Sunday, March 06, 2011

77 Months

Lucas is skiing!

I began skiing when I was six and I vividly recall the rush of joy that I felt when I slid down the mountain. It was a beautiful and extreme moment in my life, even if it was only a bunny slope. Over the years I've learned how to ski exceptionally well and it has always been a place where my pride flourishes. Yet, as the years have passed, it isn't something that has been high on my priority list and it's gotten to where we haven't been going at all the past couple of years. Part of that is due to the high cost of a lift ticket these days. Where it was fairly affordable when I was younger, nowadays it takes a large chunk out of the budget just to go for a day.

We were pretty fortunate by the time that we had kids because both Christina and I made a determination many years earlier to get out of debt. Following our wedding we had a bloated debt limit that had been raised above the point where we felt comfortable when it came to paying all of the bills. So we made a conscious choice and a few years later we managed to reduce all of our debt down to a house payment and some utilities. It was freeing and especially more so when Lucas came along because we knew that we could manage our impulse control and focus our monetary energy into raising a child.

We gave a up a lot but learned to find new outlets that were either completely free of charge or had a much reduced impact on our wallet. That allowed us to start channeling our funds toward Lucas's needs and eventually Quinn's, as well. Violin lessons were at the top of the list and even though we don't indulge them too often, we have the means to give them some things without much concern toward how it would affect the pocketbook.

Well, one of those things has become skiing and I'm so happy that we've set our lives up in such a way that we don't have to worry about a day spent on the slopes at Big Bear. We can go out the door with a smile on our faces and a peck on the cheek just like the old idealized family shows from the fifties. Lucas and I spent two days going up and down the mountain this winter and he embraced it right away. I don't know how many times he told me that he wanted to go faster or that he wanted to hit one of the jumps or that he wanted to go up the lift that was the next degree of difficulty. He was an eager snowbird and I imagined a day where we would be cutting it up the way that I do with my father now.

Yeah, my dad was there too. He of the season pass and cabin in the wilderness. He taught me to ski and now we're teaching Lucas together. What great fortune we have in our lives that three generations can spend an afternoon filled with delight and warmth and tired legs and laughter and snowballs and the crisp clean mountain air in our lungs as we shout and smile with our hearts wide open.

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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

37 Months (part deux)

It's interesting to look at Quinn's part of this journal as the second time around and not think that she is doomed to a perpetual perspective of being compared to Lucas. Is she threatened by that natural awareness? Does it motivate her to push her limits so that she can expand beyond that perspective? How can I help her with this phenomenon? Is it even really a phenomenon or am I thinking about it way too much?

I was an only child for so long that I only knew one selfish identity. Even when I was fortunate enough to have the siblings that I longed for, I didn't understand how to communicate anything but my own superiority. I didn't learn to appreciate what was given to me and after awhile that made me feel even more shame than I had ever felt on my own. It was a strange and difficult period for me, but not once throughout the entire process did I ever see the world through the same type of lens that Quinn is looking through now. I was always the oldest and I always felt that I had the most power.

Quinn may feel like she has the power at times but she will always be the younger sibling, the one who didn't have the eyes of her parents focused strictly on her. My only hope is that she doesn't find any of it burdensome. I have always striven to find the strength in me to help my children share in the wondrous dynamic of family, as equally as possible. I know that it doesn't always work out that way but that is the ideal home life Xtina and I wish to create for them. Hopefully we'll manage to help her develop her own identity along the way. Quinn will eventually find the truth of her own place one way or another but it's our job as parents to get her their as quickly and cleanly as possible. Each of us has the power to do magical things in this life, to tap into an unlimited potential within us that helps us find our own voice in this grand experience.

Sometimes I don't worry too much about her when I imagine her unlimited potential. Quinn does have incredible strength within her and she doesn't mind sharing it with us the older she gets. She told me the other day that she was going to be six next year, that she's three going on six! I believed her! She has the energy to grow that much in such a short time and I wouldn't bet against her when it mattered. She has a presence that you gravitate toward and if you don't gravitate over there, she's gonna grab your chin and make sure you're watching.

And there's something about her voice, a confidence that overwhelms everything in the room sometimes. She's becoming her voice, she's learning about it and discovering the power of it. The way that we communicate to others is such a clarifying expression of who we are and Quinn is beginning to see the words that are coming out of her mouth and, along with it, the awareness of the power that those words create. At times she may still be a mimic, she has interesting teachers after all, and she may revert into confusion and simplicity, but she is definitely starting to play her song. I must admit that I am really enjoying the composition as she continuously tweaks it, as it evolves along with her personality. One day it will be a beautiful Aria and it will be hers alone, comparable to no one.

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