Monthly Mara Letter: Month 14

Dear Mara,

You turned 14-months-old today. At 14-months I think you’re finally figuring out the benefits of communicating. While you’re insistent on letting us know that every animal, human and inanimate objects says “moo,” you’ve also learned the sign for “more.”

You have also grow to appreciate and understand the value of kisses. You are now officially proficient and have excelled in the art of giving smooches and blowing kisses. When one of us can convince you to grace us with a kiss, you loudly do the whole “mwwwwah!” sound. And you’re very giving with blowing kisses to friends, family, strangers and moos alike, especially when ways are being parted.

IMG_2856There’s something that I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned here: Ghost Bear. I don’t recall who gave him to you, but he is your security and comfort toy. Ghost Bear is a white teddy bear head on top of a soft, napkin-sized blanket which makes him look like a ghost bear, hence the name. You seek Ghost Bear whenever you’re tired, scared or sad and you always sleep with him. Yesterday I noticed how filthy he’d become. You usually snuggly closely with him. You’ll often gnaw on one of his ears. When he’s not needed, he’s on the floor, getting kicked around and stepped on. Your mom washed him yesterday and he went from a dingy grayish-brown to bright white again. I’m hoping you enjoy a cleaned Ghost Bear. As I’m typing this, you’re asleep in your crib with him. I wonder if he’ll be one of those things that’s hard to part with, or if he’ll be thrown out and forgotten in days soon ahead. It’s kind of sad to think of how a tangible thing that provides you with safety and comfort today might be lost and forgotten tomorrow. I might hang on to him forever for you.

IMG_2769Your interest in dolls has surfaced this month. When you’re not carrying around Ghost Bear, you’re usually lugging one of your sister’s dolls. You like to give your dolls kisses and tell us that your dolls say “moo!” You also like to try to carry two dolls at once, which is funny seeing how most of the dolls in our house are around the same height as you.

What else, what else. Ah, yes. You’ve also learned to sign for flower. To do this you wave your open palm in front of your nose and make a sniffing sound with your nose.

You’ve also learned to say “cat.” It actually comes out more like, “KAAAAAAAAA!!!” but you do acknowledge the existence of our cat. “Mara, where’s the kitty?”


This month has also brought you the ability to give fives, of the high and standard/low variety. We do high fives whenever you do something cool, like put mud in your ear or eat a bug.

IMG_2792And more recently you’ve taken to reciprocating my head nods. Usually while you’re sitting in your high chair or across the living room from me and we catch each others’ gaze, I’ll toss you a simple head nod where I’ll lift my chin in your general direction; you, in turn, raise your head high, and then drop your chin to your chest, and then up again. It’s very exaggerated, but cute nonetheless. And you don’t have to try hard to be cute.

I love you, Sug, more than you’ll ever know.



Yesterday was Father’s Day


Ever since my dad died six years ago, Father’s Day has been pretty bittersweet. I never really liked Father’s Day when my dad was still alive. Nor did I like Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. I’m not a big fan of the Greeting Card Company made up holidays. This is due mostly because I have healthy relationships with my family. But, you’re still supposed to show your appreciation for this special person on their special day in some way special.

I would usually get my dad a card, and then I would struggle to figure out some kind of present to get for him. My dad was such a practical man that frivolous gifts were just that, and I never wanted to clutter my dad’s life. So, that usually left me to buy him a bottle of scotch. I’d buy him a bottle of Dewars and a funny card that would cut the awkwardness that was me giving my dad a token of my love and appreciation.

I decided that this year I would’ve purchase a nice knife sharpening gadget for my dad. I don’t think I’ve ever considered a gift for my dad since he died. This year I thought it’d be nice if I provided him with a practical gift — something that I knew he’d use. I’d see a table-mounted, motor-powered, belt-sanding knife sharpener at the local world’s most foremost outfitter a few months ago and thought to myself, “man, dad would probably get a kick (and a lot of use) out of that thing.”

I probably would’ve bought that gadget for my dad. And he probably would’ve been sincerely appreciative of the thought. Hell, the thing might’ve actually worked alright in helping my dad to sharpen his knives. But it’d probably never sharpen a knife to a razor’s edge like my dad could do with an old wet stone and some elbow grease.

I don’t know why I’ve been thinking of all this, or why I’m compelled to write it here. I guess I’m just reminding myself of something that my dad might’ve told me. Something like, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing the right way.”

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I love you, and sure do miss you.