Looking back on old pictures from when I was a kid, I see that my love for wearing big shirts and no pants has been lifelong. Most of the pictures I come across are from the beach, skiing, or sporting events. When I think about my childhood, it feels like I lived in a completely different world from the kids growing up now. Don’t get me wrong, we totally played video games and had some “screen time” too, but it wasn’t the same. We played outside in the neighborhood. We didn’t sit at the dinner table watching/playing with a tablet. We went to school, came home, did our homework, and played outside with friends. I grew up going to Marlins games and Dolphins games. I grew up collecting pins to wear proudly on my Marlins cap to every game. I grew up valuing the outdoors. Kids these days don’t seem to appreciate the beauty of the outdoors or the beauty of actually interacting with others.
It is too often that I go out to eat and see a family sitting at a table with their kids sitting there staring at a iPad or iPhone screen with headphones in. We wonder where the social issues come from? Right there. I was expected to talk about my day and participate in conversations with my family. What good are we doing our children if we don’t interact with them? I understand that sometimes you just need a break from your children, but if that’s the case – hire a babysitter to take the kids off your hands when you go out to dinner. And don’t hire a babysitter who is going to sit there and watch TV with your kids all evening. Hire a babysitter who will read with them, read to them, play with them, and engage them.
Before I started working at the hospital in October, I was filling my days with babysitting and nanny jobs. I understand that it is hard to keep a kid engaged for hours on end – I’ve had to do it, a lot. I have been around my best friend and her kids since birth. Prior to moving to NYC, I was around those two kiddos 3-7 days a week for years on end. I’m not completely against letting kids play some games on a tablet or watch some TV. I’m just saying that the ratio of screen time to other activities needs to change! We need to engage our children before they complacently sit by and allow the world pass them by.
There’s nothing worse than hearing your parents cry and not being able to do anything about it. Moving out of the house at 17 to go off to college and not ever moving back to the same city has it’s tough moments. The main one being the anxiety you get over not being able to be there when things happen. Over the years, I’ve had to face these moments and no matter how many times it happens, I struggle. I struggled when my mom called me to tell me that my dad’s best friend passed unexpectedly. I struggle every time my mom calls/texts me about my dad’s health. I frequently struggle with thoughts about what I would do if something happened to one of my loved ones and I couldn’t make it in time from NY to Florida to say goodbye.
I always have my phone on vibrate and I pretty much always hear it. This Sunday morning, my phone was lost in the mountain of king-sized blanket piled up with me on the couch. When I came across my phone next, I had a missed call, voicemail, and text message from my dad. The text message read: “Give me a call please.” No context clues. As my parents get older, the more edgy I get when things like this happen. A knot rose up and settled in my throat as I quickly called my dad back. He picked up – his voice was shaky. “Jaime died.” At first, I thought he was referring to his friend Jaime, until he kept talking and then I realized it was my second cousin, who was only 9 days younger than my brother, that he was referring to. My dad pushed through the beginning of the call while he told me about Jaime, intermittently crying.
Jaime was healthy. He came home from work, went out for a run, came back and hung out with his parents in the kitchen. His dad told my dad that Jaime was talking about how happy he was and how he felt he was in such a good place in his life. Jaime then went to the other room and sat at the computer to play some games. A few hours later his mom went in and found him slumped over the computer dead. 32 years old. When we were kids, he and my brother were best friends. Thick as thieves. Partners in crime. (featured photo: my brother [left] and Jaime [right] laughing away)
Did you know it takes 6-8 on average to get the results of an autopsy back? 6-8 weeks of waiting. 6-8 weeks of agony. 6-8 weeks of the unknown. 6-8 weeks.
Goodbye Jaime. I’m glad that you felt you were in a good place when you passed. I’m glad you were happy. You are so loved.
Jaime holding me when I was a baby
Jaime and Michael driving the old Jeep around