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Defining Moments

In Mr. Warmuth's high school social studies class, I raised my hand and asked if Mayor Koch was the governor of New York. I don't remember Mr. Warmuth's response, but I will always remember the years of ribbing I received for that one. For awhile, I may have even been known as "the girl who asked..."  And I know the question was a contributing factor to a nickname.

In my defense, at the time I asked the question, Mayor Koch had been in office throughout my entire childhood and his first name was barely ever used. Even now, I really have to think hard about his first name...Ed. Yes, Ed Koch.

Several weeks ago Logan asked me to teach him how to read a clock. I am not a great teacher, but this seemed like a simple task, one I could handle. Heck, I'd been telling time for quite some time now. I was already feeling the pride of knowing I taught my son how to read a clock.

I cracked my knuckles and dug into my explanation. I told Logan about the two hands on the clock - the long hand told the hour of the day and the short hand told the minutes.

Logan was quiet during my lengthy lecture, but after awhile he looked up at me and said, "Mom, I don't think that's right." My reaction was, of course it's right. Then doubt set in. I looked back at the large clock on our kitchen wall and traced the long and short hands with my fingers and realized I was telling him the exact opposite. Needless to say, this will be one of those family stories Logan will want to share for decades to come. However,I do think he will remember the hands on the clock.
Last night (and with little distance from my last foible), we were eating pasta with pesto sauce. Logan asked what it was we were eating. I told him, and added that his Dad and I had pesto for the first time on our trip to Italy many years ago. Logan seemed interested in our experience, asking questions about the foreign language.

Thinking that this was a great opportunity to talk about language and culture, I said, "When we said hello to people, we said, Bonjour!" As soon as the words flew out of my mouth, I realized I had said something wrong. I had taken French for six years in school, but my brain was having a hard time processing my mistake. Then it hit me.

More importantly, I realized my husband was in the next room. And he was listening.

Our stories define us. Not just the proud moments of victory, the fantastic stories of courage, but the little life moments. Whether we laugh, cry, hide or smile with the memory, defines us.

My Dad jokingly says he has a book of all my step mom's sayings. Francesca was born in Italy and sometimes she confuses English words and phrases. The result make for very funny stories, especially retold by my father, who can embellish with the best of them. His tales make us all smile, but more importantly his stories are a way for him to mark a time and place - a vacation, a family gathering, a trip to the store. I wish my Dad did have it all written in a book, I would read it - a compilation of life stories told with humor and love.


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