Thursday, February 21, 2008

Looking up from the bottom of Pandora's jar

It's so cold this morning that my pants are clinging to my legs for warmth. Or perhaps I forgot, yet again, to put a dryer sheet in with the load of laundry these pants were in. Whatever the case, it's cold enough that my iPod headphone cord is stiff and feels brittle.

It's funny how our markers for temperature change; in Colorado, I could tell the temperature within about five degrees by the sound of the snow under bike tires or by the brilliance and prevalance of the pogonip--was it just faint in the shadows of the trees, or blazing everywhere in the full sun?

Of course, winters there were cold for the duration, so we were acclimated and well prepared. Perhaps in Colorado, wearing my brown felt Biltmore, as I did this morning, might not have made my ears ache, but in colorado, unlike here, we didn't have to worry about bringing sexy back, just coming back alive, so we'd wear our stocking caps.

These days, I only have one person who I have to bring sexy back to, and she wasn't even awake when I left, so perhaps I should have gone with the stocking cap. Then again, 3B does like it when I wear my hats...ah, the things we do for love. Although he was asleep too when I left, I know that I'll see his grinning face when I get home tonight.

They were both tired out by a trip to the aquarium in Baltimore with Grammy and 3B's cousin S yesterday. (Had I known Bacchus would be in B'mo, I would have gone along and lured him out of his meeting to go with us to the aquarium.) Cousin S got to give dolphins commands during the dolphin show and 3B was enamored of the puffins. That's my son: goes to an aquarium, falls in love with the birds. Apparently, he refused to leave their enclosure and was accurately imitating all the chirping and honking sounds they were making. I have to admit that the spot-on mimicry is probably my side of the family as well.

And as I heard about their trip, I was struck by something else that's changed since Colorado: me. Time was, I had to be a part of everything; I didn't want to miss a moment of any event; I didn't want to be left out. Now, however, while I'd love to share everything with Mama and 3B--OK, and Barky too--I'll gladly give up my place in anything if it allows 3B to participate.

Last time Grammy and cousin S came to visit, we went to the Natural History Smithsonian, but Mama and I got separated from Grammy and "Cuzzy," as 3B calls him now. I sent Mama and 3B into the exhibits to check out the goods and look for Grammy and Cuzzy while I took the stroller back to the lobby to look for them. After waiting in line for 20 minutes, I jockeyed the empty stroller into the phone booth sized elevator, then strolled out to the lobby and stood waiting and watching the crowd go by. And all I could think of the whole time was how much fun 3B must have been having looking at all the cool stuff upstairs. Was he fascinated by the shiny jewelry? The faint foreign forms in the fossils? The crazy, shiny, foreign crowd of tourists?

Would I have loved to see all of that? Sure. But so long as I knew 3B was up there, I was perfectly content to babysit his empty stroller in the swirling tourist tides in the lobby. In fact, I'm sure that most parents feel this way. Now that I understand a parent's vicarious delight in their child's joy, I would have been more likely to immediately send Mom the link to this Monday's Writer's Almanac podcast, if she were still alive.

Mom always loved visiting Colorado. In fact, she encouraged me to go visit Steamboat years before I ever ended up living there. And while I'm pretty sure she was coming to see me all those times, I'm dead certain that she wasn't heartbroken to have an excuse to make the detour to Steamboat on her many driving trips. However, on the trips that took her beyond Colorado, she always dreaded driving through Kansas, which was "just boring." That's funny in light of the conclusion of the poem, because Mom and I both liked the view east from the top of Pike's Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park, or any of the other east slope vantage points.

That's true of most of our opinions, though, right? They're based more on where we stand than what we're looking at. Like my view of the upcoming weather, which is going to add snow, sleet, and ice to the current biting cold. To me, standing at a bus stop, waiting to start my work day, and wondering if I'll be able to drive 3B to day care tomorrow, or how I'll walk Barky without breaking my ankle, it looks like crap. Icy crap. To 3B, looking out at what is still a bright, beautiful, clear winter day, the weather looks more like his new favorite word: Yippee!

Which reminds me that even when I had to shovel three feet of snow off the roof every morning for a week--that's what you get when you live in Skitown U.S.A.--I still loved snow. Maybe that's from growing up in California, or perhaps because I have fond memories of family winter trips to Tahoe for sledding and snow play, or maybe it's because snow is inherently fun. So, I'm taking on 3B's perspective...snow=yippee!

I'm sticking with sleet=icy crap, however.

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  1. Man I got busted! LOL Where were you today when I finished up early! It is always about the timing!

    Next time I'll send out a warning that Hurricane Bacchus is hitting town. LOL

    It would have been great to meet up.

    ps I've only seen the outside of the aquarium but maybe tomorrow I'll get a chance to see that or the Visionary Museum.

  2. Anonymous9:13 PM

    Yep, I hate sleet too. Can't play in it, can't drive or walk on it. (Though it does sound kind of nice ticking on the window.) Snow is so much better. Now I'm worried daycare will be closed tomorrow...grrr.

  3. Gee, just when we are starting to melt out, you are getting some real winter. Whose groundhog saw what shadow?

    I am glad to hear how much you appreciate what 3B appreciates. Life through the eyes of a child is much brighter than through the eyes of an adult.

    Be careful out there.

  4. Dangit, I knew I should have contacted you about the visit. But then I figured it was a school night and the drive would be too long.

    Next time...we road trip!

  5. I will just stick with 3B's word

    Yipppeee. I will be saying that later today as I am heading from the land of nonstop rain to sunny California... where we expect nothing but rain all weekend. It will be just like being at home.