear the muttering of prayers, and see the nuns doing their rituals. 
Even though there were no boys in my school, there was a school very close to ours that had previously been a boys school and had recently accepted girls. The guys looked so handsome in their uniforms! And we were very happy we wore pretty plaid skirts, whereas the girls from the other school only wore boring gray. Gray pants were awesome for the boys, gray skirts awful for the girls!
I made lasting friendships, after all I seemed to spend more time with my friends than with my family; the school day seemed so long, and we met a lot after school too. We cared about each other, and yes, we gossiped too. Unbelievably, we were good girls. There was one who had a baby when we were fifteen, and we were so sad for her! Her baby was beautiful, but even then, we realized how different life would be for her. We could still be girls, and have fun. 
I am so happy that through facebook I could find so many of the girls I had not heard anything from in about 13 years! Some still look the same, others have changed so much I barely recognize them. With my closest friends I kept in touch of these years, and having that line that connects me to Argentina, to my youth, has been invaluable to me. 
I just wish I could have enjoyed those happy years more. Not that I'm not happy now, but I had the goal of coming to the States to go to BYU, and that required so much time, effort, study, sacrifice, and once in college it was more of that strife, and that burning desire to learn and do it all. It's only now that I can do what I love, sit and drink mate and read a book, and research about anything I want, and not have that stress. Only a different kind of stress. 
I didn't go to my graduation dance because I was taking the SAT in Buenos Aires the next day, and I never regretted it because I got awesome marks, but deep down, I'm still sad about that.
Life really passes as a dream. Sometimes I dream I go to school wearing high heels instead of the black mary janes, and I wake up totally mortified. Jeff dreams he forgot to take a math test and he can't graduate! 
But what fun times! What wonderful memories! There was a spice refinery close to my school, and even though I never liked coffee and of course I don't drink it now, the smell of coffee and the crispness of Fall always take me back to those days. 
Before I know it, it will be time for my kids to go to High School, and even though theirs will be a completely different experience from mine, I'm already looking forward to their school sports, dances, and oh the dresses!!!!