Sunday, March 28, 2010

26 Months (the second)

Children hate, more than anything, to upset their parents. Don't get me wrong, they love to push the envelope, to test the boundaries that are in place around them and who puts those boundaries in place. You guessed it. To a child, every day is a new step further in limit expansion. They grow so quickly, growing into larger entities right before your eyes. So it's in their nature to push, to develop their capacity and quite often that behavior has the ability to devolve into downright abhorrence. That's when the monster comes out, the blaring siren of stop that wrenches out of you and scares the crap out of them. They hate to see that anger upon your face.

No more is this obvious than with a two-year-old. Quinn is becoming a little mischievous minx. She has a smile that is sly and tempting. It tells you, 'Yeah, I know exactly what I am doing and yeah, I know that you don't like it but I'm going to do it anyway.' There's a fine line between allowing her to hold onto this arrogance at such a young age and reminding her exactly how old she really is, but making that choice is the difference between peace (a nagging disturbing sense of quiet, of course, but peace nonetheless) and cataclysm.

So Quinn does have this personality trait that is insufferable and most often it is revealed in one frustrating action that she repeats over and over again. As long as she's been able to hold a bottle, she absolutely loves to turn it upside-down and dump it out, wherever that may be; on her high-chair, the floor, the furniture, even in bed. It's become such a bad habit that whenever she has a cup of liquid in her hands now, you will find a wet spot somewhere in the house, guaranteed. She will swirl her hands in it, saturate a pillow with it, do just about anything with it but drink it. She's a chemist at heart.

You might think, 'What's the big deal? It's just a little water,' which was the typical response that we had for the longest time but eventually it gets real tiring cleaning up after a two-year-old day in and day out. You might say to yourself, 'Well, don't give her anything or monitor the situation better,' but Quinn is a very sneaky little critter and even when you don't give her something directly, it still manages to get into her hands and turn into a giant wet spot on the sofa. Sure, she'll take a drink or two but then it becomes the ingredients for a diabolical stew. About the only thing that she'll drink down with any determination is a half-empty bottle of beer that you managed to leave unattended on a side table for a moment (like I said, she's real sneaky).

Unfortunately her behavior is making Xtimu and I react with more and more vehemence. We are tired of it and we are beginning to let her know. The thing about a two-year-old is that they are at a unique age where they pay a lot of attention to you. You are their world and often times they are absorbed in your reactions to them constantly. Watching the fall of their little faces when you've just managed to raise your voice above the bar of acceptance they have set for themselves is almost as terrible as the act that caused you to raise your voice in the first place. It starts with a pause, a shocked look fills their eyes and then the down-turned mouth, followed by the tears.

I know that her actions have caused my extreme reaction, which in turn causes her extreme reaction, but there's a difference between true despair that wrenches at their little hearts and a mild sense of being upset that comes upon them from time to time. Being the cause of that true despair, because they hate to see you so angry with them, is enough to wash away all of the frustration that came over you in the first place. There have been many times when I immediately changed my tone once that look cascaded down upon my little girl's face. I don't want to make her feel that way. Besides, I know that this time won't last very long and it won't be long before it takes a lot more to get her to that degree of parent-induced sadness. She has a big brother, after all, and he's already expanded his envelope so that it is now bulging and overrated. I'm sure he's teaching her a thing or two about how to deal with these rickety old things they call Mommy and Daddy.

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Friday, March 05, 2010

65 Months

(photo courtesy of Rick A. Munoz)

There are moments, tiny ones that linger and big ones that are meant to have purpose. These moments turn into memories. They become the residue that your soul has accumulated, that covers you with warmth. As each day becomes another, the wealth of memories grow even thicker. We become fat with them, so much so that our bodies begin to struggle with the burden, often causing strange occurrences, such as hair loss or nagging pains that seem to come from inside the bones. For me, the thickening years (as I like to call them) are the most pleasant because most of my memories come from the time I spend with my family. These precious moments make me feel good about my life. They show me that deep inside the heat of every day, of every passionate feeling that explodes out of us, we can still appreciate the love that is all around us.

Each and every person has the gift of that appreciation already buried within their lives. All it takes is for each of us to reach for it, to change that which we hold sacred. I want to give power to that appreciation, to have a revolution inside my own heart. I need to recognize that my own actions are the most powerful of all and that if I truly want the world to be more divine, then I have to bring my most supreme self to the table. One that isn't arrogant or greedy or self-righteous, that doesn't allow hatred to even extend a hand with greeting.

I have to...because feeling so good about life is a most splendid and wonderful gift.

Lucas has that appreciation. So does his sister and his mom. So do Nanna and Nonno, Pops and Grandma Lala. So does everyone I see every day that I see them. It's important to remember that because I want every one of those people to feel that appreciation. I want everyone that I know and love to feel it. I want Christina to feel it and Quinn and Lucas. But they appreciate so much already, laughter and delight often crossing their lips. They love so much and they're big and open, willing to cherish you with every tear. To look at them is to understand that our human revolution happens in each and every moment. It is happening right now.

It happens when my son rides his bike for the first time. It's the classic moment, right, the big one that everyone knows will big. To take the training wheels off and wobble into childhood. There is magic in my life because I have that memory. Lucas is a beautiful and gifted human being. This is how he explained it to me, "It was my third ear that helped me." He remembers everything. He hugs the world around him and pulls it close to his heart. He has a tremendous ability to focus with determination but also to take the time to do it at his own pace, the one that gives him the most comfort, without hesitating to remind you in case you've forgotten that aspect of his personality. He is intelligent and strong-willed. It's a powerful force that surges on the smiling face of a five-year-old to wash over your own and hand over that smile like a gift.

We have the ability to create a place where memories like this are painting the canvas, giving us the strength to believe in a divine existence. They are moments that are so all-encompassing and worthwhile that we don't even question the validity of love. We just feel it blooming out of our chests. We can look at the world around us and notice the beauty in everything that we see. The potential for accomplishing that feat exists out there in this world because it exists within each of us, within this very moment. To look inward and see the bright blast of power hidden right in your heart. A blast that has the power to consume all the hate that shadows near the edges. It will turn our lives into powerful outlets, which will then turn the world around us into a most harmonious place.

And it's all within this tiny moment...whatever, wherever it may be.

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