"A man’s character always takes its hue, more or less, from the form and color of things about him."
“Every good artist paints what he is.” – Jackson Pollack
When I read this week’s quote, I was reminded that, at any given time, my life is a reflection of how I have been living it.
Last weekend, Momma Bird and I took Little Bird on a trip to see his cousins, aunt and uncle in Little Rock.
I have to tell the truth – I didn’t want to go.
After a week of little or no sleep, during which Momma Bird was recovering from a pretty nasty bout of the flu, I thought that going out of town for a weekend was going to upset the tiny bit of stability Little Bird had found.
A trip out of town would set up a stressful week ahead, too, I argued to Momma Bird, ticking off the busy schedule of the week ahead: Therapy appointments, repairmen scheduled nearly every day to fix the minor problems that had become major problems, a massive seminar for my day job for which I had barely started to put pen to paper, little league baseball starting up, Valentine’s Day, and so much more.
“Do you remember how you feel after a hard day working in the yard - tired and exhausted, but happy?” Momma Bird asked.
“Yes”, I replied, not sure at all where she was headed with this approach. (Momma Bird is a lawyer too, and sometimes our conversations can resemble a cross-examination).
“I was hoping a weekend in Little Rock could be like that – exhausting and tiring for sure, but happy and invigorating when we get home,” she explained.
I couldn’t argue with that, and so off we went.
I am so glad that we did. It was an incredibly relaxing and chill weekend – reminding me how easy it is to enjoy time with our family in Little Rock.
Little Bird survived 10 hours in a car (round trip), and had a chance to spend more time with his cousins – Goose is 2 and a half, and Otter is just about to turn 1. (You will hear more about these amazing little guys in future posts.) The weekend with family was really easy and fun – and good for all of us.
On the drive home, Momma Bird and I agreed that giving Little Bird more opportunities to interact with the world might be the single best thing we could do right now to encourage his development. Throughout the week, we made sure to do just this. Here are just a handful of the new experiences that Little Bird had:
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Little Bird has had a great week. He has thrown up less. He has eaten more. He had less constipation. He cooed a lot more (we have had several “coo-versations” back and forth across the house). He is more intent in studying the faces of everyone in the family. He generally seems happier and more confident in himself and in life.
If Jackson Pollack is right, and we paint what we are, then the strain and stress I was experiencing 2 weeks ago was just a reflection of what I was: a nervous and hesitant new daddy unsure of himself and hesitant about the big changes Little Bird has brought – and will bring – to our family.
This week, I am taking down the old painting, and putting up a new – and blank – canvas for the week ahead…