Today is one of the few holidays that my family celebrate wholeheartedly. I get to relax while everyone else does the work. My kids get creative and show their appreciation for all that I’ve done. My husband does most of cleaning house but the kids help a lot. Me, I just sit back and watch. No presents can beat that. Mother’s Day is one of my favorite holidays of the year. I like to see everyone working together doing chores without complaints. Watching my boys taking turns to steam mop the whole house is sweet as they were so polite and considerate to each other. Maybe they knew I was watching but nonetheless, it warms my heart. I don’t witness interactions like this often; it’s a rarity. Not even birthdays are this special.
As it is with every holiday, I would like to wish all the mothers (single dads too) a very happy and relaxing day. May your kids treat you to a peaceful day.
It reads: Mom, I love you.
One with the best heart ever!
Thankful to have you
Having you is the best
Everything you do is amazing
Remember everything you do, I love you.
...of course until I punish him for not listening...
This is from my youngest. He came into my office and commented on a painting. He said it was just splatter so he could paint one for me. So here it is...splatter, Timothy's version. Actually, it's just pouring paint but I'll live with it.
The pennies come with a funny story. Awhile back, Theodore broke his Lego toy apart and he can't seem to find all the pieces. Because I had already spent my money on that Lego toy for his birthday, he knew I was out of money. Therefore, he's been picking up pennies on the ground and saving them to give me so I can buy him another Lego set. Theodore agreed to pay for half of the new toy but he needs to come up with the other half. His new theme song for himself is from Khalid, "Young, Dumb and Broke." He's young, he's dumb (always getting caught for misbehaving) and he's definitely broke. He seems to enjoy being there for now. I'll even excuse this for his high school years but hopefully, not in his college years. So far, he collected 33 cents in the past month. He has a long way to go.
This past weekend I took my daughter with me to the Deaf Expo in Pleasanton. It was almost an hour drive to get there early in the morning. My role was to answer questions about dentistry. However, a lot of questions were about insurance coverage and not dental health. With literally hundreds of insurance policies in existence, it was difficult to answer all the questions. It’s hard enough to have to explain it to my hearing patients, can you imagine signing it in ASL? Thank goodness for the awesome interpreter, Pat, sitting next to me. He was more than generous with his time and skills! I just met him that day and after an hour, we were friends.
Truth be told, I didn’t think he was friendly at first. Apparently, one is not to talk when one is amongst the deaf. I never understood that because I’m a hearing person who learned ASL so I can “talk” to my hearing-impaired friends/patients. But it’s considered rude. So that first hour was very quiet on that side of my table. But within 30 minutes, their interpreters and hearing friends were all talking. The code of silence was no more. I wonder why a hearing person cannot talk and sign at the same time? It is so much easier, at least for me, than to sign without talking.
Pat watched me signed and took some of my business cards as he believes that you will get a better or more comprehensive medical/dental results when your doctor can communicate in your language, or in this case, ASL. Logically, it makes the appointment goes by quicker as there’s no writing back and forth. But for me, it’s just fun to be able to sign. I love it. Not to mention when I am working, my patients can sign to me without choking, by talking.
So, after introducing my daughter to a different culture, I asked her what she has learned from the experience. She replied:
She concluded on our way to the car, “People are people. It’s just how nice they are…” She had multiple opportunities to interact with deaf, hearing and hard-of-hearing visitors and she found many to be very friendly and nice, be them deaf or (hard of) hearing. Hopefully this is the lesson she will continue to take with her throughout her life. You are you, different from others and it’s okay. Sometimes it’s cool to be different and her mommy is cool.
After a long day at work, I ran in the pouring rain to the Transition Fair held at a local high school. A patient of mine had recommended me to the organizers and they asked if I would help out. I agreed to be the dental consultant for parents with special needs children. Upon my arrival, I was met by the parent volunteers. They looked at me and took pity. They helped me set up as I was soaked and wet from carrying boxes and bags without an umbrella, running from the parking lot to a hall on a campus I’ve never been to before. Luckily, there were students around who were nice enough to guide me in the right direction.
Once settled, I was told to grab my dinner ticket before the event starts. I went outside again and grab my tacos. When I went to the cookie table, they told me, “Only one.” I was only eyeing one cookie anyhow. As I took my spot back at my own table, my neighbor introduced herself. She asked if I was the dentist as the banner behind me said dental. I said yes and gave her my name. In trying to get to know me better, she asked if my clinic was solely dedicated to special needs children. I said no, I have a private family practice. She then asked if I had a special needs kid. I said no. Puzzled, she asked, “Why are you here?” I kindly replied that I was the only dentist I know that would work with the special need population. Immediately she said, “Well, that’s not true. My dentist treats my special needs daughter.” I told her I don’t know her dentist and re-emphasized that I had said I’m the only one I know. Then she asked me why I wanted to be there. Honestly, at that moment, I didn’t want to be there as I walked in the rain for at least 5 minutes before finding the building. Then to be accused of lying was discouraging. But I gave her the answer I gave my office. I only have to give a few hours of my night to teach parents and students how to brush and floss properly, even with braces, was worth it. I prepared a pamphlet and added color pictures and illustrations for better understanding. The free toothbrushes were also a hit with the patrons. Like the cookie table, “only one” per person please. But you can take as many pamphlets as you like.
There were Vietnamese, Spanish and even Sign Language translators. I, of course, ran over to the ladies signing and said hello to show off my mad signing skills. That had to be the best part of my night. It was so fun and confusing at the same time. I can’t read hands moving at 50 mph. I’m good at 25 mph…like an old granny driving on the freeway. When I came back to my table, someone asked for 2 toothbrushes. I broke my own rule and gave her 3 since she told me she has 3 kids. I also explained that kids with manual dexterity or attention deficit issues should be using an electronic toothbrush, not a manual one. I don’t think she understood me as she put one toothbrush back down. Her daughter explained it to her and she grabbed that same toothbrush again.
From my observation seat, all I can think was how dedicated these organizers were as they went from table to table to thank everyone and made sure people are visiting each table accordingly. A Vietnamese translator gave me an extra cookie. He said,” You look like you could use a cookie, doctor.” I laughed as I’m sure I looked like a mess and exhausted. Towards the end of the event, I was packing up my things. When I was about to leave, I turned to my neighbors and said my goodbyes. Someone asked me if I was getting paid for my time. I said it was purely for charity. No one paid me or for my things. I bid her adieu. Back into the rain I went with whatever is left in my possession. This time, the rain has stopped. Even though it didn’t start out nicely, it definitely ended well. I gave some people important questions to ask their dental providers and information to look up. The little knowledge that I did share was appreciated. That made my trip and being wet worthwhile. I hope we all come together as a community to help one another out whenever possible. Any contribution is better than none.
Friends in real life, friends in pictures. I grew up with girls that were not borne into my family, but were considered to be my sisters. We ate and slept in each other’s houses, sometimes uninvited but mostly welcomed. We shared stories and heartbreaks that cannot be repeated outside of our group. We held each other up even through exhaustion. We mostly celebrated many happy occasions together. In-fighting was rare and we had the ability to make up quickly. We’re fortunate that we all did not agree to break up at the same time. There’s always one that acted as the glue during our divisiveness.
As kids, it seems like we were always together. My childhood was mostly shaped by them. They provided the fun to my reserved life. They were making waves while I was trying not to rock the boat. As we grew older, it was inevitable that I would find my voice. My girlfriends were strong and beautiful. I think osmosis really does work. Even as poor kids, we believed we were just as good as the next kid. I truly struggled to make myself believe that initially. But when I saw how proud my group of friends were of me for the simplest achievements, I believed I was good, if not better than the others. We were the early "girl power" group. Funny how a chance meeting lead to 38 years of friendship. Here’s to serendipity, along with many more years of sisterhood and bonding.
I'm still the smallest, "boring-est" and nerdiest of the group. You would think after all these years, at least one thing can change. Nope, it is what it is. They're still the fun kids and I'm the mundane one.
This past week I had to lay my Photon to sleep. It was one of the saddest moments in recent memory. My heart was heavy and numb. My tears flow for the loss of a great companion and love. And they just keep coming. He was old and I could see he was not comfortable in his own body. I was sure he wanted to go sooner but I asked him to stay longer for my sake. Before I left for vacation, I knew he was planning to leave me. I told him he couldn’t leave yet but he just looked at me and walked away. No hugs. No begging. Just butt and tail putting distance between us.
For those of you who knew him, you know what a great kid he was. He has always been my “oldest child”, the best 4-legged kid imaginable. He was tender and kind, never aggressive, even when he was attacked. He was always the “big brother” to my other children. He didn’t really welcome any of the 2-legged kids as they played aggressively with him. But he watched over them vigilantly. He would tell on them when they tried to climb out of their crib and got stuck halfway. He would get me whenever one of them is hanging midair between a buffet table and a stool. Ever the doting brother, he slept with them wherever possible, as it was the only moment of peace he got during the day.
Before the 2-legged kids came along, it was just he and I. He was my priority. I taught him sign language as well as audio commands in preparation for old age as his hearing or eyesight would waiver. We performed a lot of cool tricks. Okay, maybe only one was cool but the rest were good. I would shoot him and he laid down to play dead. It entertained me every time. Or, to trick him to come out for his bath, I would say, “Oh, nobody is hugging mommy.” Slowly, he would emerge from under the bed to put his head on my shoulder. Then into sink he went. How that trick never falters is beyond me.
When we were attacked in the park, he was so brave. I told him it was going to be alright and he believed me. After a week at the vet with a couple of surgeries, I took him home to care for him 24/7. My office and patients got to know him during that period. He became our “little guy”. Everyday for weeks we would change his bandage in between patients. We took turns cuddling with him and getting him to exercise. Patients would have him on their lap for comfort and calming effect. He was the star of our office. He even got Christmas cards and became a model for a doggy calendar.
At home, I remember thinking I cannot date anyone my dog does not like. Funny enough, my dog liked everybody. But it was my husband that I saw Photon warms to the most. He came over every night to help take care of Photon when his body was healing. My eyes were swollen from crying so much at the sight of torture on my poor baby’s back. My husband’s support was heart-warming. He never missed a day, even when he was traveling for work. He came right back home, past midnight to be there for us. From that, I knew he was the one and we were just friends.
Photon has always been my protector, even at only 12 pounds max. He kept me feeling safe when we were home alone. He loved me unconditionally, never asking for anything but food and water. He put up with me dressing him in baby or doggy clothes. He traveled throughout the US with me, putting up with air sickness. From the bottom of my heart, I cannot thank him enough for being with me when he wanted to leave. He has been a great companion to a crazy woman for 16 years without judgment or delusion. He loved me for me, his mommy. I could not have asked for a better puppy. May God hold him close in Heaven and bless his little soul with a healthier body to run around in. I know he knows I love him from beginning to end. And I know he loves me, too. We had a fantastic life together. I love you, Photon, my little pocket of energy.