To Allie: Year 4

Dear Allie,

IMG_20220110_112221_2I have never been more unsure about what to say in a letter to one of you than I am about this one. Right now, I’m listening to you do a silly voice. You’re playing with your brother. And all I can think is just how lively you are. Not just rambunctious, though you are (however, I’ve met super rambunctious children, which was frightening), but just always talking. Loud. Rambling. Narrating everything. You even narrated your own running “I’m running!”. You are a force. I really don’t know how to describe you.

Our main form of interaction is either, you attacking me, you dragging me and calling me your pet, telling me I smell like “chicken tuney fish” or asking me if I like fish poop. Your brother has been a bit of a negative influence, but since he doesn’t abuse in quite so systematic a way, I have to think that you are already trying to challenge me in some competitive son-father way.

IMG_20211221_124913We still play games we’ve been playing since prior to your 3rd birthday. For instance, you still want your cookie and vitamins in the morning. Before it had to be a bowl, and now you’re more open to the plate option. But I still, as I’m serving it, or when you ask for it, make a claim that it’s “actually for me”. And you respond back playfully “It’s for me!!!”. But sometimes you get worried I will take it. I have never taken the cookie or vitamin in two years, and now I find it fascinating, as a science experiment, to see when you’ll glue it together that daddy is just kidding. And one day this ritual will end, and I will be pretty sad about it.

We also still play a game that quite frankly I thought you would have outgrown by now. I always used to say “Where’s Allie?” when I would fake not being able to find you. Sometimes I would look straight ahead and not look down when you were in front of me. Sometimes you were behind me and I would be facing away from you, looking in that direction. You’d giggle mercilessly. You still do, but now you’re hanging on to my pockets and so I shuffle around, and as I turn my body you turn with me while. My back pockets being looser and baggier is not good for holding on to my wallet, nor can it help the look of an ever-expanding butt. It is obvious in every way possible that you are behind me and yet sometimes I think you actually believe I don’t know where you are. I suppose there is just the possibility that you are very silly. And you are quite silly. I love it though. It makes me happy to hear you giggle.

I am so in love you, Allie. You are just a wonderful child, and so beautiful. Both you and your brother take my breath away when I see your faces. Don’t get me wrong, you’re still little and you definitely make some solid messes. Also, you will not sit down at the dinner table and eat your dinner at dinner time, but only in the 5 minutes before bedtime. In addition, currently, you are scared of flies. Summer is coming Allie, there will be a lot of flies. You just have to get used to flies. This could end up being a very longer, but we’ll get through it. But overall, I couldn’t be happier about who you are. You are an amazing little boy.

20210920_183438As far as who I am right now, at this point of my life, I can only say, I think I’ve been better. Life feels a lot like stress management. What can I do to stay sane? I’ve lost some fight during the pandemic. I think part of it is a lack of togetherness. It feels more alone and that there is a tide carrying us along and we are helpless to do anything about it. It feels very uncertain that the world will be moving in a better direction when you reach adulthood. I am grateful the pandemic came when you were this age, just because I knew it wasn’t going to interrupt your development as you would just be home with mommy and daddy more and just see it as more fun. And it has been. You are fun child. And in the end, I have a lot of love in my life, and have a lot to be grateful for. I am very grateful to you. For your light brown, golden tipped curls. For your laugh. For your smile. Your innocence rejuvenates me. You are kind and thoughtful. So gentle with the cats. You could be a little less vicious with your father though. Sometimes you could just run to me and hug me excitedly. We’ll work on it. Until then I will enjoy everything you do because your ridiculously cute whatever you’re doing.

IMG_20210519_074756_812I will live
for your moments
of pure and unadulterated joy
even as my hearing fades
like Beethoven
I shall hold the music in my mind
and know with precision
what happiness sounds like
& with my pen
I write

every moment
you are in my arms

every moment
you are in my arms

Happy birthday Allie. As much as I sometimes which I could preserve you in your perfection, I also can’t wait to see what more you have in store for me as you grow. I love you!

Love,
Daddy

Ouroboros

Wandering through neural mazes,
I am always lost when I find you,
Your pose is casual, blocking the path,
Like you were waiting for me,
Knowing I’d be there even when I didn’t,
Reminding me of memories I never made.

In the waning days of summer,
There is a scar that I am thankful for,
And yet find it so hard to forgive,
It pulses along with my pulse, counting time,
I ache as the trees do, as the leaves fall,
Still I smile at the splendor of colors.

The things that you are so frightened of,
Are the things I love the most,
I held my face to you like a mirror,
A mere, still in a deep forest,
And you ran like a hunted hart,
Avoiding refreshing pools as your thirst swelled.

I am now bound to chase with no quarry,
As I watch you run with no pursuer,
Participants in a game that must be played,
Do I choose to play, or is fate unescapable,
I’ve tried clawing and surrendering
Neither choice gives me any peace.

Vicious Truths and Sweet Nothings

Fell into a perfect ending,
But the last page was missing,
I looked for right angles and straight lines,
And all I found was mostly irrational.

I’ve prepared a speech for just such an occasion,
You’d swoon and be moved to tears,
But when it came time to speak,
My throat closed and I choked on every word,
I let it drop to the floor and fall to pieces,
A dissection of imperfection,
A bloody vulnerable mess to be sure,
But I wanted there to be no doubt,
You’d capitulate and even smile,
I’ve got questions that wait for answers,
But as long as your voice answers,
It doesn’t matter what you say with it,
Or if you just sit in silence,
Thinking mirrored thoughts,
Moving in mirrored movements,
Taking a little walk around the room,
Staring at doors down the hall of the mind,
As beautiful as the memories behind them,
The knob is right in front of me somehow
Is it locked or was I afraid to open it?

Leaning back, I slump on the floor,
The wood is warm, just close your eyes.

It’s life and there’s nothing tidy about it,
Your heart stops without warning and starts again,
And you go on like nothing ever happened,
It’s a cold glass of lemonade on a hot day,
It’s a long heavy sigh that aches but doesn’t hurt,
And I can’t stop myself from another deep breath.

Music – Perspectives from an 80’s child

From http://hooniverse.com

I love 80’s music.  It’s almost an obsession. It’s the decade I was first aware of music.  As I was driving in to work this morning I had my 80’s play list on.  The song Waiting for a Star to Fall by Boy Meets Girl came on and I was reminded about how much I listened to that song to build up my courage in asking a girl out that I was for.  That and I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore by REO Speedwagon.   The fact that I never ended up asking any girl out and that it was all shattered dreams isn’t the point, but what I do think is neat is how music is so trans-formative in bringing back memories; sometimes long stretches of memory and in great detail.

I remember long nights in our house, sitting alone, listening to the radio, waiting for songs I liked to come on so I could record them on cassettes.  Wading through endless radio ga-ga, yelling “Let the music play!” sometimes not even knowing who I was listening to, because they wouldn’t announce the name of the band.  I remember the waiting, getting cramped legs because I’m so excited about a new band or album that I’m almost in hysteria in anticipation. And, after what feels like the longest time, when it finally plays, you go insane.  Thinking to yourself that if somebody’s watching me, they’ll think I’ve gone crazy in the nightYou might think that my description here is superfluous or overkill, but I am sure all of you can remember being in your room, spinning round and round and shakin’.

And that’s the other great things about music, is the way that it can make us move.  Sometimes the desire to move with music is simply irresistible.  You lose your self-control and your legs just start dancing like it was reflex, and having it feel like the most natural way to express yourself.  Maybe you remember waiting for that catchy song to play at prom so you can strut across the floor to the girl you like and say “Let’s dance”. Or waiting for that super romantic song so you can experience the sensation of human touch, and wondering if with every breath you take she will notice how sweaty your palms are getting.  Worried that you’ll step on her feet and not get a second chance.  Hoping it’s all not too good to be true being so close to someone you like and lovin’ every minute of it. Then you might nervously slide your hands down to her waist hoping she doesn’t tell you to keep your hands to yourself and that the look in her eyes isn’t an angry one.  And if she smiles…well…one thing leads to another.

Music is this great binding force that connects us to other people in both space and time.  As seasons change, no matter where we roam, music has people dancing in the street from Europe, to Africa, to China to middle eastern countries like Iran. So, far away places love music too, whether you live in Buenos Aires or live your life in a northern town.   People are people and all around the world music is touching their heart and soul and wouldn’t it be good if we could let our love of music bring people together everywhere.

I believe that the promise of tomorrow is in celebrating the things that we share.  The world isn’t going to get better by holding out for a hero, so go over to your neighbor and say “Hello” and see if you like the same music.  The great thing about music is that falling in love with it is not a once in a lifetime experience.  People who aren’t music lovers, well they don’t know what they are missing.  It ain’t enough to just have music on in the background.   You have to sing it loud, and lose yourself. Music can make you laugh or cry and it will always feel good.  Having music in your life can improve it beyond your wildest dreamsWould I lie to you? Don’t answer me.  I make mistakes; I’m only human.  Just put in some of your favorite songs and don’t stop believin’.  It’s the only way I know to stay forever young.