Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Early Reader

Wil is the proud godfather of Fi, the oldest daughter of our friends, Liz and Steve.. But you can call her Fiferoni, or Fifers, or any other Fi-using word. Liz and Steve now have the two cutest twins in the whole wide world, Amélie and Ramona, but you can call them Millie and Mona, or any other cute names you want. Cute, cute and cute. But even cuter, is how voracious they are as "readers."

I'll admit to having a bias towards reading actual books to your child, as opposed to electronic versions. I think it's important for little hands to hold, turn, touch, physically discover words on the page. Liz posted this adorable video of Amélie, 19+ months, reading:





I must have re-watched that video ten times - it delighted me so. Started thinking about reading, and the value it has in my life. I wouldn't write if I hadn't always loved to read. Some of my most valuable "experiences" have taken place in a book. Now, as I massage my work-in-progress into some sort of shape, I think about all the early readers I have relied upon along the way. I already have my first early reader of this "book" selected, have for a long time, but only informed her of it recently. 

Thank you, Jen, for being someone I can trust to hold my baby in your lap, spend loving time with it, but give me honest feedback on, and point me in whatever directions I need to go next. Thank you for being a trusted mother that will nourish and guide, lead and encourage, and gently correct and redirect when I've lost my way.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

A Good Sport

We'd had plans to go to a sort-of-nearby "family fun center," Bullwinkle's, for weeks. Mondays are my Wil and Tim day, and Wil takes these very seriously, planning them to the nth degree, weeks in advance. Last week had been the week to go, but a funeral altered that plan - still providing an almost-full Wil and Tim day, but not allowing enough time for driving back and forth to Bullwinkles.

So, yesterday cooperated in every way. Moods were high, the weather perfect. Fortunately, my party planner had Googled and learned Bullwinkle's didn't open until noon, and no one was willing to consider picking up Tim at any time other than the set-in-stone pick-up time. So, having a little time to kill, the party planner came up with a new restaurant for us to try, that would be on the way to Bullwinkle's, and have us arriving at 12:00:00.

Which we did.

It's a chicken/egg question. Is he so precise with time because he's my son, or vice-versa? It's not for everyone, this dialing down your schedule to precise seconds, but we seem to have reached pro-level.

Got the boys their loaded cards to do the arcades, everyone that needed to use the bathroom had found one and used it, and I went to my car to make a quick, but necessary phone call. In the ten minutes I was "gone," Wil had completely spent his day's allotment, and Timmy had lost his card after one swipe.

Re-loaded a bit more on to Wil's card, checked with the front desk and Timmy's card had been found and turned in. All was well with the Bullwinkle's world, and the merriment continued.

After redeeming their tickets for really neat things and a quick milkshake break, we headed to mini-golf. Having the course to ourselves, on a beautiful, early-spring day, was ideal. I was the scorekeeper, the carrier of prizes, and the hander of the milkshake for Timmy, who does not gulp his down in two seconds, as does Wil.

Despite explaining multiple times (over multiple times to a mini-golf course), that the goal was to get the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible, Wil determined the winner would be the one with the highest score. As his score climbed into the 40's, 50's, and eventually, 80's, he grew more and more delighted. "Timmy is being a really good sport about losing!" he exclaimed, as his score soon doubled that of Tim's.

Long about Hole 14, it occurred to me that maybe he was the one with the right idea. If the arbitrary rules and goals don't work for you, and adjusting them in a way that does, and nobody gets hurt, everyone turns out a winner.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Inspired



"Less is More #9"

Candace Primack, had a new show opening on Sunday, and with our friends, Laurie and Nancy, I went to see it. We went to support Candace, and to be inspired. It's tough to re-launch yourself after 50  - we're tired, and the world has changed a lot since we were doing our thing before marriage, children, and the decades-long demands on our energies. Now that her two daughters are both away at college, she has exploded, creatively. 

One painting in her show was called, "Less is More #9." "That looks like Wil's writing," I told her, noticing the "MORE" and the "LOVE" free-floating.

"Maybe he inspired me," she said. Candace has known Wil since he and her oldest daughter were in afternoon kindergarten together. Ten kids, they knew each other well. He went on to high school with many of those same kids, including Candace's daughter. Candace has personal experience, my stories, and those of her daughters' and their friends'. She is rich in the front and back story of all things Wil.

Later, I emailed her a sampling of his writing I'd kept, she wrote back, "That's so Cy Twombly!" That, naturally, sent me down the Cy Twombly rabbit hole. I learned he did a series of eight pieces, consisting solely of the word, "Virgil." Virgil was my grandfather's name, my father's father, whom I never met. No accidents.



(Artist: Cy Twombly)

A few nights ago, when putting Wil to bed, I said, "Do you want to say a prayer?"

I expected him to give me his usual, "I'm out," which comes with a lot of dramatic emphasis - part of his larger schtick. Instead, he said, "If today you hear His words, harden not your heart." It had been the responsorial at the student mass that day, and so it was in his head, but it felt like a message meant just for me.

It's very easy to harden our hearts, at times, it even feels necessary. But when we hear His/Her/Truth words, we are asked to soften and open our hearts - to love... more.