conversations with hank

Molly drew us some kisses (beijinhos)


(at dinner)

Molly: A-dah! A-dah! Ah-dah! (pointing desperately)

Me: Would you like some more tortilla, MaGoo?

Molly: (looking over at her brother) Agua! Agua! Agua! (water)

Hank: Here’s your water, muggy.

Molly: (takes a sip, sets her sights on her papa) A-dah! Papa! A-dah! A-dah! A-dah!

Pai: (peeling an orange) I will share, tem calma (calm down).

Molly: Papa, (pointing desperately at the orange) AH-DAH! PAPA! AH-DAH! AH-DAH! AH-DAH!

Me: (rubbing her back) Your papa will share, but it isn’t instantaneous. You need to be patient.

Molly: AH-DAH!!! (reaching)

Hank: It’s like my teacher says, “You can’t walk up to a cow and expect cheese.”

Pai: (handing over a peeled, skinned orange segment) HA! Exactly.

Me: Wise words. Are you listening, MaGoo?

Molly: (mouth stuffed with orange, chipmunk cheeks, juice running down her chin) Ah-dah? (pointing for more)

Pai: (chuckling) This lesson is learned with time.



A classic Midwestern American (scalable) silo

A classic Midwestern American (scalable) silo


(sitting down to dinner)

Hank: I got the best email from Grandpa Snitch today.

Pai: Really?

Me: In it he explains his theory to Molly’s fearless love of climbing. I had never heard this story before in my life, but my dad is like that, full of untold stories and adventure.

Hank: When he was a kid he spent the summer milking cows.

Me: On his uncle Asher’s farm.

Pai: Is this in Illinois?

Me: I believe so, Illinois or Wisconsin.

Hank: And one day he decided to climb the espigueiro (silo), but the American kind. The tall ones.

Pai: The silo?

Me: Yup, the typical red barn, silo, Midwestern farm set up.

Hank: He just climbed up it and when he got done he took his cousin’s bike and went to the next farm and climbed their espi… how do you call it in English?

Me: Silo. And then the neighbor farmer called uncle Asher and told him that my dad was climbing up his silo and he wouldn’t pay the hospital bill if he fell and lived.

Pai: Ha!

Hank: Why would grandpa snitch climb up that? Why would he even think to do that? I would never do that.

Me: Because he is fearless. You remember what happened with the rocket?

Hank: Oh yah, my grandpa Snitcher made a rocket all by himself and when he set it off it caught him and carried him up in the air and then exploded and he lost some of his hearing or seeing, which one?

Me: Hearing and he fell like 20 feet. Super dangerous, but mischief managed.

Pai: Must be where Molly gets it.

Me: Just wait until he tells you stories of visiting his Uncle Chester’s cabin in Yellow Stone National Park and the bear attacks and getting caught between a moose and her calf while hauling water from the creek to the cabin.

Pai: You better save these emails. They are important adventure stories and your family history.

Me: I can’t believe I didn’t want you having that phone, Hank. I would have never heard this silo story!

Hank: OH and my grandpa snitch got into so much trouble that he had to weed the garden for two days.

Pai: That is a proper punishment.

Hank: Are you going to give me that punishment in our horta (vegetable garden)?

Pai: That’s a great idea.

Me: Don’t go climbing silos and I think you’re safe.



Impostor Syndrom



Hank: (entering my room) Mama, are you eating with us?

Me: (reading from my laptop in bed) Not eating but I will sit with you for dinner.

Hank: Whatcha working on?

Me: Being kinder to myself.

Hank: That is a good idea.

Me: (sigh) I agree. My brain has been lying to me lately and tomorrow I am going to take the whole day to mother myself and punch my lying brain in the face.

Hank: (giggling) That is a good idea, but what do you mean your brain has been lying to you?

Me: My brain is causing me to think things that are not true. My whole adult life I have had really high self esteem and I was confidant and tenacious, but since getting sick and as the RA and AS have advanced my brain likes to lie to me and tell me I am faking it or that I am lazy and I am not as nice to myself as I should be because I am listening to these irrational thoughts… So tomorrow I am going to begin to kill this lying part of my brain and help my brain come to terms with what I know in my heart. I need to convince my irrational thoughts that none of this is my fault, that there is nothing I can do other than my best and that my best is enough so that I can go back to being me.

Pai: (Our resident scientist entering the room from his hallway eavesdropping) It is called impostor syndrome. It is a natural thing that can happen and mostly happens to high achievers and very successful people.

Hank: You are successful, mama.

Me: Thank you, Hank. This is why you are my best ever kid and your papa is my person. I know these things in my heart now I just have to convince my head. Today, I read a rather special article in a FASHION MAGAZINE of all places and it helped me know I was not alone. There is no greater gift than knowing you are not alone. I feel stronger because of this article and tomorrow I am turning over a new leaf.

Pai: (taking my hand) Dinner is on the table. Are you coming, Joy?

Me: (beaming) Nothing I like better than dinner with my boys.

Molly: (screaming from her high chair) Ha-ppy! Ha-ppy! (clap, clap)

Me: (giggling) and our resident pterodactyl.

Molly: Ha-ppy! Ha-ppy! (clap, clap)