War Bonds

Birthday letter from my son

My heart is full and I am so thankful.
Cindy

Dear Mom,

I don’t think I’ve ever posted on your Facebook for your birthday before. But that’s just one of the many mistakes I have made, and continue to make. I’m not a perfect son. Sometimes I don’t fold the laundry when I’m told. Sometimes I leave dirty dishes in the sink. Sometimes I say things I shouldn’t. Sometimes I lie. Sometimes I make you cry. Sometimes I make you furious.
But despite all of my faults, you have never once stopped loving me with all of your being every second I’m alive. You spent sleepless nights wondering if you would ever be able to see your son healthy and living before I could even speak or understand what that meant. You’ve had to listen to me rant, rave, and ramble. You’ve given me harsh, but much needed advice. You don’t mince words, or hold back the truth. You’re the first one to ask me what’s wrong when I’m gloomy. You’re the first one to make me laugh when I’ve had a bad day.
Sometimes I’ll attempt to walk past you, eyes on the ground, grumpy and angry, and you’ll quickly grab me and wrap your arms around me. You’re the strongest person I know, and also the funniest. Your words have touched the hearts of me and people all over the country. You inspire me, challenge me, and keep me alive with love and hope.
I want you to know that every hug in the morning was real, that every compliment was the truth, and that a Facebook post, a card, or a present will never be able to describe how important you are to not just me, but to thousands of other people.

Happy Birthday, and thank you for giving me life and all that it entails. Your existence has been one of the best gifts in the world.

Sam

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War Bonds

Would You Rather?

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In the latest episode of my podcast “Life, Love & Raising Sons”  my two younger sons, Sam and Zach joined me for rousing on-air game of “Would You Rather?”

It’s a simple conversational game we often play at the dinner table where we ask each other questions like, “Would you rather hug Bill Clinton or Hillary Clinton– Heidi Klum or Russell Wilson? Mick Jagger or Keith Richards?”

Also featured: wet Hutts vs wet dogs, eating pencil shavings or glue and Sam tries to stump me with “Would you rather relive your first date with Dad or your wedding day?”

Click here to tune in. The show airs daily at 11 AM, noon and 5 PM at Spokane Talks Online and is available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Google Play etc.

Listen to previous podcasts here.

War Bonds

You are more than enough

This podcast is for you.

Moms, Dads, Grandparents, Caregivers. All of you who think you aren’t up to the task of caring for the children in your charge.

Those who feel inadequate at the end of every day. Those who feel you aren’t quite up to the task.I just want you to know. You are more than enough. And those little ones in your care? They are irreplaceable.

Tune in here and let me know if this podcast resonates with you at dchval@juno.com

#LifeLove&RaisingSons

Columns

So, this is August?

In my most recent column, I bemoan the fleeting days of summer. And what happened to July anyway?

Apparently, I blinked and missed July. How can a month with 31 days just vanish? I feel like I’m in an alternate version of a John Lennon song: “So this is August and what have you done? Another month over and a new one just begun.”

I spent much of last summer out of town for “War Bonds” readings or events, so this summer I planned to make the most of the longer days. My list of things to conquer seemed so manageable back in June. But now it’s August and I still haven’t even worn the swimsuit that arrived too late for our Hawaii anniversary trip in March.

June was a blur of end-of-school activities, and by the time we celebrated Sam’s stellar report card and Zack’s graduation from Spokane Falls Community College, the month was mostly gone. But July stretched languorously out before me and I’d planned to squeeze the most out of those summer hours.

At the top of the to-do list? Get braces for Sam, which seemed a simple enough task. After all, I’ve been down the orthodontia route with his oldest brother. But the orthodontist we used back then has long since retired. Finding time to take him to visit at least three specialists to get quotes has proved impossible.

 Sam’s been busy stripping and painting his grandmother’s deck and volunteering at the North Spokane Library. When I have time – he doesn’t. When he has time – I don’t.

At this rate, he’ll be in college by the time his teeth are straightened. Actually, he will be in college because while we haven’t done the orthodontic visits, we did enroll him at Eastern Washington University. This fall he’ll be a Running Start student at his dad’s alma mater.

I’d hoped to take day trips around the area, but the farthest I’ve ventured is my backyard. Why waste gas when the garden is glorious, the flowers in bloom and hours drift by while I devour a great “beach read” beneath the Great Gazebo’s generous shade?

Instead of exploring area day hikes, I’ve stuck to my regular neighborhood walking route, despite the challenge of navigating massive roadwork projects.

The other day as I approached some work in progress, a kind flagger escorted me across the street. Apparently, I look like the type of person who might fall into a 5-foot crater, even though it was filled with three guys in hard hats and marked by orange traffic cones.

Taking the cats to the vet is always on my summer list. Because I’m no glutton for punishment, I always schedule separate visits and insist one of the boys accompany us. Milo and Thor have plenty of time for a car ride. Zack and Sam do not.

Last year at this time, we were inundated with zucchini. In anticipation of this year’s bounty, I spent quite a bit of time finding and organizing recipes to showcase our squash crop. My mouth watered with thoughts of zucchini casserole, cookies, breads and fritters. But so far our zucchini crop has been a bust. We’re awash in tomatoes, carrots and onions, but nary a squash.

Writing during the summer is always difficult. My rarely quiet home gets even noisier with kids and company. I’d hoped to be to the halfway point on the first draft of my second book, but, alas, I’m nowhere close to making that goal.

I did however record several episodes of my new podcast “Life, Love & Raising Sons,” which debuts next week at SpokaneTalksOnline.com. The program shares the title of my second book, so I count it as progress.

Even more fun, Zack and Sam joined me for the first two episodes. If you’ve ever wondered what a Hval family dinner table conversation sounds like, you can tune in or download the podcast once it’s posted.

So this is August and what have you done? Me? I just ripped up that pesky summer to-do list and put on my new swimsuit. The month is looking sunnier already.

Contact Cindy Hval at dchval@juno.com. She is the author of “War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation.” Her previous columns are available online at spokesman.com/ columnists. Follow her on Twitter at @CindyHval.