You celebrated your 53rd month outside my womb this month and mostly, it was a fun one. After all, it encompassed Christmas - which around here lasts a lot of days since you received a box of packages first from my parents, then we went to Albany where you were greeted with even more presents, and then back home with a visit from Aunt Linda who brought even more presents. You found this wholly acceptable, if only because you seriously love the accumulation of stuff. So much so, that I had to remind you on more than one occasion that you had the choice between saving the packaging from a present (what I refer to as trash) or keeping the present. On every occasion, you chose the present.
You loved hanging out with all 5 of your cousins - first the girls in Albany, then the girls from Kansas. What it is with dad's and my siblings that they only produce girls? Luckily, you're quite happy to play with 'girl toys', so it's never a problem to visit Albany. Your favorite toy there? A cleaning cart that Grandma Lynn gave to cousin Kate last year. You never forget it between visits, and wake up every morning ready to fetch it and get to work. I'm sure Grandma Lynn appreciates your help greatly.
You visited with Santa once, and you jumped eagerly onto his lap...and promptly requested 100 presents.
You convinced me to allow you to participate in the afternoon program one day per week at school. If you had your druthers, you would attend every day, but I'm a bit appalled at paying for an afternoon program when you have perfectly wonderful care available here at home. But, it's a good test drive on the idea of going to school all day. So far, Mrs. Gaudinski reports complete success. From my perspective, it's been a complete failure. It's a bit too exciting for you to fall asleep there - lest you miss anything - so you end up going napless, which makes for a difficult evening. Week 1 was a disaster. Week 2 I figured out that if I gave you a knife and a cucumber and told you to go to town, you would stop picking on Helen. That's what we call good parenting in this house. After dinner, we commenced immediately with baking banana bread because with a bit of structure, the evening can run smoothly. I'm hopeful that after a couple more weeks you'll be settled into your new routine. If not, your beloved afternoon program will end.
We visited the trains at the Botanical Gardens several Fridays in a row and it was not surprising at all that you remembered these. What was surprising is that the day I announced we would visit the National Christmas Tree, you piped up from the backseat "will the train be there again this year?". I did not even remember the train from last year, but indeed, it was there. And according to your report, it's the same train that was there last year. I have no doubt that this is the case.
Snow, snow, snow. You love the snow. Clearly, you are your father's child. You played in it, enjoyed being buried in it, shoveled it, went sledding in it, and finally skiied in it. A hill near our house has a nice pitch, so you can go skiing there while others go sledding. Hopefully you'll enjoy our ski vacation as much as you enjoyed heading down this little hill. You also skiied up in Albany for a few hours and had a lot of fun. You really enjoyed the package of Starburst that Grandpa bought you. I told you they were yours, and even though you were too tired to eat them in the car ride home, you did find the time to hide beneath a table and eat nearly the whole package. That's a lot of Starburst! You were in heaven.
This might be the longest break I've taken from blogging in a while, and as is always the case, it was the result of being busy at work and stress. In the past few weeks, I was offered a new job, a good job with a great boss, and great long-term potential - but in the end, they needed someone full-time, and that was not something I could do just yet. Also, I spent a fair amount of time visiting your former nanny, Rani. You were the light of Rani's world when she was with you. She brought you several highly inappropriate presents that you adore (chief among them, an ATM machine). She was diagnosed with breast cancer, and eventually it metastasised to her brain and became terminal. I have now experienced one more thing in life that I just don't think you can ever understand until you go through it yourself, and that is driving to the hospital praying that by the time you get there, the person you are going to see will be dead. Should this happen to you, know that I have walked that road and you can too. Eventually, Rani did die, and while it was very sad, it was also merciful that this terrible journey finally came to an end. Connor, I now pass along to you two things from Rani. First, find something to believe in. When I went to visit Rani as she lay in the hospital very ill, she smiled and told me that she felt all of her angels were coming to visit her. She expressed true happiness and a very strong faith that God had sent everyone to her. Believe in a higher power, believe in karma, believe in your partner, believe in the regeneration of life, belive in mercy, or believe in anything else. But I do hope you find something to believe in. It'll provide you strength when you're not certain you have it. Second, a smile can go a long way. Several staff members expressed to me what a joy Rani was to be around, and many cried when they learned of her death. These people work in an oncology unit. They see death regularly. Yet still, Rani touched their lives. You have the power to spread the same positive energy into the universe.
When you're not bossing someone around or trying to keep people from messing with something that you have exactly.the.right.way, you're completely fun to hang out with. Your dad and I are both looking forward to our upcoming ski vacation with you.