Wednesday, September 2, 2009

i just saw a pirate in the library (or, how our kids change our perspective)

i just saw a pirate in the library.

i hope the gentleman with the eye patch, no doubt recovering from some injury or surgery or vision trouble, will forgive me for my first thought when i saw him. luke wasn't even with me. nor was he with me when i left the library and passed a fire truck and barely stopped myself saying out loud, "look! a fire truck! and it's blue!"

i think i used to be a compassionate person. i'd like to think that, before i had kids, if i saw someone with an eye patch, i thought about how unpleasant that would be (and at the library reading, with just one eye!) or i thought about the eye patch my mom once endured. i suspect that, before i had kids, if i saw a fire truck, i wondered to what emergency it was racing or whether anyone was hurt (or probably whether a traffic hold up was in my very near future).

but now, six years after (after, you know, my whole new world), a man with an eye patch is automatically a pirate. a fire truck is excitement (is it a pumper? a hook-and-ladder?).

they (who are they, anyhow?) say having kids changes you. and how.

when i read the reports of the toxic drug cocktail that likely killed michael jackson, i know well every single one of those drugs and its side effects. when i hear of a dear friend's father having breathing trouble, i understand intimately the weaning process from ventilator to c-pap and the important statistics of pressure support and oxygen percentages. and when i see a friend in the parking lot at school who also lost her baby girl and she says she's doing well--having a good first week of school and so on--i know what she's not saying. what we're both not saying.

having kids changes you. indeed.

changes your friends, for sure. (don't have kids yet? you'll see.) changes your priorities, no doubt. (my new job this time around? no sweat. don't like my work? okay, i've got more important things to do anyhow.) changes your habits, certainly. (for dinner? whatever it is, it'll include carrot sticks all around.) changes your heroes. (kindergarten teachers, pediatricians, mommy-friends...and dump truck drivers, sanitation workers, and airplane pilots, too.) changes your hobbies (i remember when emailing used to be work. now it's my salvation...ahem, my connection to the outside world.) changes your love language--have you read that book? (make me a meal or do my laundry or clean my house? you're also my hero, and i know you love me.)

i like to think i'm a better person for those changes, though perhaps my pirate friend would disagree. i like to think i know better what's important: why swimming lessons trump editing work every time, why an excellent picture of a wriggly child is worth oh-so-much more than a thousand words or many dollars, why a comfy chair in a messy living room is so much more appealing than a stiff chair in a tidy one, or why chocolate chip cookies taste even better when eaten sprinkled with tears.


Patricia Berman said...'re good Daniele. And if I lived closer, you would be having steak, baked potatoes and carrot sticks for dinner tonight.

Patricia Berman said...

Oh...and the man would probably laugh at being thought of as a pirate. I know I would have!