Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 26, 2012 - She called me "Dada"

She calls me "Dada."
June 26, 2012, marks a very important date in my life. It was on this day that my daughter, nearly nine months old, raised her little hand towards me and said, "Dada." She's been saying "Mama" for a little while now, but since she's at home with Hannah all day, I wasn't surprised. Getting her to say "Dada" has been my little project as of late.

Each day Hannah and I pick her up and take her over to the three family portraits hanging in our living room. I point to Hannah and say, "Mama." I point to Abigail and say, "Abby." I point to the picture of myself and say, "Dada."

This morning we were goofing off on the bed. I lift her high up in the air and act like I'm going to throw her into the pillows. Actually, I just ease her down quickly so she gets the rush without the possibility of harm. As she buries her face into the blankets and sheets she giggles and laughs. Its enough to make me want to ask the boss for a day off. Today, after we'd had our fun, I rolled off the bed to get my things together to go to work. I stood up and that's when she did it. She looked up at me, rolled back on her butt out of her four-point stance, raised her right hand towards me and said, "Dada."

At that moment in time I knew that my little girl recognized who I was and wanted me. She didn't want me to go to work, she wanted me to play. It's hard to pack up your things, hop in the car, and spend another day at the office after something like that. There's magic in a moment so pure and happy where someone so small calls out to you to be with her. She's growing up so quickly. I'm just glad I get to experience these moments with Hannah and Abigail.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Reflecting on Brian's Winter

I was cleaning out my digital files and discovered this piece written August 12, 2011. It's worth a share:
Every year I try to pay attention to the changing of the seasons, from summer to fall. It can be easy to suddenly realize that he trees are no longer green, but shades of red, orange, yellow, purple, and brown. Before I know it I’m throwing on a sweater over my shirt as I get ready for work. Ears of corn, cherries, and apples go on sale at the local grocery store.

These are all signs. They’re all indicators that the world is changing, whether I like it or not. It is a reminder of things past and a warning about the imminence of the future, of things unknown.

In the book Brian’s Winter, an alternate sequel to Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet, the main character is oblivious to the changes around him. His focus on day-to-day survival in the Canadian wilderness leaves him unaware of the cooler nights and colorful displays in the treetops until one day he wakes up and discovers a foot of snow outside his shelter door.

I loved Brian’s Winter. After I had read it in Middle School I gave it to my dad to read. I don’t know how, but that book has formed a link in the chain that connects me to my dad. Every year as the weather starts to cool and the trees start to fill with color, one of us will mention the beginning of that book. It’s a reminder to be watchful, to recognize that things are changing and that we much change with them.

My dad’s getting older. I’m going to be “Dad” soon. The responsibilities keep piling on, and the temptation to look back on the past is as strong as ever. Dad turns 51 this year.

Maybe that’s why Dad’s usually the first one to bring up Brian’s Winter. It’s a reminder as much to himself as it is to me that we can’t dwell on the past. We can’t even maintain our focus on the present. Like it or not, things are changing. The only way to be ready for it is to look ahead.