Monday, January 18, 2010

Forward Facing

   Newborns ride in a car seat facing the back window until about the time they turn a year old, when all of the sudden road trips become a lot more interesting.  We've recently made the switch.  I suspected this would happen, but it's now very hard to keep my eyes on the road when I have this view behind me:

   No, just kidding, both of your parents are very safe drivers, especially with you as a passenger.  But we do have a lot of fun peeking at you in the rear-view mirror.  Now that you can actually see us while we're driving, you expect to be a part of the conversation.  You've developed a very cute, in-the-know, smirking kind of laugh that you toss out every now and then.  "Totally, I know exactly what you mean," it says.  Then that gets us laughing and so it begins, the back and forth laughter game. 

Monday, January 11, 2010

"Your mom thinks she's a movie star."

So commented your father when he saw the newest addition to our hall bathroom. 

All other Christmas decorations are packed away, but I'm leaving these up for a bit longer.  Because what's wrong with feeling like a movie star?  ;-)

Song # 1

Well kiddo, whatever else makes the list, song number one of your life's soundtrack has already been chosen.  :-)  I am a very poor singer, but I still love to greet you this way in the morning.  My mom used to sing this to me when I woke up, and now I'm passing on the tradition.

A life's Soundtrack

Hi Lincoln,

   When I was pregnant with you, I had an assignment in one of my Mass Communication courses to keep a media journal.  The requirements were pretty open; we were to meticulously keep track of our use of any form of media throughout the week, including every time we turned the radio on in the car, checked something on the internet, heard music in the grocery store, etc.  And everyday we had to discuss someway in which media affected our lives.  Honestly, this was an easy assignment reminiscent of high school, but I had a lot of fun doing it.  Here's one of my entries:

   "I like the relationship between memory and music.  I don't think it's as strong as the sense of smell and associated memories, because that's almost enough to knock you over sometimes.  Catch one whiff of a certain perfume, and images instantly bombard your brain.  Whether painful of pleasant, they all flood in.  But music does the same thing.

   There is a Mariah Carey song called "Hero" that was significant to me at a certain time of life.  It's kind of embarassing now, since I don't find Carey to be that great anymore, but this one song is still acceptable because of my relationship with it. 

  I got into trouble while my father was stationed over in Germany.  It didn't involve the law or anything, but I disappointed my parents greatly by my rebellious behavior.  Luckily for them, I got all that out as a preteen, and was a surprisingly docile and studious teenager.  Anyway, I won't go into all the details, but in the end I was separated from certain kids in the village of Spesbach where we lived, while my father did everything in his power to attain an assignment back to the States.  My parents were that devoted to getting me away from bad influences.  I missed one girl in particular.  Her name was Lisa.  She was a few years older than me, but our maturity levels matched perfectly.  I adored her, an had really only discovered her as a friend a few months before.  When my window was locked so that I couldn't climb onto our roof and escape anymore, and while I was undergoing the ultimate of "groudned"ness, I would lie in bed, crying over "Hero," missing Lisa.  (mommy's note: Sorry for the melodrama... you'll be there someday though.  Adolescence is tough.  But, in all fairness, being the parent of an adolescent is tougher.)  Even after I got over my bratty little self, I still had a pang of regret for my friend.  I went years at a time without hearing that song, but when it did reach my ears, I would suddenly feel like I was crying in my bed again.  I found the song to listen to while I'm writing this, for inspiration.  I also wanted to see if that tingling feeling would come over me like it used to...

Nope.  I think it's been too long since I have connected to those 12-year-old emotions.  (Thankfully.  Now all I'm thinking is "Puh-leeeze.")

  A more recent memory floods my mind when I hear Fergie's "Clumsy."  This song reprsents skinny non-pregnant Emily.  She's 15-20 pounds lighter, living on the top floor of a gorgeous townhouse, with a master bathroom and walk-in closet all to hersellf.  She dances while straightening her hair in the morning, looking forward to the next moment spent in the arms of her crush.  Sigh... I'll never be so young again.

(Who wants to bet that when I'm 40, I'll hear this song and think, "Puh-leeeze!")

  Music nostalgia happens to everyone.  We associate stages in our lives, certain memorable days or instances, with the music and songs we were playing at the time.  It's really cool, I think.  I'm guessing you could find out some interesting things about someone by finding out those special songs and asking what they mean to him/her." 

   I wonder what your life's soundtrack will be like, Lincoln? 

Don't Breathe!

   As much as I love Salt Lake City, I worry that it's poisoning us!  The city's air quality in the winter is apparently the worst in the entire country.  Your poor little developing lungs and heart are exposed to pollutants so abundant that I can see and taste them the moment our door is opened.  Our mountains are lost behind a dusty haze and the sky  isn't even blue anymore.  Drive a few miles north, and it looks as if you've escaped from the Thneed Factory

   Every day I engage in an internal debate: get some exercise and "fresh" air with the use of our amazing jogging stroller?  Or stay inside and play it safe, but boring?  Today's forecast dictates that we obey the latter. I mean, just look at that air!  We will amuse ourselves by doing lunges down the hall (you find this activity hilarious, especially if I shout "LUNGE!" every time I do it.) Here's hoping that a storm blows in strong enough to give us a reprieve from all this nastiness.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sometimes you just need a hug.

Dear Lincoln,

You and I had a rough day today.  You've been grumpy and not sleeping well, which means I've been not sleeping well and grumpy.  After dinner, during a diaper change and pajama time, you started sobbing for no reason.  It was loud and forceful, like the colic days, and your father and I had to raise our voices to hear each other over your wailing.  We tried everything we could think of to soothe you, until finally I picked you up and stood you on the changing table.  You immediately put your head on my shoulder and stopped crying.  It was the sweetest silence I've ever heard.  We stood there hugging and Dad went to get the camera.  Of course, you smiled- you little ham.  It's moments like these that can erase even the worst of days.  I love being your mom.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Try this hat on for size

The Trouble with Conventional Wisdom

Dear Lincoln,

   When I was a teen and facing a difficult decision or major life change, I used to ponder the impossibility of following a "straight and narrow" path based on the advice of others.  Think of all the phrases people use to sum up the "moral of the story."  What do friends and family members advise in tough or turbulent times, such as a messy divorce, life-threatening illness, transition from one phase of life to another?  The answer is: there is never just one answer.  People can give inherently opposite yet equally reasonable-sounding advice for the same situation.

   For a simplistic example, observe the contradictions:

absence makes the heart grow fonder/
it's better to be happy in a cardboard box than to be alone in a castle

don't judge a book by its cover/ a first impression is a lasting impression

where there's a will, there's a way/ let it be and move on

a penny saved is a penny gained/  you were born nto this world with nothing, and that's the way you'll leave it

don't put all your eggs in one basket/  have the courage to take a risk

two heads are better than one/ too many cooks spoil the broth

   I'll bet you can think of a lot more.  Now that I am a little older, I understand that circumstances play into these and other phrases of conventional wisdom.  "It depends" seems to be the ultimate answer.  However, on some level, we all need a foundational belief that transcends the subtleties of any individual situation.  It's a lot like religion, in my opinion.  It's important to have an open mind, and to make the effort to understand and respect the differences in theology, but if that's all you do-- if you spend your life surveying and dipping into the value systems of others-- then you won't have the chance to live by your own.

   There is a delicate balance between an open mind and a made-up one.  My hope is that you can learn to cultivate both.  Some people seem to know what they're about, why they're here on this earth, and exactly how they plan to live their life; they've got a style and they stick with it.  If you are anything like me, you'll be so in tune with the gray areas of life, that it will be a challenge to find your own black and white.  I hope that you aren't as susceptible as I am to the magnetic pull of others. The power of persuasion can gain your allegiance to any side of any coin, if you allow it. Everyone will have advice for you at some point in time, including me, but in the end, you will be held accountable for your own thoughts and your own actions.  God didn't make us to be his puppets; he left us to make our choices and to grapple with our will.  It's a challenging blessing, but one that you are equipped to handle.  Take it from me... with a grain of salt, of course.