Friday, July 01, 2005


Yesterday morning I dropped Orion off at daycare. He was excited. They've been spending their mornings-- singing their songs and reciting the alphabet and reading flash cards-- all while splashing around in a circle of wading pools. He's picking up words. In the grocery store he'll excitedly shout out 'fish', or 'water' or 'milk'. We've been reading together at night. Pretty soon he'll be making sentences and by then, linear thinking will have set in and his other processes will be lost. The world will seem a more predictable place to him. Cause and effect.
On the other hand, books will become much more than objects.
They will be larger inside than out, places he can step into at will.
Doors close, doors open.

I picked up Ben, who was treating me to the day's first showing of War of the Worlds. We hit a thrift store on the way. I found several hard covers in beautiful condition each for one dollar:
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
Darkness Visible by William Golding
The Hidden Life of Dogs by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
Driving Blind by Ray Bradbury (I already have, but will be nice to give)
Blue Afternoon by William Boyd
and a book for Aubrey---Making Movies by Sidney Lumet

We sat in the darkened theater, enjoying the anticipation, almost like waiting in line for the roller coaster. You hoped the ride would be good. You could only go once, for the first time. (I'll be seeing this one again on Tuesday, with Aubrey.) I wondered what kinds of movies she'd be seeing as an adult, and what might be on screen when Orion is older. I wandered, for a minute into the possibility that things would be changed and there wouldn't be theaters all over showing films that cost millions of dollars to make. Things could go very bad, very fast. I think of that line in "Road Warriors"...."remember lingerie?" Oh, I hope not. The larger view can be daunting.
Maybe these thoughts are products still of the recent earthquakes. Maybe it's my haunting pessimism----things have been going well for us in America for a long time now. Too long? I'm not planning to go around worrying about things I have no control over, like earthquakes. Maybe it's because we live in a desert, thinly contained by artificial means. Maybe it's because it's summer, when we are acutely aware that both adults in this household are self-employed artist types, skimming by.
But mostly I think it's because Phillip got his deployment orders for Iraq in September and I am brave only by reminding myself that I am no different from thousands of other scared parents.

I can never seem to escape the feeling that we all live in a house of cards.

Carpe diem


Carl V. Anderson said...

What, no comments on the movie? :)

Please know that Phillip is in our prayers and I can speak for both Mary and I that we are immeasurably proud of and humbled by those who would risk their lives to serve our country. With all sincerity, thank you, Phillip.

Derek Ash said...

This is neither the time nor the place to posulate on opinions of our government, or our country-men's duties to heed the calls of war. What this is, is a time to recognise what the essence of parenthood is: the one thing we probably still hold most in common with the animals of this world, which is simply fearing for our babies until we die, and fearing for the babies of those around us.

I'm very rarely a nice person. I'm not a particularly good samaritan, American, Christian, Buddhist, vegetarian, or friend. I'm usually a Rat Bastard, and I don't believe in God, per se.

But I'll pray to anything else you want me to and keep your son in mind.

Because even though its in our essence, really the root of our biological drive and nature, I wish that parents didn't have to fear for their babies quite so much in this day and age.

lisa said...

Thanks Carl. The movie? I really try to avoid movie reviews, but I'll say that it was frightening (which is a rare thing, for me) and a pretty good ride. I especially liked the narrative bookends.

To Really Rather Not Nice: I think you're right on the money. I'm not a religious person either. I like to think I'm open minded, but my highest beliefs are all deeply rooted in science.
I disagree with our government's policies. I am often ashamed to be an American and my son struggles with frustration every day. But I do know that he believes what he is doing is right, and necessary. His struggles and his willingness to remain fast help me see the man he is becoming.
Becoming. Yes, he is still my child, and I am afraid for all of them.
This is our reality. Mostly, we can try to stay sane and step through it.

K said...

Yes, I'll be holding you and your family in my thoughts as well. This is such a worrying time, and it's so much worse for the people whose children are trying to sort the mess out. Somebody has to, but I'm sure there isn't a mother alive who wouldn't prefer it not to be her own child that does it.

(As a Christian, an avid reader of the New Scientist, and someone who tries very hard to think herself into the other person's shoes, I agree pretty much exactly with RRNN.)

And I'm glad you didn't say too much about the film, because I haven't seen it yet!

Anonymous said...

....Carpe diem..indeed...

..Just trying to catch up with many, many months of missing your journal. Still such very, very good work---troooooly missed it..