I worked throughout my entire pregnancy. I worked while I was in the hospital with an epidural. I worked with a brand new baby in tow. I worked after dropping Nathan off at his first day of full-day preschool when he was 18 months old. I worked a lot.
And then I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
The day I returned to my job after taking FMLA (Family Medical Leave of Absence), I was let go from my position as an “at will” employee. Since that time, I have looked for work, worked part-time jobs, contractual jobs and adjunct teaching jobs while Nathan went to kindergarten.
And then, the school year was over.
Nathan and I would be spending a lot of time together. 72 days together. 1008 waking hours ‘mano a mano’. I admit it, I’ve learned a lot from my son. His pearls of wisdom, so profound, that I had to write each one down as to not forget.
Lesson 1: Don’t make empty threats: While out driving somewhere (probably the 99 cent store- my favorite place on earth), Nathan was, as usual, pressing my buttons.
Me: I’m going to turn this car right around!
Nathan: No you’re not. There’s a “No U Turn” sign.
Lesson 2: Dad knows everyone: The best part about having a loose tooth is the money. After all it’s all about the Benjamin’s, right?
Nathan: Mom! I have a loose tooth! How much will the Tooth Fairy give me?
Me: I don’t know. Ask your dad. He’s installing her garbage disposal today.
Nathan: Really? No. Wait. Yeah. That makes sense. Dad knows pretty much everyone.
Lesson 3: Don’t mess with Santa: After losing his second tooth, Nathan found a check to cash, from the Tooth Fairy, under his pillow the next morning. Later that day, the following conversation ensued:
Nathan: Mom, I know the Tooth Fairy isn’t real because magic isn’t real. It’s you and dad.
Me: Huh. So then what about the Easter Bunny?
Nathan: Not real.
Nathan: All those presents? Like you and dad would ever buy all that stuff. Yeah. Right. Santa is totally real.
Lesson 4: There’s never too much of a good thing: I have always taught Nathan to be proud of his body, and to use the right words for each part. During another average day, Nathan declared:
“I love my penis. You know why? It is so unique!”
Lesson 5: “If you just listen, you’ll catch the early worm” (A direct quote from the dad): I find myself using a lot of idioms that I end up having to also explain. Once, when Nathan was much younger I said “… and then we’ll go from there.” It took me forever to explain that “from there” was not a real place. Now that he is older (a whopping 6-years old), Nathan also uses idioms.
“Dad, are you leaving (his truck was running) because you’re wasting daylight on your truck!”
“Think before you leap!”
and… “It’s a blister outside!”
Lesson 6: Hello Tree. Hello Apple: I can’t say I’m surprised (and secretly very pleased).
Me: Nathan, slide over (in booth)
Nathan: I can’t. I have an invisible fat friend sitting there.
Me: Which way do you want to go (pointing left and right)?
Me: Can I cuddle with you a little longer?
Nathan: You can cuddle with me as long as you want. Until I’m dead. Then that would be weird.
Lesson 8: Write it down. Write it all down: Keep a journal, blog, photo diary – but document it. I want everyone to appreciate this little boy as much as I do. Because he is truly amazing and funny and witty. And compassionate:
“Mom, I’m sorry your sad. I wish we were rich. Not to get stuff but just so you don’t have to work anymore.”
Very, VERY smart: “Some people have a big brain but don’t know a thing”