Monday, October 17, 2011

This two shall had goddamn well better pass

We're back home after our vacation at Grammy's. Even though it was only two weeks (for Mama and the kids) and one week (for me) away, much has changed.

Jewel is in the full throes of her twoness, yelling a whiny "No!" at anything that's said within earshot of her. I'm getting better at ignoring her. 3B still has a long row to hoe in this regard, but if he grows up to be a patient man, he can thank his sister.

Speaking of patience, I'm trying to find more of it in myself without crossing that line into being a doormat. It's not an easy balance for me to strike, since I've always seen myself as impatient and therefore given myself license to be so. I'm thinking now that might not have been the best strategy for raising patient kids. Or for dealing with kids.

Although, to be fair to myself, I've had to deal with Jewel much less of late since her other new favorite phrase is, "I got it." She uses this in response to questions like
  • Do you want help going up those stairs?
  • Do you want help going up that ladder and swingin on the monkey bars, which are eight feet off the ground?
  • I see that you're about to pick up two torches and a machete to juggle, would you like me to light the torches for you?
Her other new favorite phrase of late? "I don't think so."

While I know that we're not supposed to compare our kids, Mama and I just can't recall 3B ever busting out the "No!" so blatantly and tirelessly. Maybe that's our sleep-deprivation-caused memory loss talking, but I don't think so. The good news is that Mama's instinct--ignore it--is an effective tool against it...but still...oi.

Because I was travelling by myself to catch up to Mama and the kids at Grammy's I took the opportunity to do some reading as I waited the two hours...then three hours...then four days it seemed before my plane arrived. I've been trying to do more conspicuous reading, not just for my own edification, but also so that the kids will see me reading and know that it's a lifelong joy.

It's not as if they don't both like reading, but anything I can do to keep that going...OK, and I love to read, so it is a bit selfish.

I finished Flags of Our Fathers during the week at Grammy's, and found it an enlightening read. It was not nearly as gory as it could have been, considering the topic. I found it quite restrained in that regard, actually. That makes sense, since the focus is on the men and their trajectories through life, including their friendships. Recounting all of those friendships and then describing how many of them were torn asunder in that heavy black sand and across that hard, harsh landscape made for more difficult reading and brought home the horror of war than a book full of spilled guts would have.

Of course, for me, the hardest part was reading about the author's father's death. Sometimes I can just pass right through those descriptions as if through a torn veil. At other times, they entrap me like a straitjacket, seeming to tighten with every struggle I make against them, suffocating me. This one, although bearing more brevity than details, was closer to the latter.

I keep thinking that this grief over my Dad's death, too, shall pass. And perhaps it will after I have learned from it everything it has to offer. Which might be the same as saying neither will this pass, nor should it.

Papa Bradstein will ride 200 miles across Massachusetts in two days to help fight cancer. Please support his ride.

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1 comment:

  1. That last paragraph is gold. I'm going to remember that way of thinking. Learning from it and also using it - using the anger and grief for something, like you do with the bike rides and fundraising. Putting the energy to use.

    Our little one has a way with no, and "do it all by myself," and throwing tantrums that her big brother didn't have either. They all find their ways to challenge us, I guess.