As I’m about to enter the L train tunnel at Fullerton, I put on my Ipod and hit shuffle. Within seconds, I hear James Taylor singing, “The Water is Wide.” I immediately flash back to our wedding program and a poorly drawn picture of a rowboat and a couple of oars for two. I tried to focus on the words to the song, but the feelings seemed to tangle me in random memories of our wedding day. It was our wedding song.
At the time, it seemed like all the details were important. You had to make sure you had the right song. But how well do those songs hold up today? I wondered what it would be like to have “Disco Duck,” Stairway to Heaven” or a Wierd Al Yankovich song as the song that connects the two of you.
I guess the words or meaning of the actual song is less significant than the memories or feelings it brings up for the couple involved. And then I wondered how does that song, “Brickhouse” sound now that your divorced. Do those wedding songs bring up as much remorse for some as it does joy for others?
I’d love to hear what you’re wedding song was and your thoughts about its meaning today.
When I was single, I hated going to restaurants where parents were so engaged in conversation,that they let their kids run all over the place. I especially hated it when the kids freely interacted with other tables as if the people had nothing to do. And by the time the parents discovered there kids were gone, they usually acted as if they had given the customers a special opportunity to spend time with their kids. I usually experienced it as neglectful parent and annoying kid. But now I am the parent with two kids.
Tonight we went out for ice cream at a cafe in Chicago called, “A Taste of Heaven.” As we approached the door, there was a colorful sign with children’s hand prints on it. It simply informed us that children of all ages must behave in there; and must use their “indoor voices.” Since I wanted ice cream, I went ahead and ordered some. But the sign turned me off.
While I understand their concern about children misbehaving, I’m not so sure I support their decision to have this sign so prominently displayed on the front door. Especially when they are one of the few establishments that sell ice cream in the area. Since when does heaven and ice cream not include kids? They might as well have a picture of children in a circle with a red diagonal slash across it.
As I ordered the ice cream, I could see the teller was on eggshells when he asked if I wanted “a cone or a cup.” I immediately felt the pressure of not wanting my kids to mess up. I also felt it was presumptuous of them to believe all cultures understand or value “inside voices”.
After we sat down, a woman came in with a stroller and a loud toddler. She sat in one spot and was instructed by one of the less than cordial wait staff that she had and her stroller had to move. The pregnant lady had to maneuver a stroller, and packages by herself. The aloof cafe staff could give a damn.
I wish they would just come out and say it. We hate kids. We therefore choose to discriminate against parents and kids. Hey, why not take it a step further and have families come in the backdoor and sit in the kitchen, so the kids and parents don’t have to interact with any of the single patrons. It seems to remind me of some issues back in the 60’s when white people didn’t want black people sitting at restaurant counters.
Day 20- I’ve got 70 more days to go. I am beginning to wonder why I bothered to do this. Since not to many people seem to be reading it, it has to be for me. So while my wife plays soccer with my oldest son and gramps looks over the gifts my son received for his “half birthday,” I’m trying to write.
What is a half birthday? When I was a kid, there was no such thing as anything but a birthday. It appears there was some concern for those kids who could not celebrate during the year. My son…and I happen to be one of those people. Therefore I am more supportive and empathic about this topic than I might ordinarily be.
In fact, I went to my son’s class for the ceremony. It was really quite impressive. It begins with him wearing a self made crown. He marched to the center of the circle with me at his side. The teacher then brought out the folder with all of his gifts. Remarkably, the gifts included, rainbows, turtles, parts of the world, colorful rain, and many original works of art. I loved it.
The children seemed quite proud of their creations and my son seemed as happy to receive it. If only we as adults could be so happy to receive a rainbow.
I love coaching my son’s soccer team for 7 and 8 year olds. It is a challenging and confusing age. Since they are so capable of physically doing more than they could just a year or two ago, it takes me by surprise when they cry, or feel frustrated that someone is calling them names or kicking them. Its like their physical strength is ahead of their emotional life.
For the last two weeks, I’ve had my players point out an opposing player who is kicking, punching, or taunting them. On one hand, I want them to just ignore it. But the truth is I think it is genuinely confusing to them. At home and at school, they are expected to follow the rules, and are punished for shoving back. So why would it be fair in a soccer game.Moreover when we agree to coach, we are asked to teach the kids about good sportsmanship. But when I’ve approached the opposing coaches about the parents and kids concerns, they’ve simply justified or rationalized their players behavior.
So when I returned to my players and they asked, “what should I do coach? Should I kick them back?” A part of me wants to say, “yeah, and kick the opposing coach too.” But instead, I’ve opted for telling them to take the anger and use it to boot goals, and steal the ball away. To me, they’ve got time to learn about playing dirty. I’d rather they learn to play the game the right way and let their emerging skill and talent do the talking.
And so far, it seems to work. They haven’t lost yet and they creamed those teams!
As I go through this process, i realize how much I want to force which way the story goes as opposed to just following where the words lead me. For instance, I spent the day with my son at the zoo.
While there I kept thinking of ideas that could make for interesting entry. I considered making the Simon & Garfunkel song which says “its all happening at the zoo.” But it felt like I was trying to force the experience into a song. Perhaps I should simply focus on how much I struggle with what to write about, without often knowing I’m struggling.
Does this really have to be so difficult. And what is so wrong if I force a topic and then write from there? I guess the truth is I want to find a more authentic voice. Maybe that
is what this 90 day journey is about-finding a writing/blogging voice that feels in synch with me. To use a sports metaphor, I want to find and know my voice when its in a “zone.”
I however feel like it requires digging, digging, and digging some more. And since I’ve opted not to edit these 90 posts, it also means waiting, waiting, and waiting some more for maybe a small insight, or topic that clicks with me.
Ok, I want to go back to the zoo. However rather than simply stating the observations I made, I’d like to add something else. But I don’t know what that is.
I do love going to the zoo with my youngest son because we have some nice memories of going to the zoo together. He always wants to start with this amazing multi-layered netted climbing structure. I remember how thrilling it was for both of us as he climbed higher and higher and waved to me from the top. Also I remember how thrilled he was to introduce his older brother to it.
We got to the zoo one hour before it opened, so we had to be creative with our time. We wondered if the lady cleaning rhino poop or the lady cleaning up the space used by the polar bears feared getting attacked. Neither of us wanted the job. Within a short period of time, we knew every door we touched was going to say the hours begin at ten. And then we heard this squealing siren like sound. It was a gibbons monkey.
We found a bench,watched and listened to his howl. People came from all over the zoo to see this monkey squawk. It was as if he knew people came for a show. I was amazed by the cross culture of life that exists at the zoo. There were people of every color, age, and demographic present. But the one that stood out for me were the “strollermoms.”
I don’t know if they are really called “strollermoms,” but we both found their public display of exercise funny. There were about 20 well educated women equipped with high end sports strollers with baby inside. They formed a circle and did stretches and movements using the stroller for support.They reminded of soldiers doing drills. They appeared totally oblivious to anyone around them.
We saw them jogging throughout the zoo. As we were leaving, I noticed a couple of the slower moms zig-zag past the faster moms on the race track. All I could think of was “ladies and gentlemen, they’re at the gate…. And there offfffffffffffffffffff.
First, welcome to all the babies born today! It is a very special day for most of us. And you too!! Hopefully in your future, you will wonder why we made such a big fuss over “your birthday.”
Barack Obama, an African American will become our 44th president. What is remarkable about this is? ….well, simply that. Also he may be the first president to be called the “n” word. What is the “N” word?” Never mind. What’s really important is it means any baby-brown, yellow, black, able or disabled, male or female,gay or straight(not sure how many of you know yet about the gay-straight thing) can reallistically strive to be whatever they want to be.
You hopefully won’t understand this, but for most of us, we bought into the idea that only certain people could be President, or part of “his” inner circle. And so we kept nominating and electing the same types of people over and over.
And as you will learn, some have defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Well this time, we considered different choices and we had different results. And we have a cabinet that reflects options for all of you new borns.
Baby, you really can be whatever you want. So learn from President Obama, and aim for the moon, and shoot for the stars.
From those of us,
who gave up on dreams and settled for status quo.