Uncle Roger's Notebooks of Daily Life
My life is, to me, ripe with frequent challenges, occasional successes, spontaneous laughter, adequate tears, and enough *life* to last me a lifetime. To you, however, it surely seems most pedestrian. And therefore, I recycle the name I used previously and call this my Notebooks of Daily Life. Daily, because it's everyday in nature, ordinary. These conglomeration of events that are my life are of interest to me because I live it, perhaps mildly so to those who are touched by it, and could only be of perverse, morbid curiosity to anyone else. Yet, I offer them here nonetheless. Make of them what you will, and perhaps you can learn from my mistakes.
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Tuesday, April 27, 2004
We took Jared out to see Grandpa Jim (aka Scotty) and Grandma Betty on Sunday.
We stopped at Ikea in Emeryville on the way. We picked up some wooden trains and track for him, some kid's flatware and dishes, and some more storage bins. After we left Ikea, Jared fell asleep and slept all the way out to Brentwood.
Once we got there, he woke up. He was cranky at first -- Jared doesn't always enjoy waking up. Once he realized where he was and who was there, however, he perked up. He had fun running around and playing with his Grandpa and Grandma. They had a stuffed bear (sort of victorianesque, with beads and a floppy hat) that "sings" a Beatles song when you squeeze its hand. (Sing is a very generous term in this case.) Jared figured out how to get it going pretty quick, and had fun starting it over and over again.
We went to lunch, where Jared did pretty good, for a two-year-old. He tried to color on the table, threw a few things on the floor, and didn't eat much, but overall he did well. The place we ate, Pee Wee Muldoon's, has a train that runs around the walls above the mouldings. Jared got a real kick out of that. Towards the end of the meal I took him outside to walk around a bit. We were walking back towards the restaurant when the others came out. Jared started running towards them. As he got near, something caught his eye and he looked to the side. He turned his head back just in time to walk into a wooden post. It was an audible encounter, and left a decent little mark, but he didn't seem any worse for the experience.
Later in the afternoon (after it had cooled down a bit) we went over to a small playground nearby and let Jared play. His favorite, of course, is the swings, and Sunday was no different -- he must have spent at least an hour on the swing. There was also a climby-thing with a large corkscrew slide. It was a lot taller than others he'd been on, but he went straight for it. It turned out to be a little much for him; he spun around a few times and bonked his head on the bottom. Naturally, Rachel said he wasn't to go on it again and just as naturally, that's exactly what he wanted to do.
Jim is extremely important to me and since my own father passed on before Jared was born, I am glad to have Jim fill in as a grandfatherly figure. I knew my maternal grandmother only briefly, when I was very young, and have few memories of her. I never knew any of my other grandparents, and the only other family was my mother's sister and her family. They all lived in Sacramento, so we didn't see them terribly often. I grew up, therefore, without much of an extended family. It is for this reason that it is important to me that Jared is able to enjoy as much extended family as possible, be they genetically related or emotionally so.
Other than for medical issues, genetic relationships are rather unimportant to me. When it comes to the concept of family, I definitely choose nurture over nature. Family is the group of people who make up your personal, intimate social unit. Genetics is, certainly, the most common means of selecting family members, but it is certainly not the only one -- adoption, marriage, and even communes and kibbutzim are all non-genetic ways to add family members. The "friend of the family" has long been a common method for adding someone to a family unit, as is the honorary Uncle. The non-genetic family is nothing new.
With that in mind, Scotty becomes Grandpa Jim without a second thought. Jared will grow up knowing him simply as Grandpa Jim and will hopefully never think twice about the basis of the relationship. He'll just know that Grandpa Jim is loads of fun and that they love each other.