Monday, December 28, 2009

23 Months

Quinn has reached that special age where we now know that she really understands us when we talk. She's very conscious of our instructions and most of the time she responds accordingly. I guess that means that she's no longer a baby. Ahhhh, our little girl is growing up! She's a toddler.

And she most definitely toddles everywhere! Climbing on the chairs, bed, shelves. Scurrying off down the sidewalk before you can get a handle on her. She is full of smiles and fun but it's also an age where you can't turn your back on them. In some ways it feels like an easier age to combat as a parent. It feels like your instructions and delicate teaching methods are actually taking effect. She shows real signs of improvement, only half the time do we get shrieks of horror when she's not getting what she wants and the other half starts with words like "Please". But then, in other ways it's become an even bigger challenge, especially with someone like Quinn. She doesn't want to hold back, doesn't want to take things slowly. She wants to go headlong into the fray with a big smile on her face and when that happens with one who isn't quite two-years-old...well, it can leave your heart in your throat in half-a-second.

I don't begrudge her...or, at least , I don't want to...seeing as she's the second child, I know there are times when Xtimu and I have become very laissez faire with our parenting methods. After five years and two children, the idea of constantly displaying a firm hand doesn't seem to flare up as brightly as it once did. But sometimes when I see Quinn racing away toward some new horizon with complete abandon, I wonder what we decided to take on with this second child. It was almost easy with Lucas now that I look back. He learned how to walk and it didn't take long for us to convince him that running away from our sides would lead to imminent death or something along those lines. Now here we are with our precocious daughter and we are already having trouble getting a handle on her...and she's not even two!

She's already developing into a social butterfly, never wanting to stay at home. She throws tantrums if she can't go with someone leaving the house and won't hesitate to say goodbye to her beloved home to venture forth on some exciting adventure out in the broad world. I don't know what happened but both of our children love to go out and do stuff. I know that our house is rather small and we rarely turn on the teevee and most of their entertainment comes in the form of a book but that was the life they chose when they decided to form into that zygote those many moons ago. Xtimu and I are both perfectly at home being at home. We can sit and wallow in our music, books, cooking and writing until the oppressive force of the day drowns out our thoughts. A nice walk throughout the neighborhood, to the park or the cafe is all that we need to overcome the feeling of anxiousness that comes from being sedentary. It's blissful to share these small moments with someone who understands that they're meant to be shared in tandem, in linked hands. Our kids will appreciate it one day, I suppose.

I guess that's what we do to each other after all is said and done anyway. Xtimu and I weren't always perfectly aligned. We grinded and sparked when the edges didn't quite mesh but eventually those edges rounded out and our gears smoothed together until we found a wonderful place where our machinations work together and have twice as much power. Psychically we've always had a spiritual or other-worldly connection but all the habits and personality quirks that we both brought to the table got in the way sometimes. It took work to overcome some of those tendencies and develop a true and caring partnership.

And that's exactly what is happening with our children. We didn't have them so that our lives would be easier. We had them because we have love to give to this life, to the world. Our love comes right out of our pores when we share our children with the world. I know that people get it wrong all of the time and I know that we get it wrong some of the time but when I think about Lucas and Quinn being in our lives, an immense surge of love pours out of me. At that moment I know the reason human beings exist. Not to consume or destroy our environment or any of the malcontent urges that come forth in our human interactions. And I'm not even saying that we exist in order to have more children, to further this human experiment, so to say. No, we exist so that love can come forth out of our hearts. There is no greater understanding of what it means to be human, to be happy than when you feel that surge in your blood, when the world comes through clear and true. That's what love is and it is in my eyes when my children are pools of reflection.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

62 Months

We went to the desert over thanksgiving. There's a sweet canyon just east of Borrego Springs where the rain has carved incredibly tights slots through the sandstone. The walls rise up about twenty to thirty feet on either side and tower overhead with menacing presence. It's a wonder of nature and beautiful in so many ways. A year ago we traversed the canyons with thunder clashing above the mountains and the thought of rain threatening to sweep us away with its hungry flood. Needless to say, the warm weather and clear skies that we experienced this year allowed us to explore the badlands with a more thorough eye.

Lucas loves the desert. Whenever he knows that we're going camping he gets a gleam in his eye and an excited tone on his tongue. We tried to go out for the night a couple of weeks earlier but due to a bout of sickness that overwhelmed some of us, we had to cancel the trip. Lucas was devastated. He actually wept and we made a promise that we would head out as soon as everyone was healed. That led to our trip on thanksgiving day, some time to get away from the masses and their turkey hearts. It was such a pleasant break from society, the rugged solitary landscape allowing us some freedom from our busy lives, our rambling thoughts, so that we may find a way to make this meditative journey an annual event.

Lucas wouldn't object at any rate. He loves to scramble over rocks and dig in the sand and pull himself up the skim sandstone surfaces that surround us. I've always loved to push at the edge and try difficult climbs that make my muscles sing in earnest terror. I'm also very calculating so that I don't take any extreme risk, yet there's is an element of danger that entices the the adventure in my heart. Lucas loves to watch me do some of these feats and will even encourage me to go even farther once I stop. Sometimes I worry that I'm teaching him some bad habits but then I contemplate his character, which is so much like mine. Even though he might take some risks when we carouse in the desert, he has a careful nature that doesn't allow recklessness to invade within his sphere. He takes care of himself, tentative when he needs to be but eagerly seeking out new landscapes. It's really marvelous to see it unfold within the confines of his five-year-old body, watching with my adult perspective and understanding some of the things that gave me excitement or stress or wonder when I was a child.

Another beautiful aspect of Lucas' personality is that he is a walker. When he was two we made him walk everywhere and there would be moments of extreme confrontation when he wouldn't want to go that last block. Fortunately Xtimu and I are usually on the same page with our parenting agenda and we wouldn't settle; he had to walk the extra mile. Well, now it's really paying off. Yeah, there are still times when Lucas moans about having to walk somewhere or how far but he always makes it to wherever we are going. He is an absolute trooper and if we had to attempt a death march in order to survive some armageddon, I know that Lucas would be keeping pace right there beside us.

When we go to the desert we walk. We don't ride motorcycles or quads or dunebuggies. We have the Rodeo with 4WD but for the most part we hike everywhere. It's so much fun to be out in the quiet and notice the little things that nature provides; a flower or some small creature struggling to survive or a cave or a chasm. The desert is a source of wonder and it's someplace near enough to allow us to escape the weight of modern life. It's a different perspective on what the world has to offer, one that isn't encapsulated on a computer screen or the boob-tube, and it's a touch of an abandoned life that helps us understand our own humanity. It gives me peace and I love to see that sense of awareness developing in my children.

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