Responsible Parenting

Tony at Sand in the Gears claim the title of “Father of the Year.”

It is the voice of a librarian, a schoolteacher, a junior senator from New York, or some other such female-type killjoy. I am physiologically and ideologically predisposed to ignore such voices. I continue my instruction.

“Sir!” “You’re whacking your baby’s head against the top of the helicopter.”

Oh. Well then. I had heard the thumping, but as a parent you grow immune to the minor noises.

Click the link to read the whole funny thing.

It reminds me of two stories when my son was young –

1. When my son was very young, perhaps 6 months or so, I was still living in Oklahoma. I brought him on a trip to show him off to Mom so she could see how much he had grown in the first 6 months of life. In Mom’s living room, I proudly lifted my son for all the world to see.

*thump*thump*thump*

My first thought was, “That can’t be Alex. Alex doesn’t make that noise.” I looked up and noticed the ceiling fan for the first time. I looked at my son and he had a horizontal red welt across his forehead of the exact same type that a ceiling fan blade would cause if a father would be so insensitive as to stick his infant’s son head into a piece of rotating machinery.

2. I used to take Alex grocery shopping when he was young, elementary school age, and I drove a car that had a rear seat that folded to allow access to the trunk. While common today, this was sort of a novelty in 1990’s. A fun game after grocery shopping was to unload Alex into the trunk before loading the rest of the groceries. Alex knew where the latch was and he’d pop up in the back seat.

One day as I was unloading my son into the trunk and closing it, an elderly woman drove up behind me and proceded to give me a scolding. “Young man, have you no sense of responsibility? That is no way to treat children!”

At about this time, my son popped up in the back seat and turned around to give me a very happy grin.

The elderly lady looked at him, scowled at me for good measure, and drove off without another word.

I assume Alex has survived my parenting. Hard to tell sometimes. 😛

248 Days

The best 248 days I could ever ask for – and I did ask for them, and God blessed me.

Happy Valentines Day, my beautiful wife.

248 days and loving every minute

I want to ride my bicycle

My lovely wife Carolyn gave me a bicycle for Christmas, a fancy machine powered only by me, a middle-aged couch potato.
Though it has 21 gears, none of them seem to pull me to the top of hills as well as our old SUV. The thing takes work, and there is one particular hill (on Coronado Drive) which is particularly impossible to climb comfortably.
But I’m sticking with it, having ridden my new bicycle to work each morning this week. People tell me it will get easier as I continue, but easy hasn’t kicked in yet.
One of the problems has to do with terrain; my house sits about 200 feet higher in elevation than our print shop, meaning the trip to work is basically downhill, and the trip home is basically uphill. So the trip I take after resting all night is quite easy and the trip home, after working all day, is more difficult. Did I mention I’m in my 40s?
The other day, after what felt like a long day, I began the trip home. On the long stretch of Lois Street behind Wal-Mart, I passed a lone jogger, a young person. In truth, it had taken a long time to even catch up with the jogger, but with a slight downhill stretch I pulled pretty far ahead.
Then came the hill at Coronado, the one I dread the whole trip, whose height is compounded by the fact that most of the altitude I gain by climbing that hill is soon lost as I turn on West Lane, only to have to climb it all again on my street to get home. So I’m climbing this hill in what must be the lowest gear ever invented when (you guessed it) the young jogger passes me up, not even working hard.
Some things really make you feel old, and being passed up by a jogger that day made me feel ancient.
Still, the rides have been fantastic.
Thursday morning (while many of you slept) I pedaled east toward a sliver of moon. Crossing the Water Street bridge between Gibson’s and Mosty’s Garage I looked down to see a doe staring back at me. I’ve noticed the bike is so quiet I often surprise wildlife: I’m there before they notice I’m anywhere near. Thursday evening I pedaled west toward a sky on fire – clouds red and majestic, highlighted by the setting sun.
I pretend I’m riding the bike to improve my health, but mostly I’m riding the bike because it’s fun. Also, I can’t help but think, with every turn of the pedals, that I’m sending fewer dollars off to the foreign oil-producing parts of the world. But I don’t ride for the politics of it. I ride because it’s fun.
The machine, which Ms.Carolyn bought at the Hill Country Bicycle Works, is the nicest bicycle I’ve ever ridden, and it has some features designed for the comfort of the (middle-aged) rider: big fat tires which, along with shocks built into the frame, help make the ride smoother. The seat is nice and cushioned (a real help), and the bike is designed to ride sitting up, not hunched over like a racing bike. It’s a sweet ride.
Check with me in a few weeks – I’ll be happy to let you know if the ride gets any easier.

Look Around You

We early risers often see the most amazing things, if only because of the accident of our wakefulness. In our house I sleep the least, often the last to bed and the first to rise, awake while everyone else dreams.
Hoping to make Ms. Carolyn, my lovely wife, a morning blaze in the fireplace earlier this week I noticed, as I stumbled to our dwindling woodpile, the sky above. A cold front had marched in overnight and scrubbed the air and there were more stars visible in the sky than I ever remember seeing here. Even though I was in shorts and t-shirt, freezing in the darkness, I stood for a long while looking up at the sky.

Our dogs Tag and Meg looked up at me, though not with any hint of puzzlement. I’m afraid they’ve become used to my odd behavior.

The sky above was crowded with stars: Orion looked like he had freckles. I felt, if only for that moment, as if I was looking through a telescope, for even the faintest stars were revealed. The Pleiades were having a well-attended party; beautiful Cassiopeia, reclining ‘round the North Star, seemed clothed in diamonds. The sight of the sky so filled, coupled with the cold air, took my breath away. I’d have been embarrassed had anyone seen me gaping skyward that morning, but I don’t think I’ll forget standing there, in the cold, or what I saw above.

We live in such a wonderful place – a place of true beauty. I often get used to these hills and often I am guilty of not noticing them. It’s easy to pass through, driving with your mind on hold, until everything seen through your car’s windows becomes a blur, a strange collage of unnoticed mists.

I know poets warn of noticing things too closely – I’m thinking it would be easy to be overwhelmed by this place we’ve made our home – but I’d dare you, Gentle Reader, to notice, if only for a moment this week, the gift we share here. Not a bad spot right here, as Pearl Bailey would sing. Not bad at all.

Back from Connecticut

I’m back – had a fabulous time in Manchester, Connecticut, visiting relatives. A big THANK YOU to my brother Stephen for tackling the guest blogging duties while I was away.

I have a lot of stuff in my inbox to post, some updates on reviews of the Mind & Media books, so pardon if the posts are many this afternoon. 🙂

Intimidating the Army

I found out my son may *not* graduate this weekend after all. He’s passed everything except for his P.T. test (physical training), and he’ll retake that test this afternoon.

Please pray for Alex today that he passes his P.T. test this afternoon. I tried to intimidate the Army captain by telling him that I already had a plane ticket, but I don’t think the captain was exactly quaking in his boots. He has military weapons, I don’t.