His Best

Last year our dear friends moved to Ireland. We're so happy and proud of them, but we also miss them every single day.

Last year our dear friends moved to Ireland. We’re so happy and proud of them, but we also miss them every single day and they are never far from our thoughts.


Me: (standing in our front doorway waiting for the elevator to arrive)

Hank: (exiting, home from school) MOM!

Me: Hey! How was your day, Hank?

Hank: I got a 76 on my math exam.

Me: YO! That is 30 points higher than your last math exam.

Hank: I KNOW! I got a Bom (B).

Me: Parabéns! (Congradulations!)

Hank: Yah, I couldn’t believe it. I was convinced I did so bad.

Me: That is your lying, irrational brain messing with you.

Hank: My teacher was like, “What do you think your grade is?  Guess!” And I couldn’t guess.  I couldn’t say anything and I was just so shocked.

Me: She’s proud of you.

Hank: Ever since talking to my math teacher about how I want to do better and all the work I have been doing I have so many more idea on what to practice and study.

Me: You are making such good choices. I am really proud of you.

Hank: If I work at it ever day it is much easier than, like, all together all at once.

Me: Good point! 30 minutes here; 20 minutes there. It all adds up.

Hank: Exactly. I was thinking, if Euclides (16 year old family friend) could move to Ireland and go to school in English, which would be the same as if I went to America and went to school. I mean, I can speak English and read it but writing and math… I don’t know that stuff, you know? All of that is in my brain in Portuguese. Anyway, I was thinking if Euclides could just change in school and go from his Portuguese grades of suficiente (low C’s) to muito bom (A’s) like to the point where we were all like, “WOW, what happened? Did you open your brain and get a new one!”  I was thinking, like, I’m going to try and do better too. I’m going to see if I can do that.

Me: I am so proud of him! Euclides made the decision to do better. We all knew he had it in him, but he had to make the choice to apply himself.

Hank: I miss them all so much. I am happy for them, but I miss them at the same time.

Me: Me, too. I am so glad Euclides inspired you! Friends are the best.

Hank: (sigh) I get it now. This feeling. I feel proud, but it isn’t easy and it feels impossible when I think about working like this for like years and years.

Me: Feels like forever.

Hank: Right!

Me: It gets easier! Take studying one day at a time. Keep up this habit of study and you will get used to doing your best and therefore won’t settle for less. You deserve your best and as long as you do your best your best is enough. Regardless of grades or rewards personal satisfaction is the best gift you can give yourself.

Hank: Right?! I get it now. (sigh) Anyway. I’m going to take 30 minutes to myself and then get my homework done then read my book for 30 minutes. Does that sound good?

Me: (proud) Sounds like a plan.


A Historic Day



Me: Y’all… Dinner!

Pai: (walking in with a sick, sleepy Molly in his arms having just woken up from her 4th nap of the day) Look who I found.

Me: Well, hello chicken! Did you have a nice sleep?

Molly: (face still pillow creased) Good morning! It morning time.

Pai: It is actually dinnertime. (putting Molly in her chair)

Me: Do we need anything else to come to the table. Where’s Hank?

Hank: (from down the hall) I’m in the bathroom.

Pai: (sigh)

Molly: (racked with coughing, not covering her mouth)

Pai: Amália, remember? (placing his face into the crux of his elbow)

Me: (doing the same but more for protection as my medications for RA/AS result in a suppressed immune system) When we cough or sneeze we…

Molly: (following suit, muffled) Put in cor-too-velo (cotovelo, elbow)

Pai: She says it wrong just like you.

Me: At least she can say elbow in two languages.

Pai: Almost. (smiling) Cotovelo, filha, CO-TO-velo (elbow, daughter, EL-bow).

Molly: (coughing into her soup)


Hank: (within earshot) COMING!

Me: I’m going to put a “No Loitering” sign in the bathroom.

Pai: (exhausted sigh, half serious) Is it wrong that I just want them to go to sleep right now? Am I a horrible person?

Me: (oozing with sarcasm) Listen, we only have to pretend to like them on weekends.

Hank: (sitting down at the table with his phone to his ears) Hey girl, listen, I have to go. Yah, I have to eat dinner with my parents and pretend I think they’re funny. Right. I KNOW. Yah, totally. (laughing) Okay. For sure! Later, bye. (puts the phone down dramatically, picks up his napkin with a flourish and places it in his lap, raised eyebrow, oozing with sass)



Molly: (slurping her soup)

Me: (hand to my heart, momentarily speechless)

Hank: (panicking) What? You know that was a joke, right? My phone’s not even on.

Pai: And you don’t have any friends who speak English with you. (chuckling) We get it. That was great.

Me: (overly dramatic and sincere) I hoped this day would come, I dreamed of it, but you never know, you know?

Pai: Some people are born without a sense of humor.

Me: (slow clap)

Pai: (joining me) Well, done.

Me: (half getting up) Excuse me while I go apply water to that burn.

Pai: Don’t the kids say, “Awe snap,” in these moments?

Me: Bravo.

Hank: (proud, diving into his soup)

Me: (diving into my soup) That was funny.

Pai: (diving into his soup) That was so funny.

Molly: (oblivious, picking up her soup bowl and chugging the rest of her soup) All done. How the day? How the day, papa? How the day, mano? How the day, mama? (coughing into her elbow)

Me: Historic, MaGoo. Today was positively historic, thank you for asking.

Hank: (beaming)

Molly: Oh, that good. That a good day.



It ain't a bad view.

It ain’t a bad view.


Hank: (walking past my office, eyes glued to his phone, pauses in the doorway) Mom?

Me: (sitting on the guest bed with no phone, no computer and no book, eyes fixed on the window) Hum?

Hank: Are you okay?

Me: Yup.

Hank: Do you need anything?

Me: Nope.

Hank: Are you sad.

Me: Not at all.

Hank: Are you just sitting there and staring out the window?

Me: No.



Hank: It looks like you’re just staring out the window.

Me: Does it?

Hank: Yes.

Me: Oh.

Hank: Mom?

Me: Hum?

Hank: What are you doing?

Me: I’m using my imagination.

Hank: Oh, okay…


Hank: Cool, bye mom.

Me: Bye Hank.