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Going Nowhere (On a Train)

I'm not big on memes but as I was mentally compiling the list of cities I had visited (and spent at least one night in) this year, I was impressed. Sure, some were for work but I still think this is pretty good for a father of a young child without a travel budget:

Danbury, CT
Atlanta, GA
Chicago, IL
Gumpoldskirchen, Austria
Loidesthal, Austria
Cres, Croatia
Santa Clara, CA
New York, NY
Wautoma, WI

With the baby on the way, I have a feeling that next year's list may be much less exciting, but I'll take that trade any day of the week.

January 24, 2006 | Comments (1)

The Late Lincoln Souzek

Of all the problems that I inflict upon myself, the most infuriating is my inability to be on time for anything. I'm late for work, for church, for Veronika's swimming lessons. I go to bed a little too late and wake up late. I've missed planes, buses and more than my share of classes. I have no explanations or excuses. It's certainly not because I enjoy it. It is maddening to always be rushing everywhere, constantly looking at the clock, a few minutes too fast, with dismay. Add a toddler with very specific ideas about how things should be done and it's a recipe for disaster. Most of my unhappy times with Veronika (and a good share of my parental regrets) are a result of trying to get somewhere with her in a hurry and not having the patience for her special methods. I don't like what being in this state does to me. Then comes the arrival, everyone seated in place, activities already begun. I shuffle in, humbled, hurried and racked with guilt.

For as much as I dislike being late, you'd think that I would just start showing up on time. Maybe an analysis of this complex is best left to the psychologists. Do I think my time is more valuable than those I'm inconveniencing? Am I too obsessed with getting one last thing done? Am I just bad at managing my time and trying to compensate for inefficiencies? Whatever the case may be, I think it's time for this behavior to change. I may never spring out of bed the first time the alarm clock goes off but I can at least try to get it together and leave five minutes earlier. It bothers me enough that I have to at least try.

Although I'd like to blame many other things, I fear that I may be the biggest obstacle to peace and happiness in my life, when they elude me. It may seem inconsequential but I think if I can eliminate the small but constant tension of being perpetually late, it will be a good start to living better.

January 15, 2006 | Comments (1)

A Boy, You Say

I've been thinking a lot lately about what it will be like to have a son. I wasn't particularly hoping for a boy or girl but looking back now, I think my time with Veronika had me secretly wishing for more of the same. Anyone who has seen me with her for any amount of time should know that I wouldn't mind a whole houseful of daughters, despite reports of how that might play out when they reached their teens. When we found out that, in all likelihood, we were having a boy, I was surprised at my reaction. It's actually pretty silly when I think back on it:

(internal monologue) Wow, I'm going to have to be, like, a role model for this kid. Wait, am I not already a role model for Veronika? I haven't even been thinking about it! Oh man, she's already two and I haven't even been working on being a role model, that's not good. But with a boy, I'll be the same sex role model, that's huge. Ok, that's valid, but I'm the opposite sex role model for Veronika too, and her understanding of men will be based in her experience with me, right? Crap, I haven't been working on being a man either!

I drew two conclusions on the drive home from the doctor's that afternoon: 1) I have been a totally negligent father to Veronika thus far, and 2) I don't know how to be a man. Eventually I calmed down and realized that I probably had it right the first time. When Veronika was born, I knew of only one responsibility as a parent—to love her with everything I am for the rest of my life. Everything else should follow from that. (Of course I need to live my life according to what I believe is right, but that's a responsibility to myself as well.) Why should that be any different with a boy? To allow any of these other constructions to enter my mind would at best be a distraction and at worst an obstacle to actually being a good parent. Obviously these are ideas that are still kicking around my head, but that's where I'm at now anyway.

Since I've momentarily stopped worrying about how poor of a parent and man I am, I have had some time to focus on a more fruitful effort for the new baby—making some room in my life for him. Obviously the adjustment will be made when he arrives whether I'm ready or not, but I don't want it to be that way. I've been far too lax in monitoring and maintaining my priorities and, new year's resolution or not, it's time to start reevaluating how I'm ordering my life. I'm not sure exactly what that means yet, but I think I know where to start.

January 07, 2006