Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Stark Contrast

Last night I had to explain the word "executed" to Jack. As in, "We have a confirmed report that Saddam Hussein was executed fifteen minutes ago."

The news this week is filled with death. Saddam Hussein. President Ford. James Brown. The family from Cedar Hills, Utah, that was lopped in half by a drunk driver (the mother and two children were killed, the father and two other children survived).

While reporters are recounting the atrocities Saddam Hussein committed during his lifetime and interviewing people who are either celebrating or utterly indifferent to his death, they are recounting wonderful things about Gerald R. Ford, James Brown and the family from Cedar Hills, who has expressed an amazing spirit of forgiveness toward the man who shattered their lives.

In this new year (and forevermore), may we all strive to live our lives doing lots and lots and lots of good and very little harm.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Dog + Breath

Ah, another proud parenting moment. We're sitting in church yesterday and Jack is busy writing on a yellow pad. I look over and read "dog + breath = dogbreath."

I choose to see three good things about Jack reflected in this: (1) he's becoming a very good speller, (2) he's been doing really well in math and clearly recognizes the elements of a sound equation, and (3) he values having a sense of humor.

I'll miss seven-year-old Jack when he turns eight.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Don't Call Me Sweetie

The other day Jack had a couple of friends over, and I happened to call him "sweetie" in front of everyone. He just glared at me and very firmly said in a low voice through clenched teeth, "Don't call me sweetie."

It's so fun to watch him grow up, but gosh darn it, moments like those are a kick in the gut.

For some random reason I was thinking recently about what it would be like to be in a witness protection program. What it would mean to give up so many things that our lives are built on, like family and friends. And what it would feel like to go by another name.

Roger has always said that he doesn't feel particularly attached to his first name. I don't think I'd have a problem calling him something else.

I've always had such an unusual name--Margy pronounced with a hard G. I never knew exactly what a "Margy" was supposed to be like. Growing up I sometimes wished I had a "normal" name. In second grade I tried turning in my homework with my then dream name, Kathy, but my teacher turned it back to me and said she would not give me credit until I put my proper name on it. I've grown into my name over the years, so it would be strange to go by something else. But I'd adapt.

Jack, however, is a different story. When we went to the hospital to meet him for the first time, we brought along two possible names: Jack if we thought he could live up to it and Stephen if we thought he'd appreciate us playing it on the conservative side. When we looked into his eyes for the first time (well, one eye, then the other, and then finally both at the same time), we knew he was Jack.

I cannot even begin to imagine what we'd call him if we couldn't call him Jack. Sweetie is apparently no longer an option.