Random observances of life in general Posted by: McQ
on Sunday, June 04, 2006
As you've probably been able to tell, I'm not in the normal blogging mode (or mood) that has me seeking out the story of the day or going after some sniveling weasel who's a waste of good oxygen. Or having a commenter go after me like I'm a waste of good oxygen.
There's plenty of time for that during the week.
Instead I'm spending a reflective weekend, watching the Braves go down the tubes on a homestand and generally comtemplating life's wonderful moments. Or not so wonderful, whichever the case may be.
Like the time I was bringing my oldest grandson back from Orlando in August in a car with a broken airconditoner. As you can imagine neither of us was in a good mood and he, being almost 3 at the time, argued with everything I told him. Apparently it was an art he was just learning and he was eager to practice it on me. Finally, having it up to my ears with this, I said, "that's enough. No more. You hear me? No more arguing with everything I say. Do you understand me?"
Of course all I got was a hostile stare from the little fellow in the child seat in the back. Satisfied I'd gotten my point across, I turned forward again when his little accusing voice said, "I no argue PaPa, you argue."
As I told my wife when she called not long afterward and ask how I was doing, "it's 90 degrees in the car, I have 6 more hours of driving, I'm arguing with a 3 year old and I'm losing".
Funny how many of our memories are tied up in kids or grandkids. Or family in general. I watch parents today with their kids and wonder what memories they'll have by the time they're my age.
A friend of mine was talking about his 8 year old daughter going to Hawaii with them last week. They stayed on Oahu and went to Hanauma Bay. Hanauma Bay is formed in the inside of a volcanic crater, with a reef right near the beach and abundent marine life. It is breathtaking in its beauty not to mention being a snorkler's paradise. And as my friend stood there taking in this natural wonder in all it's overwhelming beauty, his daughter slipped her hand in his and he just knew this was one of those rare father-daughter moments that all dads live for.
"It's gorgeous, Dad", she enthused. And just as he was feeling it was worth every penny he had spent to go all that way to Hawaii to see that place, she said, "It's just like Myrtle Beach!"
Life rarely lives up to most people's expectations, especially when other people are involved. Events rarely live up to the anticipation invested in them. In fact, most of the time the joy we get from anticipating the event is usually much more fulfilling than what actually happens, in a wierd but completely human way.
Sometimes I think we ought to just go through the anticipation routine and be content with that, leaving out the actual event. But then think of all the wonderful company picnics, dinners at the in-laws and nights out with the boys you'd have missed.
Life actually gets easier as you get older. If it doesn't you're not doing it right. The older you get the more mellow your peers seem. They too have begun to figure it all out as well. They now know, for instance, that when someone says "we need to get together" they don't mean it literally. That's just a nice way to say they find you socially acceptable and should social circumstance ever put them in a position where we were all thrust together, they wouldn't mind it so much. What it doesn't mean, however, is you should put them on your "let's go out to lunch" call list.
You also discover, naturally after yours have left the house, how darn precious little kids are. You usually discover this with your first grandchild. It's something about viewing it from afar that does it I think. You're not the one that is on the firing line and suddenly realizing the enormous responsiblity you suddenly have for another life. Nope, now you can actually enjoy this little critter without all the second-guessing and terrified moments that moms and dads face every day. And then there's the diaper bonus, where you don't have to change them anymore, you just hand the little nipper back to mom or dad at the appropriate time ... and smile.
Unfortunately the other side of getting older is memory, as in it fails you every now and then. My dad used to tell me, "I don't have alzheimers disease, I just have old timers disease ... I can't remember anything."
My dad was a list maker. Whenever he had to do anything he'd make a list. He'd done it all his life. And that helped him profoundly as he got older. After he retired he became quite active in the American Legion and would do a multitude of chores for them everyday. And he'd always make a list before he headed out on his daily rounds. While I was visiting one time, I came into the kitchen before he had left for the morning and laying on the table was his list for the day.
1. Go to the Legion and pick up bingo money.
2. Go to bank and deposit.
3. Take completed forms to Vets Service Office
... and so on. A list of 10 items. But it wasn't until item 10 that I just cracked up laughing. You see, item 10 said, " Go home".
When he heard me laughing he asked me what was so funny. I pointed to number 10 and he just grinned. "Hell," he said, "if I didn't put that on there, I'd be sitting in some Waffle House drinking a cup of coffee this afternoon and wondering 'now what'"?
Another part of the joy of life is learning to laugh at yourself.
As you might imagine, with each passing year, I'm getting better and better at that.
You’re so right about how precious the little ones are ... although in the thick of things (two boys — one almost 3, and the other just 8 mos.) it’s real easy to forget that.
Just to share a memory that will stay with me forever — My oldest and I decided to make a sheet fort the other day in the dining room next to the window. The window goes from floor to ceiling and there are several bushes right outside that create a small alcove. We draped the sheet over a couple of chairs, brought in some snacks and just kinda hung out, looking through the window, watching the world go by, and feelin safe in our little space. When the youngest decided to barge in, Wyatt (the 3-year old) didn’t even get too upset. It was really special to have both my boys in there with me, spending a Sunday afternoon in peace.
To top it off, at one point Wyatt stands up and hugs my head so he can rub my hair (which he really like to do to me and his Mom for some reason). While he was standing there hugging me, with his little brother gurgling in my lap, he spontaneously says, "I love you, Dad."