On being thirty-nine

Dear Jester,

I’d say that’s a funny way to start a letter to myself but we all know that it fits.

What an adventure it has been, yes?  Thirty-nine years full of adventures.  Far too many to list out here so perhaps we should just focus on the last little bit.  Perhaps, perhaps.  Though I doubt I can say much now that doesn’t relate to something that came before.  We all know that fits as well.

It’s an interesting thing to reflect on the passage of time, to admire the triumphs over the adventures that went sideways and to bask in the remaining glow of those that went better than expected.  I’ve done far more than I thought I would by this age and far less at the same time.  That’s part of the hypocrisy that is at my core.  Hypocrisy isn’t exactly the right word but it harkens to something I think about a lot.

When I was young I assumed there would be a point when I would stop being a child and would be an adult.  It would be a clear delineation.  One or the other.  And I keep waiting for that to happen.  Yet, here I am at thirty-nine and it hasn’t happened yet so now I have to assume it never will.  Which then makes me wonder about all the generations that came before.  Did they go through life always feeling like both?  Young at heart but wise with age? That’s not quite either but it is close enough for now, especially since this letter is for me and I know what I mean even if I can’t articulate it.

The logical answer is that yes, of course, they felt the same.  But logic isn’t always the easiest thing for me to accept.  And by that I mean, that I grew up on stories with clear distinctions with well defined endings, where the heroes were either children or adults, and have thus romanticized that.  And I feel like neither and both at the same time and that can leave me feeling out of sorts, like something is wrong with me.

Again, logically, I know that nothing is wrong with me and I need to be kinder to myself.  That’s true for all sorts of things.  I have expectations that are likely impossible to live up to and thus constantly disappointing myself even though nobody else holds me to those same standards and expectations.  Knowing this does little to curb the sting of failures and regrets.

That’s not entirely accurate anyway.  I’m hard on myself on some things and super forgiving on others… all part of the hypocrisy that is me…  Not the right word but close enough.  And I know it doesn’t really matter.

I know a couple other things too.  I have a beautiful and brilliant wife and two, going on three, children.  And know that all I really need to be happy in this crazy world is two things: my beloved mountains and family.  I’m blessed with both.

And that’s nothing to scoff off after thirty-nine years.  Or after any amount of time, really.

So, dear Jester, be kind to yourself.  Be patient.  Remember that you know what you need to be happy and let the rest slide to the side.  As best you can.  Some days you’ll do it well.  Some days you won’t.  So it goes.

Now go hug your kids and wife and tell them that you love them, including the tiny one still hidden away, and then dream of the wild places, the high places, the valleys and rivers, and snow-capped peaks that call to you.  You’ll be back among them soon enough.

You’ve got this,

Matticus

adventure update

Dear Little Prince,

It’s been awhile since I’ve written to you, and I’m sorry about that.  I will try to do better.  I know there is nothing to forgive, since the time I might have used to put pen to paper was spent playing with you instead, but do understand the importance of recording these words too just as we record your words.

Oh my, the words.  You seem to learn five new ones every day.  Yesterday you learned “dancing.”  The day before you learned “steamy.”  And last week?  You learned a word I can’t repeat here and you have thankfully stopped parroting back to us.  By the time you read this you’ll really know it and many much worse.  That’s exciting and sad at the same time.

Anyway, the way you said those four letters it sounded like fork…  It was adorable.

You know what else is adorable?  Getting home from work in the afternoons and hearing “Daddy!” before I even see you running from the other end of the house to give me a hug.  Running.  Hugging.  Tugging on my pants to follow you back to where you were so we can play together.

Playtime is the best.  You dribbled a soccer ball from one room to the next earlier this week.  You did it on purpose too.  You’d seen me do it.  You tried it.  You did it.  It was amazing!  And then I chased you down to celebrate and you giggled as we high-fived and I tickled you.  Then we tracked down your mom, the  Queen, and we both tickle-attacked her.

You are learning at a ridiculous rate.  You help with chores, putting food in the kitties’ dishes, washing plates and filling up the dish rack, sweeping, vacuuming…  Okay, so you can’t quite get the hang of all of those yet, but you do all of them with our help, and sometimes you manage them on your own.

You are growing at ridiculous rate too.  Some meals you seem to eat more than I do… and I eat a lot.  You are our mini-garbage disposal and I fear for the grocery bills in a few years.  I fear for the clothing bills, too, as you outgrow things faster than we can buy them.  You are definitely a toddler now, and I can hardly see the baby in you at all.

I understand these are typical milestones of parenting but that doesn’t take anything away from my experience with them.  This whole adventure, while terrifying and trying at times, continues to hold moments of wonder and delight, to an extent I didn’t know was possible.  Thank you for going on this adventure with your mom and me.  Thank you for your patience as we continue to grow and feel our way through these new roles.

We are proud of you.

We love you and can’t wait to see what new discovery you make each and every day going forward.

Love,

Daddy
aka: djmatticus, the jester

ramble on

I went to a blogger interactive event this weekend, and you’ll never guess what happened!  But, go ahead and guess.  I’ll wait.

Does anyone have the Jeopardy music we can play while we wait?

No?  Well, just hum to yourselves then.

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Done?  Good.  All of your guesses were wrong!  I said you wouldn’t guess it!

At the gathering, we were given prompts to write about on our blogs.  You may have guessed that.  But, what you wouldn’t have guessed is that the prompts were the idea of, and provided by, a non-blogger who crashed the event!  How funny, right?  All those creatives in one place and it was someone else who came up with the idea.

Well, I thought it was funny.

Anyway, my prompt was:  Which school age teacher encouraged/inspired you [me] and how?

Eek!

I hated school.  I thought I was smarter than most of my teachers.  I don’t remember much about elementary school beyond only liking recess.  All of my memories of junior high are bad: embarrassing school projects, bullies, awkward crushes, awkward moments in general.  I guess I have some good memories from high school, but not many of them are actually school related.  And I can’t pull a teacher from the list that was encouraging or inspiring.  I had some good teachers.  I had some teachers I liked.  But, there weren’t any that made something inside me click and say, “that’s what I want to do,” or, “that’s what I should be doing,” or, “life makes perfect sense now,” or anything else along those lines.

Maybe I was just a terrible student?  I was definitely not very concerned or interested with what was going in the classrooms.  Most of the time I was chapters ahead, reading on my own, solving that night’s homework, studying for the test in the next class, etc…

Perhaps that is my loss.  Perhaps if I had paid attention than I would have seen that some of my teachers were more than they appeared and I could have drawn inspiration from them.  I’m not big on what-if games though.

Perhaps I’m taking the prompt too literally…  It asked for “school age teacher,” not “school teacher.”  So, I could include scout leaders, and soccer coaches, and music teachers, and family members, and every other teacher from my life, right?

Which doesn’t really  help.  I guess I just remember myself as a petulant Mr. Know-It-All.  I thought I was where it was at.  Or something like that.  Of course, I was wrong, but it took me a long time to realize that.

So, default answer, then has to be my family.  They supported and encourage me and offered me the opportunities to learn on my own terms.  They fought for me when I had disagreements with teachers.  They gave me the freedom to express my creativity.  They supported my athletic pursuits long after it should have been clear that I was never going to be very good at the sport I loved.

They showed me how to be a contributing member of society, how to be a good parent, how to be a good sibling, how to continue to learn and grow outside of the confines of school, how to have fun, how to be serious, how to live in this world.

And for that, I can never thank them enough.

……..

Here are the links to the other bloggers who showed up this weekend.  You should check them out and see what their prompts were:

Deb: http://deborah-bryan.com/
Dani: http://aheartonthematter.wordpress.com/
The Queen: http://mytwistedyarn.wordpress.com/
Grayson: http://graysonqueen.wordpress.com/
Rara: http://rarasaur.wordpress.com/

 

On being 9 months old

Dear Little Prince,

How have nine months already passed?

I know it’s not fair to ask you that question.  Though, I do wonder how you grasp, or don’t, the passing of time.  Do you understand the difference between day and night?  Do you understand that each day you are growing and learning?  These are questions you’ll never be able to answer.  Because by the time you understand the concept, and have the ability to speak, you will have forgotten what it was like in these early days.

I digress, though, which seems to happy more and more frequently these days as I get less and less sleep.  And why am I getting less sleep?

It could have something to do with the eight teeth you now have.  Eight.  Technically you had eight teeth a month ago, before you were even eight months old.  They are certainly good for chomping, and you’ve been doing a lot of that.  Carrots, bread, tortillas, peas, sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, pasta, fingers, toys, furniture… chomp, chomp, chomp.

It could have something to do with walking.  You’ve taken some steps on your own, strung them together without holding onto anything, one, two, three… four, and fall.  It’s obvious you understand walking and are working on your balance.  You like to walk too as your smile grows with each step, but when you are chasing after something you prefer the scooting crawl you have perfected.  It’s efficient.

It could have something to do with everything you see and hear throughout the day.  You are bombarded with music and sights.  Everything is new.  Everything is exciting.  You study the world intently and intensely, cataloging it all, trying to process it, but there is just too much to figure it all out during the day, so perhaps your mind spins long into the night.  Perhaps.  It’s plausible.

It could just be that you miss us.  You miss our warmth, our smells, our presence.  You stir in your sleep and reach out for us but we aren’t there, so you do what comes naturally to you and then when you reach out again you do find us.  That’s how it should be.  We are your parents, after all, we are supposed to be there for you always.

And, I’m not complaining.  I don’t mind the lost sleep.  It’s all part of this crazy adventure we are embarking on us a family.

I just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas.  I just wanted to tell you that I love you and the Queen loves you on your 9 month birthday today, and every single day.

Based on the prior 9 months, the next 3 will come and go faster than we are ready for them to.  But, we will continue to do our best to make sure you are happy and healthy.  That’s our job.  Yours is to continue growing and learning and smiling and giggling and fussing and grabbing and crowing and chomping.

I think you’ve got it under control.

I know you do.

Love,

Matticus