Happy New Year

Well, I admit I feel a certain compulsion to write something today, but I don't know what.  Not an end-of-year reflection or highlight reel.*  Not resolutions.  Not anything especially meaningful; I just want to mark the day.  Too many days have gone by unnoticed, just like every other day, and sometimes it seems important to step out of that routine.

So.  Another jaunt round the sun, and here we are.  Not just another day, even though it was just another day.  A little tricky to explain why we celebrate to my little one.  He is more excited about it being our dog's birthday - bacon cake!  At least I can watch the celebrations somewhere further east so I don't have to stay up until midnight.  Hooray, it's already 2014 in most of the world!

Ok, I think that's what I've got for now.  After all, tomorrow is another day.

Here's to peace, joy, love, and adventure.

Happy new year, y'all.

*but maybe outtakes, the blooper reel?  I'll think about that.


Bikini Lines

Spring has sprung, at least according to the sunshine and flowers, and all the flesh on display around town.  Although I'm not a prude, I always surprise myself by being slightly shocked when we go from bundled-up to spaghetti straps and short shorts.  People just seem so naked after a winter of layers.  It  takes me a little while to adjust, and then bring on the sundresses!

Except.  This year I've still got my post-baby body flapping around.  It irritates me constantly because nothing fits, and then as soon as something does fit, it all changes again.  Grump.  And I hate shopping - maybe because I've always had a hard time finding clothes that fit well and look good.  But even more, I hate that our celebrity-obsessed society does its best to make us feel like crap if we don't look a certain way.  Lots of folks have written about this (and yet plenty of girls are stressed and starving themselves) (yes, some boys too), so here's my angle:

The Aztecs (I think it was them, anyway) used to treat women giving birth as warriors, with all the respect and admiration and recognition of courage and danger it involved.  That's sort of how I feel - more than the beautiful new-age images of dolphins leaping and flowers blooming, birth is sweaty and messy and scary and angry and loud and wonderful and painful and bloody.  And we should wear that with pride:  Look at this body - these stretch marks, this flappy belly, these saggy oversized boobs - they created life!  From scratch!  Fuck yeah!

Instead of looking for clothes that flow and drape and cover, I want to go out into the world in a skimpy outfit and be admired for it.  I don't want to rush from locker room to swimming pool, but to strut proudly.  This should always be true, regardless of the cause for the shape, but in this case I want everyone to know, because it's a big deal.  I should wear that bumper sticker:  I'm so crafty, I make people.  These are my battle scars, my medals of honor, and I want them to be seen in that light.  Look upon this body and feel awe!


Lives to be Lived

I just got around to reading the final 2012 issue of the NY Times magazine; they always end the year with "The Lives They Lived," a collection of bios of people who died that year.  It's a good mix of interesting lives, some that ended too soon (the Beasties' Adam Yauch) and some right on time ("Oh, God, there are so many beautiful things in the world which I will have to leave when I die, but I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready." --Maurice Sendak).  Didn't seem like there were any that went on too long - but that's a topic for another post, another day.

Mostly extraordinary folks, with a smattering of more ordinary.  But the thing that I kept thinking as I read was that every one of them started out as a little baby, perfect and innocent and with a whole life ahead of them.  (No, this is not going to segue into anything about Newtown or related incidents, though that was mentioned in the magazine too.  It's just too sad, there's nothing I can add to that except more heartbreak and anger, which is not where I want to go with this post.)  All those people were once a tiny bundle of need, of adorable, of instinct and emotion and raw materials. Someone took the time to feed them and respond to their cries and find tiny socks to fill their tiny toes with sock fuzz, to watch them grow, to clean up their poop, and, hopefully, to surround them with love.

And those babies responded by transforming.  Their baby survival tactics (be cute and be loud!) got them through those first months, got them standing on their own two feet and making their way in the world.  And they made good choices and bad choices, and they continued to grow and change and become, reacting and learning and adapting to the world around them.  Until they got to the end, and we read about them in the paper, and reflected on their lives and our own.

As I stare at my own baby, now 3 months old, with his oh-so-kissable chubby cheeks and enormous grin and quivering lips and grasping fingers - and I do stare, all the time, all day long, and there is no better view in the world - that's what I see:  a whole life of possibility ahead.  He's still so totally unformed (and yet so perfectly formed, right down to the eyelashes and ear folds; how does that happen?  It's completely ridiculous and amazing and miraculous.  Go biology!) - even my 3-year-old has begun to narrow his paths simply by becoming who he is, so far removed from the babe he once was.  (Nature?  Nurture?  Surely some of both, and we may never know the difference)

I realize this is no great insight, that all adults were once babies, that all babies have a future wide open ahead of them (well, some have more width in their future than others; once again, another post...).  But I just can't stop thinking about it, thinking back on the paths that all those written about took.  About how it all comes back to a tiny seed, bursting with hope and joy and wonder.  Something so small - accidental, even, in some cases, and really hard work in others - turns into something so great.  Who will you be, little man?  As Dr. Seuss says: "You are you, and that's truer than true!"