Though We May Not Share Blood

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porch

Since his birth in 2010, I’ve wondered when we would start seeing our traits in him. Without the blood bond biological children share with their parents I’ve been anxious to see us in him in ways that must be distinctly learned.  Along those lines, I’ve also been anxious to uncover the surprises we will find as he matures. Will there be a gait, posture or curiosity that is neither mom nor dad but then seconds later a stance or pose that is uniquely us? Like me, will he look foolish when he dances?  When he says “Okedokee” will I hear my Nana?

One of my favorite scenes in the movie Jaws is when Captain Brody is sitting at the table with his young son stewing over how best to save Amity Beach from the killer shark. Lost in his thoughts he takes a drink from his glass and looks up to see his son do the same. Quietly, he continues with a few hand movements and watches his son mimic him. It’s a silent game of Simon Says at the dining room table between father and son.

529 jaws-brody-and-son
529 jaws-brody-and-son

I had my first game of Simon Says with Judah this weekend while spending a few days in the Shenandoah Mountains with the family at a friend’s cabin. Breakfast one morning, the boy was eating Cheerios on a TV tray in the living room. I poured myself a bowl and took it outside to eat on the porch overlooking the woods. Silently, he left his spot and brought his bowl outside to eat, standing up and looking out over the mountains with me.

In his world it must have been such a grown up thing to do. Eat outside. Barefoot. While standing up!

In my world my son was a spitting image of me. Barefoot with bedhead and not a care in the world.

That’s my boy.

Pacita Jugo Ladd... "Nana"

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My Nana passed away on February 13th surrounded by her family after being diagnosed with cancer just a few weeks before. She passed very peacefully and kept her wit until the very end. Hours before, when people were coming in and out of her room I said to her, "I think you, Susan and I are the only sane ones in this bunch." She replied, "I think your right, honey" My Nana was many things to me over the years. She was a grandmother and a babysitter. She was a mentor and an advisor. She was a resource for travel tips and great grandmother to our son. Through it all, and especially as I grew mature enough to realize it, she was a friend. Our conversations, though split by a fifty year spread, were always casual but meaningful. She would offer me suggestions on how to live my life and how to raise Judah and do so as a peer... never with an air of authority. She kept that spicy Filipino side suppressed until necessary to quickly end a conversation. And believe me, should could pull out the big guns if need be!

Growing up, Nana was my tour guide when I was too 'sick' for school. Whether it was a museum or a theme park (or hours at the beauty parlor!) she wasn't just taking me to get us out of the house she was taking me because she wanted to go. I remember her being as excited as I was at the things we would see. But, I'm certain that our trips to see the alligators at the Seminole Reservation were as much for her sake as mine. We would always leave with cartons of tax free cigarettes.

She never stopped thirsting to learn. In the past ten years, as she became active online, she would always call with questions about the internet and her computer. She wanted to know how to keep her computer running smoothly as well as how to create profiles on social networking sites. She once called asking how to 'defrag' her hard drive. Not long ago she emailed wanting to know how to set up an account on "The Flickers". I'm sure she wanted a login so she could comment on my pictures. After Judah was born, I bought her a webcam and we have been using Skype several times a week ever since. A few times she would call Susan's Skype account not knowing she was teaching and Susan would turn the computer around so the kids could talk to Nana.

Looking back at both this blog and my Facebook page, it was Nana who was always the most prolific commenter. Always in CAPS! I knew after I posted a blog, photo or video she would be the first to see and 'like' it. Before she returned from the hospital for the last time, she requested a video of Judah to be online for her when she got home... something to look forward to. She said it was one of the first things she did when she got home.

Upon her passing, it was my grandfather and I at her side. He held her right hand while I was holding her left. I feel honored and loved to know that she chose to share that moment with me. It was peaceful and painless for her. I will always love and cherish all my memories with her and will do the best I can to ensure Judah knows how much she loved him.

Some of her comments from Facebook.

  • HOW MANY YRS IN PRISON IF I COME AND KIDNAP HIM. HE IS A LIVING DOLL. THANKS - LOVE

  • THUS MADE ME CRY. BEAUTIFUL HOW U ALL DO I T I DONT KNOW.LOVE

LADD, Pacita Jugo, 84, of Temple Terrace, Fla., died Sunday, February 13, 2011, at home surrounded by her family. "Pat" was born July 1, 1926 in Manila, Philip-pines, the oldest of nine children. It was during World War II, that she met her first husband Tom McEwen in Manila, where he was stationed. After the war, they eventually settled in Temple Terrace, where she raised their two children. In 1959, Pat started her many years of playing golf and bridge with her circle of close friends at the Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club. In 1969, she married Andrew Ladd and became mother to his four children. They enjoyed many great years together traveling the world and visiting with family. She was also a passionate Gator and Bucs fan. Pat was a proud and beloved wife, mother, grandmother and friend, who lived life to its fullest. The memories of her will be honored and cherished by all who knew this amazing lady. Pat was preceded in death by her parents, Rafael and Carmen Jugo of Manila, and five siblings. She is survived by her husband of 42 years, Andrew M Ladd; sisters, Mila Garcia and Menchu Alleja; brother, Joe Jugo; son, Rick McEwen (Jane); daughter, Virginia Mullaney (Kevin); sons, Andrew Ladd (Donna), and Robert Ladd (Dawn); daughters, Susie Weda (Jim) and Bitsy Calloway (Donnie); grandsons, Christopher Stork (Susan), Sean Mullaney (Meghan), Ricky McEwen, Lucas Calloway (Erin), Jarret Calloway (Callie) and Andrew Ladd; granddaughters, Stephanie Flynn (Mark), Ellie Ladd and Hannah Ladd; great grandsons, Jordan Flynn, Foster Calloway and Judah Stork; great-granddaughter, Jocelyn Flynn and many loved nieces and nephews in the Philippines.

Google Voice Poetry

I started using Google Voice months back on my G1 android phone to transcribe my voice mails. When you leave me a message, I get an email containing the text version of that message. While I can still listen to the voice mail, most of the time the email is enough to give me the gist of what the call is about. Often if provides hilarious results as Google has a much harder time with some voices over others. I call it Google Voice Poetry. My Nana's messages provide the best results. Sorry Nana... these emails were to priceless not to share! In this voicemail, she is thanking us for the peanut butter we sent as a birthday present to my grandfather.

Peanut butter lovers shows that you have a diabetic

Hi, silverware, have you been a big we've been trying to call you.Yeah, Susan that boggled got his presence and expected today and I put it, and I live a falling out of his mouth because of the recipient.Peanut butter lovers shows that you have a diabetic.That's 98.Wanted to talk to her.We're going to do.It was great stories birthday tonight baby socks taking a shower but I'd like to hear more.You know about what's going on, so if you're outside.Dan or something, call me okay.Have you bought.Thank you Susan,You are great.God bless. Bye bye. Plus.

Note: "Peanut butter lovers shows that you have a diabetic" is "We're peanut butter lovers you two shouldn't have done it."

This is from my father asking about the snow storm in Baltimore. I had put some pictures up online. Google does a better job transcribing his text.

Capitalist want to know covered in snow

Still Smell in. 11:30 on Sunday. I saw the pictures. Capitalist want to know covered in snow. I checked with put furniture out in the street so you can park your car. Maybe you don't do that in your neighborhood. Call me. Love you.

And another one from my Nana. She leaves the best Google Voice Poetry.

I waved a way to go to bed

Hey Christopher Stork. I got your message tonight but I called you this is my start diet and I just want to know what's going on. Have more about it. And I also called her this afternoon because we got those two thousand years. If it for Paul upon you need to ask you about that anyway. Anyways, so I was wondering whether you have gotten my message and I call you last night i call you this morning colleagues. Hey, Ronald, I waved a way to go to bed, and I'm calling with tonight. I'd like to know what's going on with the baby in everything out okay. I'll be home. Martinez 11:30. Call me anytime you and suicides. Well port. Thank you very much for the presence and we love you and I hope everything is going on fun with the maybe if i bye.

Crew Scheduling asking me about a burger?

The samples in Chris Killing

Hey, Good. The samples of Chris killings. I'll have a question for you enjoyed your trip for tomorrow. If you have a chance. Gimme a call back. Have a quick questions, I wonder if you can show a burger. If you can give me a call back. Thanks.

As you can read, the results are not perfect but for the first time in alone while, I enjoy getting voicemails! My recorded message used to say, "Don't leave a message, send me a text." I want to change it to, "Leave as long and detailed of a message as you want... and maybe do it with a mouthful of food!"

I used to watch alot of Fanny at my Nana's house

Plenty of sick days from Grade School were spent at my Nana's in Tampa watching this show from her king sized bed. I think it was on at 1pm while she was watching Days of Our Lives in the other room. (Side note - I threw up on her new carpet one day and while she was yelling at me for puking she started throwing up too. As a result, if it was "Bridge" day, I'd sleep in the back of her car in her friends driveway while they were inside drinking Martini's and playing cards. The ladies were afraid I had a weak stomach and would ruin their carpet.)

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Nana, Ms. Pac-Man and the One Armed Bandit

Nana in Virginia City While in Lake Tahoe, we took a trip to Virginia City where the ladies in the group were happy to find MORE slot machines. I followed my Nana waiting for it "to hit."

"No Christopher, this one is about to hit." She'd say.

Back at one of the casinos in Tahoe, while the others were gambling upstairs, I spent an hour and a few dollars in the gameroom trying to break the high score on Ms. Pac-Man. While there were many kids down there with me, none shared in my excitement as I came within a few thousand of EEE's score. Soon after I gave up on the record I got served by a little kid on Dance Dance Revolution. I thought I was a better dancer after a few beers?