Hank's hastily written note to his sister, left for her on her little desk.  It reads: I love Amália.

Hank’s hastily written note to his sister, left for her on her little desk. It reads: I love Amália.


Hank: Burrrrritos!

Me: Two smothered in tomatillo sauce and one naked.

Pai: Yum.

Hank: I like mine naked so I can eat it with my hands.

Me: Valid point.

Pai: Bom apetite!

Hank: How was your day, mama?

Me: Full and good and productive and active and just lovely, thank you. OH, and as it turns out Hank, you aren’t the only person who had the Great Lisbon Earthquake on the brain during feriado (holiday) yesterday.

Pai: Oh yah, I forgot that was on the same day.

Hank: We don’t go to church so I thought the day off was for the Earthquake, because it happened on November 1, 1755,  but my teacher, she goes to church and she said it is a day off so everyone can go to the cemetery and honor their family. Which is nice, too.

Me: Gail* wrote a whole blog about Dia dos Santos (All Saints Day) and the Great Lisbon Earthquake and I learned that apparently the earthquake struck while most of Lisbon was attending Mass and great numbers of people thought that God had sent the earthquake to punish the city and smite the wicked.

Pai: Makes sense, playing on superstitions.

Hank: (putting down his burrito, serious) God wouldn’t do that. God has nothing to do with the earth’s tectonic plates rubbing against each other. That is how our planet evolved and how it all sticks together with gravity and orbits and stuff. He can’t control that. You can’t get that far into the center of the earth and under the sea. If he could then he would stop them from shifting and causing earthquakes at all. He wouldn’t hurt people on purpose. God is a teacher and teachers don’t hurt people, they help people know what to do when bad things happen and how to be good people always and how to be their best person and how to love and help people on their next journey after they die. Why would people think that?



Me: Because…

Pai: Because not everyone is as wise as you.

Me: (nodding)



*Gail Aguiar is a Canadian Freelance Photographer and a Blogger and our friend who lives in Porto and shares the most stunning images and ideas of life in Portugal and her travels at large.  Please take the time to visit her blog:


Morning Routine

A To-Do List Hank Wrote on his White Board.  It reads: Love my prima (cousin), Love my mama, Love my papa, Love my mana (sister), LOVE MYSELF

A Check List Hank Wrote on his White Board. It reads: Love my prima (cousin), Love my mama, Love my papa, Love my mana (sister), LOVE MYSELF


Me: (Slowly, gingerly preparing my kids things for the day. Making Molly’s bag for her day with her Nanny. Packing her lunch, water bottle, diapers and more than one change of clothes due to the heat. Packing Hank’s swimming suit, towel, sunblock, hat and water bottle for Gomos (Summer Program). Making a chocolate milk for him and a bottle of milk for her and a pingado (an espresso with a few drops of milk) for me. Pouring a tall glass of water. Taking my meds by the handful. Grateful they are slowing the progression of my diseases. Wishing they did a bit more for my every day like they do for my long term, hoping I will be able to start new meds by October, wishing it were July but still grateful for October. Slowly, gingerly doing my best like I do every morning.)

Hank: (noticing) Mama? (taking my hand, gently)

Me: Yes, my dove.

Hank: You aren’t wearing your glasses.

Me: Oh, I hardly noticed. (hand going to my face) I’m fine for now.

Hank: Mama, I can tell today isn’t easy for you. Can I help? Can I do something?

Me: Would you like your chocolate milk hot or cold?

Hank: Cold. I can do it, mama. (taking over the making).

Me: Thank you, Hank. (finishing Molly’s bottle)

Hank: Will you rest today, mama?

Me: Hum?

Hank: (coming over to my side) Will you be able to rest today? After we leave and you get your work done will you be able to take a long nap?

Me: Most probably. (giving him a tired smile)

Hank: Please, rest today, my mama. You are doing your best, but I can tell you need a little rest today.

Me: Thank you, Hank. I will take your advice. Don’t worry about me.

Hank: Worry is sometimes the same as love. I believe you so I won’t worry. (taking his chocolate milk and Molly’s bottle into the living room)

Me: (leaning back against the counter with my coffee, once again impressed, proud of my very best boy)