COVID HALLOWEEN, The Doubters, AND A still small voice

My son contracted COVID at school, based on what the school told us, though he wears a mask. Moral of the story: actually continue to give this Virus its due difference, folks. It has killed (WHO site has not been updated in 48 hours, but I’d assume we’ve hit 5 million) almost 5 million people globally.

People are STILL underestimating this Virus. I still hear, “I can fight it.” #Darwin

Anyway, my child’s favorite holiday is Halloween, which is troubling for three reasons. First, I HATE Halloween – I detest masks and other alterations of a person’s actual…being. Second, his favorite holiday should be Thanksgiving, Valentine’s, or something equally lovely and featuring joyful hearts frolicking in a meadow. Instead? He loves a holiday featuring blood, fear, and other terrifying moments of gloom. Eye roll. Third, he has never celebrated Halloween. He has been a child of quarantine (I was nervous in 2019, definitely fearful in 2020, and he’s Agent Orange now).

He sat on a the porch this year. Full costume (he was a Dallas Police Officer). No trick-or-treating. Again.

He watched other children, from a Fauci-approved distance, experience the holiday he loves. He doesn’t love the candy – he loves the interaction and the fact that people go outdoors at night. He loves that “Dia de los Muertos,” which he will stay with a killer (pun intended) accent, honors the dead – we honor his Grandpére almost daily. “Death” is a word that has no sting in our household.

Previously, we quarantined with Momma (who is a teacher, mother, grandmother, SAINT). Not so much now. We are in serious quarantine – no one in or out. I am struggling. All of the sudden, I’m alone – I am teacher, mother, cook, housekeeper, coach, psychologist. I am working – full-time. It is hard.

When people ask me, “what can I do?” I answer, “we are fine.” That is true. “We” are fine, for sure. My son is just fine, which means that “we” are fine.

But, I am not fine.

Earlier today, two parts of our family’s heart showed up for what Frankenstein referred to as a “reverse Halloween.” I got it, after a nap (I think?). They showed up to our house because my little guy could not go to any house(s). Brilliant. Helpful to this Momma who needed to see her Little Bear smile and needed to see her friends, to be honest. We talked about normal things and, for pity’s sake, how we would get back to a better place, after he’d tested negative again.

But, night cometh. So cometh the tantrums of a Kindergartner on Halloween, who is unable to actually trick-or-treat.

Enter: A pre-teen and St. Thomas

Around 7:30 PM tonight, at our curb, arrived a very costumed-under-duress Zookeeper and an effervescent and downright joyful Tiger. They were our dear friends, representing our little Church That Can – St. Thomas the Apostle. (Editor’s note: already knew Tiger had great gams and Zookeeper has been hiding that light under jeans…moving on…). They briefly visited and left some bags of Halloween treats.

Around 7:45 PM, I was clearing all the s**t out of the yard:

  1. the massive table, which was actually a line of demarcation – here is the COVID and there are YOU
  2. the candy, which was cheap and full of junk
  3. the chalk, which might have ended up with some nice drawings (here’s hoping) and
  4. all the other stuff meant to make Halloween celebratory for all the kiddos, thought it wasn’t for us.

Immediately after shutting the door and turning out the obligatory “SHOP’S CLOSED!” lights, some yutes (MCV reference) knocked on the door. I spoke to them, through the glass mask, “I’ll go get the candy, but stand away from the door. My son has COVID.”

I went to got get two large handfuls of the TONS of candy we were given today (more later). I went too slowly, punishment for arriving after I’d clearly signaled I was absolutely done with this day?, to the door. Two kiddos were standing a bit away from the front step. They said the obligatory “trick or treat”s.

“Hope y’all have a good Halloween, here’s some stuff,” I said. I dumped candy into their buckets. This was done with a smile because I was happy. Happy they were enjoying Halloween. Truly. I could tell they were.

Then, one kid looked me dead in the eyes and said, “Thank you and I’m going to pray for your son.”

Pause.

Please, think about that. This kid is out collecting candy and had the presence of thought to say that.

This could be our future, America. We can be okay. Remember this kid.

Then, I go back inside.

My kid is eating a very late dinner, in our kitchen. He asks if he can look at the bags from Mr. Tiger and Mr. Zookeeper. I say “okay.” My son has been awful – truly awful – to me for hours and days. But, it’s Halloween and his has been rather lamentable.

First bag has a gift in it, from our Father Stephen – a Christmas stocking. We both smile, “Son, there are better days coming.” He says, “YES!” We both agree this is a good reminder that a little child will bring joy. Such a good time for this reminder – faith-wise and in-THIS-house-wise. #callingmeameaniedoesnotconstitutebringingjoy

Then, there is a bag with an ALARMING amount of candy in it. Y’all, it’s a truly alarming. It’s like Willy Wonka threw up here. There’s a card and I’m fully expecting to see one name when…

I see many.

I see our church. I see our people, our family.

I’ll tell you, we are not anything you’d imagine, at St. Thomas the Doubter. We CALL ourselves “Doubters.” We are loving. We lift each other up. We support each other. We are genuinely inclusive – please, not only come as you are, but don’t you dare try to be someone else. We know when the person says, “I’m okay,” it might mean, “I could use some sunshine.” God forbid, it means, “help me.” Did we hear that?

Through this simple act of signing a card, collecting candy, driving North 45 minutes, our Doubters? They heard it.

They entered a house with COVID tonight. By the way, there are folks at St. Thomas, with whom we have mourned COVID deaths. We – Bärli and me. Tonight, they were with us, in our house, which has COVID. We felt and truly needed their presence with us and we got it. I will never put that card away.

And, we are always with y’all. This boy’s voice may not be literally still or small, but it is a still, small voice that is always in that Chapel, in the Parish Hall, or wherever we are gathered. Thank you all for opening that door to a single mother and a 3-year old. We needed y’all. xo

Let it be that we can all be that still, small voice – a pre-teen at someone’s door, a boss saying “we’re here for you,” a teenager playing her heart out on a football field in East Tennessee, a neighbor carrying kindness in the form of a bucket of Halloween thoughtfulness. Let us all be that pure, beautiful voice of awareness that we are not alone to someone else. It need not be God on a Cloud – it can be God in human form…and usually is.

Jesus Had Two Dads, Robert Herrick, and Your Heart

Mamas Bärli,

Tonight, I started to explain the concept of Advent to you. Lately, amongst other memories, I have been reminiscing about one from the visit with GM & GP last year. One conversation we had in the car, with GP (GM and Lindy were in Lindy’s car), went like this:

Me: Who was Jesus’ mother?

You: Mary.

Me: And his father?

You: Joseph.

Me: (pause) Well, yes. He had another father, too.

You: Huh?

Me: God is Jesus’ father. Joseph is his earthly father and God is his eternal father.

You: Huh?

GP laughed.

GP: It is a bit difficult to understand, even for us, right?

When we had this talk, he just sat and smiled. Perhaps he was happy we were talking about faith. Perhaps he was happy your brain was trying to understand that we can’t really mentally understand faith. I just know he was happy.

That smile. Oh, that smile he had.

Getting back to tonight, it’s the first week of Advent. So, we talked a bit about Mary because Mommy talks to to Mary quite a bit about you (“PLEASE, give me strength because I know you had a child that had some serious ideas about how to do things the ‘right’ way.”). I told you that when she needed to have her baby, no one would let her inside their inns (hotels); so, she had to give birth to Jesus in a very dirty, cold, probably wet barn with animals around her. It wasn’t anything nice like the hospital where I had you. A few seconds later, this was your response:

“Momma, if Mary needed to have my room for the baby, me and Veronica (stuffed animal) would share.”

It told me a lot about you, Bärli.

On a day which saw you having temper tantrums (about things like not having an extra 2 minutes to play basketball, being unable to play with Daniel, not being able to put the crayons in the little boxes easily, and wanting bananas instead of oranges), your real heart shone through all that nonsense.

At age 4, you “get” it.

It isn’t about keeping everything safe, wonderful, shiny, new, beautiful, comfortable, etc. for yourself.

It is all about making sure that people that have less than you, people in desperate need of the help that you can give, are given the beauty, kindness, and best that you can give – based solely on that fact that they are human beings worthy of your best. Momma is trying so hard to teach you: you have two hands – one for taking care of yourself and the other for helping others. You cannot help others if you are not strong and tonight you said it so clearly – you are strong. Your head and your heart are working in tandem, my darling boy. You “get” it. You have so much and you are able to give so much. Of course, you thought you should probably stay in Godmum’s room because the baby would be loud and would have to have diapers, but that’s beside the beautiful point.

I could imagine your GP tonight, just like he did that day in the car. Smiling. Proud you are his and loving your heart.

The darling of the world is come, and fit is is we find a room to welcome him. The nobler part of all the house here is the heart. – Robert Herrick

COVID-19, Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey , and Superhero Shields

Bärli,

I was deeply impacted by something I read years ago. I will butcher it to pieces, but it was an account of a woman who’d lost both of her parents. It was written by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey.

The woman was no longer protected from Death. Instead, she realized, she was the next, natural victim of Death’s sting.

I remember, vividly, watching my own mother say “goodbye, Momma,” to Grammy, her mother. We were in her bedroom, Grammy was gone. I looked at my mother, my youthful mother. I couldn’t reconcile how my mother’s mother was gone. I immediately thought of that moment, from the book. I wondered if she was thinking that?

COVID-19 has brought the three of us even closer. We do not interact much with the outside world, but we have made a Trio of Strength. Lindy is teaching you and you do not even comprehend how amazing this is. Lindy is one of the finest educators I know and you get her undivided, focused attention daily. She has, literally, taught you to read. At three years of age, because of her, you were reading sentences. (You are unable to attend school because your mother has been terrified, since pre-US “concern” about COVID-19. )

You constantly refer to Mr. Daniel and Lindy as your “best friends.” I concur.

Lindy and I have never been confused with best friends. We have had fights that would shock Jesus, himself. Little has changed. Except…I am tempered. Because I saw my beautiful mother looking at her mother, having left us all here without her.

How many memories do we have left? How do I keep the memories going? What can I do to make certain I am not saying, “goodbye, Momma” and I’m still here for my precious child? These are the worries of a parent, who is also a child.

COVID-19 gave me: appreciation, memories, time. It made me stop and pause. Amidst the absolute nightmare that is a full-time job, a toddler at-home, upkeep of multiple places/people…Lindy has been a rock. She has had two meltdowns. Two. I have had 20+.

This horror for our world, I have done almost everything in my power to shield two of my most prized treasures (the other prized treasures, like Pop Pop, won’t listen to me) from its lethal snare. Will it work? I hope. We do not know what will happen to any of us and I am thankful we are a family that believes in a Power that is more powerful, than any we see on Earth.

You are young and love to envision yourself as a superhero that fights, with Mr. Daniel, against anything evil (like a snake). One day, you said, “if the virus came here, I would fight it with my sword to protect my Lindy.”

Indeed. I have spent the last six months of my life, trying like Hell to stop “it” from entering her world, too. With your sword, my tenacity, and her willingness to stay put, it is my hope that we will not suffer the fate of other families, in the world. We are rapidly approaching 200,000 lost Americans.

My prayer is our, not just yours!, Lindy has never thought about the fact that, having lost both of her parents, she is no longer protected from Death. I do not know. I do know that we had a discussion about the “if one of us catches this Virus” scenario, early on, and we decided we would handle it in this house. Together. We would care for each other.

Always.

Naming You

I like the story of how you got your name. You are SUCH a “Henry.”

I was warned not to name you early. Some cultures do not believe in naming an unborn child. They find it bad luck for the birth. Given that I’d had bad luck for quite some time, I though I’d roll the dice and start thinking of names.

Girl

When I was growing up, I always wanted a little girl and I wanted to name her Suzanna because the coolest girl I knew was Suzanna Finnegan, Aunt Jenny’s friend. Though a lovely name (and still one of the coolest girls I know), I wanted something else. I know exactly what I wanted.

Emily and Mildred, my beloved grandmothers.  The day I realized Emmi, one of my favorite Luzern companies, combined the names of my grandmothers almost made me forget how terrified I was to have a Laura 2.0. I wanted to name a little girl “Emmi.”

Bibiana. Two strong women I admired, respected, and idolized had this name in their names – Monsie and Bibiana Marie.

Emmi Bibiana if it was a girl. Not even a question.

Boy

Harder.

I considered Jackson Ayres, after the two RJAs and your Godpoppa.

I thought about what it would mean if the baby was a boy and I named him “Jackson Ayres.”

Given that there’d already been an “RJ” and a “Jack,” my son might be nicknamed “Three,” which I didn’t like. I didn’t think the Swiss would be able to pronounce it either. They’d struggled with Jackson’s name during his visit, calling him something that sounded so odd I didn’t realize they were talking about him. He got a lot of “Jacques.”

But, Jackson was a great choice because it allowed me to pay tribute to these two men and my soul brother. I was working through this when I texted Jackson Henry.

“If it’s a boy, I’m gonna name him Jackson.”

But, that didn’t feel right when I typed it.

I loved the entire Henry family so much it made (and still does) my heart bigger and my life complete. The Kings too, for that matter. Godpoppa and Godmomma’s kids and families were my family. I loved all of them.

It went perfectly with the first name I always wanted to choose, but dared not to, lest someone get upset with me: Christopher.

Though I call him “Brother” and you call him “The Dude,” I was so concerned the boys would be upset if I named you after their Daddy. They weren’t! For awhile, Coopie wanted us to call you “Christopher.” Your uncle is such a strong, brave man. Perfect decision.

Family from the beginning of his name to the end.

How did you get your nickname “Bärli”? Mommy’s heart lives in Luzern, but my life really started in Bern. You are named for that life that started on in September of 2015 at the WTI and ended early in the morning in September of 2016, my Berner Bärli.

I was Skyping with Lindy one day when Dr. Baur texted me, “It’s a boy.”

Perfect boy with the perfect name.

The House that Holds my Secret

Bärli,

Almost every weekday morning, you come into my room asking if you have to go to school. When I say, “Yes! You get to go to school!”, you never fall for it. Collapsing in tears, just wanting to stay with Mommy.

Here’s what you don’t see.

There is a house about two blocks away from your school. Every morning, I pull the car over, after I drop you off. I cry for a few minutes. Every morning. I cry because you are sometimes upset when I leave. I cry because there are days when I feel too tired or sad to go to work, but I must. I cry for my pathetic bank account that is not growing. I cry that I haven’t walked into my church since you, Godmum, Lindy, and I went to Luzern in September of 2016. I cry because Kindergarten is right around the corner and then I lose the last chance that I had to be your full-time Mommy. I cry because I’m scared for the future of all Americans. I cry because I just want to stay with Henry.

I want you surrounded by people that love you; so, I will NEVER complain about being a single mom. It is not easy, but it is far easier than imagining you around anyone that didn’t love you or wouldn’t cry for the lack of you for 8-9 hours of a weekday. I feel sorry for anyone who would leave that sadness at a house or not have it at all. It’s not me. Your school “Moms” are a blessing to me. They love you so deeply – cheer for you when you succeed, encourage you when you are frustrated. I cannot imagine our world without them.

But, I am your Momma. You are my Bärli. It is hard for us both and I know there will be a day when it is not hard for you anymore. I now understand why many parents feel incomplete after their child begins to reach independence… 10 – sleepovers … 16 – drive a car … 18 – go to school … 22 – start a career/move. Brutal, but beautiful.

Thank God I have that house.

#PortRoyalStrong 2019: thoughts from a 4-generations family…and counting!

This is a piece written by the granddaughters of the original Port Royal pioneers, Hap and Emily. We watched you, we learned from you, we have continued in your footsteps, and we love you.

***

Before we go back to the real world today, we wanted to write this post about Port Royal in Port Aransas, Texas.

Hurricane Harvey, long since forgotten by most Americans (and, sadly, Texans), devastated the Gulf Coast. In 2017, Harvey pummeled Texas, causing $125b-worth of damage. We remember the food, clothing, water drives…sending everything we could manage down to the coast. We watched in abject horror as our childhood summer destination, Port Aransas, was decimated by the anger of the Gulf of Mexico.

From Laura: I have stayed in 5-star hotels and dined in Michelin-starred restaurants. I swam in the Mediterranean. I biked in the Austrian countryside. I know summer fun. Port Royal is still my choice for a beach vacation. Coming to Texas from overseas? Come here like my Swiss and Slovak friends did. It will not disappoint you.

Did Harvey change Mustang Island? Yes. Would these amazing men, women, young people, and kiddos benefit from the influx of your tourist dollars if you came here? Yes. Is this is fool’s errand on which we send you? No.

We went to the IGA twice and were greeted with friendly faces, Port A seafood, and a great selection. We have gone twice a day to the beach, which is almost idyllic this summer – very little seaweed, no tar, no beached jellyfish, terrific waves. Shopping in a few local stores yesterday was fun, minus the toddler tantrum that ended that fairly abruptly, and that is due in large part to the fact that there are amazing local buys here. This is not to mention the amenities that are still strong at Port Royal.

All three of our boys took FULL advantage of the pools. We were so grateful for a small slide that was toddler-safe and the new water obstacle courses, successfully scaled by the twins!, the resort added following the hurricane. It truly is a family-friendly pool…and we hope it continues to be, as people come back in mass to this beautiful place.

The boardwalk does need a rejuvenation, but it is still the glorious walk through the dunes, with their local flora and fauna, that we loved as small girls and adore as adults. The first time the ocean breeze hits us, almost everything else fades away.

We prefer the gulf view. Seeing the seagulls in flight, watching the sun wake up, gazing outside from the table as we enjoy dinner together as a family, imagining the nights when we walked the beach as teenagers struggling with some truly awful and horrendous case of angst…it brings the entire world into sharp focus.

Family and making memories – we’re all about it. So is Port Royal.

To our beloved boys: these memories will last us a lifetime and it is all because of two sisters making it a priority, sitting at Lindy’s table and getting a confirmation from Port Royal, saving pennies for the past few months for the beach, getting in our cars in Dallas and Austin, making a pitstop with Cah in Austin, arriving in Mr. Mark’s beautiful condo, feeling welcome by every Port Royal guy and gal…splashing, laughing, crying, eating New Braunfels Smokehouse sandwiches, building sandcastles, attacking the waves, saving Hermit crabs and minnows, visiting the Texas State Aquarium, “Roam”ing in the beautiful store in town, savoring ice cream with shell, feeding seagulls, playing all the great Goliath games (Charades for Kids was a particular favorite – Vanni was the Champ!) hugging, kissing, and being together as a strong family. Aunt LaLa/Mommy and Mama/Aunt Sparkles love the three of you so very much.

Van Morrison

What a day. What a week. What a month.

Bärli,

You are thriving in your new school. Soon, we will be in our new apartment and it will be so much better for you. There is a beautiful tree outside of your window and Spring’s showered it with little birds.

I learned a lesson this month. It will not mean anything to you, unless you become a parent.

I have sincerely admired and genuinely respected the work of Van Morrison since I began studying music. He’s a troubadour. He’s a poet. He’s a storyteller. He’s a singer. He’s a performer. He’s an artist. He’s a faithseeker. It’s too hard to put him in boxes. None of these do the trick. You love him. Thank God.

Mommy has always wanted to hear him live…and I finally had my chance. Not only that, but I could take you! Van is, probably as I type this, in New Orleans. This plan took my excitement at hearing Van to a whole new level. Your first concert? Van. AT THE NEW ORLEANS JAZZ FESTIVAL. VAN AT THE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE NEW ORLEANS JAZZ FESTIVAL. I was doing it. No question. Tomorrow morning, I was going to fly us to New Orleans at 6AM, take you for your first beignet at Café du Monde, go hear him at 11:30AM (which is what the first website said was his time), and fly you back here in time to have you in bed at 7PM. Exhausting? Yes. Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Yes.

A few weeks ago, more things were printed about the man I refer to as “your father” one morning. One hour after that news, I received an email from the Jazz Festival (I’d written BEGGING to be allowed to bring you backstage for a picture) unceremoniously informing me Van was not performing at 11:30AM, he was playing at night. When I left work to go pick you up, I listened to one of my favorite Van songs, “Stranded.” I felt it then, I feel it tonight.

I canceled it all. I had to use the money I’d used for our flights and rental car to pay legal fees because of the Swiss mess.

As I hear Van in my head tonight and remember reading the emails that day, as I imagine what it will feel like in New Orleans tomorrow when he’s performing and I’m working on my laptop, as I reflect back on how it felt to miss something important to me today because you needed to be home and napping…I can honestly tell you I’d make those decisions every time.

You are worth never hearing Van. You are worth all the money I have in my bank account to protect you. You are worth sitting at home and playing the same puzzle for the 23rd time because you scream, “Look, Momma! That’s a rectangle!” with such unbearable bliss you can barely handle it every time you put the last piece in place. You are worth it all.

Your chance to see and experience new things is my goal – I had that chance. Lindy and Pop Pop let me. I soaked it up. Van will not be your first concert, but you WILL have an awesome first, second, third, and fourth concert. I don’t know what they’ll be…but, I’ll take you to cool ones. Not as cool as Van, but cool.

Your ability to feel safe and secure is another goal – they protected us from some things that were scary. I think children should be children. Remember that when you are a parent. Even if the circumstances are difficult, as ours are. You have NO clue the circumstances are difficult because it’s my priority that you do not.

Being a parent is a shift. It is a shift from what I wanted all the time to what you want/what is best. People use the terms “appropriately selfish” and “self care” and other reminders that one cannot lose one’s self in his/her child. I get that. I am not lost. In fact, I am found. You found me. You made me a Momma. Your Momma.

Van will have to sing to someone else tomorrow. I’ll be sitting, right here, in my bed…listening to another beautiful tune: YOUR SNORING.

Gloria Snyder – a 6-year old’s tribute

I remember that afternoon. Walking from Mom’s car directly to the choir room, as I’d been instructed. I was six. It wasn’t a big deal because there were always people in the choir room, which was a shared space between Transfig and PDS. The building was also quite small, but the hugest one. There were always people around.

For some reason? Not that afternoon. And, the choir room was locked.

I was prone to being an explorer, as the cast on my arm might have suggested. I wandered into the nearest office area, where I saw her.

It’s easy to remember what I thought because I thought the same thing last week, and she wasn’t even there.

Tall. Gorgeous. THAT VOICE.

That voice.

She told me I was in the right place. She told me it would be just fine for me to wait with her until everyone else arrived.

There was an assurance, through her timbre and her posture. She was elegance personified. I knew it then.

I went to her every week. For over a dozen years. For over a hundred reasons. The buildings got bigger, but her ego did not. She was the same, beautiful person in service to education, to children, to God.

That was 36 years ago. I knew it then. I know it, as if it were a Gospel truth, now.

I missed you so very much in my “years away,” your phrase. I came back in the fall of 2016, and you lost him. Our Ed. Jesus, life is cruel. Now, we all lost you.

The emptiness I felt on Sunday without you. Palpable. I cried. I was in church the week before, Casey was so wonderful when he announced that you were gone, but I was still in shock. But Sunday, I saw a salt and pepper-haired, lovely lady…but, she was short. I pretended she was you. I want you in that church. I need you.

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You promised me that we would find Henry’s way together. I was so scared when I came back, with a little baby. “You will be just fine.” I think I even have that exact comment from you on a random Facebook post, which you did once a year! Did I mention that I need you? Did I mention that we need you? This world needs you?

On January 12th, it’s not my day to grieve you. It’s my day to celebrate you, the way we celebrated Ed, and I will. I remember what you said, “I wasn’t even sad…I was jubilant. I didn’t feel consolation, I felt joy. It was perfect.” When Joel told me you were gone, we talked about your service. I remember when you entered the church that day for Ed’s service. You entered as I sang. You looked up at me. It damn near killed me.

You are gone. You won’t look up at me.

But, you’ll look down on me and I will sing to you. You lived a life of service. You are where sorrow does not reign, but perpetual light shines, on all the saints, in glory.

I’ll remember you now, for who you were, you are, and you will always be to me and to my son: Educator. Glamazon. Friend. MOTHER. Confidant. Wife. Headmistress. Warrior. Ranger-ette. Lady. Daughter. Leader. Thinker. Mediator. Episcopalian. Servant. Exemplar.

You will always be elegance personified, in my eyes. I love you, always.

 

 

The Godmum

Liebe Bärli,

Let me tell you a story.

In a restaurant called “Bohemia,” which I only remembered a few days ago at 3 in the morning, I met your Godmum, Tracey Leck. God, I hope this is the first Google Search item about her (Tracey Leck, Tracey Leck, Tracey Leck, Tracey Leck).

She found me through an ex-pat club. I think it was around 201?0/1/2. I know I sent her an email, after she’d left Switzerland, due to Cat Scratch Fever…ha ha, in 2013. Moving on…

Augh. I remember her email. She was new to Zürich and didn’t know anyone. But, she actually said she was lonely. Most of them didn’t. I thought, “Okay, LA. This one is different.” Boy, she was. She was different, indeed.

In fact, Godmum is my best friend. She is my entire broken heart made whole. Godmum, Godmomma, Godpoppa, Lawa, Chuwa, and our family? They are everything.

This is a challenging time for your mom. You are hitting me a lot. You are throwing tantrums a lot. You throw yourself on the ground, on a chair, on a wall, on anything standing still. You want to get aggression out, even though we are a non-hitting family. It doesn’t matter. You are TWO.

When Godmum arrived, I assumed her “Mary Poppins” magic would fix it all. IT DIDN’T. Because she’s normal and Mary Poppins is a figment of an author’s imagination. It was a tough vacation for her (you owe both of us a nice vacation).

She stuck in there. She held you. She laughed with you, played with you, fed you, pushed your stroller (again…she did this in Bern and Luzern, as well), put your boots on and put them on again after you kicked them off and put them on AGAIN after you kicked them off AGAIN. She stuck in there.

She was there when you got your first cowboy boots.

She was there when you sang your prayer so beautifully.

She was there when you had your first “Time Out” in school.

She was there when you made your first “Card for Godmum.”

She was there.

Godmum doesn’t understand a few important things about herself. In case I’m not around to enlighten BOTH of you, let me do so here.

She is smart. She is smarter than she lets on. She is a whiz with numbers, turns of phrase, de-escalating situations, etc. She would have been a BRILLIANT international tax attorney.

She is beautiful. She doesn’t get this at all. I have pictures of your Godmum, yes she was in a box in one of them, that show such a classic beauty. But, she doesn’t see it.

She is funny. “It’s the ones that are quiet.” That was her quote when she displayed her absolutely BRUTAL Art-of-War style of game play on Saturday. She…is…hysterical.

She is kind. This is the reason that she will move here if I need her. Everyone she touches loves her. Because she is good. She is love. SHE IS LOVE.

That. That is your Godmum.

She is love.