Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sometimes you just need a hug.

Not new pictures, but some from the Dear Alex archive that sum it up almost perfectly. This was in the late afternoon of one of those oddly-warm late November days, when it was still possible to look forward to a wild and snowy winter, and the quaintly romantic notion of being snowed in. We're in a playground in a town somewhat near the Undisclosed Location, and in our never-ending quest to provide opportunities for our daughter to hurt herself on dangerous playground equipment, we occasionally visit. Alex and Beautiful Wife had a great time on the swings - the fact the BW could fit her butt into a kid's swing impressed me, and it cracked Alex up to be swinging next to mommy.

The hug part comes a little later, after maybe too much fun and an encounter with a vile other-persons-child, the likes of which I've really never seen: A morbidly obese 2-year-old clutching a bag of potato chips in her teeth as she shoves Dear Alex off the scary spring-mounted rocking-horse-thing and begins to rock it so violently that the ground shudders and the bag of potato chips slaps up and down rythmically, still clutched in the horrid monsters' pointy teeth. It haunts me.

Why write about this? Well sometimes you just need to. Lil'screamie was never intended to be just a place to put cute baby pictures and stories - There's a lot of other stuff going on, like learning how to be a parent. (I don't think that actually happens, btw: If you've got a baby, you're a parent.) It comes to how well you handle the challenges, how much you enjoy the pleasure - almost heartbreaking - of seeing a new soul into the world, and whether you care to do it right. I'm still not really convinced that I like babies, and having one did nothing to change my mind about that - they're dirty and selfish and are demonstrably breeding grounds for endless variations of the common (and uncommon) cold. They turn your life and your plans into one never-ending groundhogs day. They make you forget that you might have even had a life before them, and require endless patience and sufferage and selflessness. Yet - and this really is the thing - you want nothing but happiness for them and you live to witness their next manifestation of humanity, sensibility, and whatever hint you can glean of the future person that they'll become, and you wish them and give them the very best. Even if it's a small thing like a hug, you have every chance to prove through (and to) yourself that there is love and safety and decency in this world, and hope that they remember it.

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