Thursday, October 22, 2009

21 Months (the second act)

I know that Quinn is going to be two in three months, that she's still only one-and-a-half or three-quarters if you want to get technical, but whenever someone asks me how old she is, I always say that she's two. I don't know what it is but when I look at her, she just seems like a two year old. She's confident and brave and bossy and loving. And she talks a lot. Her favorite activity is to wander around the house and point out all the things that belong to everybody.

--Daddy's shoes
--Mommy's pants
--Lucas' book
--Nonno's car
--Nanna's purse

She doesn't always say the actually qualifying item clearly sometimes but we all know what she means. It's kind of strange how you quickly can learn the language of a baby as they're coming out of baby-hood into toddler-hood, which happens to exactly correspond with the time that they are also beginning to speak. Does that mean that learning how to communicate is the first step toward becoming a self-realized individual? You can speak, you can understand me, so now you can be responsible. Go clean up your room!

Two-year-olds have to assimilate everything so quickly, especially second children. They don't have time to worry about whether their actions are proper because by the time that they do that, they're left behind. They can see everyone around them jumping and playing and carousing abundantly, so they simply assume that's what they're supposed to do. Yet, sometimes there are things thay shouldn't be doing, activities that require more body to accomplish them. Quinn still doesn't seem to understand that concept. When we walk, she wants to walk. When we climb, she wants to climb. When we read, she wants to read. When we talk, she wants to talk. Most of the time her version of older actions are endearing and cute as hell.

It's interesting to feel a love grow inside you for another human being. The more time that you spend with someone, the more love forms within you. We spend so much of our lives in this culture keeping people out. Is it because we are afraid of love? Before I was a husband and a father I had a really difficult time allowing people into my life. Even when I first met Xtimu, no matter how much I was enamored with her, I had trained myself to keep people out of certain aspects of my life and that meant that I couldn't be fully honest with her. Somehow we overcame those difficulties and I came to realize that when you let people in and share yourself completely with them, then a tenderness grows inside you. Truly connecting with another human being on an intimate level is the only way that we show our humanity and it's the only way that we can create a loving connection with the rest of the world.

I'm Buddhist, in the sense that I believe in the philosophy of Buddhism that I follow. The language of Buddhism connected with my being in a profound way, more so than other religions or philosophical ideas had in the past, but the greatest part about it is that through my practice and discovery of this philosophy I am learning how to communicate love toward another human being. I respect them and appreciate them enough to communicate with them completely and truthfully. Only Buddhism has allowed me to do that but I also believe that any theology or philosophy has the ability to help people do that. Not only do I believe that but I feel that it's the true purpose for our philosophical and religious experiences.

Watching my two children grow has helped me grow in that regard. I have felt my own love develop tremendously as they have developed through each month. I even understand more clearly how much my love for Xtimu has evolved. I have a deeper understanding of my own humanity and that in turn is affecting all of my other interactions with the people around me. I love Xtimu and my two children with all the life that surges within me. They have helped me become a better human being. This is a theme that is continuously growing in my life, not coincidentally as my two children continue to grow. I heard recently that the only reason that we exist is to become truly happy individuals. Not superficial happiness that comes with our consumer culture but real happiness, absolute happiness. With every day that I experience my children in my life, I know that I am getting closer and closer to that realization.

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Five Years

Lucas is evolving wonderfully as a musician. He's already tuning his ear to that magically awareness of proper sounds and vibrations. Just the other day we were setting up to practice, like we're supposed to do every day, and after tuning his violin with the digital tuner I asked him to warm up by playing his twinkle variations. He started as I began tuning my violin so that we could play together. I was listening along as he played and thought that it sounded good but halfway through he suddenly stopped and handed the instrument back to me saying, "It's out of tune."

I say, "Uh, no, I just tuned it and it sounds fine."

He tells me, "No, the E is out of tune."

So I grab the tuner to indulge him, since I have it handy and checked out his violin. Sure enough the E was playing as an F. Now I couldn't tell even though I thought that my ear was getting a lot better than when we started a year ago. When I listen to music now I can hear all the intricacies and variations of the composition. I seem to be hearing the broad range of sounds instead of one big wall. I love it because I've always been so interested in music but never indulged so deeply before. Now's our chance and I'm so grateful that we've begun to embark on this odyssey together.

Because of that love of music I've constantly forced the melody of sound to be present in my children's lives. They are stuck with the fact that throughout their youth they will listen to Wade radio, as I call it. It seems to be going all right so far. Jens Lekman is Lucas' favorite singer and as we travel around the city in our ships on wheels, he lets me know just what songs he likes as well as the ones that he doesn't like. As Xtimu knows I will allow some grumbling regarding the state of play coming out of our speakers but sometimes you are simply stuck listening to the endless stream of wonder that makes up today's artistes.

I have made a list of the music that Lucas told me that he likes. Compiled for a couple of years now and to commemorate his fifth birthday, here are Lucas' favorite songs.

1. Stan Getz - Ebony Samba (first version)
2. Jens Lekman - Shirin
3. Santogold - Anne
4. Ladyhwake - Crazy World
5. Wolf Parade - Fine Young Cannibals
6. Bruce Peninsula - Steamroller
7. Emiliana Torrini - Big Jumps
8. Micah P. Hinson - The Leading Guy
9. Gift Culture - Chrysalis
10. 13Ghosts - Photographs
11. Rilo Kiley - A Man/Me/Then Jim
12. Brokeback - The Wilson Ave. Bridge at the Chic

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