Respectfully Standing Up For Yourself

Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.  ~Anne Frank

Kyle-at-Easter-2011-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Kyle digging into his basket on Easter Sunday morning. 2011

The one thing I learned quickly when Kyle was just a little tyke, was that he was indeed a person.  Not a half person, not a non-person, but a real life living and breathing person.  Just because he wasn’t a full grown human being and he had a lot to learn, didn’t make him any less of an individual.

Before Kyle could speak, he knew what was going on and remembered things, even though I’m sure he can’t recall those memories today.  My point is, children of all ages should be respected for who they are, and the person they will become.  Any and all interaction kids have with the world shapes them for the future at any age.  So my question is, why aren’t children treated with as much?

Maybe some are, but Kyle keeps having these situations of disrespect and dismissive behavior pop up, and they are truly upsetting me.  Kyle is being overlooked or worse, totally ignored by adults, complete strangers, in retail outlets.  Yes, I get it he’s a kid, but that doesn’t make what he’s doing any less important, especially if he’s trying to help me out by standing in line or retrieving items.  Common sense should dictate that the kid is twelve and obviously didn’t drive himself to the store, so one would think he has been asked to undertake a task for an adult.

I know these situations seem trivial, and they are, but there’s a lesson I want to teach Kyle now and that’s not to be taken advantage of or walked all over.  However, teaching a kid to stand up for himself, respectfully, which is the keyword, is a bit of a challenge.  At least one I’m facing.

This happened a few times in Giant Eagle.  To help my mom out, Kyle and I will get her groceries.  Great!  Nice gesture.  So in turn, Kyle will help me to expedite our order even faster by standing at the deli counter to get dad’s beef pastrami and cheese.  There has been countless (though not all the time) times adults would overlook the kid, obviously holding a ticket, and jump the line.  Not cool!  I bet they wouldn’t do that if I was standing there, or perhaps they would be that rude.  That’s one situation that annoys me, but the one that really gets me fired up, was the deli guy at Giant Eagle and his blunt disrespect for Kyle.

Kyle-in-front-of-Shriner's-Band-Fort-Ligonier-Days-Parade-Aunt-Heather-Piper-10-2010

Kyle at the Fort Ligonier’s Day Parade, in front of the Shriner’s Band. Ligonier, Pa. 10/2010

I was in the check-out isle and I totally forgot dad’s lunch meat.  Yikes!  So what does a gal do?  You guessed it, I volunteered Kyle to go and stand at the deli counter to retrieve the processed salty meat.  My hope was that Kyle would return with the goods before I paid.  However, knowing how notoriously slow they are, I accepted the fact that I was going to have to give Kyle money to go through the check-out while I take the groceries to the car.  No big deal.

Well, in Kyle’s eyes, I’m going through the check-out and he needed to hurry.  Nice gesture buddy!

He stood in the deli line like anyone else, pulled the ticket, like anyone else, and when it was his turn, those waiting in line respected my little man and accepted it as his turn.  Good so far, until the deli guy said to Kyle, “That’s ok, someone else will get you.”  and proceeded to skip over him totally and take the next customer in line.  Are you kidding me?  I was ticked beyond belief!  I didn’t know what had happened until we were out the door.  That was one of those times I wished I was standing right there!  The nerve.

You know people loosely talk about discrimination, well that’s exactly what happened!  I’m guessing he was discriminated because Kyle’s a kid, or perhaps for being a boy or maybe the deli guy knew what Kyle was going to ask for and didn’t want to get it?  I’m not sure the reason but it wasn’t right.

I’m actually a pretty relaxed person, and I don’t even care if people jump in front of me in line, especially if I’m not in a hurry, for perhaps they are.  But I will never stand for obvious disrespect toward me or my family.  Kyle was beside himself and didn’t understand the mean gesture.  He came back all stressed trying to hurry for my sake.

Taking this negative and trying to turn it into a positive, I want to use it as a lesson.  I’ve tried my best to tell Kyle, “Without an attitude you need to stand up for yourself and say, ‘Excuse me but I’m next’ or ‘It’s my turn’, but say it respectfully.”  In general, Kyle is not an assertive person and I get it, there’s a fine line of what a kid is allowed to say, but he needs to stand up for himself!

This didn’t just happen at the grocery store.  O no!  This past weekend, Nicole, Kyle and me went to see Divergent.

On a side note, I loved it!  They really stuck to the book.  I can’t wait for Insurgent!  Kyle and me are fans of the book series (Aunt Nikki didn’t finish reading Insurgent or Allegiant yet).  Kyle actually read them all before me.

That particular movie theater, offered food items, one that caught Kyle’s eye was the soft pretzel.  I gave him money about eight bucks for his pretzel, while Nicole and I sat in our seats.

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Ryan, Kyle’s dad bathing in Gram’s tub. Look at that face! c. 1981

Kyle came back a little upset.  Apparently, someone cut in front of him in line.  That was the first thing.  Then, the cashier never gave him his change, correction my change.  My first thought was, “Well, Kyle did you say, “I’m sorry but it’s my turn in line?”  Of course he didn’t.  Then the money thing.  “Kyle didn’t you ask for your change?”  Of course he didn’t.  What is so wrong about that?  I don’t think I was over stepping my bounds of what I expect from Kyle.

Time and time again I keep telling him if there’s an issue come and get me.  Heck, he could have called me on his cell phone from the line and I would have been out instantly.  So basically I paid eight bucks for a soft pretzel with cheese, which really wasn’t the point.

While getting caught up on the pretzel situation, Kyle looked at me, like it was now my job to go out and fix it.  In my eyes it was too late.  Perhaps it wasn’t and I could have helped him out or showed him what to do.  Maybe I too was being too passive.  It wasn’t the loss of money, it was Kyle not standing up for what’s right that really gets me.

Kyle’s dad, Ryan was the same way.  Very nice, too nice to people and many, many, many people walked all over him and took advantage.  Not only as a kid, but more so as an adult.  One day, I’ll call out those who wronged Ryan, you be surprised for they are closer than you think.  Maybe it’s a family trait, for my pappy was the same way.  Just too nice and trusting, if there is such a thing.

I hope one day, and soon, Kyle learns to stand up for himself and always demands respect, as well as gives it.

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience and have No Comments

Shopping Spree, Kyle Asks for Prayers

And the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, saying: Ask what you will that I should give you.  ~1 Kings 3:5  /  2 Chronicles 1:7

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While Kyle was texting me, I took a picture of this display in Barnes & Noble & sent it to him. 4/22/12

This story was too cute to pass up and I had to share it.  About a month ago my sister was home and we were watching TV, one of Kyle’s shows.  Just then a commercial came on regarding a Toys-R-Us shopping spree.  Kyle’s face instantly shined while ‘Alleluia’ played in his head. Immediately, he went to the computer to look it up and to get the details.  Nicole helped him search high and low and behold, there it was, Kyle’s dream contest.  Naturally, he had Nicole enter him right away.  Now the Toys-R-Us shopping spree remained the topic of all of his conversations for the remainder of the weekend.

Nicole and I were working on the details for a Thrill of the Hunt scavenger hunt for a client in Austin, Texas.  We really needed to be focused, yet Kyle kept interrupting us with ideas and dreams of what he was going to get.  Not what he had the opportunity of winning, but what he was sure he was going to receive.  Kyle immediately believed he was going to win this contest, hands down.  I’ll give him credit, when he wants something he puts his whole heart into it and believes it with all of his being.

As we sat around the kitchen table, every topic out of his mouth was Lego related.  Not unlike most days, but this one was intense.  He had it mapped out of what he was going to add to his cart first.  He said, “I’ll start off with the really big Legos and then I’ll hit the Skylanders and if I have time I’ll get some other stuff.”  What a stinker!  Now, me being the realist and personally I was sick of hearing about this contest already, turned to Kyle saying, “Don’t you think you need to first worry about winning?  It’s a long shot Kyle.”  Then mom chimed in saying, “Yes Kyle and I don’t want you walking around pouting if you don’t win.  And getting upset over something you don’t need.”  Kyle not wanting to argue because he was so full of enthusiasm and excitement tried to put us at ease by saying, “Yes I know, but I could have a chance at winning.  And I know I may not win, I understand.”

So now I’m going to take this opportunity to help instill goodness in Kyle, trying to shut out the constant desire to always want stuff and to stop a possible tendency for greed.  Don’t get me wrong, Kyle is not a greedy person, at all!  He does have issues with always wanting and wanting more, but my concern is to avoid him walking down a greedy path.  Reiterating what everyone knows to be true, I said, “Kyle you don’t need any more toys.   You have rooms full of them!”  It’s like he could read me and was preparing for this conversation because he said, “I know Aunt Heather but I don’t have ALL the Lego’s and you know how I like to build.”  Continuing on trying to set an example, I retorted “You know what would be nice?  If you won the contest and you donate it to some kid that has nothing.”  Looking mortified, Kyle said, “Yes Aunt Heather but I really want to do the shopping spree.  I know I can do it.”  Meeting him halfway I responded, “Ok, but what if you donated all your toys to the kids that have lost everything during Hurricane Sandy.”  Being a quick thinker, who wants his own way, Kyle said, “Umm ok, how about his.  I’m sure I’ll get some of the same Lego’s, ’cause you know I do have a lot.  I can donate those toys that I already have and keep the ones I don’t.”  What a stinker!  Kyle almost got the point.  I was trying to have him think of others before himself and make a small sacrifice.  It’s not a sacrifice if your heart isn’t into it and if you still benefit.  I’m going to continue trying on that topic.

Nickelodeon & Toys R Us Sweepstakes Aunt Heather Piper

Then to really kick my efforts to the side, Nicole said, “Ok Kyle if you win and donate the toys, I’ll match that amount and give you the $1,000 to do your own shopping spree.”  Kyle instantly corrected Nicole, “Aunt Nikki it’s up to $5,000.  It’s a 10 minute shopping spree in the Toys-R-Us store in New York, up to $5,000 of toys.”  The reality hit and Nicole said, “Ya no, I’m not giving you that.”  Mom again jumped into the conversation saying, “Kyle!  You don’t need anymore toys, you have plenty.  You have more than most kids.  Be happy with what you have.”

Kyle seemed to hear us, but I don’t think he was really listening.  There was a wall of ‘Shopping Spree’ and ‘Lego’s’ blocking anything else from entering his thoughts.  Needless to say he continued on this idea, ALL weekend.  At one point I heard him talking to my dad and dad commented, “Well, someone has to win it.”  As if he needed more fuel to that fire.  We all yelled at dad and he defended himself saying, “Well someone does have to win!  I hope it is Kyle!”  Every one of us would be happy for Kyle if Kyle did indeed win, but dad was missing the point that Kyle has too much and he needs to stop obsessing over toys, specifically Lego’s.

At one point, I stepped into a conversation already long on its way and I heard Kyle stress about getting his toys home.  Really?  Keep in mind he didn’t win the shopping spree.  Dad said, “Don’t worry buddy, if we have to rent a truck, I’ll get your toys home.”  Am I hearing this correctly?  Yep!  Seriously what could I say that I  haven’t already.  So, to instigate a little further I said, “We’re going to have to add on another wing to the house.”  Dad jumped in my by saying, “I’ll do that for Kyle if we have to.”  Kyle just stood there nodding his head with a look of ‘Pappy’s got my back’.  Are you kidding me?  He really does believe that!  In a way, I believe dad meant it too!  Are these guys loosing their minds?

As if not satisfied with the truck to bring all the toys back and the new wing added onto the house, Kyle turned to me and said, “Can you get Mikey to make me a large wooden table to display all my Legos?”  I actually was completely stunned!  He was planning that far in advance.  All I could do is smile and say, “Yes Kyle, if you beat out all the nation’s children who also entered the sweepstake, and you get too many Lego’s to be supported in this house, when pappy builds your new wing I will have a table made for you.” Unbelievable, and this was just on Saturday.

All Saturday night while I took him around trick-or-treating Halloween Takes A Turn! he kept bringing up his winnings.   His fictitious booty.  Maybe there’s something I don’t know.

You would have thought his mindset would change by Sunday.  Nope!  I had to threaten him, letting him know if I heard one word of this contest during church he would be grounded.  He knew I meant business.  Church is no place for self-indulgence and to act self-centered, it’s a place of reverence, reflectance and a chance to be humble.  I’ll give him credit, he did good.  I mean it probably killed him that he couldn’t mention the shopping spree, but he certainly made up for it the minute we walked out of church and the rest of the day on Sunday.

Kyle and I went to early mass and then to CCD.  Mom and Nicole went to the later mass.  So to help mom out Kyle and I went to our weekly run of Giant Eagle, picking up a few needed items for dinner.  Then we started cooking, trying to get it ready for noon when mom and Nicole would be arriving.  The entire way through the food prep and food assembly, Kyle just stood there beside me in front of the stove chattering on about all his potential winnings.  Finally I turned to him and said, “Kyle the only person who can guarantee you winning this contest is God.  And that’s only if He wants you to have it.  So I’d better start praying really hard if I were you.”  He looked at me thinking intently and said, “Ok Aunt Heather I’m going to pray everyday really hard for me to win!  Would you say a prayer for me too?”  What could I say to that?  I smiled and said, “You got it buddy.  But I will also be praying for a deserving kid to win.”

Nicole's Facebook  Screenshot Aunt Heather Piper

Aunt Nikki’s Facebook post

As Kyle was suppose to be helping me cook, he ditched me for a new mission.  All of a sudden I heard Kyle say to my dad, “Pap pap, I know you don’t go to church, but would you do me a favor and say a prayer for me so I win this contest.”  That was too cute and sincere on Kyle’s part!  Dad, without missing beat said, “Yes I know I don’t go to church, but I always pray for you buddy, and yes I will say a prayer that you win this contest.”  As I was standing there stirring the chili, I couldn’t help but wear the biggest smile.

Kyle was sporting the same smile when he walked back in the kitchen with a look of, ‘Mission Accomplished.’  Too funny!  Unbeknownst to me at the time, I guess Kyle cornered mom and Nicole for the same prayers.  Gotta love his spirit!

Later on that day, I heard Kyle start to plan out who was going with him on the trip.  Initially he said that me, Nicole and dad would go with him, because there would be a lot of walking so his Gigi couldn’t do it.  Relieving some of his unnecessary stress I said, “We will pay for Gigi to go too and we’ll take care of getting her around.”  He actually seemed relieved with my declaration.  Then, he started looking into the hotel that was to accompany the winner.  He commented that it was really expensive.  Again, to put his mind at ease I said, “Don’t worry buddy, we’ll pick up all extra expenses so we can all go.”  He nodded and agreed with excitement.

He must have re-read the package deal and saw that the child has to be accompanied by a parent.  He said, “O no Aunt Heather I have to take my mom, so then who are we going to use the other two tickets for?  I guess you and Aunt Nikki!”  Without waiting on a response he went in the living-room, with his head hanging low like he has to share some bad news and said, “Pappy, you and Gigi will have to stay at home.  I don’t have enough tickets.”  Keep in mind, there is no winnings at this point!  Dad simply said, “That’s ok buddy, whatever you want to do.”  You have to admit was have nothing but love for our little man!

His thoroughness didn’t just stop at prayers and outlining the itinerary.  O no!  He seriously covered all bases, even going as far as asking my dad if he would give him WD40 to grease up the wheels so he would wiz through the store faster.  To get a reaction out of Kyle I asked, “If you win can I train you?”  Immediately he said, “Yep, Aunt Heather I will listen to you and you can train me, I don’t care.”  He continued by saying, “Can we maybe practice in our Toys-R-Us?”  I was dying!  He really was thinking of EVERYTHING!  I encouraged him by saying, “Yes Kyle, I will make you, your very own simulated store and prepare you.  Don’t worry, I can get you ready, but you need to listen to me.”  Encouragingly he said, “I will, for this I’ll even run!”  After that conversation I told my sister and my parents what just unfolded.  Kyle just stood there radiating an confirmation smile.

Sunday night Kyle had his youth group meeting.  While we were in the car he said to me, “Ok Aunt Heather, my emails go to your email right?”  It’s true, Kyle has his own email account but I have it forwarded to my account just to monitor his iTunes purchases and any activity.  He’s too young to be set free in the land of the world wide web and encounter others that are not looking out for his well-being.  The conversation never deviated off of this shopping spree.  He even went as far as to lean in to me, to capture my fullest attention, looking me straight in the eye while I was driving, allowing me to glanced over to hear him say “I’m in it to win it!”  Classic!  I have no doubt about that!

God Speed Kyle!  I hope the Nickelodeon & Toys R Us Great Big Toy Run Sweepstakes in Times Square is all yours!

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,LEGO's,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts,Travels and have No Comments

What’s Head Cheese?

The grocery store is the great equalizer where mankind comes to grips with the facts of life like toilet tissue.  ~Joseph Goldberg

Aunt-Heather-Piper-&-Nicole-in-Arizona-2002

Me & Nicole in Arizona 3/2002

Everyone once in a while I think of something that happened, and I can’t help but relive the tale, especially to my mom who is usually in on the story or knows the characters.

Let me set the stage.  Mom and I used to get my grandma’s groceries.  As the days turned over, adding up to a month, my grandma would collect her grocery list until there was big order.  Then, mom and I would go to the store and cross the items off of the list.  We would remove the groceries from one shelf and place them on another in my grandma’s apartment, only to repeat the same routine a month later.  It’s funny but years earlier we would do the same for my late Aunt Katherine – Memorial Day Tradition, although, she would join us in the grocery shopping experience.  I loved going with mom and Aunt Katherine.  Actually, Aunt Katherine made it an experience, being such a feisty old lady.  Aunt Katherine was the best!

It’s funny, I don’t remember mom taking gram for groceries after pap passed away, but I remember being a kid and going grocery shopping with my gram and pap.  Pap would wait in the car, since he had two prosthetic legs and walked with two canes, and me and gram would cruise the isles of the store filling up the cart.  She always yelled me every time I poked the ground meat in the packages and let’s not discuss the cheeses.  Rightfully so, but she was always kind of snippy with me.  Maybe my natural hyperactivity and the fact that I would dance around between the shelves of groceries because I Don’t Like to Push a Shopping Cart! made her more irritable than usual.  Either way it was never like shopping with mom or Aunt Katherine.

Now-a-days gram doesn’t drive, in fact she really doesn’t leave her apartment. Hence, why she needs assistance.  Our routine consisted of me unloading the groceries, while mom sat with gram to balance her checkbook and pay bills etc.  This was the part I always dreaded, not because of carrying the groceries, or cleaning out her refrigerator, not even close.  I didn’t mind that at all!  I’ll do anyone a favor and help out anyway I can, however I absolutely HATE gram’s smoking habit!  I detest cigarettes with such a passion!  It actually evokes real anger in me when I’m standing in a cloud of toxic smoke, especially when I’m trying to help her out.  Disrespect!  Maybe that’s a blog post for another day or a subject for a therapy session.

Sometimes to give mom a break, or to help her out with gram, Nicole and I would take it upon ourselves to tackle the monthly grocery list.  Same goes for me and Kyle, taking on the responsibility of the gathering the outlined items and putting the groceries away.  Sometimes, it was as simple as stopping and picking gram up a few items.  I do want to point out that gram hated it when Nicole and I would go, especially if it was just me and Kyle in place of mom.  Perhaps she just didn’t like the change or she felt mom’s grocery shopping was guided by pixy dust and it was more magical.  Maybe the spiritual guidance that lead mom through the store helping her make her purchasing decisions didn’t reside in me?  Putting all sarcasm aside, gram was never happy to hear Nicole and I or, the dynamic duel of me and Kyle were going to the grocery store.  In fact, when this happened, gram would purposely call mom during the week to drag her back to the market for something trivial.  Personally, I never cared what gram thought, it saved mom a trip and the effort of hauling the groceries up to her apartment.  Anyway, within the past couple of years or so, gram gets someone else to follow in our footsteps and retrieve her groceries.  I guess I was fired. C’est la vie.

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Me & Nicole in Ireland 6/2005

Now back to the head cheese.  The question, “What is head cheese?” might be running across your mind.  Until these grocery store adventures started for gram, I’ve never heard of head cheese either.  From that moment on, whenever head cheese appeared on the grocery list, I never took a second glance.  According to Wikipedia,

 

Head cheese, or brawn, is a cold cut that originated in Europe. A version pickled with vinegar is known as souse. Head cheese is not a cheese but a terrine or meat jelly made with flesh from the head of a calf or pig(sometimes a sheep or cow), and often set in aspic. Which parts of the head are used can vary, but the brain, eyes, and ears are usually removed. The tongue, and sometimes even the feet and heart, may be included.

Head cheese may be flavored with onion, black pepper, allspice, bay leaf, salt, and vinegar.  It is usually eaten cold or at room temperature as a luncheon meat.  It can also be made from quality trimmings from pork and veal, adding gelatin to the stock as a binder.

Head cheese!  It’s definitely unusual to hear, especially for my sister.  This is where the story begins.  One trip to the grocery store consisted of me, Nicole and the grocery list, courtesy of gram.  Since I was familiar with the layout of the store and the items listed, I always remained in control of the outlined groceries.  We would walk through the isles and I shouted to Nicole each item we needed, while picking up the goods closest to me, all along crossing off the list.  It was a great system, we divided and conquered.  Toward the end of this adventure we needed to pick up the frozen food and the deli items.  I was at the far end of the isle looking for a specific item gram wanted and Nicole was free to continue.  Thinking ahead, I was sent Nicole to the deli so I could finish getting all the frozen food items.  I yelled up at Nicole and said, “Go to the deli and get a pound of sliced head cheese.”  Nicole started to take a step in the right direction and abruptly stopped, turned back to me, and gave me this look of ‘What did you say?’ before actually saying it.  Not thinking how strange it sounded, I repeated myself, followed by Nicole repeating me for clarification, “Did you say head cheese?”.  Still not really picking up on the oddity of the request, I said, “Ya sliced.”  Nicole, still in disbelieve over this conversation, said, “What is head cheese?” Now she had my attention, and I started to laugh at her dumbfounded look.  Also please keep in mind we were at opposite ends of the grocery store yelling back and forth.

Since I was always in a hurry to get gram’s groceries and put them away, I shooed Nicole off for her next mission, while I hurried up and completed the list.  As I moved to the adjacent isle, which also housed the deli where Nicole was standing in line, I finished retrieving all the items before meeting up with the ‘head cheese’ wrangler.  At that moment she got the goods and looked at me with bewilderment and said, “It doesn’t really look like cheese!”  I started laughing because this was so funny and especially because what was ready to come out of my mouth.  I clarified her comment by saying, “Well it’s not cheese, it’s meat parts.” Nicole’s face was priceless!  She said, “What? Meat parts?”  At this point, I was ready to start rolling around on the floor from laughter.  To help her in her understanding of what she was holding I said, “It’s like parts of animals all ground up and made into a lunch meat.”  Nicole with a grossed out look said, “That’s disgusting!”  Certainly I agree with her, but it was on the list.

Now why am I talking about head cheese?  Only because it came up the other day and Kyle thinks it’s the funniest story he’s ever heard.  For some reason he loves hearing me and mom laugh about that situation, which was really funny!  Kyle still brings up the tale of the head cheese and says, “Hey Aunt Heather, remember when Aunt Nikki got the head cheese for gram Alice?”  He giggles and laughs like he was there, although Kyle is always with us in spirit and on our minds.

It’s funny, Kyle loves to be a part of the family stores and I love sharing them with him, even if it’s just about head cheese.

*When talking to Kelly about head cheese, I asked her if she knew what it was and Kelly said, “Isn’t that dandruff?”  That was so funny and extremely gross.  Good one Kelly!

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Cooking with Kyle,Education & Learning,Family,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Simply Respect – Remembering 9/11

Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power.  ~Clint Eastwood

Respect is something earned and should be expected at the sames time.  I’ve always taught Kyle to respect others, that includes their property and how he addresses them.  Not only elders and authority figures, but also other children, pets, nature etc.  However, I have also taught Kyle that respect is a two way street.  Both parties need to walk down that street, it’s not just one sided.  As with everything I expect from Kyle,  I try to set by example.

Kyle really impresses me sometimes.  This weekend we were back at Giant Eagle and Kyle started to help bag the groceries for the cashier.  When our cashier would hand Kyle a bag of groceries to add to our cart (I Don’t Like to Push a Shopping Cart!), Kyle would look at the young man and say, “Thank you!”  He said it with such confidence and almost second nature that it really made me open my eyes. Is this my little man?  You know what?  It is!  He uses his manners, especially ‘Excuse Me’, when he passes someone or a group of people, ‘Yes Please’ when responding to a question, and naturally the ‘Thank You’.  I’m not saying Kyle’s perfect, I do have to reinforce these with him periodically, but for the most part, he is a good little man!

In remembrance of September 11th, I wanted to share a cute little story about the tomb of the unknown soldier.  For years now, since my sister moved into the D.C. Metro area, we have been going back and worth to Washington D.C. to visit her and to visit our nation’s capital.  I know I’ve mentioned with every trip to Washington D.C., we manage to discover something new to explore, not taking in all the sights at once.  On one of our trips, we toured Arlington Cemetery and witnessed the changing of the guards.  Kyle was around four or five, so he was just a little tyke.  Before we went to the tomb of the unknown soldier, we told Kyle that he needs to be quite and respectful.  I remember thinking, ‘If Kyle was disturbing the crowd, then I would take him out of the area and we would go for a walk’.  I also thought, ‘He would be so grounded for acting up in such an honorable place’.  As a family, we discussed Kyle going to the ceremony and we believed it was an experience that he should be apart of, he just needed to be taught the correct way to behave.  You know what?  Kyle was an absolute perfect angel during the entire demonstration.  He stood and watched the guards attentively.  He was such a respectful little man, who made us all proud!

In honor of those how have survived, the families of the fallen and those who have perished during the tragedies of 9/11, may peace be with you.  And to our soldiers who have fought and continue to fight for our freedom over the years, THANK YOU!  You have my utmost respect and prayers.  God Speed!

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Aunt Heather Piper

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

I Don’t Like to Push a Shopping Cart!

It was last Friday and I happened to be in the store when an elderly woman, accompanied by what appeared to be her daughter, was haltingly pushing a shopping cart.  She was kind of leaning on the cart, using it to help her keep her balance I guess.  ~Lida Krieger

Kyle-&-Katie-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Cousin Katie playing with Kyle

Those that know me, know I HATE to push shopping carts.  Not only shopping carts but strollers and such.  When Kyle was just a baby, I carried him around in this papoose contraption.  It was the coolest thing!  Kyle would hang off of my stomach facing me when he was really little until graduating to facing out, then as he got a little bit bigger, I wore him like a backpack.  My hands were free to shop, get groceries etc.  I never wondered off away from him, not even an inch, and I felt like he was safer being strapped to me.  Basically my point is, I didn’t even push a stroller or buggy.  Then, once Kyle was old enough I had him walk everywhere.  Great exercise and it wore him down, allowing for perfect naps and a great night sleep, for everyone.  Kyle has always, and still always goes with me everywhere.  I guess I got my money’s worth out of that papoose.

This brings me the shopping cart discussion.  Why you may ask am I bringing this up?  Well, my dear friend Kelly said she found my match the other day.  Evidently, this guy was at the grocery store walking back and forth to fill up his cart. That was too funny!  Kelly said she instantly thought of me, and it’s true!  I do that!  Here’s the way it goes.  I get my cart at the entrance of the grocery store.  Then I take it to the middle of the produce section and I walk back and forth to fill it up.  Then, when I’m done in that area, I push the cart to main isle of the grocery story and proceed to maneuver up and down the different shelves gathering items.  This all happens while my shopping cart remains fixed in one location.  Once my hands are full, I swing by the cart to unload the goods.  This continues until everything on my list is crossed off and then I push the load of groceries to the checkout.  Also a little known fact, if I can manage to carry all the bags in my hands, then I ditch the cart.  If there is a substantial amount of groceries, then I will concede and push the buggy to the car for unloading.  That pretty much wraps up my shopping procedures.

If I don’t need a buggy, I love to carry those little plastic baskets on my arm.  I feel like little red ridding hood.  I carry the arm baskets everywhere in the store.  Well, that is unless I get too many items, which is usually the case and I have to leave it on the floor somewhere until I’m ready to check out.  At that point, I continue with the standard walking back and forth filling up the arm basket that is now residing on the floor somewhere, until I’m ready to heave it to the checkout.

Pushing a buggy makes me feel like I’m weighed down and I can’t move freely.  Maneuvering through people is difficult, especially if it’s crowed.  That drives me crazy!  I don’t have the patience to wait till shoppers step aside from their slow moving motions and get out of my way.  Believe it or not, if there are a lot of people in the isle, I will go to another one to continue shopping before returning to that specific isle to get what I need. If I am forced to adventure down a crowed area, I’ll do it, but being trapped in an isle with a grocery cart and several other shoppers and their carts makes me completely claustrophobic!

Since I will walk back and forth a zillion times and not push the cart, it probably takes me longer in the grocery store, but I truly don’t care.  Now I’ve never conducted time tests on which is more efficient, pushing the buggy through crowds of people or parking the cart and going back and forth.  I bet with the speed that I walk at, it’s a wash.  Sounds like I take extra steps?  Yep, I do, but who cares, it’s great exercise and I don’t feel confined to a buggy.  I’m also the believer that every extra step does a body good.

This also sounds like I don’t have a system when retrieving groceries.  However, I do, but I have no issue changing it up on the fly to make my shopping experience more enjoyable.  Not to mention, gaining a little extra movement in my adventures in grocery shopping is actually a goal of mine.

Naturally, I have a different shopping adventure when others are joined with me, like mom or Kyle.  Shopping with mom is slow moving, ever since her knees have gotten bad.  In fact, now-a-days she takes the motorized carts, which totally crack me up!  But when she has the regular old shopping cart, she tends to be a leaner.  She pushes the cart and leans on it the entire time like she is using a walker.  This works out, since I don’t like to push the cart.  Mom used to go through the grocery store and stop to retrieve the items around her, while she instructed me on the items to grab. I would run around and come back with the packaged food items in my hands.  Now that’s a perfect team!

When I was in high school and mom was more in her prime, I would dance around the grocery store while mom pushed the buggy. Yep, I did!  I would jazz run up and down the isles, leaping and making up routines in the middle of the store.  Now I really didn’t do this when other patrons where in close proximity to us, but when the shelves only saw us in view, look out.  I couldn’t stop my feet from moving.  Usually mom would ignore me, and sometimes I got on her nerves, especially when I would get out of control and practically run people over.  Generally speaking, I would dance around mom as she filled up the cart.

Then you have Kyle on the other hand.  He’ll push the cart for me, only because he knows I don’t like to, but he just can’t leave it in place while I run around and fill it up.  He has to keep it within a foot from us and that makes me want to loose my mind.  Sometimes I feel like I can’t escape the shopping cart, like its the possessed car from Christine!  That’s even worse, than if I was pushing the cart the entire way through the store.  At least I would have the opportunity to free myself from the ball and chain.  With Kyle, he has to have it right beside us!  I do realize there is no doubt, I drive him crazy with the way I shop.  Sometimes, I’ll compromise and park the buggy at the end of the isle, as opposed to the middle of the store, and walk up and down the shelves of groceries before returning.  He will start walking up the isle with me, and then turn around and grab the cart and push it towards us.  Every time!  I have been known to loose my temper and say, “Kyle!  Just leave it, we’ll be right back.” followed by Kyle’s justification of “No that’s ok, I’ll just push it.”  Then I declare, “No one wants to take our groceries, it’s not like we paid for them yet.”  He just can’t handle it and ignores me to continue on his course of action.

On that note, I’ve actually had people take my buggy thinking it was theirs.  Also, visa verse, I’ve accidentally walked off with someone’s cart.  Usually, I’m pretty quick to notice and return it without incidence.  But I can’t say that’s always happened to me.  There were times when I never got my selected items back in my possession.  What did I do?  What else?  I started all over.  I might have been a little irritated, but I understand the consequences behind my actions and I’m willing to take the chance.

Mom-Smiling--Aunt Heather-Piper

Gigi sport’in a smile & wave.  I think Kyle took this picture years ago.

I will admit the dumb part of this entire process is when I leave my money in the wide openness of an abandoned shopping cart.  I’ve heard of theft happening from this action, even though I’ve been blessed enough to not have experienced it.  Usually, if I don’t have my purse with me, I will keep my wallet tucked under my arm, and the cell phone in my pocket.  But if I have cash and Kyle’s with me, I hand it to him and he usually tucks it away in his cargo pockets.  Skeptical?  I’m not at all!  Kyle is extremely responsible and I trust him explicitly.  He’s always been my little side kick.  Plus, I use that as a way to teach him responsibility.  I know the consequences if this decision would go a rye.  But you know what?  To teach Kyle responsibility and show him how much I trust him, I’m willing to take that chance, even if it costs me a couple hundred dollars.

Usually, if mom needs groceries she hands me a list that I follow.  This allows me and Kyle to divide and conquer.  I park the shopping cart in one location and give him the task of retrieving a few items.   Yep, I’m making him walk back and forth, but it does speed things up.  This is also a learning lesson, giving Kyle the opportunity to find the items and learn where they are located on his own.  He also has no trouble asking workers for assistance.  Good experience!

OK, I do want to call out that this habit doesn’t just happen in grocery stores.  Quick story.  When I was in high school, I went to the discounted clothing store, Gabrielle’s to do a little bit of shopping.  It was winter and naturally I wore my heavy coat.  Me being me, I slipped out of my coat and placed it in the buggy before beginning to shop. Eventually, I worked my way, away from the cart, probably for a considerable amount of time, looking through racks of miscellaneous cloths.  At one point, I realized, I haven’t seen my buggy in a while.  Please note, my car keys and money where in my coat, in the cart.  Yikes!  I started running around the store looking for the missing assistant on wheels, but no luck!  Just then, something caught my eye.  It was MY coat, placed among a rack with other winter coats!  What?  I double checked the pockets, and sure enough my gloves where in there with my car keys and money.  Now, the rest of my selected items have since been returned to their previous residence, but at that moment I didn’t care at all.  My brother was there with me, and after I told him about dodging a bad situation, he just rolled his eyes at me.  To this day, that cracks me up.  I almost had both of us stranded and he just rolled his eyes at me and said he was driving us home.  No problem, I never really liked to drive anyway. Especially, since Ryan was always a better driver.

I guess everyone has their own corks and hiccups, mine is the aversion to pushing shopping carts, buggies, strollers etc.  Am I alone on this one?

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Observation & Imagination and have No Comments

Round Up the Math at Idlewild Park

For the things of this world cannot be made known without a knowledge of mathematics.  ~Roger Bacon

Kyle-at-Idlewild-Potato-Patch-Fries-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Kyle at the Potato Patch, getting our fries. Idlewild Park 8/15/2012

Last Wednesday, I took Kyle to Idlewild Park in Ligonier, Pennsylvania.  Every year I try to take off of work and spend the entire day with Kyle, just having fun, usually around his birthday.  Since we haven’t been to Idlewild in a couple of years I thought it might be a nice change.  I picked him up Tuesday night after work and we headed to mom and dad’s house, since it was closer to leave from there.  Not to mention I already planned on taking the dogs for a walk in the morning before heading out, reaping in the benefits of me being off work too.  Plus I new we weren’t going to have Kyle on Friday and Saturday so I thought of making up some lost time with the family in advance.

Quick side story.  Naturally that night, I was among a full bed and it was a restless night.  At one point me, Kyle and Seven all moved ninety degrees to the side of the bed, while running parallel to each other.  In unison!  I only noticed this when my feet were hanging off of the side of the mattress and when I went to push myself up, to what I thought was the head of the bed, my head fell over the side.  What the heck?  I shimmied out of this confusion to what I still thought was the foot of the bed.  I didn’t realize I was on standing on the other side of our sleeping quarters.  Standing there in pitch black, in the middle of the night, not understanding my position I was sincerely baffled.  I couldn’t find my phone, unbeknownst to me was on the other side of this obstacle.  Being slightly out of it, due to a sudden awakening from dangling off of a ledge, I actually had a bit of a panic attack.  I couldn’t figure out where I was in the room!  Living in that house pretty much my entire life, you would thought I could at least find the light switch.  Nope!  It was as if I was still in a dream or I was in the Twilight Zone.  I’m telling you what a weird experience!  I literally started to walk blindly, with my hands out trying to understand the layout of the room and where the furniture was located.  My initial thought was to yell and wake my mom up.  But what was I going to yell?.  ‘Mom I can’t get out of the room’?  Seriously?  Could you imagine mom, laying there sleeping and all of a sudden hear me yelling to come and open the door because I can’t find my way out?  Actually that would have been hilarious from mom’s point-of-view.  Eventually, I found the closet light, after what seemed to be an eternity, and I turned it on to get my bearings straight.  Just then, I felt like the room was spinning because I was so disoriented.  Would you believe that Seven and Kyle both laid there sleeping the entire adventure?  After I had the situation figured out, I went on another impossible mission.  Trying to move those two to get things straightened out was a workout.  Meanwhile, neither one moved or woke up.  Kyle did manage to mumble something like, “What Aunt Heather?”  Although he didn’t remember it.

Anyway, as I digress back to Idlewild and the math lesson.  Usually Kyle is an early riser like the rest of us.  I’m guessing due to the up-and-down all night long, sleeping beauty  was tired and rose from his chambers a little after 8:00 am.  Me being up around 5:00 am, I worked on the computer and watched GMA (Good Morning America- always was one of my favorite shows, even as a kid) until Kyle came back to the land of the living.  Once I got him some breakfast, I decided to continue with my plans of taking the dogs for a quick hike.  I told Kyle, “It’s a treat for them that I am home in the middle of the week and we have time to take them for a walk.”  Kyle started to complain, but his usual throwing a temper tantrum was not as potent.  My guess is that, he knew I would have no qualms about not taking him to Idlewild, if he was misbehaving.  So we got dressed, some a little slower than others, and headed out.

Klye-on-Merry-Go-Round-Idlewild-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Kyle on the Merry-Go-Round. Idlewild Park 8/15/12

After the dogs stretched their legs, and Kyle walked as slow as humanly possible, we came back to the house to shower and get dressed.  It was at this point Kyle was now alive with energy and excitement.  No arguments about taking a shower and he was like lightening.  That’s also the fastest I think I’ve ever seen him get dressed, putting aside the fact that I had him pick his cloths out the night before.

Once we darted out of the house, we ran to Giant Eagle to get our tickets.  They are sold there at a discount and I was all about getting through the gates as fast as possble.  Next stop, Idlewild Park!

The gate opens at 10:30 am and rides don’t start until 11:30 am.  In my opinion, that’s too late in the day. I wish parks would open so much earlier.  Riding the rides in the cool morning air, as compared to the stale heat of the day, would be so much better. But that’s the way it goes.  We got there around noon and we were both HUNGRY!  Sincerely, stomach growling, on the verge of a headache, HUNGRY.  Way back when the decision was made to take Kyle to Idlewild, I had a craving for Potato Patch Fries.  Yep, the hand cut potato slices that are loaded up in a paper boat dripping in cheese.  Kyle and I shared an order with chicken fingers.  In fact, all day long we shared all of our food, never getting two orders or something.  We would get an order share it and move along till we wanted something else.  It was a good thing.  My stomach isn’t used to all that fried heavy food and I’m sure Kyle’s isn’t either.

Once our belly’s were full, our feet hit the gravel and proceeded toward the rides. We rode the Paratroopers, Merry Mixer, Tilt-A-Whirl, Howler, Roller Coaster, Ferris Wheel, Merry-Go-Round, Bumper Cars and THE Round Up.  Since it really wasn’t that crowded, we were able to ride some the rides back-to-back.  Kyle is just like me, we both brave everything, but naturally we have our favorites.  As we stood in line for the Paratroopers, Kyle spotted the Round Up.  He looked at that ride with amazement and asked, “Have I ever rode that before?”  with my quick reply of “Yep”.   He didn’t remember that, as he looked a little reluctant about the spinning giant in the near distance.  Not long after he watched the ride, while standing in another line, he chose to get on the Round Up.  This is a spinning ride that you stand with your back to the outside of the circle.  It lifts you up on its side all while spinning before setting you back.  Your feet stay on the platform and the centripetal force holds you in place.  After we got off, he was ranting and raving about the ride and how cool it was and how he wanted to ride it again.  I said, “We can but I want to hit up every other ride too, at least once.”  With a little bit of a pout, he agreed.

As we made our way through the park, we would stop and get more junk food including corn dogs and funnel cake.  We even drank Fruit Punch, which neither one of us do, usually we both only drink water, never soda.  Eventually we made our way back the the Round Up.  As we walked up the ramp, Kyle said, “Let’s ride this ride until we throw up!”  We were both laughing at that comment, that is until we rode it a second time, in the a row.  Since there was no line, so we were able to board the ride again.  Yep, that second time both did us in.  Kyle turned to me and said, “Ahh Aunt Heather, let’s just sit a little, my stomach is a little upset.”  I couldn’t deny that mine was any different.  We walked around and soon we were ready for action again.

I’ve said it over and over again, Kyle is a businessman.  He totally cracks me up.  First I do want to say, that with every ride and I mean EVERY ride, Kyle immediately counted the number of passengers allowed on a ride and then he instantly counted the crowd in front of us.  Next, he always gave me the estimated number of turns before it was ours.  Now this didn’t happen too often since the lines weren’t long and sometimes not at all, but when there was a line, he was on it!  Then, the next thing out of Kyle’s mouth was his estimated thoughts on how much it costs to run the ride.  He pointed out that specific rides cost more to run.  “This ride wouldn’t be as much to run Aunt Heather because you don”t need seat belts and it holds more people.”  He went off with these types of comments without being prompted.  They were totally free flowing from his own thinking. Too much!

Potato-Patch-Idlewild-Aunt-Heather-PiperAt one point when we were in line for the roller coaster, Kyle turned to me and said, “All the wood used for the roller coaster was cut on Idlewild property.”  I said, “Where did you come up with that?”  He said, “No it did!” with my know-it-all response of “Kyle I doubt they cut down the trees, haul them out to be debarked, cut into 2 x 4 pieces, kiln dried them and then treated to withstand the weather.”  Just then Kyle pointed to a sign in front of us with this fun fact on it.  As my eyes followed his finger to the words as I read the information semi out loud.  Kyle turned his head toward me and gave me such as a smarty pants, crappy grin, like ‘I’m right’.  What a stinker!  Every time I was wrong throughout the day, he gave me that same grin and then started to give me a number, which I found out represented how many times he was right.  I will admit, it was funny at first, but then got old and I stated, “Do you see me counting every time I’m right?  No! So cut the crap.”  Kyle was pretty good with that nearly threatening statement and dropped it.

Throughout the park, there were fun fact signs, which Kyle would take notice and read.  I forget how much he is like a sponge.  He even took notice to all the banners advertising Idlewild was voted the number one kid friendly park.  He even saw a sign on the 125th anniversary, in 2002.  He said, “Wow, this place is old!”

As we rounded out the day, I will admit the lack of sleep was getting to me and I was tired.  We went through a few more rides in rapid fire, leaving Kyle’s coveted Round Up for last.  Once the ride started to spin, a girl began to cry and the ride attended yelled in asking if she wanted him to stop.  He did, to let the frightened youngster off, and not only did that girl get off, but also another girl exited stage left.  Kyle commented that he was not afraid and he just LOVED this ride.  Then he did it again.  He said, “There are 37 brave people riding this ride.  Hey Aunt Heather 37 BRAVE people!”  That was too funny!  He stressed the word BRAVE and gave a number to those bearing the title of BRAVE.  Only Kyle, thinks to count the number of people riding a ride.  Almost as if he was bothered not knowing what the difference was, when both girls exited.

When we stopped in to see my parents before heading out, Kyle was sure to tell them about the ’37 BRAVE people’ who rode the Round Up.  All my dad said, “Was that right?”  I had to explain to my mom that Kyle counted the people on every ride.  We were both cracking up!

I wonder if every child counts everything like Kyle?  I just love to hear his thoughts and insights on the most obscure things.  I’m very blessed with such a little thinker and I love it that he shares his thoughts with me.  Kyle is a lot of fun!

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience and have No Comments

Influence and Association

Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.  ~Napoleon Hill

Kyle-in-hospital-11-18-03 Aunt Heather Piper

Kyle playing cars in Latrobe Area Hospital 11/18/03

Sometimes I forget how much our actions and unconscious decisions influence Kyle.  Not to mention he is a bit of a habitual person. Example.  It seems now Sunday nights have become our time to sit and read at my house. I mean no TV on, no distractions, just enjoyable reading time, squished in a chair in my living-room.  Another Example. Going for a walk doesn’t generally mean going down the hill.  It means traveling up the hill with the dogs for a walk through the woods. Another example. Me picking Kyle up during the week, means heading straight to swimming lessons, then to my house for dinner and work on homework before returning him.  I’m sure there are many more scenarios, but I couldn’t help but notice that this has always been Kyle’s way.

Did you know that up until about a year or so ago, when we would make a trip to Giant Eagle for groceries, Kyle instantly thought of the Eagle’s Nest and playing in the kids room? That was his hang out.  In fact, he would beg us to take him to Giant Eagle so he could play in the designated area, which was monitored and very safe so a parent didn’t have to worry while grocery shopping.  All the workers knew him by name, even when they’d run into us locally, completely unrelated.  Once my sister was home with Kyle, and she called me at work to say she doesn’t know what to do.  You see, she didn’t need anything else at Giant Eagle but she was told, by one Mr. Kyle Piper, to take a long time in the store.  Nicole’s solution, to call me at work since she was bored and didn’t want to rush Kyle.  We still laugh about that one to this day!  Giant Eagle did a great job with their Eagle’s Nest and their employees!  Kyle has since outgrown the age whereas he is not permitted in the Eagle’s Nest, but I do see him checking out the room every-now-and-again.

While I’m thinking about it, I’m going to step back in time when Kyle was just a little guy.  When he would play with his matchbox cars and Thomas the Tank train sets.  Kyle had this blue metal truck that was slightly larger than a matchbox car.  I don’t know where he got it, but he loved playing with that truck.  Actually, that truck would always make its appearance on the sidelines of Kyle’s play activity, usually while playing with Thomas the Tank.  He would specifically seek out the truck and have it sit there to watch all the other toys act out the imagination of Kyle.  You see, when dad become sick and couldn’t work for a short period of time, dad would pick Kyle up every Thursday and we’d keep him throughout the weekend till Sunday night.  Since I was in school during the day and mom was working, dad would spend all day Thursday and Friday with Kyle, who was still in his diapers.  Wow! I can’t believe he has gotten so big!  Anyway, one of their favorite pastimes was to go to Latrobe Airport and watch the planes take off and land.  I know Kyle would look for the helicopter, since again he was a fan of Thomas the Tank.  Harold the helicopter was a character on the show and Kyle just loved him.  Ironically, dad and Kyle sat in dad’s blue truck watching the activity while the day flew past.  What is really interesting about his weekly ritual, is the impact it had on Kyle.  Even years later Kyle looked favorably on that little metal blue truck.

By the time Kyle was around three or four years old I got him a Finding Nemo toy cell phone.  He always loved my phone so I thought he might like his own.  One time when I was driving and he was in the backseat, at the time in his car seat, he opened his Nemo phone and started talking.  I laughed so hard listening to him have an imaginary conversation with my sister.  He even said, “Ya I’m good, I’m with Ahia in her car.  When [are] you coming home?”  I couldn’t help but ask him, “Who are you talking to?” and then I heard him speak back into the phone, saying “Aunt Nitti, hold on” He moved the mouth piece of the phone out of the way to respond, “Aunt Nitti”.  Of course what was I thinking.  He even concluded the conversation by saying, “Ok talk to you later. Bye.”  You see at the time, my sister lived in Tucson, Arizona and similar to today, she called Kyle a lot to stay in touch.  Plus, I’m sure it made my sister feel closer to home through the conversations with Kyle.  I mean how she could she not?  Kyle always brightened up our days, even through a simple phone call.

Kyle-YMCA-drawing-Aunt-Heather-PiperAs Kyle got older, actually for his fifth birthday, being the practical one, I got him swimming lessons.  Taking him to swimming lessons once a week, every week throughout the year, even to present day.  Kyle was not a kid that drew a lot but when he did, sometimes he would draw me pictures of the swimming pool and him at one end and me watching at the other side, just like he sees it.  He always drew a blue square and placed a letter ‘K’ on one side, later it was his full name as he got older, and a letter ‘H’ on the other side of the blue square.  Over the years he’s made me dozens of those pictures, which I’ve kept, being my prize possessions.  I loved it!  I guess those swimming lessons and our time together really mean something to Kyle.  You know, I believe they still do to this day.

Even in the face of an emergency, Kyle still makes a clear association with specific places.  One summer about four or five years ago we were cutting down trees and clearing out brush from my backyard.  Of course Kyle was there, “assisting”.  The night before dad bought a new hatchet.  Keep in mind, for some reason Kyle was instantly infatuated with the brand new hatchet.  That morning, dad decided to teach Kyle about safety with the tool, using both hands on the handle so he doesn’t chop off a finger, not running with it, setting it down correctly etc.  I agree with dad, you can’t just expect kids to know how to do something as an adult, you have to teach them and ease them into experience while they are monitored.  Well, we just dropped an oak tree, which was covered in leaves and branches.  It was a beautiful tree that I would have kept, except it was too close to my house.  It was fun walking through the mighty oak as it laid on the ground like a maze inviting others to join in.  At that moment, Dad was sharpening his chain saw to prepare to chop it up in manageable sizes for firewood.  Kyle decided to adventure through the branches of the fallen tree with the hatchet.  Now on Kyle’s defense he was not doing anything he wasn’t allowed to do.  He decided he wanted to help his pappy out by chopping at a branch.  But what no one ever anticipated was the variable of Kyle’s sweaty hands.  You see it was in the middle of August in the middle of the day. HOT!  As Kyle chopped, the hatchet flew out of his sweaty little palms and it landed in his shin.  Yep, Kyle gave himself a nice big gash.  Not life threatening, but scary no doubt.  As dad and I drove him to the emergency room for stitches he began to worry that he was going to have to spend the night.  What?  You see for the first few years of Kyle’s life, he was in and out of the hospital with ear infections, pneumonia, tonsillitis and the list goes on.  So in his mind the hospital trip meant not just a visit, but a stay.  That broke my heart!  I think he only got about five stitches.  After the stitches were in place Dad shook Kyle’s hand and said, “Welcome to the club.”  At that moment Kyle smiled and was kind of proud, later bragging about his stitches.  Dad and I are both in that club and Kyle knew it.

Kyle continues to surprise me with this association to specific actions or activities.  About a month ago, Kyle was not feeling well, in fact he was up all night, I could tell he was achy.  I thought since he was perking up a bit, it was a good time to take an easy walk up through the woods, getting him out of the house, stretching his legs and taking in some fresh air.  Well about halfway through the trip, Kyle was clearly not well.  In fact, he said he felt like he was ready to vomit.  I could tell he was weak and dehydrated, since he was not sweating in the slightest, very unusual for Kyle.  I got him home and started to push water in him, to remove any dehydration issues and to alleviate his headache.  Would you believe that the very next weekend when we began on our weekly voyage through the woods, Kyle brought up that trek?  He said, “Aunt Heather, I don’t think that was a good idea to go hiking last time since I was still feeling sick.  I thought I was better, but I wasn’t.”  I still feel horrible for misjudging his state of health, and I would have to agree with his assessment of the previous adventure.  In fact, Kyle still brings that day up to me, not holding it against me, but just remembering it and making it known.

My little man, I pray that I never do or say anything that Kyle associates with me in a truly negative manner.  I hope he always thinks of me with happiness and love, even if I do royally screw up, which is inevitable.  But everything I do, I try to do with Kyle’s best interest in mind and out of love and respect for him.

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments
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