Once we were able to hear the news we found out that 660,000 people were out of power within the surrounding area and the outages are ongoing 6 days later. Although I received a text from neighbors this evening letting me know the power was back on, we decided to stay put through the weekend. As it turns out two of Joe's closest high school buddies are also in town this week with their wives and kids who are all within week/months of Taran's age. Plus, we planned to have family drive down to see us on Saturday to celebrate Taran's second birthday, but it seems sort of silly to have them drive down in two days when we are right here, right now. So anyway, we walked into the house on Saturday morning and my father-in-law informed us that our area of Columbus and surrounding states had experienced a "Dorito". I was a bit bewildered to what he was referring but it turns out there is a storm system called a "Derecho". ("You say Dorito, I say Dorecho"...la la la). Who knew? No one I've talked to has ever heard of such a thing so I certainly don't fault the man for being a bit perplexed by the name. But it was quite serious and winds reached upwards of 90 miles an hour. I guess that explains it. It couldn't have been a more perfect week for the power outage to happen - I'll spare you the details and just say that any other week it would have been impossible to leave with work, but this week, all the stars aligned or something and Joe and I were both able to leave with not too much finagling. And Taran couldn't be more thrilled. As far as he's concerned every morning at Ye Ye and Nai Nai's is Christmas morning. So he's been waking up at 5 am and immediately asking to see them. I keep trying to explain that waking up earlier won't help him to see them any faster, because despite the force and enthusiasm of their love for him, they still manage to sleep until a reasonable hour so he might as well do the same. So far, this message has not struck home. I do love that he loves being around family so much. He's just been this radiant ball of joy since we got here. An exhausted ball, but a radiant one.
Sometimes his unbridled enthusiasm can lead to some sticky spots. This seems to be particularly true when it concerns his interactions with other toddlers. I love that he wants to "hold the hand" of everyone he meets. And for those who are old enough to be amused by this, it's no problem. Yesterday at the playground, for example, he heard a couple of boys talking on a platform high above us. He of course wanted me to take him up to investigate and before I had even finished climbing the ladder he said to one of the eleven-year olds perched up there..."hold the hand?"
Luckily, the boy was super friendly and great with little ones and was totally pleased to hold Taran's hand and play with him.
I think the distinguishing feature for when it's been ok and when it hasn't comes down to body size. Taran will very nicely ask to hold the hand, but then, without waiting for an answer, he will snatch the unsuspecting victims hand up and shoot off in a mad tear, unwilling participant bumping along behind him. Not surprisingly, this has led to a few tears being shed by the small, hapless participee in question (yes, I know, it's not a word and spell check is yelling at me, but you know what I mean). To see Taran's face in response is totally heartbreaking. He's totally crushed and upset that whatever friend he's wanting to be near is a) crying and b) doesn't want to hold his hand. Ugh. This is not one of the joys of parenting. Because how do you explain to a not-quite-yet two-year old about boundaries?! I was totally in an out-of-perspective funk after this happened several times this week with different children, thinking "Are these the kinds of experience that put a black spot on our souls? When our joy and our passion run face first into a wall, is that how we get jaded?" Yes I know, I know, totally melodramatic. Blame it on the sleep deprivation. But seriously. Our kids will have to have their feelings crushed sometimes in learning about the world and learning to exist harmoniously in relationship to others. As I was driving along pondering all this one day, a song came on my cd player that the whole family loves, including Taran (It's the best when he tries to sing along without knowing the words and his mouth is opening and closing in an imitation of singing with a lot of made up words thrown in). The words reminded me that life is a double-edged sword and that the beauty in life can only be experienced because we also know pain. Somehow it felt like Taran was sending me a message in loving the song. Like he understood what the song was saying and that he chooses to eat life in all it's complexities. I know... deeper than a two year old is capable of. But I felt better after I had the thought.