So it took me 90 more minutes that usual to wrap up at work yesterday; had some quite-difficult CEREC crowns to do. I’m a perfectionist with the scans, and after powdering the teeth, I just didn’t have the contrast I wanted. So we cleaned them, used the diode laser again, and finally got a nice powder and picture. We battled for good isolation, finally got things to a place where I could bond in the absence of contamination. What a relief to see a good result after so much hard work. Our patient was a champion.
Feeling sad I had left Mykala at home twelve hours prior, I hurried home as best I could. So I step in the door from the garage and I the smell of freshly warmed tortillas and filling greets me; I follow the sound of the Spanish music, where I am greeted by Mykala and Essie: “Happy Cinco de Mayo!” cheers Mykala. Essie hopped up and down in her circle desk and I just about wept at how wonderful it was. I told Mykala I felt like Jimmy Stewart in “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
Mykala and I are still adjusting to being parents; it isn’t that you simply do not have time to build your relationship with your spouse when you have a small child, it is that you have to fight for that time and fight for the energy to resolve conflict and, sometimes, you don’t have that fight in you. Things slide and it is difficult to keep the communication lines open. Conversations transition from non-violent into violent communication where you say things like “you always __” or “you never __” or “why don’t you ever __.” So, we’re working on that. When we both acknowledge we have had tough days that could have gone better, when we both are tired, but when we can still meet at the end of the day and enjoy one another’s company… that is a gift.
Inexplicably, Essie fell asleep when I was driving her back from Nannie and Grandpa’s house today. It was bright out, only 7pm, but when I opened the back door of the car, she was totally asleep. I gently picked up her car seat and she kept sleeping in it; so I left her in the bathroom with the fan running. That was 90 minutes ago. There has been time to congratulate Kourtni on her wedding day (today, she and Arlene eloped!), feed the cat, try on my wedding celebration clothes (New Orleans, in a few days!), make dinner, eat dinner, do laundry, and browse the internet. What a strange feeling, sharing this twilight time between just the two of us, Mykala and I.
As I type this, the eastern sky is reflecting the pink rays of the setting sun as the last of the day fades into the deepening blue of twilight. The birds are chirping gently in the trees and there is no wind and no bugs. Let me impress upon you the splendidness of a warm Minnesota night with neither wind nor bugs. It is a rare gift, like a four-leaf clover, and our windows are open letting in all the gentle wafts of cool air.
Moments like this make me so happy, and I love having a space to write about them because they are so profoundly precious. And so, I entrust this memory to my mind and to this space, hoping to visit it again in the future.
Essie learned to clap today. We clap clap at her and she clap claps in return. We painted the front door “brick red” and completed the installation of a new flat black lockset (this set, unlike the old brass one it replaces, actually works to do things like pull the latch clear of the faceplate so we can, you know, open the door), at which point we broke into applause. Essie joined us!
Then she was sitting on her mom’s lap on the couch and her mom pretended to be a horsey, bouncing Ess up and down to riotous giggles. Ess isn’t a giggly kid, so when we find something that makes her laugh it’s like a burst of warm sunlight in the room. Tears in my eyes, listening to our daughter laugh. I am a lucky man and today I am thankful for my life, such as it is.
It has been a while since I wrote about you, Essie. I can’t believe how fast you are growing. For example, you did this adorable thing for a little while where you used your index finger to make a bub-bub-bub sound. We almost recorded it on your mom’s phone, but just like that, you stopped. You were on to bigger and better sounds. You can sit wonderfully now: we can plop you down and let you play while we get ready or do a small chore. You love to point at things. You mimic us! About a week ago, a brappy motorcycle drove by when you were in the car and a moment later we heard you mimicking its sound. Since then, we make raspberry sounds at you, and a lot of the time, you make them back. You are da-da-da-ing and we’re practicing your ma-ma-ma-ing.
You are eating pureed foods! Apples, avocado, broccoli and carrots.
You are not the typical sleeper: you love to get up every few hours and check in with your mom. I think we’re close to cracking the Essie code, how to convince you that sleeping is cool and fun to do for a long, contiguous stretch of time.
Iceland got used, in the bad years, to receiving tumid
little lectures from outsiders on how such simple people
allowed themselves to get caught up in a big, bad world
beyond their ken—though the truth is that, while Iceland
obviously did silly things with banks, they were the same
kind of silly things with banks that the masters of
civilization were doing in downtown Manhattan. The big
difference was that the Icelanders switched gears faster
and got over it sooner and, for good measure, put some of
their bankers in jail.
In Notes on an Unhurried Journey, John A. Taylor reminds us of the nature of childhood:
When we adults think of children, there is a simple truth
which we ignore: childhood is not preparation for life,
childhood is life. A child isn’t getting ready to live, a
child is living.
The child is constantly confronted with the nagging
question: “What are you going to be?” Courageous would be
the youngster who, looking the adult squarely in the face,
would say, “I’m not going to be anything, I already am.”
We adults would be shocked by such an insolent remark, for
we have forgotten, if indeed we ever knew, that a child is
an active, participating and contributing member of
society from the time of birth.
Childhood isn’t a time when he is moulded into a human who
will then live life; he is a human who is living life. No
child will miss the zest and joy of living unless these
are denied…by adults who have convinced themselves that
childhood is a period of preparation.
How much heartache we would save ourselves if we would
recognize the child as a partner with adults in the
process of living, rather than always viewing him an an
apprentice. How much we could teach each other: adults
with the experience and children with the freshness. How
full both our lives could be.
Little children may not lead us, but at least we ought to
discuss the trip with them; for, after all, life is their