The Beautiful Normal

17 September 2013 by Conor Published in: Family Life, Musings Tags:, , 63 comments

It’s fall! And we’re in New Canaan, Connecticut, did I tell you that? We moved back in May after our crazy year in LA, though I’m beginning to suspect that every year in LA is a crazy year.

We probably didn’t make it any less crazy by living in Hollywood, I should add. Like, The Hollywood – and throw in the fact that driving Finn to preschool involved passing a whole lot of shops that sold things that you wouldn’t even be able to mention on basic cable, let alone want your four year old son to see, but I’ll tell you what: there are no hurricanes in LA, and for that we were grateful.

I’ve been doing a lot of writing stuff but just not on this blog. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m a Grand Master at putting pressure on myself. Which means I never seem to write a blog entry unless I think I have some grand and wise to say. Well, I woke up the other day and realized what you have all known for many years, which is that I never really have anything grand or wise to say. (Unless I have an open bottle of Snapple and I can check the lid and tell you that a strawberry is not really a berry but a banana is (say wha??) or that a worm has five hearts.

I also love writing for the Huffington Post, but that too I’ve been lax on, in favor of other stuff I’ve been doing. I’m also not sure I can deliver all those articles with snappy headlines (“10 Ways to Make Your Life Perfect in the Next 20 Seconds” and “14 Ways of Knowing if Your Hair is on Fire”), though I do like to try.

Anyway, that’s not to say stuff isn’t going on around here.

It is.

All kinds of stuff.

For example, Finn and Lucy are 4 and 2 years old, and they started pre-school. That’s Lucy’s first day of school ever. There’s something about that for a parent, letting your child go off to school, and peeking at them through the window while they play with other kids. I’m not sure what makes it so beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. Do other animals get all teary when their young head off into the woods to search for grubs?

I think it’s that it’s the first time I was seeing Lucy as a real person, rather than just an extension of myself. Liz and I have been so blessed to be able to work from home, and maybe in the back of my mind I thought that Lucy was only Lucy when I was there. I don’t think I ever believed that her huge personality could be brought out into the world and shared with other people.

Because that’s the thing about kids, isn’t it? They develop who they are at a really young age, and they stick to it, but the real beauty comes when you hear others confirming it.
For example, a couple of days ago Finn and Lucy knocked heads, and Finn got a black eye. It was pretty shocking to see, actually – a black eye is a pretty dramatic thing. For one thing, it makes you look super tough. That night at dinner I was trying to get Finn to eat his peas and he said he didn’t want them, except this time he had that tough-looking black eye, and so I didn’t push it.

What I knew, though, was that while it was painful in the moment, that there was really no greater gift Finn could get than to be able to walk into school sporting a black eye. The attention! Lordy. Everybody wanted to know more. I encouraged him to say that he had encountered a bear in the kitchen and he beat it up, but he insisted on telling the truth, because that’s Finn – he can’t lie – and so he said his sister gave it to him. Then Lucy would come twirling into the room in a little tutu and it sort of ruined the toughness effect.

Those are the memories that are sticking with me these days. Not whether we are living in LA or in Connecticut, not the seasons or the nice weather or our careers or where we go on vacation. It’s those kids, and being able to share that with Liz. Makes me happy just thinking about it.

Comments

  1. Tue 17th Sep 2013 at 8:07 am

    Welcome back to the East Coast! You visited my school in New Canaan, CT, last year– St. Luke’s School. Jackson Prince was our student body president last year, and we were very lucky to have you speak with our students. Hopefully we can have you back again, now that you’re right in our backyard!

    Jim Yavenditti
    Director of Studies
    St. Luke’s School

    Reply
    • Conor  –  Tue 17th Sep 2013 at 8:10 am

      Hey Jim- Back again? You’ll need to set up a concrete barricade to keep me out. I live a mile down the road – I’m going to be hanging out in the lobby.

      Reply
  2. Marcy Prager
    Tue 17th Sep 2013 at 8:13 am

    These “captured” moments in words will enthrall Lucy and Finn when they are adults. My children, 29 and 24, still love to hear their childhood “moments” that I can recall. And they still read their writing and look at the drawings they drew when they were young. I kept everything! Children fill our lives, always.

    Reply
    • Conor  –  Tue 17th Sep 2013 at 8:20 am

      That’s what I love about iPhones – all the little videos we get of the kids. No doubt they’ll want to delete 90% of them, of course…

      Reply
  3. Tue 17th Sep 2013 at 3:23 pm

    I hated peas as a kid. My dad would make me sit at the table until I finished. I couldn’t. They made me gag. I still hate peas, and I still resent my dad making me eat them. I do love broccoli though! Just my 2 cents on one of my childhood memories.

    Reply
    • Conor  –  Tue 17th Sep 2013 at 8:45 pm

      My kids love broccoli! I don’t get it – how can you get that stuff down? DNA isn’t everything I guess…

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