Friday, June 15, 2012

Sammy 2.0

Lately Zeke is all obsessed with death and dying.

For the past month or so, he has asked me every day, more than once on many days, when I'm going to die.  Or when he is going to die.  Or when Josie is going to die.  Or when Mater or some other character in a story he knows is going to die.

I've taken different approaches to the question.  I've told him that no one really knows when they're going to die, but that everyone in our family is healthy, we take good care of ourselves, we wear our seatbelts and eat good food and exercise, so we should all be alive for a long, long time.

I've told him that people in our family live to be really old.

"Zekey, did you know I had a great-grandfather -- Mimi's grandpa -- that lived to be 102?  And Mimi's daddy lived to be 93."


"Yeah, that's a really big number, isn't it?"


"And how old are you?"

"I'm four."

"Right!  So you probably have at least another 90 years to live!  That's a really long time!"

I've tried to suss out the root of the question.

"Zeke, are you afraid that Daddy and I are going to die and leave you alone?"


"Well, honey, Daddy and I plan on being around for a long time, and we'll make sure that there's someone to take care of you."

He looked skeptical.

It's a weird topic to broach, for a number of reasons.  I'm not terribly religious, plus Jews don't believe in heaven or hell in any event, so I'm not going to feed him a bunch of stuff like that, especially since I don't believe in.  And he hasn't asked what happens after you die, so I haven't really had to go there.  Mostly I've tried to reassure him that we do all we can to live healthy lives, but that we shouldn't worry about what we can't control, and that all we can do is take care of ourselves and work hard and have adventures and be kind to each other.

He's such a little thinker.  So sensitive and analytical and smart and emotional.

He loves babies, and when he is upset at school and needs to get away from the craziness of his class, he goes to the baby class and hangs out with the babies and helps the teachers out.  "I'm really sweet to them, Mama."

He's a TOTAL mama's boy.  He's constantly snuggling me, looking to me for validation, telling me he loves me 50 times a day.

He loves learning and applying and demonstrating his knowledge.  When we read books together, he tells me the words he recognizes and counts things and explains the things he knows about.

He's very attuned to other people's emotions.

He is my brother Sam all over again.  (And he could do a lot worse.)

Monday, June 04, 2012

I see trees of green, red roses too

For the past 5 years, we have lived in extraordinarily beautiful places.  Hawaii's natural beauty is so abundant, no matter where you are on the island, that it's almost beyond belief, sometimes.  Colorado is similar.  It's a different kind of beauty - not as lush and sensual, but rather starker and grander and more dramatic - but in-your-face beautiful just the same.

And sometimes I take it for granted.  It's easy to get bogged down in the minutae of paying bills and getting the kids to school and keeping track of everything going on in our lives, and to forget that if I pick up my head and look west, I am faced with some of the most magnificent mountain vistas in the world.

But when the weather is good, if we can't be surfing the North Shore, there isn't much that beats summer in the Rockies.  Within a 100 mile radius of where we live, there are thousands of places to hike and bike and swim and camp.  And now that the kids are old enough to enjoy it, we've decided to really take advantage of what Colorado has to offer this summer.  We're planning camping trips (both by tent and RV) and hiking trips for almost every weekend.

We started yesterday.  There is amazing hiking in the hills behind Boulder, which is 30 minutes from where we live.  J is going to do a 14er at the end of July, and is doing a bunch of hiking to prepare.  Saturday he went out and did a strenuous hike with a friend of his, and came home with a map of different hikes in the area, of all different levels of difficulty.  The kids love being outside, so we decided to go up on Sunday to do a relatively short (a little over a mile) hike with easy terrain, which loops off a larger trail near its summit.

As we drove up into the hills to our trailhead, the kids marveled at the vistas.

Zeke: Mama, it's really beautiful up here.  Me and Josie are psyched!

Josie: Look how high we are! It's really really beautiful! 

The hike itself was gorgeous.  We looked at crickets and pine cones and butterflies and lizards and wildflowers and cacti. 

We climbed rocks. 

We enjoyed the sunshine and the fresh mountain air.

And then we went home, happily tired and already looking forward to the next outing.

Sleepy girl.

Zeke stripped down to his skivvies to cool off.