Thursday, December 01, 2005

Fourteen Months (there's hair on your how!)

Lucas is really beginning to communicate. He’s just not speaking English. Having a baby has made me realize that it isn’t really that hard to learn another language. We just have to commit ourselves to making a real effort to try and understand. We are a lazy people. I’m talking about the first world culture where I was raised. I haven’t had the opportunity to experience many other cultures to date, but I always thought it was impossible to learn another language once you grow up and settle into your ways. I was completely wrong. That is simply a misconception that we tell ourselves so that we can make as little effort as possible. We have the ability and we will always have the ability.

When you have a child you have a choice to make. I am either going to strive with all my might to understand this little person (what he’s going through, what he’s trying to say, what he is feeling), or I am going to make him conform to my needs because I am the most important person in life. Actually I think this question could be inserted in just about every aspect of our lives and the relationships that we have to deal with everyday. Do I watch the football game on thanksgiving or spend time with my family? Do I listen to my wife when she has a complaint or wish that she would just shut up because she never listens to me when I have a complaint? Is it more important for my child to get a quality education or simply have a place for them to spend the day? (daycare is called school now) Is my safety more important than the lives destroyed by the mass engine designed to protect me and mine? I know that I am trying to simplify something that quite often is much more complicated, but I look into the face of my child and that’s when I realize that it really isn’t that difficult to understand. Should I be selfish or selfless?

He says, “How.” That means I’m thirsty.
He says, “Mum.” That means I’m hungry.
He says, “Book.” He might be pointing at a book when he says it then I know he means book. If he’s pointing at something else then I know he means whatever it is he’s pointing at.
He says, “Ruff.” That means dog.
He says, “Eghamalic.” I don’t know what that means but I listen and make my best guess.
He giggles hysterically and that means he's really enjoying himself at that particular moment. (he does this a lot!)

This is the language of Lucas. The one he’s decided is right for his time on Earth, his fourteen months that he’s lived and breathed. Every moment that I hold him in my arms is another moment of clarity for me. He is the teacher and the rest of us are simply trying to relearn what we’ve forgotten long ago. We are trying to remember what it means to look at the world with wonder and greet each day with a smile and a wave. We are trying to remember that in each precious moment that we have the opportunity to live and feel is the right time to say, “Hi.” How do you do?

It can be frustrating at times because we’ve built up all these conventions and formalities that we think bring us happiness and when life, in each and every moment, tries to remind us otherwise we want to shrug it off with a disgruntled arrogance that means, ‘stop bothering me, my time is precious don’t you know?’ When that’s all it was trying to tell us in the first place.

Besides, he feels so good in my arms when I pick him up. It always feels better than what I was doing before (well…almost always) and damn if I didn’t forget what was so friggen important after all. So I reach down and scoop up his How hoping to give him a drink of water and of course the Book is covered with the Ruff’s hair.

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