It’s A Different World

My double-digit son with his new iPod Touch and chocolate birthday cake!

The other night, my ten-year-old son and I were having a discussion about technology.  Specifically, how it seems like many of the kids in our neighborhood and in his last class at school have things he doesn’t have — namely a phone.

Ryan is ten years old.  I take him to school and pick him up each day.  He doesn’t travel anywhere without an adult.  There is no need for a phone.  (We did give him an iPod Touch for his 10th birthday).

I asked Ryan who he would call if he had a phone.  He listed me, my husband, and my parents.  I asked him if he needed a phone, and he told me no.

Then he asked me how old I was when I got my first cell phone.  I told him — I was in college, commuting on six buses a day, a roundtrip travel time of 3 1/2 to 4 hours each day.  My parents gave me a cell phone that looked like a brick.  With it came strict instructions not to use the phone unless, heaven forbid, there was a real emergency.  Otherwise, always keep some quarters in my backpack, and use a pay phone when needed.  (I never used that phone).

That is not the world in which my son is growing up. 

And that got me thinking about a post I wrote for MomsLA back in 2013.  Click here to read “6 Ways My Son’s Childhood Is Different Than Mine.”

Moments of Happiness

A few months ago, a good friend gave me Option B written by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant.  I’m about halfway through it, and already have quite a few Post-Its tagging pages.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, there has been an awful lot going on in our family during the last couple of months.  The other night I read a few passages in Option B which really impacted me, and I wanted to share them with my readers.

“When we look for joy, we often focus on the big moments.  But happiness is the frequency of positive experiences, not the intensity.”

“Paying attention to moments of joy takes effort because we are wired to focus on the negatives more than the positives.  Bad events tend to have a stronger effect on us than good events. “

“Even when we’re in great distress, joy can still be found in moments we seize and moments we create.  All of these can provide relief from pain.  And when these moments add up, we find that they give us more than happiness; they also give us strength.”

And, I’d like to take it a few steps further and share with you three moments that made me happy this past week:

  1. Driving in our car, my ten-year-old son sat in the back seat, singing along to “Sugar, Sugar” by The Archies, but doing it our family-way — substituting “Oh Ryan” for “Oh Sugar.”
  2. My son and I watching Apollo 13 (again), and applauding when the three astronauts safely splashdown.
  3. Sitting on our patio the other night after dinner as my son and husband ate bowls of chocolate ice cream, and I sat and watched — our giant pinwheel spinning, a hummingbird, and “my guys” on our glider.

It’s a good reminder that when things seem hard, or scary, or overwhelming, moments of happiness are all around us.  We just have to pay attention to them.

Readers, I’d love to hear from you.  I invite you to share your recent moments of happiness in the comments section below!


My Son

Ryan and Grandpa a.k.a. My son and My dad at the King Tut Exhibit

Last month, my family visited the King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh exhibit at the California Science Center.  While we marveled at the artifacts (many of which have never left Egypt before), my ten-year-old son, Ryan, kept focusing on King Tut’s young age when he became ruler of Egypt.  King Tut was only nine years old, earning him the nickname “Boy King.” 

We joked with my ten-year-old son that he was a year behind.  Actually, I think Ryan is a great mix of innocent, little boy and mature, young man.  But in many ways, I fear that my illness has somewhat colored his childhood, prompting him to have experiences and knowledge I didn’t have when I was his age (and younger).

Because Ryan only knows me as I am now — a mommy who has an illness, whose legs often hurt, who takes a lot of medicines, and who sees the doctor fairly regularly.

It got me thinking of a personal essay I wrote last year for Click here to read, “My Son is Already Becoming My Caretaker – And It’s Both Heartbreaking and Inspiring.”

Simply Sun-sational

It doesn’t get much better than this — an amazing sunset, the ocean, and a hug from my son. Cambria, June 2018

Our family doesn’t regularly make it a point to stop what we’re doing and watch the nightly sunset.  Once in a while, we’ll notice the splashes of orange and pink in the sky; we’ll come to the window and admire for a moment or two before continuing on with our nightly routines.

But in Cambria, people do regularly stop and watch and marvel at the sunset.  We were there recently (we go once a year), and on our first night there, we weren’t granted much of a show.  The day had been extremely foggy, and most of the sunset was hidden from view.  But on our second and final night, we were gifted with a glorious show.  The temperature had dropped considerably (my son was quite entertained by my chattering teeth), but the cold was well worth it.

On that note, I’d like to encourage my readers to try and make a point of witnessing a sunset.  It’s important to stop and stand in awe of the beauty that surrounds us.  It really does help put things in perspective.  If perhaps the view from your home isn’t the best, then click here and take a look at a post I wrote last year for for a list of some fantastic sunset-viewing spots all around Los Angeles.