Sage: 29 Months

I missed the date again. Yesterday was a super-busy day. Your Gramma and Poppa came over to our house to help out with a lot of projects, which meant you got to see two of your favorite people all day. You helped Poppa saw some wood… and you were then very concerned that “It bwoke!”

This past month, we took you on a vacation that I wonder if you will remember at all. You’re at the age where your “first memories” are probably forming, and I really can’t help but think that maybe something from “da big, big boat” will stick in your amazing mind.

I’m putting together a travelogue for you to read some time with all the things that we saw and did on the Caribbean cruise. In that, I’ll be talking about specific events, but a few things were more general, and that’s what I thought I’d write about today.

At first, on the boat, you were shy. We ate breakfast at the buffet every morning, and there were lots of workers (I think they were officially “assistant waiters/waitresses”) who would stop by to say hello. You would shy away the first few days, but you started saying hi back after a while. Inevitably, they would ask your name. We’d have to prompt you… and then we’d have to repeat your name for them. Many of them were not familiar with the name. Eventually, you started volunteering that right away.

After one particular stop, you decided to volunteer even more information, and then you’d strike up a conversation about it. Eventually, if someone said “Hi,” you’d often respond with a huge flurry of words: “My name is Sage. I have a tiawa. It changes cuwwa in da sun. I have on spahkwy shoes. I eatin fwuit! Dis my mom an’ dad an’ Aunt Janet.”

By the time we got off the boat, you had a fan club. There were about a thousand “grammas” on the ship who all loved to say hello and talk to you. You charmed people with your “magic trick” of commanding the elevator doors to open… and insisting that the elevators were actually pronounced “awigatuhs.” You’ve learned your numbers well enough to know which button to press if we told you what floor we were going to. You remembered locations well enough that you knew that one hallway was the “whisper hallway” where we had to be quiet. (We were often passing by rooms in which we were pretty sure the occupants were still sleeping while we were on our way to breakfast.)

You had a great time on the boat, and in ports; you played in pools, you saw lizards, you fed fish (you still remember that you saw a “big snapper”)… you read new books and cried when we had to return them to the ship’s library.

You were so full of joy and wonder, Sage, that it helped me remember that life is so much better when lived that way.

You’re definitely two, by the way. You’ve started trying to justify things, even if you don’t have a good justification.

“Sage, stop that.”
“It’s just me — Sage!”
“I know who you are, I’m telling you to stop.”
“I’m just banging my cup on my tway.”
“I know. I want you to stop banging your cup on your tray.”
“I’m just banging it a wittuh bit.”

On the other hand, you do show us that you’re really listening to us sometimes. You developed a habit of fake-crying when you wanted to get out of bed. For a couple nights in a row, recently, you’d deliberately throw one of your toys out of your crib and then start fake-crying and calling for me. As soon as I’d open the door, you’d stop crying and say, very casually, “Hi, Daddy. Bwue Baby feww on da fwoh. I fwew her.” Then, on Saturday, you did that during your nap. I told you, gently but firmly, “You need to stop that. It’s not okay to throw your toys out and then pretend to cry. If you fake cry, it makes it harder for me to believe you when you do cry. You take Blue Baby, and you lie down, and you take a good nap, and you stop fake-crying. Okay?”

You said, “Okay.”

On the next day, when you woke up at the end of your nap, you called out, “Daddy? Daddy? Hewwo? Wheyuh aaaaaah you? . . . Daddy, I not cwyin’. I not cwyin, Daddy.”

You make me so proud!

I’ve been struggling to figure out what advice to give you this month (other than “Be who you are,” of course), but I finally realized that it was right in front of me.

Take real vacations.

This is a somewhat privileged piece of advice to give you. Not everyone can take vacations like we just took, and in fact we had special circumstances that allowed it. But it’s all too common for people in our culture to take vacations that don’t really allow them to relax — vacations where you have to go, go, go, and do, do, do. Sometimes those are fun regardless of how tired you are at the end of them. But sometimes, take a vacation where you really get to relax. One that rejuvenates you. If you get ready to go back to work at the end, and you feel like you need a vacation after your vacation — well, that’s not the kind that I’m talking about. Not every vacation can be completely relaxing, but sometimes, you need to do that. And not just literally, either — figuratively. Take figurative vacations. Figure out what’s making you busy and stressed, and take time away from it, even if it’s just a little time. We often fail to make time for ourselves, especially if we feel that doing so will just add to others’ stress. But you must take time for yourself, occasionally. I promise that if you find the right balance for that, everyone will be better for it.

I love you, Sage. Your mother and I both do. We are crazy about you; we think you’re the most amazing thing that ever happened to us. I’ll be honest — I don’t really care about your sparkly shoes, and I’m only moderately impressed by your tiara that changes color in the sun… but the sheer joy that you take in such things, and your desire to share that joy with others… you make me excited, and happy, and proud, and hopeful, all at once, and to such great heights. I love you!

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