I'm still looking for the right photo to match this post. And I'm still looking for the Fidg at 21 months. Time isn't my friend these days, my little one.
It's 2012 and you are two months shy of two years old. You speak in sentences now. Sometimes they seem very complex for someone so little.
This week, we weathered our first bout of family stomach flu. It was a New Year's gift from your god-cousin, Lucas. We knew what we were risking and gambled anyway. Sorry about that. I'm usually a real stickler for minimizing exposure, not sure why I rolled the dice this time except we so rarely get to see your godmommy, Debbie, that we went for it. I'm still glad we were able to visit with her. It's been a long, trying week. I'm not sure when the house will feel germ-free again. This was, without a doubt, the part of parenting I've dreaded since . . . always.
But enough of that, let's get on to what I wanted to say to you at this time of new beginnings and yearly renewal.
I've been thinking about resolutions - everyone does at this time of year and 90% of those resolutions involve hitting the gym and recommitting to fitness. This is why I take January off from the gym. That and I'm lazy.
But it's made me think about things I'd like for you - if I could resolve to do things on your behalf (meaning both to do things for you and to make promises for you). These are some important things I want for you. I'm sure I've mentioned some before, but I'll repeat them anyway:
1.) Learn to write and write often. There is no other skill in the world that will get you farther or get you more than writing clearly, effectively, and, if you can, beautifully, too.
2.) Art is the only permanent thing and the only universal truth. Art is pretty hard to define. It's beautiful, though frequently in unconventional ways. Maybe I mean beauty is the only universal truth and it's most frequently captured in art, which can take many forms and be conveyed in many media.
3.) After art, I think Olympic accomplishment is a universal truth. Your mom's a sucker for the Olympic games. They may not be pure these days, but if there is a medal given to someone who hasn't used some unfair means of bettering herself or where the judging isn't questionable, then that's true human accomplishment.
4.) Don't get bogged down in things. You come from a line of people prone to saving receipts because they might be needed or that dinner was particularly memorable. Maybe there'll be a museum dedicated to me in the future and that receipt will be important, but probably not. Don't save too many receipts. Don't buy too many things from the dollar bin. Don't buy a large house when a small one is fine. Don't get wrapped up in your stuff. It will take up too much of your time. Little of it will be art and, as we've discussed, art is lasting. The other stuff might be around a long time, but it won't be to your advantage.
5.) Money is freedom. Some people might argue with this. There are many idioms about money: it doesn't buy happiness. It doesn't buy love. I firmly believe, however, it can buy you freedom. Freedom from having to work to pay your debts. Freedom from having to work for someone or something you don't like. Freedom from worry about things like obtaining healthcare, food, or shelter. Freedom to ensure your friends, loved ones, and fellow man can access healthcare, food, or shelter. You can do a lot with money, but make sure you are using it as a tool and it's not using you as a slave. Your mom has violated the crap out of items 4 and 5 on this list and my pursuit of stuff has rendered me with much less money and, therefore, much less freedom. I hope, desperately, to teach you to be unlike me in these regards.
6.) You really probably should work to your potential but don't confuse that with work efficiently. Let mommy tell you about the frogs. See, in kindergarten, there was an assignment to count the number of frogs on a worksheet, write the number on the line, and then color in the frogs. So mommy counted the frogs (there were twenty), wrote the number down, and then took an orange crayon and colored across the whole sheet of paper which had the effects of coloring all the frogs without having to spend time on each individually. My teacher was displeased. I couldn't understand the problem since the frogs were now colored and I was the first to finish my assignment. This has always struck me as my defining anecdote but my view on what it means changes sometimes. I still think working efficiently is best. But make sure you're going to something productive with that saved time. All the times I got away with taking the shorter route because I was blessed to write A papers the night before they were do or cram for the last minute to get a good-enough grade on the test, well, that might have made me less able to really buckle down and put in effort where I wanted to make something the best I could make it. Look at mommy's attempt at crafts, you'll see what I mean. Mommy wants to do more, it's just hard for her to actually do more. I think there's potential I'm not meeting and, after hearing that I should be working to my full potential so frequently as a child, it's finally registering as perhaps an important thing to do. Or it was all lies designed to get me to have a healthy self-esteem. Who knows.
7.) Have patience. It's very, very hard for your mommy and she has a feeling that all this rushing will eventually be shown to have been pointless and she'll be a super-bummed 80-something year old.