The SamuraiMarine

Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Tag: Life

In my Son’s eyes…

Being a father has been an incredible journey for me.  There is really no other way to describe the way I feel about it.

My feelings about love, commitment, priorities, finances, etc… have all changed in the last 14 months since Gideon was born.   He dominates my every thought and is what I look forward to each day when I leave work for home.  And until he came along, I never knew that a person could feel that kind of love for another person.

Yes… I know, or at least hope, that what I am feeling is no different than what every parent feels for their child.   I understand that just because I am a new parent, that does not make me any more knowledgeable than anyone else.  But I like to think that I have been granted access to a secret room and all this new information has been made available to me for the first time.

Suddenly I am part of a community… a society of parents.

One of my greatest joys right now, it seeing things through the eye of my son.  Seeing things that I have become used to or dismissive of, that have taken on new meaning and new excitement to me, because now I am seeing with Gideon, for the first time, anew.

When he walks up to a flower and points at it, I see him starting to interact with the world around him.   And so now I get to experience this with him… the newness of the world as he sees it.   When he picks something up and holds it, it is with hands that have not held that object before, or may have but not knowing what it is or what it is called.  So I try to share that with him.

He is taking in so much and processing so many new things, it does not surprise me how he wears out so easy through the course of the day, and needs to take naps.  There is so much input going through that little mind, that I am certain he reaches points of overload and needs to just “shut down” for a while.

I also think I understand, now, why there is a statistical fact that people with children live a little longer than those without.   I think that our own internal clock gets a reset or recharge when we are raising a child.   Some of that youth or youthful thought process rubs off on us.  The fact that we have an excuse to act like children in order to play with our children has a rejuvenating affect.  It allows us to be kids at heart again.  And maybe this is just G-d’s way of saying… “Your doing a great job…  here are a few more years so you can keep up the good work.”

As always, I thank you for reading and, of course, sharing this journey with me.

With the best of intents…

How often have you ever been talking to a person that you have not seen in a while, then upon parting, you make that commitment that we all, or at least many of us, renege on?

I do not think that we intend to lie to a person when we tell them that we will call them later, or discuss the option of getting together sometime.  I believe that we make these plans with every intent on keeping them.  Then life just… gets in the way.  Other things happen and we keep pushing the effort to keep that promise off further and further, until, many times, it escapes our thought altogether, or at least until the next time we see them.

I am especially bad about this, and I know and admit it.  I cannot even count, anymore, the number of friends that I have let go because I have not made the effort to keep in touch.  I understand that friendship is a two-way street, and I should not be the only one that makes the effort.  But I should at least try.

It is not that I do not like these people, it is just, as I stated earlier, that life seems to get in the way.  Other things come up and take precedence over the option of calling others or writing letters to people.

As an example, let me tell you about a friend of mine.  He and I practically grew up together and were always hanging out in High School and on the weekends.  When we graduated from high school, we still got together all the time.  This lasted until he moved to Texas.  We were and are still as close as a phone call, but there is something that makes making that effort hard.  I am not sure what, but it is there.

Luckily, I guess, I am not alone.  Before writing this piece, I spoke to several people about this phenomena, and many said that they have had the same problem.  In some case people have even stopped staying in close contact with family members.  There are even a couple cases where the people I spoke to have family that live in the same town, and they still do not keep in touch.

I would like you, who are reading this now, to tell me your stories about this and why you think it happens.  Tell me, in your own words, what you do to justify it to yourself or to explain the reasoning away.  I am not trying to put any of you on the spot, but I would like to get your opinions on this.

Thanks for reading.

Gifts of knowledge…

When I went through my Bar Mitzvah ceremony, when I was thirteen, I was excited.  Not so much by the fact that I was going to be a “Man” in the eyes of the temple, but more because I knew that there would be gifts.

That is not to say that the ceremony meant nothing to me, on the contrary, it meant a great deal.  While I am sure that I was a constant source of challenge to Rabbi Peskind, in that I was a lazy student, I was excited that once this was completed I would be able to take a more active role in the temple.

After the ceremony, as I expected, came the gifts.  Most of these were checks, but there was also a ring to commemorate my Bar Mitzvah and there was a package.  It was heavy and solid.  My imagination was running wild about what it could be.

A Game?  Some tools?  A Model?

When I opened it, my heart sank.  It was a book, and worse yet, it was a dictionary.  I am embarrassed to say, even now, about 30 years later, that I was angry about this.  For months that book sat in a corner of my closet.  Never getting touched or looked at a second or third time.  I was treating it like the proverbial Fifth Horseman and I would have nothing to do with it.

Sometimes, I think, especially when we are young, we fail to see the importance of a gift, even when the person that gave it to you does.  So several month later, I was reading something in a paper and I came to a work that stumped me.  While I do not recall the word now, I do remember trying to break it down for it root meanings, but got nowhere.  So I asked my Mother what it meant.  Her response was:

“You have a dictionary in the closet… look it up.”

Suddenly I needed to come face to face with the 800 pound gorilla in the closet.  The big red book that I was loathing the mere existence of for so long.  As I picked up the book, the cold sweat broke out on my brow and down the center of my back.  I opened it to the page and, low and behold, there was the answer I needed.

While looking that word up, I found another that interested me, then another, and yet ANOTHER.  Suddenly, before I knew it, I was sitting in my bedroom reading a dictionary, much like one would read an Anne Rice novel (I would say a Stephanie Meyer novel for the younger readers, but I doubt there is much in her books that would require a dictionary.)

Today, on my shelf, a mere five feet from where I sit writing this piece, sits that very same dictionary.  Yes it is outdated and they are not that expensive, but there is something about that book that I just cannot bring myself to part with it.

You know how they say that you can never forget your first love?   I think that this might be the same thing.  To this day, that book means more to me than any of the other books on my shelves, short of the Torah, My Great-Great Grandmother’s Bible, and my Marine Corps Manual.

If there is a moral to this article… it would have to be to not discount the gifts of others.  Just because it was not what you wanted at the time, it does not mean it is not what you might need very soon.

Countdown to Fatherhood – T-Plus three weeks…

To all those that have been reading this series… I am truly sorry that I did not post this earlier.  Most of you already know this information, but there are a few that do not follow me on Facebook, so this is for all of you.

littlepicweb
littlepicweb

On January 17th, 2011, our son was born.

Name: Gideon Samuel Wright

Weight: 8lbs 13oz.

I cannot tell you the joy I felt when I first heard his crying over the din of the operating room, or the sense of pure wonder when our doctor raised the child up and showed my wife and I this little miracle that we created together.  This little person that is the product of mine and her love for one another.

As I write this, I hear this little bit of life in the other room crying as my wife changes his diapers.  Something that has become our primary hobby these days, and probably will be for some time to come.

I would like to thank all of you, my readers, that have commented to me on this, both publicly and privately.  All those who have shared their wishes with me and personal experiences.

I can honestly say that the adventure is just beginning.

Countdown to Fatherhood – T-Minus 3 weeks

Part IV…. The Meaning of Life.

One of the things that keeps popping in my head through the process of getting ready to be a father is the humor in it all.  Trust me, there is humor.

You see, I was brought up in a family that dwelt on the British style of humor.  That comedy that borders on the ironic and dry, yet has the subtle flavor of dignified slap-stick humor.  Stuff that looks at life and, no matter what the situation, makes fun of it.

Throughout the stages of acceptance and understanding, I have constantly looked at each part with a detached “WWJCD” attitude.  That would stand for “What Would John Cleese Do?”  For those of you who are not familiar with the name, please follow this link, or watch “A Fish Called Wanda.”

I have always looked at life a little on the side of the jester.  There is entirely too much seriousness in life as it is to take it seriously on a full time basis.  Every now and again you need to take a moment… go to a nice quiet place and let the part of you out, a part that we all have, that is stark raving mad.  You can even share that part with friends, but I will not promise that the outcome will be what you might be hoping for.

I hope that I will get to share and impart some of this philosophy with the child.  I hope that as we grow together, we can entertain Naty with a re-enactment of “The Parot Sketch” or cause friends and family alike to groan with embarrassment by doing the “Silly Walk” in public together.

I would like to raise the child to understand, as I was raised, that there are many things that you need to be mature and serious about, but that there are many many more that you should look at and treat as a under-seasoned herring, and liberally sprinkle it with the salt of humor and parody.

I hope that by the time our child is 18, they can not hear the phrase “It’s just a waffer thin mint” or “…and now for something completely different.” without busting up laughing.  Who will be able to hear the word “Bugger” or “Buggery” and laugh when the person using it has no clue what they are saying.

Life IS too serious.  There ARE to few times, anymore, that allow us to sit back and laugh so hard that our sides hurt, and if the present administration is any sign, it is only going to get worse.  So I hope that our child picks up on my feelings and types of humor and they become part of his or her id.

While I strongly suspect that this type of humor from our child may drive my Mother-in-Law over the edge, causing her to speak in tongues and generally pop a fuse, I think that it would be grand and uniquely beneficial to the little one.  It may also make for several interesting Parent/Teacher meetings when the child starts going to school.

The time is getting closer, folks…  While I have written these at around the T-Minus 10 weeks mark, one never knows how life is to be played out.  If there is a change, and the child comes early, then I will let these articles run their course, but I will also send out a special announcement to let you all know what it is and when it was born.

Thank you for reading.

Countdown to Fatherhood – T-Minus 4 weeks

It’s strange how things work out.  How you plan something, working out what you think are important details, then when you are actually at the point where the thing you had hoped and planned for, actually comes to pass… nothing you planned actually survives first contact with reality.

This is like the old saying, “No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.”  Only in this case there is no enemy, just the realization of our dreams.

Names.

One of the things that Naty and I spoke about for years was names for any children we might have.  We wanted to have names that were not JUST names for the sake of a name.  We wanted strong, powerful or meaningful names that the child would grow into and might, through understanding the origin of their name, strive to live a live that would pay honor or respect to their namesake.

My name, Samuel, was given to me for two reasons.  First, it was the name of my father and second, for Samuel the Prophet.  I am sure that my mother considered other names, but to her, she saw the name Samuel or, in Hebrew, Shmu’el, for me.  Likewise, my brother was given the name Benjamin, The Patriarch.  While neither of us became anything special or worthy of the history of the names we were given, they were strong names none the less.

When we spoke of naming our child, we thought, ever so briefly, of naming a boy Samuel.  But then we considered the lineage.  My Name is Samuel; my father’s name was Samuel, and the same with my Grandfather and great-grandfather.  Needless to say, there was some repetition in the choice of names.  So we decided that subjecting our child to the doomed title of the 4th was not an option.

One of the names that we thought of early for a boy was Ellery.  I have always liked that name, and I used to read the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine on a regular basis as well as watch the TV series of the same name, back a few years ago.  In spite of the popular and literary history of the name, it too has a good past and meaning.  So we were happy with that.

For girl’s names, there really was never a question about that.  It was always going to be one of two names.  It was going to be either Lydia Elizabeth or Daisy Faye, both names that paid homage to our families.  Lydia was for Naty’s mother and Elizabeth for my mother’s middle name.  Daisy was also to celebrate Naty’s mom by using the name she had as a child and Faye was for my Grandmother, on my mom’s side, who passed away when my mother was very young.

I am not sure why choosing a boy’s name was so much more difficult that picking a girl’s name, it just seemed like nothing worked until we found Ellery.

Reality sets in…

Everything you see written prior to this changed the moment we discovered that we were pregnant.  Prior to that point, it was all purely speculation, just thinking about what we would do if it actually happened.

We had been trying for some time, but since nothing was happening, we were getting to that point that most people get to at some point where we were just accepting that it would not happen to us. It was one of those things where we were not ready for our wish to actually be granted.  Suddenly the names that we had spent so much time thinking about and considering for their meaning and strength, we called into question.  “Did we really want to name a child this?” We asked ourselves, and then set about to rethink all our plans.

Looking through our past and through the various names we liked, we came up with our choices.  I will not post these here, the people who need to know what they are, know.  When they child is born and we know what sex it is, then we will name the child.  At that time, I will add a post welcoming the child into the world and sharing this new life with you. Let it be said for now, that the naming process… the selection of the names was not as easy as we thought it was.  There was a lot to consider, but I think we have some winners that will be strong names and will celebrate the family.

Guiding Friends

When you think of your friends or the kind of friend you are to others, how do you see yourself?

Are you one of those passive friends that occasionally gets together on special occasions but rarely sees your pals otherwise?  Maybe you are lucky enough to be one of those people that has many friends and you go out with them all the time and see them often enough that they are almost family to you.

No matter how you are or how you see yourself, how we are with our friends says a lot about us.

I like to think of friendship, TRUE friendship, as a way to extend the boundaries of your family.  As we draw these people into our lives, earn their trust, and in turn, they, ours.  We get to a point where the relationship is almost indistinguishable from another family member.

This does not apply to all our friends.  I mean, we all know people that we consider friends, but we would not leave our children alone with them for too long, or hand them the keys to the house and the new DB9 and go on a three week vacation.  Then again there are people I know well that, if I had or could afford one, I would not give them the keys to a DB9… Sorry Grant and Jackie.

But through these relationships you build, you are not just getting something from them, but you are giving something as well.  Good friendships are a two-way road, you both get something out of them and you both give quite a bit too.  You are guiding each other through the relationship.

If the friendship is right, it can sometimes lead to more, as in the case of my wife and I.  We started off and casual friends that really saw nothing in one another, that turned into a close friendship where we shared the details of our lives and then, eventually, into love and marriage.  We both feel that our friendship is the basis that makes our marriage strong.

I cannot think of anything in life that is quite as important as friendship.  I also think that it is also taken for granted more and more these days.  In part because of things like Facebook, MySpace, and social networking as a whole.  People just do not meet in person anymore, they meet online.  Even when people live in the same town and only a few minutes from one another, they will meet online when they could go visit each other.

Unfortunately, I have started to fall into this process as well.  I have two good friends and a sister that live within five minutes drive from me, yet we see and speak to each other in person rarely, and really, this is just a sign of where we are all heading and might just be the reason we have as many problems in society as we do.

Maybe if we spent more time sitting with one another over a beer or coffee, there would be less problems in the world and we could all be friends guiding friends.

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