Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Six Months

We finally decided to get some “professional” photos taken of Lucas for the family…and for us. By professional I mean the local kiddie photo corral at the nearest Babies-R-Us. We’d meant to get some real professional photos done much earlier but it’s kind of difficult when you have two parents who love to procrastinate. This led to Xtina finally demanding that we get the photos right this minute, which was two days before his six-month birthday. The only unfortunate detail we failed to foresee was the fact that two days before Lucas’ six-month birthday was also two days before Easter, meaning that the kiddie photo corral was busting at the seams.

Easter is a time of joy and appreciation. It’s a time for family to come together and celebrate sacrifices made and love given for the prosperity of all humankind. It’s a time to celebrate the growing human family and our ever-increasing interconnectedness. It’s a time to cherish the loved ones that have recently been added as well as those who may be witnessing the blossom of spring for the final time. It’s a time to sweat under hot lamps hoping that half-smile doesn’t turn quickly into a frown because the only photos captured so far don’t even come close to expressing what it means to treasure a half-a-year spent raising a child. It means driving all over town trying to get everything done before you have to go back and wait patiently for the teen-age technicians to finish with the brat who came after thirty-five other brats while pretending that none of them are really brats, all the while hoping that your child won’t also be a brat.

It was very interesting standing around with the other parents and watching the mad conglomerate. I actually saw a child punch his mother in the face. I saw a child almost push a child half his age down so that she wouldn’t get the ball that he wanted. I saw an obsessive father comb his daughter’s hair fifty times when it was already perfect in the first place. I saw his other daughter push her bangs out of the way as soon as his back was turned obliterating hours of precise determination. I saw scary-ugly children getting their picture taken while secretly thanking the divine intervention that allowed me to connect with a beautiful partner so that we didn’t end up with a scary-ugly child. I saw beautifully composed children who are truly the apple of their parent’s eye. I saw weary faces all around and imagined that we must have all looked incredibly alike. The one thing I really got out of it all is that looking from the outside in is an incredibly different view than when you’re actually inside the bubble. Hours are spent watching others, gauging whether or not they’re living their lives correctly. With reality teevee this has evolved into the new spectator sport except very few of us are actually competing. We’re just trying to live our lives.

On this eventful photo-shoot day I saw many different approaches to raising a child. Before I had a son I had no idea how I was going to be a father. It seemed terribly difficult and I rarely connected with the few children around me already. Before I had Lucas I immediately judged and condemned and praised and thanked. I never wanted to be in anyone’s shoes and I didn’t long to have children. Now that I have Lucas I feel like I was missing something so important in life. I’ve noticed that now that I’m amongst the child rearing I have so much more compassion for those who decide to take on the momentous task. One thing that the public eye rarely acknowledges is that we are all trying our best, even when we’re failing. I don’t think anyone really wants to raise a monster. Some people just fail to recognize the important responsibility that has been bestowed upon them. I thought that I was one of those people. I now realize that I drastically underestimated myself. Being a father is the greatest gift I have given myself.

One other thing, Lucas can now roll across the room in about a minute flat. When he goes from back to belly he does this little shoulder hitch move that frees up his pinned arm in seconds. Everyday is another new miracle and I have a feeling that sometimes the bear hugs might be getting to him. Breathe Lucas, just keep breathing.

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