Monday, April 23, 2007

"For relaxing times, make it Suntory time."

Lost In Translation continues to be one of my all-time favorite movies. I haven't seen it in quite a while, but I believe we're due for a rescreening.

I was reminiscing back to our Netflix days and ran across this exchange. It's such a good movie.

Bob [Bill Murray]: It gets a whole lot more complicated when you have kids.

Charlotte [Scarlet Johannson]: It's scary.

Bob: The most terrifying day of your life is the day the first one is born.

Charlotte: Nobody ever tells you that.

Bob: Your life, as you know it ... is gone. Never to return.

But they learn how to walk, and they learn how to talk ... and you want to be with them. And they turn out to be the most delightful people you will ever meet in your life.

I think it would be interesting to go back in time and watch/read/listen to every movie/book/song I've ever watched/read/heard - only now - I would be watching them as the parent of the most delightful person I've ever met (Actually, let me clarify that it would be interesting to go back in time...but it would DEFINITELY be cool to go back in time AND do this).

Everything in life has a new purpose. With a baby, the context of life itself has evolved; it's both familiar and different. I now find myself reflecting on my upbringing in an almost unhealthy way. I don't mean that my upbringing was unhealthy - I just mean that I'm constantly studying what my parents and other parents did when I was growing up, analyzing all the good and focusing on what I'm doing that's bad. I'm now to the point that I'm afraid if I do anything wrong, I could upset the balance of Tenzin's future world (the future Zen), consequently turning him into a meth addict hillbilly on Jerry Springer. Confused? Stay with me...

I no longer feel like I'm living in the moment. Instead I feel like I'm bonded TO moments. Anything I do as a parent is loaded with situational outcomes and is under constant scrutinization from my maturity bouncer (the little guy up in my head that runs the velvet rope for thoughts and actions...once Tenzin was born, he was told to tighten up far, he's been doing an OK job).

Adding to my anxiety, there are umpteen thousand bazillion million parenting books and magazines telling you to "Do this" or "Stop that" Additionally, you've also got friends and acquaintances proffering up their sagest-of-sage's all so intimidating (and while I appreciate it from most, it's amusing that the advice even flows from those with 22 year-olds "in lock down" at Butler County Corrections).

Examples of questions asked to self throughout a three minute period:

If Tenzin is three and does something bad should I tell him No, or will that kill his self-esteem, thus hermitizing his life and shying him away form all things sports/profession/love, eliminating any and all chances of - one day - judging a Miss America pageant?

Is it weird that I wear swimtrunks while taking a bath with Tenzin? Hey, if I couldn't walk or talk and was put into a tub with another dude, I'd appreciate a pair of trunks on them legs.

He's only been on his tummy five minutes today instead of the usual ten. Will that five minute loss of exercise cause his 15-year-old hand/eye coordination to sink below extraordinary? He's scheduled (in ink) to win his green jacket at The Masters in 2021. We can't have that...College is much easier if you're sponsored by Nike.

Should I lay off the the Russian language lessons until he can actually talk? To some it might seem a little excessive, but overall I don't think it interferes with his
transcendental meditation or his mandolin tablature.

In the first couple weeks of Tenzin's life none of this really mattered. Granted, I had a solid understanding of the hills I was about to climb, but Tenzin wasn't really all there. Before now -now being the 6 month mile marker- I wasn't worried about my role as a parent. Newborn babies are, for the most part, easy (please don't read any archived posts from the first couple of months. I don't know who that guy was).

They coo, you adore. Simple.

Now everything has changed. I stare into his big blue eyes (just like our mailman's) and watch as his pupils focus in and out, growing larger and smaller as they pass by each inch of my face. He's a mental sponge, soaking up the water drip by drip, taking it all in and locking it away in that brain of his. A big, blank encyclopedia just begging for ink. So the significance of my actions are now tenfold. He's no longer a big bundle of black poop and coo, relying solely on boobies and absorbent inner-cores.

De dun de-de dun de-de dundun.

Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you no man ask for
Under pressure.

Back to my ruminations...

There are laws of nature that suggest that every action, whether good or bad, has its own consequences. I remember the little things that stuck in my gourd as a kid, the little actions that were profound memories of my youth; John Bryan State Park, my Grandpa Fleming's funeral, fireworks with Jared, Amy Grant's Christmas album on the tape deck 6 months before Christmas, painting Grandma's driveway with water (a great way to keep a troublemaker amused), trying coffee with my dad, parachuting from oak trees with umbrellas, and so on. I like to think that all of these moments shaped me into who I am today (especially the umbrella incident...definitely knocked something important loose). And while it might be common knowledge to some, I'm totally freaking out by my discovery: My son is beginning life!

With his development, I'm slowly beginning to grasp my role as Daddy; One comment, one action, one moment will be his John Bryan, his coffee, or, God forbid, his oak tree (I can guarantee you we don't have to worry about Amy Grant). I need to make some of my good stuff stick.

"The most terrifying day of your life is when the first one is born."

I definitely feel it, but it's not like the "terror" you usually think of: horror movies, car accidents, etc. It's a terror of disappointment; of saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing, or not being there when you should be.

It's a beautiful, omnipresent fear that is starting to consume me with each giggle and cry. It's a fear that makes me want to thank my parents for never giving me up for adoption.

He's only six months old and I'm already learning.

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