Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Wilson Mash

Happy Halloween!

From Tom, Sarah, Katie, Rocky, and Stup

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Small Miracles

"You are my greatest adventure."
--Mr. Incredible

I used to get a chuckle out baby parents who talk about their kids' age in weeks or months, rather than just using years like everybody else. I still think it's funny, but I finally understand why. Katie's world has expanded more in the past three months than mine has in the past ten years.

Two weeks ago, I had the great blessing of being present when Katie discovered what her hands are for. She was playing on her floor gym, which at ten weeks (see, I'm doing it too!) means thrashing her arms and legs around randomly. While thus busily engaged, her hand happened to bump against a little turtle toy hanging down above her. It swung out a bit than bumped back against her hand. She froze, did a perfect double take, looked at her hand, then back at the turtle. I could almost see her thought process: "Well I'll be darned! When I hit that thing, it moves!" So she hit it again. And again. For fifteen minutes, she was completely enraptured as her hand smacked the daylights out of that poor little turtle. She was happy for hours afterward, no doubt overwhelmed with the thrill of scientific discovery.

This past weekend I got to spend more time than usual with Katie. She is on a fairly regular cycle by now: Eat. Play. Sleep. Repeat. She is, by now, an old pro at Smacking Stuff. She has even expanded her repertoire to include Grabbing Stuff. Her floor gym plays music for her, Twinkle Twinkle and Animal Fair and Skip to my Loo, in calypso/reggae arrangements that were charming and clever the first four hundred or so times we heard them. I want to expand her musical experience, of course, so yesterday during Play Time I got out one of my low whistles to play for her. Might as well start getting her used to the harsh realities of sharing a home with a whistle player.

I played through a couple of Irish tunes, which my sweet daughter completely ignored. That was actually a better result than I dared hope for, but not particularly entertaining. So on a whim, I started playing "Twinkle Twinkle," with the same rhythm as the music on her floor gym.

Katie's head instantly swiveled my direction, eyes and mouth wide. She watched me breathe, watched my fingers move, and as I cycled through her floor gym songs, she listened. And even though the sound was very different, she knew.

Parenthood makes adults and children of us all. Every day I see new textures in Jesus' teaching that I cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven unless I accept it as a little child. Let go of the old ways, and be exhilarated by the discoveries of learning a new way of life.

To my non-parental friends, I make this request: Try not to roll your eyes when parents rhapsodize about their children's most mundane accomplishments. Try to keep groans to a minimum when you hear young mothers discuss, with straight faces, how many diapers their tykes dirty in a twenty-four hour period. It's hard to believe, I know, but from this side it almost makes sense.

This is a time of epic discoveries for my young explorer. I'm glad I get to be along for the ride.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Love in the Time of Colic

We had our first serious snow storm yesterday. None of us were quite prepared for it. Our young trees, most of them still fully leafed out and green, were soon bent almost to the ground under the weight of heavy, wet, fall snow.

Late in the afternoon I went out and shook them, hoping they would get through the night without too much damage. But the snow kept coming. By the time I got back to the house, they were already bending under the weight again.

I can identify with them. These are tough times at Wilson Manor. Somewhere around eight or nine weeks ago, Katie started showing symptoms of colic, and it has steadily gotten worse since then. Just like the trees, there are moments of respite--such as yesterday, when our wonderful friend Becky came over and spent the day helping us out--but the pressure keeps coming, and we are soon bent to the point of breaking again.

At risk of over-dramatizing things, it feels like I imagine it must feel to live in a war zone. Even during the good times, we are never completely at ease because we never know when the enemy will strike, when the giggles and coos will turn into those horrific screams. Nerves are shot; health deteriorates; relationships are strained. I'm afraid to pick up my little girl and play with her, because often that's all it takes. Our days are defined by the frequency and duration of screaming fits.

So we plod through our hours and days and weeks, doing our best to keep smiles on our faces and in our hearts, to dwell on all the amazing discoveries and developments taking place, to excel at our jobs, and to love each other, no matter what, like we promised we would. Doing our best to stay in touch with the God who can turn even the most horrible of times into something beautiful, something sacred.

I woke up this morning and looked outside to see our young trees bent to the ground, but somehow unbroken. When I relieved them of their burden of snow and ice, they very slowly, almost deliberately, started righting themselves. This encourages me. I guess most of us are stronger, more resilient, than we think we are. It just takes time.

We're going to get through this with our love intact. Thank God, I really think we're going to make it.