Thursday, June 14, 2012

Random Reflections

Taran's second birthday is coming up in just a few weeks (?!) and Joe and I have been discussing what special things we want to get him. But observing him this week really cracks me up because our concept of a special toy and his concept of a special toy are vastly different, and honestly I have more respect for his point of view.

The bucket of rocks I picked up were a big hit and he's found all kinds of interesting things to do with them like dropping them in the sound hole of his guitar, attempting to lodge them in his ear canals and wear them as hats, learning about the basic principles of balance and physics...

The cheese cracker is an essential component in this balancing act - without it all would be lost.

For the most part, I really love seeing what enjoyment he gets out of everyday household objects. Of course, I'd be a little happier (or at least less mortified) if he weren't so fascinated with things like my dirty underwear.... or my box of tampons. Sorry, I know, TMI.

On the less gnarly and embarrassing side, he can make a violin out of anything. This morning he was supremely pleased to be holding "two violins!!" at once. Just in case you have trouble distinguishing what are violins and bows in the following picture, the violins are the wooden frying pan and the blue shovel, the bows are the french press handle and the drumstick.

There is nothing quite so lovely as the imagination of a two year old....

But dinners with Joe come pretty close. The thing about being an academic is that the job never ends. This means that Joe works every night of the week except Saturday, our date night. But honestly I look more forward to our evening ritual of dinner together, after Taran is down and before Joe starts work again, than I do of our date night. Date nights can be pretty lame affairs - we are usually wiped out come Saturday so we aren't game for doing much exciting. Last week I think we did half a NY Times crossword and then I passed out on the couch while Joe practiced guitar.

But I cherish the chance to connect over dinner and share all the little details of our day. I'm really touched by how sacred Joe holds this ritual, no matter how busy he is. Most of the time, the conversation runs towards the mundane but every once in a while, a question gets raised that leads to some surprising revelations. Tonight, randomly, I asked Joe if he would have gotten a tattoo, what would it have been -  About 9 years ago I got a tattoo in a parlor in Grenwich Village in NYC. I'd been thinking about it for three years prior, but the decision to do it at that moment was impulsive, like many other things I do. The tattoo is of a phoenix, for all the obvious symbolism. - Anyway, his response: A line from the Maya Angelou poem "Still I Rise". I was a bit floored because it's the verbal equivalent of my tattoo and I never even knew he'd had that thought. 

It was interesting to hear what drew him to the poem, how it struck a chord in him on what it meant to have a sense of pride in oneself. In Chinese culture, and definitely in his family, being prideful is not  encouraged. But as a teenager, he realized the value and the importance of pride, not as a boastful thing, but as a healthy love for oneself. So we listened to the Maya Angelou poem together and then we went off to our respective corners in the house, he to work, and me to write this post. It was just a short, sweet moment, but I love that after half a decade, I'm constantly learning new things about this man. 

Father's Day is just two days away and the other thing I've been thinking about this week is how lucky Taran and I are to have this pride-ful, huge-hearted, fiercely loyal lion of a man in our lives. Thanks babe. I love you so much.


  1. Thanks! Your posts on fb about your trip have been cracking me up. Sounds so amazing. I'm jealous that Patty got to see you both. Boy do I miss you! Are you still away or are you home again. How does your garden grow? I think I saw a pepper plant in one of your photographs. Is that so? What else are you growing?

  2. I love this post so much. And it doesn't surprise me a bit that years later Joe is still revealing little gems about himself to you. That just seems so...Joe. Best yet is that your hearts and minds match so perfectly, right down to your choice of tattoo (er, imaginary tattoo for J). You two are one of my all time favorite people. So happy you have each other and created that gorgeous little boy. PS: That photo of Joe eating his noodles is totally awesome. :)

    1. I like the noodle photo too! He tends to make funny faces when he knows I'm taking a photo so I'm glad that the pic is more candid. Sometimes when I look at Joe, it reminds me of the scene in a Wrinkle in Time when Calvin O'Keefe takes off Meg's glasses and realizes how beautiful she is. Not that I need to take of his glasses to see his beauty, but that he doesn't see himself this way, so I like to capture photographs that show how I see him.
      I guess it's pretty great that you think highly of us, because the feeling is mutual. I'm so lucky that the men love each other like they do and have been friends for decades because then I got to know you both too. Life is all the richer for it!