What’s the Plan?

September 23, 2011 by  
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by Ruda Tovar

I stood in my son’s doorway looking into his room and surveyed the landscape. All the usual suspects were present (cars, LEGOs, blocks, animal figures, crayons, some magnetic letters, etc.), and they appeared to have gotten into a fight with an industrious four year old.  To the untrained (non-parental) eye, this would seem like more than a fight, maybe a battle, maybe a war, maybe an epic personal vendetta against the collective toy culture.  One could easily guess that this “encounter” lasted quite some time, perhaps hours, perhaps multiple days, well again, one with an untrained eye.

Twelve minutes. That’s how long it took my four-year-old to locate all his toys that were stored, get them out, play with them, and then decide to launch an assault that could challenge our finest military strategists. Twelve minutes and then he was onto something else, although I’m not sure what that was because all of his possessions lay in front of me gasping for air. I was used to this. He came, he saw, he conquered, and he did it all in record time, every time.

I left the room alone and sat back down to continue my reading. After about 50 pages, I realized I hadn’t seen the person responsible for unleashing his fury on the gang of unassuming inanimate objects. I soon found my son sitting on the kitchen floor with the sole surviving crayon of his room and an empty egg carton. He had been there at least a half hour (probably longer), fabulously occupied with circling the inside of the egg carton with his crayon. How did this happen?

As I hovered over my son, I couldn’t help but think about the semi-huge amount of toys he has at his disposal, and how the makers of these toys spend time and money trying to figure out what kids like. Well, there you have it: This kid likes two objects with no real connection picked at random. “Random,” that actually describes a lot of decisions made by our shorter comrades. Then again, it’s only random to us, the adults. We grew up, we forgot what it was like to think like a kid, and when we remember, it’s never a convenient time (you try making weird sounds whilst driving only to realize you’ve called somebody on accident). After all, this is the same kid who single-handedly wiped out an entire ecosystem of toys in 12 minutes, and yet now is content to color an egg carton for quadruple that amount of time.

I’m not saying that kids are capable of expressing it in an understandable manner, and I’m definitely not saying that it would make sense to us if they could, but these little mortals have a plan. Now if only I could figure out what it is…

Change Is Good, Right?

September 8, 2011 by  
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by Ruda Tovar

Five and a half years ago, my wife informed me she was pregnant. We had been married just over a year. We were young, we were in the midst of selling or giving away most of our belongings and were about three months away from moving across the world. As you may have guessed by now, we weren’t “trying,” but now, we were pregnant, expecting, with child. Everything was about to change.

Like all other things in life that are unexpected (which I’ve come to find out are most things), preparing yourself and your family for something as significant as childbirth might seem at the very least overwhelming.  I ran the emotional gamut, after all, who was I kidding? I wasn’t ready to be a dad, at least not now. I was ready to travel the world, thrive in my youth with my wife next to me, the two of us living a symphony of adventure and conquering obstacles together. Not now, not ever, no way.

As I stated, that was about five and a half years ago. Indeed much has changed with my life. We didn’t move across the world, we didn’t traverse the ends of the earth together, thriving in our youth as I selfishly thought. Instead we watched God, or the universe, or whatever you want to call it give us a miracle. My wife gave birth to a healthy baby boy on a dreary October morning, just in time for lunch, and the three of us haven’t really looked back. Yes, it has been hard, dealing with the unexpected, and I’m not even talking about the sleepless nights, and the incessant crying. You try to equip yourself with all the “right” tools to help with the all-too-often precarious task of raising a child. You can come to question all of the decisions made, regularly second-guessing your spouse and causing a whole other subset of emotional stress and tension. You make mistakes.

Why? Because, you care more about that little human, that tiny apprentice of life more than anyone or anything else on this planet. You push your feelings aside and just do it. You want that kid to have all the things you didn’t—emotional and material—and you make the effort because, well any parent can answer that.

One day I realized that those adventures and obstacles I thought I was going to conquer back in my days of ignorance and bliss, my wife and I were doing now. Only, we were doing (and not always succeeding) these things for the benefit or someone else—for that little guy who came along and changed all of our plans.