Friday, December 17, 2010

Adult Conversations

We had some friends over last night for dinner, which we hadn't done in ages (about 15 months), and the girls behaved beautifully - minus a little meltdown at bath time. But can you blame them, who wants to leave the party to go wash behind their ears? They proudly waddled around showing everybody their toys and how things worked, making sure to wrap each of them around their little fingers as they do so well. You know that children take on the mannerisms of their parents, otherwise we wouldn't have those cliche sayings such as "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" or "she's her mother's daughter/father's son", but it's still crazy to see yourself so much in someone that young. Gina and I are entertainers by nature. Gina loves to go all out and make everyone happy and comfortable be it through food or conversation. I, on the other hand, am a board certified schmoozer; as happy as a clam bouncing from conversation to conversation, handshake to handshake throwing out one liners and compliments like they're mardi gras beads in New Orleans. Our daughters are very much the same. There's a group of people other than Mom and Dad and they happily bounce from person to person, comfortably working the room like they've been trained to do it. It was very cute to see. Now this wasn't a rager of a party, just a couple of friends, but in our small place it feels like a packed room, so after the girls went down to bed it turned in to more of an intimate conversation at the table (trying to keep our voices down but occasionally told we were being too loud by a well placed Genevieve scream). There was one point of conversation, though, that I really wanted to share with you here, involving the parabola of aging and our reflections on the world around us. One of our friends is finishing up her masters and as a result is doing some tests at the college nearby. She was explaining how she was working with this 95 year old man the other day and as they walked across the campus toward the lab a large plane flew overhead. This college is right in the flight pattern of a regional airport and a large military base, so those of us nearby are so used to fly by's we don't even acknowledge them anymore. But she related how this old man stopped completely and just looked up to watch the plane, taking in the wonder of what an incredible thing it is until it had gone from sight. If you stop and think about it, it truly is an amazing thing to witness. In his life time he's gone from a sky that was exclusively for the birds to one dominated by magnificent metal beasts, defying the laws of the universe. Her story reminded me of our daughters, though. For example Genevieve and the moon. Every time she gets outside she looks around to find it, and when she does she stares and points in awe at the glowing orb above her. I haven't really looked at the moon in who knows how long. I've seen it. I know it. It doesn't impress me any more. But to her, it's brand new. It's interesting. Who knows how many more times she'll be able to find it in the sky. It's an interesting arch of human nature. To travel from amazement, to indifference and finally to respect. For our girls and for this older gentleman, these experiences are limited. For our girls they are new and unique, for him they may be the last of their kind. I just found that to be a beautiful comparison. Though they are nearly a century apart in age, they are still looking at the world through similar, open eyes while the rest of us walk around with blinders on all day.

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