Three Zinger Years

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Dear Zinger,

Happy third birthday, my love! I’ve spent the past few weeks thinking of what to write you for your birthday. I thought I could plan something elaborate and fun and recap the last year of your life with a flourish, because your third birthday is a really big deal. The planning didn’t go so well, but I’ll still reminisce this past year with you. You have grown so much, and the world anticipates all the new things you have yet to discover.

0302

Dadda and I worry about you all the time. We’ll keep worrying about you as the world continues to open up to you. That’s what parents do. We wonder how you’ll play with other kids, communicate your wants and needs. You do express yourself well; all it takes is one look at your irresistible face, and we can tell what you’re feeling.

0304

You want to be independent so badly. You’ll climb the countertops to get what you want. If you need help with it, you’ll bring it to us, at which time we realize you’ve climbed the countertop, which is a big no-no. But you’re stubborn and persistent. These characteristics will ultimately prove valuable to you in this world, if you use them the right way.

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Lola and Poppy are in town to celebrate your birthday, and you’re so eager to show them how much you know. Just last night you led Lola to the bathroom, where you brought the iPad, then brought the stool to the toilet, put your potty seat on the toilet and had Lola help you with your pants. You then sat on the toilet and went potty. Lola was so very impressed.

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Only recently have you started opening the refrigerator to retrieve one of your favorite foods, yogurt. You’re getting stronger and more resourceful, and if there’s a way to do something without our help, you’ll figure it out.

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A few months ago, we bought a house with a back yard and lots of space to play. You seem to enjoy it. You’ve found your little niches where you love to play, but it seems that you can fall asleep anywhere, which is so convenient.

0313

For some reason, you’ve gotten a lot more energetic as you’ve gotten closer to 3. You run, skip, jump, and dance so much more. Jumping on the couch, jumping on the bed. Running from one room to another. Going down your slide while watching one of your favorite movies. Climbing the fence, throwing rocks. Spinning and spinning wherever you are. You’ve also gotten a lot more curious in your old age, and it’s so much harder to keep up with you.

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You’re also putting a lot more stuff in your mouth that isn’t supposed to go there. Just the other day I barely saw you eat a giant booger before I could do anything about it. It really grossed me out, and we need to do better at catching you eating prohibited things. We actually need to be better at teaching you not to eat those things. Ah, parenting. Thanks so much for your patience, little one.

 

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We love how you’re participating more at school (daycare). We love how excited you get when you want to show us something. We love how often you sing and how you recognize the songs we sing to you. We love that you like watching music videos, how Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” and ‘NSync’s “Bye, Bye, Bye” are among your top favorites lately.

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So much is happening in the world. So much legitimately weird stuff. You’re oblivious to most of it, but we do want to teach you how to navigate all the weirdness in a constructive way. We want to teach you how to give beauty and goodness to the world. I know you’re only three, but you’re actually already three. You’re growing too fast. I would like to stop time just for a little bit, just for today, to really sit back and enjoy remembering the past three years with you.

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We’re having a party for you today: balloons, yummy food, family and friends. Toys and clothes and everyone cherishing your life. We hope you like it. Thank you for bringing us so much joy, for teaching us, for making us love more deeply and way beyond what we originally thought our abilities were.

This next year will be very exciting, and we cannot wait to live it with you.

Happy birthday.

Love, mom

One Year

One seems such a small number.

One year began with a day. But what about what came before?

One day before the day that began the one year, two lives crossed with one meeting. A single meeting of two single people. That single meeting turned to one date just a few days later. Then another date. And another. As the number of dates increased, the singularity of the two single people became more ambiguous. They no longer considered themselves single.

Look at this cute couple!

This became even more evident to them after the one first kiss. There was the only first one, but there’s always a first second one, and a first third one, and so forth. A proper tally during this one year would add up to the first kiss for the ten-billionth time. The first kiss on the first anniversary morning of the wedding would be the first ten-billionth-and-first kiss.

Almost smoochies!

It’s a little bit mind-bending, this whole issue of two single people who no longer consider themselves single. One year ago today, they vowed they would not only be not single but would always be together. One unit. A single entity. They promised to love each other, to bring each other out of a single status as two people to be married into one. A single status.

In this past year, they have already experienced so much. There is a certain intensity of depth that comes from cleaving unto each other. There are even terms that derive from such cleaving. Moments in books, movies, or real life that somehow relate to the marriage cause more poignant, even clevimental tears. Moments that are more lighthearted and cause the two people to share a secret wink or smirk or cause them to laugh at the same thing are full of clevity.

Yay, us!

In this past year, this single couple have shared so many singular yet infinitely precious moments.

  • They have traveled parts of the United States and hiked various parts of Utah.
  • They have experimented cooking various meals and desserts.
  • They have decorated their apartment and added to their book collection.
  • They have met different family members.
  • They have attended concerts and other various cultural events.
  • They have gone to theme parks.
  • They have attended book clubs and readings.
  • They have played with babies and laughed at kids at church.
  • They have danced together. Like, a lot.
  • They have sung to each other.
  • They have spent time with friends in many ways and played weird card games with family.
  • They have watched a lot of television and many movies.
  • They have told each other how cute they are.
  • They have talked about their respective jobs with each other.
  • They have gotten accepted to grad school. Yes, both of them.
  • They have prayed together.
  • They have talked about their future.
  • They have expressed how much they love each other, which makes them even more excited to keep talking about their future.

They are happy that talking about their future is part of their future. The meta-commentary becomes part of the metaphysical that will eventually become part of their reality. A singular reality.

They stand one year ahead of when they were married for time and all eternity. Two souls, one year. One year will turn into two, then three, and so forth. Those years will come.

For now, together, they look back on this one year.

It seems so huge.

We can't help it.

At Church Yesterday

All the children stood in front of the congregation and sang two Christmas songs. One of the little boys standing near the pulpit caught my attention. He looked to be around 7 years old. He wore a lime green dress shirt and a dark, pin-striped vest. His lime green striped clip-on tie was slightly askew. He was cute. As his mouth moved while the music played, it became apparent that he didn’t know the words to the song. He just opened and closed his mouth to the beat, ba ma ba ma. It was a little bit funny at first, but then I admired his effort.

During Sunday school, an elderly man stood up and made a couple of seemingly unrelated comments about the Christmas lesson. He’s probably in his 80s, he only comes to church every once in a while. The teachers always do a good job of tying in what he says into the lesson, and yesterday was no exception. He usually talks about his childhood, his time at war; yesterday he recounted the history of man since Adam, and I realized that his comment wasn’t that far off. When we think about our origins, our history, our universal family, Christmas has as much to do with the Garden of Eden and Noah’s Ark as it does with December and eggnog and gift exchanges. More, actually.

The young and the old. Those who are most childlike shared themselves with their fellow church members yesterday. I am grateful to have experienced it. They reminded me of the spirit of Christmas.

It Was on a Tuesday

This particular anniversary seems more significant because it happened on a Tuesday. September 11. Eleven years ago. All those elevens. All those ones.

Individuals.

This poem happened the day after the 10th anniversary. The numbers switch around in that date and today’s date. Two lines are missing, or I’ve debated leaving two lines in, so I don’t think it’s a final draft. I can’t seem to find those lines right now.

Or, there’s just no final draft at all.

It is 9/12/11

nine twelve eleven
nine one-two one-one
as if my fingers
swollen and sweaty
slipped while dialing
and starting over never crossed my mind.

No one will come
until I hang up
and think more carefully
to push
finger pads to keypad
with motions that should be automatic.

More Non-homework Things

So, I was browsing through Bookslut and found this article, which is an interview with the guy who was the instructor of my beginning memoir-writing class at Gotham Writing Workshops. I took the class back in the fall of 2006.  He’s the one who gave me this feedback.

Maybe I’m going to try to go back to a little writing again. I’m not sure how to do that.

That is all.

A Few More Photos from January 3

This is a great memory. I love how bright the snow is in the sun. I love the bluish underglow of the footprints in the snow. I love the sky in the framed shots with the arched trees over the trail. The fellow is my good friend, Ned, whom I love in a good-friend way. He took the photos. He’s really one of my best chums. We met back in 2003, and I’ve had so much fun bantering with him for almost eight years. Snowshoeing and Ned are a good combination. You should give it a try.

J’irai La Voir Un Jour

The first time I heard this song was in April 2007. At a Patty Griffin concert. My very first one. It was at the Beacon Theatre, and I had never been to that venue before. It’s one of those moderate-sized halls that happens to feel intimate at the same time.

This song combines Patty Griffin and French, two of my most favorite things in the world (though French is starting to slip in the rankings these days).

Patty introduced this song as one her grandmother sang to her when she was a child. Simple tune, simple lyrics, but beautiful and touching. It was just her and the piano for this number. Her voice, her memories. Her music causing my tears.

It makes me think about love and family and eternity. It makes me think of my own grandmothers, whom I didn’t really know. But I interacted more with my mom’s mother, and I never knew my grandmother on my dad’s side.

My mom’s father was a very gentle man from what I can remember, and my dad’s father was stern.

I wish I knew them all better. But I will.

I will see them one day.

J’irai la voir un jour
Au ciel dans la patrie
Oui j’irai voir Marie
Ma joie et mon amour

Au ciel, au ciel, au ciel
J’irai la voir un jour

J’irai la voir un jour
J’irai mourir aux anges
Pour chanter ses louanges
Et pour former sa cour

J’irai la voir un jour
Cette vierge si belle
Bientôt j’irai près d’elle
Lui dire mon amour

Au ciel, au ciel, au ciel
J’irai la voir un jour

J’irai la voir un jour
J’irai près de sa tombe
Recevoir la colombe
Dans l’éternel séjour

J’irai la voir un jour
J’irai loin de la terre
Sur le coeur de ma mère
Me poser sans retour

Au ciel, au ciel, au ciel
J’irai la voir un jour

J’irai la voir un jour.

I Like Liz

Yesterday, I was looking through my blog stats to see who have come to visit. Sometimes the links are from blogs whose authors I  know. When I saw the link for Liz’s blog, it occurred to me how cool she is. She’s a nurse working in DC. She’s a world traveler. She’s a humanitarian. She’s funny and spunky and thoughtful. She’s not too tall. I get the impression she’s somewhat of a romantic. When she introduces herself, it’s “Elizabeth” as she extends her hand. For some reason I really like that. She sort of rocks a pair of aviator sunglasses. We share similar opinions on the friends we keep, and we hold in very high esteem our mutual friends. I’ve only been able to hang out with her a couple of times, which is why it sometimes surprises me that she reads this blog. This also allows me to forgive her for the time we happened to attend the same temple session but then she seemed to jet at the very end. I looked for her everywhere. She said later it looked like I was praying. I guess I can’t blame her for leaving. If it looked like I was praying, and if prayers can go on for hours or days at a time, if I were her, I would have left and gotten myself a falafel sandwich. I don’t know if she got a falafel sandwich, but she was all the wiser for leaving. My side of the story is that I was in between meditation and sleep. Honestly, I was too tired to string words together in the form of a prayer inside my head, so yeah, I defaulted to meditative semi-consciousness. I opened my eyes a few minutes later and headed to the Lower East Side to meet up with her and a few others for some famous blueberry pancakes at the Clinton Street Bakery. I was relieved we didn’t lose each other. I wouldn’t feel that way if I didn’t like her so much. Seems I’m pretty dang lucky I feel that way.

Coming upon 2:30AM

I’m wide awake. We’ll see how I hold up tomorrow.

Digging through my archives, only because anniversaries are coming up, and I’m inhaling nostalgic dramatic irony. I don’t know that I know that deep emotions have diffused through the vents, triggering flashbacks and near-forgotten feelings of goodness and greatness and inspiration. Except, I know that I don’t know.

I wrote the following on April 10, 2007. My life, like many lives, works in cycles, and this pattern really hasn’t changed that much. What I experienced and learned then definitely applies to now. I could have made it easier on myself by kicking and screaming less. Stubbornness dies hard.

The intensity tapers as life goes on, in varying degrees. The people are different; the transitions suck. Relationships aren’t as much intense as they are weird; they are dis-tense, and the wordplayer in me morphs that into distance, which is the obvious space between me and these other people who don’t seem as kindred – we don’t want to get too close. They notice it too.

Old souls in high school aren’t the only ones. In fact, that phase of life has thoroughly prepared us to spot one now, a mile away; years later, or maybe a few hours. We recognize a certain gentleness and power, a familiar warmth in the countenance; a subtle thawing, like the conversion of winter into spring. Then, the intensity picks up again. You know how it goes.

Another transition comes along, and we haven’t forgotten how much it hurts to say goodbye. And that was 13 years ago. Or even last week. The key is to cherish it as much as you can presently, even if it means an unbearably poignant departure. The key is to cherish it as much as you can presently, even if the thought of goodbye keeps sneaking in on your forethoughts, which bear the trite truth: there’s no such thing as goodbye.

The key is to remember that you are old souls, kindred spirits.

When you do part ways, the key is to be so happy and excited for your friends, so grateful for your paths crossing, that you cry and cry and shudder and hiccup and snot everywhere and pray and cry yourself to sleep; so that eventually, you can look back fondly at all the good times, and giddily anticipate a sweet, joyful reunion. Every single time.

Intense.

This was part of an email I sent someone a few weeks later, on May 6, 2007:

I’m feeling kind of burnt out right now, life is kind of hard.  Seminary and work and studying and being social.  And not just being social, deepening these social ties.  The Lord has really blessed me with little extra pockets of time and energy to get things done.   It would be nice to have a break, though.  Some down time.  Soon.

While right now feels like one of the longest transitions of my life, it’s nowhere near as severe as what happened three years ago. Maybe it just took the semester thinking I was getting my feet wet, then realizing my complete submersion. Maybe this is where all those dreams of breathing and thriving underwater make sense.

Then I look at friends – really strong friends – who are making great things happen for themselves. I regard their faith and fortitude, and they encourage me. If they can do it, so can I.

We’re doing it together, yeah?

Flashbacks

Prom. Junior year.
I didn’t go with a date, but with a group of girlfriends.
It was toward the end of the evening.
I was dancing with a good guy friend.
He was a son of one of the faculty.
He was cute. And eccentric.
Adorably nerdy. We had a few classes together.
We were talking.
His mom had appeared along the sidelines of the ballroom while we danced.
She was a chaperone. She was dressed to the nines.
We both saw her.
He looked at me. Smirked a little.
He nodded toward his mom.
Suggested that perhaps we surprise her.
I mean, I had never kissed a boy in front of his mom before.
Also, I wasn’t quite 17.
I wish I could say I had never kissed a boy.
But that wouldn’t be very honest.
Instantly, I got nervous. Terrified.
I said no. Not in front of his mom.
I mean, what about my grades?
We finished the dance.

Oh, the one guy.
From Montreal.
We cuddled.
But we didn’t kiss.
Then I went home.

Then there was that time.
By the river.
With that older man.
Knowledgeable. Worldly.
Numerous stories.
No hints of writing opportunities for me.
But his seeking opportunities of … not writing.
From me.
Sun setting. His arm behind me.
I very much didn’t want to kiss him.
I tried saying as much
With all the negative body language I tried to give.
But he didn’t get it.
And he leaned in anyway.
And I had to put my hand up to stop him.
And I was incredibly clever about it.
And I haven’t contacted him since.
Other chances to write will come up.
I know.

Then one time
One guy
It would have been so easy
Just to lean in
And watch his eyes close
Because he was there
And I was there
And we were talking
And he asked when was the last time I made out with someone
I was honest and said a [long time]
And he answered his own question
With considerably less than [a long time]
What if, he said
What if, I said
Then what
I really want to, but
Then what?
We agreed we shouldn’t
So we didn’t.

Then, the times when I didn’t chicken out or reject and went for it. I don’t know how many times I’m going to bring up this list. It seems to emerge every couple of years:
1. On the band bus … twice.
2. In the parking lot in front of Shopko/Movies 8
In the parking lot of Regency apartments that same night – same guy, of course
3. In the living room of another apartment complex a couple of years later – the fiancé.
4. At a party around Thanksgiving in the late 90s
5. That one dude in Orem I totally forgot about
6. The state attorney
7. The one friend who’s not really a friend anymore
8. The guy from a few years ago.

Well, it seems I’m a bit obsessed right now with kissing. Maybe not so much kissing, but I just spent a week camping with a whole bunch of women and maybe I need the company of a nice man. So maybe I’ve been thinking about a nice man. Not just any nice man, but I have a few in mind. Any of those few would be nice to spend some time with. Or, maybe even a really, really nice random man. From church. That wouldn’t be so bad, right? Maybe? Because it’s church? Right?

And yet, I just spent a week camping with a whole bunch of young women from church, where we emphasized self-control and virtue and changing the world with goodness and purity. I taught excellent things at camp. Didn’t swear once while I was there; not a single peep. So I guess that whole bit about kissing and the boys I’ve kissed and wanting the time of a few specific men or a random man from church even though I wouldn’t necessarily have to kiss him even though I would really, really really want to, I was just kidding.

Sort of.

Sorry. It’s just been too long.