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Sunday, September 11, 2011

It’s hard to type today’s date and not feel a tug of emotion – as we all do. Ten years ago today, we will ALL remember where we were, what we were doing. Mike and I started the day wishing each other a happy first month of marriage (though with half of it spent in the hospital and Chemotherapy looming, it really hadn’t been all that happy). I then got in the car to drive to the school where I was just a day into my first full week as a music teacher. I turned on the radio and that’s when I heard about the planes, the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, a field in Pennsylvania. I remember I happened to be driving right next to Boeing field when the radio dj announced they were grounding all planes. The irony. Yep, you never can forget those moments.

Now for more recent reflection, and thankfully, happy ones. Last weekend, we celebrated Matthew’s 8th birthday. Friday night was an army-themed party with some of his school buddies. And then on Monday, we took the boys for a surprise and magical trip to the circus. Both celebratory occasions were so much fun. Matthew and his pals had a blast at the party. We played one game where they had to wrap the wounded soldier and get him to safety. (Wrap toilet paper around him and drag him on the beach towel-gurrney). They LOVED it. We also played “Sargeant Says” and then they tromped all through the backyard fighting some sort of battle against some enemy all while wearing their army party helmet hats. It was great!

I must say the most memorable event of the evening for me was a rather strange moment. VERY strange. One of the little brothers of Matthew’s classmate is a, uh, interesting little fellow. The boy asked kept referring to Kayliana as “he” and “him;” I corrected him that Kayli is actually a girl and a “she/her” but he continued just using male pronouns, so I eventually gave up. Then all of a sudden little boy turns to me and says (pointing to Kayliana), “Is he Michael Jackson?” I looked at him for a moment blankly.

“What?” I asked.

He repeated again more slowly, “Is he Michael Jackson?”

I looked at Mike to make sure that he’d heard this and that I wasn’t in fact crazy. I looked at little boy and said, “No, that’s Matthew’s and Zach’s baby sister, Kayli.”

“Oh,” he says without skipping a beat. “Well, my dad says that Michael Jackson is dead but Jesus can bring him back as a baby.” What. The. WHAT?! So, this kid thinks that Kayliana is Michael Jackson reincarnated???? Pretty much the most random, strangest thing I’ve ever heard.

And while it wasn’t the moonwalk, Kayliana took her first steps ON Matthew’s 8th birthday!! She’s still primarily cruising, holding on to furniture and crawling when there’s nothing to hold on to, but she’s throwing in a few independent steps every now and then. We were given a little doll stroller/walker toy from a neighbor and holy majoly, does she ever love walking and giving her baby a ride in it! SO cute.

After watching Kayliana’s first steps, we left her with a babysitter and took an AMAZING trip to the Ringling Bros/Barnum Bailey Circus. I couldn’t stop tearing up as I watched the boys faces and listened to their giggles as they experienced the magic of their first ever circus. It really was incredible. Zach’s favorite part was the two “Ninja-Kung-Fu guys” (as he describes them) who while blindfolded lept through a spinning wheel that had swords and was lit on fire. His face after watching the man do a flying-somersault through the firey sword-ring was pure shock and awe. Matthew and I shared the same favorite part – the motorcycles (on which the boys got to sit before the show) that drive at 60 mph in a 16 foot wide sphere…while a woman is dangling and spinning in the middle. Just another day at the office for these performers! Craziness.

Zach hasn’t shown much interest in recommitting to gymnastics (in order to become one of the circus ninja guys), so maybe soccer will be a better fit for him. He had his first ever soccer game yesterday in the 90-degree heat (OK, maybe it was only 80, but still, it was HOT!) and on a field of pure dust and dirt. Where’s the grassy field I was envisioning?! The other team only had four kids, so they borrowed several of ours. Most of the time Zach was playing on the other team but never was really clear on which goal he should be going for. The funniest (yet saddest) moment of the game was when Zach finally got the ball. He paused for a moment to line up for a strong kick towards the correct goal when, as usual in early years-soccer games, all 16 kids on the “field” came rushing at him. One of his team mates got the ball away from him and the throng of dusty, dirty sweaty kids moved like a soccer amoeba down the field. Zach stood there frozen in shock.

“Zach! What’s wrong?” One of the coaches called out to him.

With a face of immense disgust, rage, confusion and pure tortured sorrow, Zach – fighting back tears – said, “They stole the ball from me!!!!” Like: how could this happen? The injustice. The downright MEANess. How is this fair or fun? What kind of stupid game is this where you don’t just take turns and share nicely?!

The coaches – fighting laughter – said, “That’s right, Zach. They STOLE it. That’s not nice! You go steal it right back!!!” And with a look of dedicated focus and mission, Zach took off after the ball (which was somewhere in the herd of sweaty soccer madness).

Zach was one of two kids on the team who was given the “Hustle Award” for the game – a mini-gumball dispenser. Turns out this soccer thing isn’t so bad afterall.

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