Conversations with Hank

At my new job even the spools are art!


For the past 15 years, Hank and Molly’s Pai (dad) has sighed in surrender and said, “I am just so behind.” This is not an exaggeration. He has said this same phrase verbatim -every single day- at least once without fail.

Over the years I assumed it was just his lack of satisfaction for a job well done, because as a passionate research scientist there is always more to do, never enough hours in the day, always something new to discover and new data to analyze, but over the last few months I finally am able to empathize. Now, at the end of every day I sigh in surrender and say, “I am just so behind.”

Purely by accident I’ve stumbled into a career in tutus. A few short months ago I traded in all of my 10,000,001 freelance contracts for a 9-5pm in an energized, highly creative environment when I am, quite literally, drowning in tutus, stunning leotards and everything ballet and I couldn’t be happier… accept where is comes to my creative work.

I know I went MIA.  I apologize to those of you who were concerned it was health related. Don’t worry, I am as well as possible. I have thought of you all daily and have still been collecting conversations religiously, but I needed some space to be polite to myself while learning something new and finding my feet again.

It would be one thing if I was just a working mom trying hard to balance creative writing and tutu sales, homework help and three year old learning curves, copy writing and watering the garden, being a wife and managing school run, but as you know I am also living with two debilitating chronic illnesses and even though my new team fully understand, embrace and accommodate my poor health and disabilities I am still ultimately the one who has to budget my energy and activity levels evenly between family, career, myself and my creative pursuits.

Thank you for giving me the time I needed to adapt to my new normal, where there are never enough hours or health enough to accomplish everything I crave doing.  This blog quite literally kept me going through three of the most challenging years of my life and it isn’t my intention to abandon this project now, but with that said my consistency may not be what it once was. Taking that into consideration I urge you, if you don’t want to miss a single conversation click one or all of the following:

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Thank you all for your kind understanding and support of this blog. I am humbled that you find joy and wisdom in the conversations I have with my children.

All the best from across the sea,
~Joy (a.k.a. Me)


Zangado (Angry)

photo by Hank

photo by Hank


(sitting three deep on the sofa in our pajamas watching Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang)

Hank: (throwing his head back) ARGH! I have so much to do today!

Molly: (who does absolutely everything her big brother does these days throws her head back) ARGH!

Me: And what is it exactly that you have to do?  I thought you were done with your homework for the weekend.

Hank: I did, but…

Me: That but doesn’t sound convincing.

Hank: I didn’t lie. The things I have to do are personal: I want to finish my power point presentation about YouTube Tech Gear, I want to clean my room, I have to read over an hour today because I have fallen behind on my thirty minutes a day goal, I neeeed to start again on my bullet journal spread because yesterday just wasn’t my day and I have to recopy my notes from my notebook onto my Muji binder paper because I didn’t remember to take it to school last Friday and none of my regular paper fits into a Muji binder, only Muji paper.

Me: Well, as we have absolutely nothing to do today I wouldn’t stress yourself out.  There is plenty of time for all those thing.  Simply make yourself a to-do list and check tasks off one by one.

Hank: (in all his pre-teen glory) ARGH! Why do you always assume I am stressed out! I am not stressed out!

Me: Because of your our tone of voice and body language?

Hank: ARGH! NO! (gets up and storms off to his room)

Molly: (toddles, ungracefully off the sofa) ARGH! (collects all her many stuffed friends) ARGH! (huffing and stomping her feet)

Me: And where are you going?

Molly: I going zangado (angry) with mano (brother).

Me: Lovely, have a great time!

Molly: I love you. (smiling angelically) Thanks, mama. (pauses) ARGH! (adopting a grimace, stomps out of her room to pout with her brother in solidarity)


Be Here Now

conversations with hank and molly

(leaving the grocery store)

Molly: (desperate to practice her tight rope walking on the parking lot curb) PAPA! Papa, wait! PAPA!

Pai: (in a rush to leave)

Me: You pack the groceries. I will deal with our future circus performer.

Molly: Thanks, mama.

Me: Can you do it or do you need my hand?

Molly: (struggling to keep her balance) I can do it! (loses her balance) ARGH! I NO CAN DO IT, MAMA! (foot stomp)

Me: Would you like my hand?

Molly: (determined) Yes, I want to go there. (points to the very end of the parking lot where the curb turns at a right angle)

Me: Well, that is your problem, MaGoo.  In order for you to get all the way over there you have to be here now.

Molly: Now? Here?

Me: (holding her hand) You have to focus only on your steps now in order to keep your balance.  You cannot think that far ahead, that will only cause you to lose you focus, stumble and fall.  You have to be here now, with these steps, breath and focus on your feet.  Do the work of walking balanced here and that work will carry you to where you want to go in the end.

Molly: (holding my hand and balancing, putting one foot in front of the other) one foot, other foot, one foot, other foot.

Me: That’s the way.  Be here now. Focus.

Molly: One foot, other foot, one foot, other foot, one foot, other foot… I ALMOST THERE, MAMA! (excitedly loses focus and stumbles, grabs on to me tight) WHOA!

Me: (helping her find her balance, squeezing her hand) Don’t panic, stay calm and breathe. Don’t look ahead yet.  Be here now. You will only get there when it is time.  It takes every step to get you there, you can’t rush it, be here. Don’t get lost thinking you’re almost there and have no more work to do.  Almost is not enough.

Molly: One foot, other foot. I doing good, mama?

Me: You are doing well; focus, balance and breathe.

Molly: One foot, other foot, one foot, other foot, one foot (gasp) MAMA, I DID IT! I here. I here now.

Me: You are indeed.  Congratulations.

Molly: I here now. I good. Let’s do it again.

Me: Yes, let’s.