I have a beautiful life.
There. It's November. Thanksgiving is approaching. And I'll just say it:
Berto, my oldest son, let me hug him on Halloween in front of his friends before I left him at a sleepover. Without embarrassment he accepts my, "I love you!" called out the car window by his school. He even lets me call him a variety of nicknames regularly without complaining. He still laughs with me when I'm laughing at myself. Usually. And he tries to cheer me up by his actions and with his words when I'm down. He will have long, deep conversations with me on everything from theology to astronomy to cinema to sports.
Oh, and he's a genius. Seriously, I have test scores and many awards to prove it.
My oldest daughter Ana never tires of being silly with me. It's like getting to goof off with a younger version of myself. When I was at the gift shop near the White Cliffs of Dover in England, I found a tin box with a picture of a crazy rabbit hopping on its lid. It spoke to me. I offered it to Ana when I got home, and she chose it for her keepsake. Every time she and I are being strange or goofy or singing and talking in one of the many silly voices in our repertoire, we end by doing a fist bump and saying exuberantly to each other, "Conejo loco!" It means crazy rabbit in Spanish. We have our own club.
She's a genius, too, and her beautiful heart shines for everyone. It's a gift from God.
My youngest girl, though a tomboy, still welcomes and invites my company and affection when I walk her into school. Ella offers me a kiss in front of all her friends who know how much she admires Batman, that Dark and lonely Knight. She hugs her ratty but loyal teddy Oonie every night as I sing her a bedtime song about her and Oonie being crime fighters in their dreams. She isn't tired of Mama or of Mama's small, imperfect gifts. And she has energy enough for all of us, especially when planning her birthday celebration. Everyone tells me now that she looks just like me. I have never seen it before, but almost from the day she was born, she reminded me of my Grandmama. I am honored.
She's a math whiz and a girl that will, I have no doubt, blaze a path in this world that others will want to follow.
Danny Sam, my baby, wishes he could still play games with me like we did each day before he started school. This past week he asked me several times until we finally played. I now know how he appreciated that time we had together. He wipes off my kisses in the morning but doesn't push me away before I plant them, His blue eyes are like an angel's; they are beautiful and make me stop and give thanks that such a little boy loves me, was given into my life. He still laughs like a little boy and still gets excited to share a story, classwork or his art with me. He's sensitive and not afraid to show me when he's mad, either.
My Danny Sam will always be my baby. Even when he's 62. But I have no doubt he will be a great many other amazing things, blessing others with his gaze from those great blue eyes and brightening the world with his talents and charm.
And my darling, darling, handsome man. I was amazed when Matthew came home for lunch Tuesday afternoon - something he never does because the commute is so long - with an armful of flowers and the few but powerful words I needed to hear from him. His thoughtfulness is all the more evident as the smell of eucalyptus from among those flowers permeates our home. He strongly dislikes that smell but got me those bouquets anyway; he knew I would love them, their vibrant colors and their heady scent. Taking me by surprise on a Tuesday afternoon is one of the most romantic things he has ever done. I'm in love with a steady, quiet, generous man.
And my life is good.