Wednesday, January 5, 2005

Mommy dearest


"Mama. Mama. Mama. Mama. Mama."

My daughter has decided on an actual, first word. Close to a year after she started uttering her first, random words, she finally decided on one that she actually puts meaning into. And it's "mama". Probably not surprisingly. This happened just before Christmas.

A few days later she added another word. "Ama". For granny, you see. Not surprising, I guess, given it's practically the same word. And her grandmother did stay over Christmas.

Then she started calling her grandmother by her first name. And then her mother. And now there is a constant stream of seemingly random words streaming out of her, day and night. But with apparent thought attached to them. This morning, she pointed at her beach ball and called it a balloon.

Now I know that this is all hard enough for her. And its all great. Really. But when will she start calling for her dad?

Soon, right?

Monday, January 3, 2005

The calming effect of carpentry

OK, 11 days. Sloowly working my way back to a weeklog, and then maybe back to a blog. Oh, and I added the stupid post title field to quiet those that thought my feed was cryptic. No promises of relevance of the titles, but enjoy.

My mother-in-law stayed with us over the holidays, and consequently got the stomach flu with the rest of us, save my daughter, luckily. We also threw a fairly large dinner for our friends. So not to stressful, all in all. Actually, probably the most relaxed Christmas I've had in recent memory.

That was also helped by the fact that a few days before Christmas, I started building my daughter a new room. Before noon on day one, I thought I would also finish it before Christmas. I quickly abandoned that plan, though, and the wood became a source of contemplation. Of calm thinking. Reflection. There is something so peaceful about handling wood. Wielding it. Molding it. Perhaps not so quiet, especially when waving my new power tools around, trying to find use for them all, but serene. Albeit in a sometimes very loud way.

And I needed that. As I said, not so much because of holiday stress, but from the deep sense of loss and tragedy that my thoughts have been stuck in, ever since the news started coming in about the more than 150,000 people that perished on the shores of the Indian Ocean. I have been trying and trying to come to grips with all this loss of life. And the horrors that await the survivors. But it has left my exasperated. And numb. And sad.

So cobbling away at this room – hanging doors, putting in windows, connecting electricity, putting up sheet rock – has really helped to keep me grounded. Level and plumb, so to speak.

In addition to giving money, I have come to the conclusion that there is but one thing to do in the face of such loss, and that is to be resolute in living your own life well. Be generous, of spirit and in material sense, be a good person, as in towards others and to yourself, and live. Live, dammit, live! There is no one to be angry at here. There was no way to avert these floods. Yes, the loss of life could probably have been dramatically reduced with a warning system in place, but there was no malice, no agression, no ill will, no calculated decision. And that seperates it from the other, ongoing catastrophe. Which was wrong, was done in cold blood, and could have been averted. But has now been blessed by the majority of the people of this fattest, in every sense of the word, nation on Earth.

That is something much harder to come to terms with: The designed disaster.