Spring Arbor Township must have won some sort of weather lottery that awards people with abundant sunshine. It pours into the windows of our homes this morning, that yellow golden haze that brings warmth and joy at the same time, slowly heating our section of the globe to a respectable 54 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale. The sun is like a slow cooking Crock-Pot. A very bright Crock-Pot.
It’s been a few weeks since time made itself available for me to sit down and type out a little diddy, mostly because last Saturday was a work day at churchy. The week before we had some sort of in-home crisis involving formula and the resulting “processed” formula (if you catch my drift). I was reading a collection of essays by English author Nick Hornby, who makes the suggestion that parents should give each other a bunch of “2 hours of uninterrupted reading” certificates at Christmas. Hornby says that it may seem corny but to a parent of multiple children, it is worth a small fortune. I would agree and would also add that kids are a great joy and should be avoided at regular intervals, for the sake of retaining sanity.
It’s because my sister-in-law is having a baby; that’s why Emily has left the house for the day. Oh, sister is not having the baby today. Instead, they are all participating in some sort of ceremonial gathering of women involving gender declarative wrapping paper and “awwwwwwwws” as the mother-to-be lady holds a tiny outfit up to her convex stomach, which houses a womb, which houses a small miracle, which is to be avoided at regular intervals upon arrival.
I hope it doesn’t sound mean or insensitive to say that a couple has a child and should cook up strategies for avoidance. A statement like that sounds utterly absurd to some people, all of whom do not have children. To those of us who have “joined the club” and “conceived” (if you know what I mean), it is true. You are a parent for 24 hours a day and 7 days a week; there is no release from your job. Ev. Er. You hold a child close and snuggle them, taking in that new baby smell, a delightful amalgam of joy and newness that refreshes the soul. The next thing you know, the new baby smell is replaced by new output smell and is joined by a new baby sound — screaming — and you do the parental thing and change them, hoping to 1. comfort them and 2. comfort you. It works, but only for about 9 seconds (if you happen to have one of my kids), which is how long it takes for the whole process to cycle again. As you can imagine, this can get a little old after a while. It’s not all bad, though. Thankfully, for you parents-to-be out there, the newborn infant fully respects both your schedule and the time of day, and would never even think of waking you up during your much needed 8.5 hours of sleep per night. The child will also respect Saturday mornings, noting that you have worked all week so that they can eat and have dryness near their bum-sides, and wouldn’t think of interrupting your slumber before 10AM. Also, they don’t drool on your stuff. While I’m being a sarcastic blogger by saying this, I will sum up this short idea by declaring with great boldness that the commandment about remembering the Sabbath has a new, refreshing sound to a parent who has been around the block a few times.
Emily is at the baby shower with Zach, the new one who totally respects our way of living. This leaves Lexi, Mac and me back in Spring Arbor. Right now, Lexi is enjoying the abundant sunshine which continues its appearance here in 49283. Malachi is playing a video game involving Bob the Builder. Have you seen this guy on PBS? Bob is a stop-motion animated handy-man who has a tendency to find himself always in crisis. “Hey, Bob”, one of his talking machines might say, “Farmer Pickles needs a new tool shed, and he wants you to build it”. Bob immediately springs into action, drooling like a bell has been rung, drawing up blueprints and ordering supplies from his local lumber yard (Bob buys local), much to the appeasement of Farmer Pickles. In the middle of the project, however, everything falls apart because one of his personified construction characters gets lost in the woods or falls into the scrap yard compactor or something. It all works out in the end, right down to the cast laughter to closing credits motif, a classic Television formula that has been in full swing since the Carter Administration. Thanks to countless episodes watched, I can now easily spot a Bob the Builder plot structure and offer Malachi a fairly accurate foreshadowing of what is to come, though he doesn’t appreciate it. He just likes Wendy. Oh, and by the way, Wendy and Bob have some tensions between them that we parents pick up on rather quickly. They’re not married, nor are they dating. But Wendy clearly cares about Bob and Bob clearly cares about construction, so it’s a pretty standard High School crush. Oh, Bob…. will you ever see that what you want is right there, a lovely stop-motion woman who cares about you, likes construction and machinery, and who is cherished by all of your talking earth-movers? What more do you need? What’s the deal, Bob? Can’t commit? You need to guest on stop-motion Dr. Phil and get that worked out, buddy. Your clock is ticking; so is hers. So is Dr. Phil’s by the way. Maybe you can build him a chicken coop. That’s why the call it “the trades”, Bob.
Lexi is now singing in the sunshine, some song about laaaaaaaa and oooooohhhh. I’m going to try and record it for the album, because it’s the sound of pure joy from a child. Sunshine does something to her, an almost prozac-ian relaxation that brings effervescence both to her and her daddy. I’m going to join her now, because it’s Saturday and that’s what I do on Saturdays.