Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Letter to Hank #13 - A Season of Rediscovery

Hankey Spankey you are 19 months old and in a phase that can only be called...creative!

It's Christmas and while you freaked out at Santa we got through it. I found this to be hilarious and would gladly pay for therapy later if I could have plopped you down on that lap to hear you scream again! Priceless photo op.
You got so many gifts that you continuously run from each one to another all day till you just fall over tired and I haven't even given them all to you. Our garage still has unopened boxes, not out of disrespect for the giver but out of pure Christmas saturation, that will be opened periodically throughout the winter to maintain a level of sanity to a cooped up toddler.

I try to focus not on the gifts that keep multiplying with each family visit but on the small wonderful things you are doing, saying or seeing for the first time. This is a big time for you and I can see it in your eyes. As you discover your world I am rediscovering my world. I want to show you everything but, as adults do, I have become jaded to what's around me. Sights that have become mundane and tired are seen now as sights of wonder and opportunity. Like looking at the moon. Look outside and wonder at the heavens. Or a fun ball. Bounce a ball and celebrate gravity and inertia. Listen to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and just try to pretend it's the first time you've heard such genius.

The combinations of what you put on make me laugh a free kind of laugh that I hardly get to practice. You'll have one of my tennis shoes on ( just one), a big yellow hat from Cancun, a tote bag from Toys'R Us and a Kiss T-shirt toddling around the house like you're really going somewhere! Really you are tripping over that too big of a shoe you have on. It's like you are a bag man just gathering up things as you see them and sticking them on your person. Gawd, it's funny!

Hank, you do not have the baggage of life. Every single movement or instinct is pure, unguarded, bright and full of possibility. I'm not a strict parent when it comes to seeing the potential in what you are doing. I don't wipe off your finger smears on the mirrors because you are feeling the smooth surface. I can't clean the windows of your hands that have made designs in the frost because you are finding out about cold. The jelly smears on my shirt are a testament to your curiosity about cleanliness and the lack of it. I let you splash in the bath till I'm practically swimming in the floor. I want you to feel like you can always try something out and we'll clean up the mess later.

The gravity of that last sentence is recognized and I hope we can make that our family motto as there will be times that we need it.

As I type, I see a little blue bird in the tree outside the window with your smears and I see both as a sign of beauty. When you held out your hand to feel the snow and smiled, I smiled with you simply due to the reminder that our world is glorious. Even if I complain about the cold I won't tell you that so you can make up your own mind about it. Some people like it and that's just crazy but people are free to judge for themselves.

As I wrote in my very first letter to you, I think, you are teaching me so much more than you will ever consciencely know. I have the privilege of rediscovery as you become acquainted with what is around you. I get to exercise my parental responsibility and show you, as you are ready, what the world has in store for you and hopefully prepare you for what you have to find out on your own. It's both the most exciting thing I've ever done and by far the more terrifying.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Those Funny Catholics

I have a pretty good bit of mileage to get Hank to daycare and get myself to work so I’m either blathering on the phone or listening to XM talk radio. I can’t believe I like talk radio but with a condition – no call in shows. People that call in usually say the exact statement the host just said in a long winded, round about, too many uhh’s kind of way. Wastes my time because they never get to a point.

I’ve found some channels that really get my imagination stirred up, like I needed that anyway. I’ve wrote before that Hank will know who Bob Edwards is before he can talk and now I’ve got another personality that will give his subconscious something to gnaw on – Lino Rulli from the Catholic Channel!

I heard about this through an ad on another channel I listen to. This channel is serious then it’s serious fun. Sometimes I’ll catch the Saint of the Day, which tells me about one of the seemingly 1000’s of saints. It’s Christmas so there is a lot of information about Advent, which I knew nothing about and wondered what an Advent calendar was other then a sweet way to count down to the 25th. I get in my car and there are these shows that are like Bob and Tom morning shows but with Catholics all yukking it up talking about funny everyday Catholic things. And they are really pretty funny. The jokes can be funny in a literal sense but what really makes it a hoot is the imagery invoked by the snarky comments. Or even the serious ones.

My best example of this came up the other day. Lino Rulli, “The Catholic Guy” or I’ve heard him a called Lino UN-Rulli, was having a spelling bee between someone that called in and some Father David. I’m assuming the Father guy would blow anyone out of the water since all the words were Catholic related but he didn’t and they were cracking up! Spell sepulcher. Spell Pope John Paul’s original last name – Wojtyla – he got that one. Spell the little hat with a ball on top that clergy wear – biretta. Spell Ecclesiastes. Thessalonica. Ok ok that’s all fine and good but when the call in person won they won a prize. Like Wink Martindale Lino shouts out that they have won a prayer card blessed by the Pope! THAT’s what made me crack up! How much of the day does the Pope set aside to bless things that are sold in the thousands of Catholic related stores around the world? I can see him with stacks of cards blessing them like so many tiny little sneezes. I know it’s important to them as the caller was really excited to get it but I thought it was funny imagining the Pope waving his hands over stuff or whatever he does.

The Busted Halo is another show. The opening line goes something like “We can’t live a perfect life, but at least we try” This one sounded like a really clean Howard Stern show- I feel it’s sacrilegious to even compare the two but there you go. It’s just that it was annoying hearing everyone talking and laughing at the same time. I guess they get to a good topic at some point.

There is the Catholics Next Door show. Of course, they have a slew of kids and they talk about all the trials that go along with that and familial blessings.

So there seems to be something for every good Catholic and it’s got me thinking and researching. I like that.