Archive for September, 2011

Dear Evan: Be a cowboy

September 23rd, 2011

Dear Evan:

Oh, how you smiled at me this morning! You were in a good mood, which makes me hope that the five (five!) teeth coming in at once have surfaced, or breached, or whatever it is baby teeth do. Broken through? That sounds right. As I finished dressing, you watched and grinned and giggled. It’s going to be a shame when you turn 13, dye your hair black and decide you hate your mother and me.

It took me longer to dress because for the second day this week, I suited up. Once upon a time, I hated wearing suits. Now I like it, but don’t need to do it often. It’s to the point where I may buy more suits and wear them just for the heck of it. But I digress: I dressed well today because I was one of a handful of us who gave tours to the management company owned by H. Ross Perot. (Google him, or Wikipedia, or whatever they have when you’re grown — Wikioogle presented by NFL-Coke?)

I wore a black suit with charcoal pinstripes, a pink button-down and my steel square-lens glasses. In other words, more New York than Texas. And yet the tour group I led was made up of the guys who worked the land before we build here. Real cowboys, the kind who had scuffed boots and pristine hats. You know what? We had a great old time. We talked about the land, and the animals, and environmental consciousness, and… Well, whatever came to mind.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is, don’t assume you don’t have anything in common with anyone. There’s always something in common, and every conversation is a chance to learn. And never talk down to anyone. I could’ve written off the group as good ol’ boys (a younger me would have), but those men taught me an amazing amount about the land around us in a short period of time. Plus, they reminded me without saying anything that real gentlemen held doors for women, talked to them with respect and courtesy. I like to think I’ve done the same, but maybe I haven’t. And I’m worse off for it.

Be like that. Be modern and streetwise and tech-savvy, as I like to be, but be gentlemanly and courteous and knowledgeable. Think, and then speak. Be a cowboy.

I love you,


Dear Evan: Smack-smack-smack

September 21st, 2011

Dear Evan:

This morning, I saw you crying, and I saw you laughing, and I saw you asleep, all before I left for work. Our hopes of you sleeping through the night have been almost entirely dashed. The closest you came was Sunday night, when you gave us a solid seven hours of uninterrupted slumber. Otherwise, you wake at midnight, and near 3, and again right around 5 or 6. I don’t want to say we could set a watch by your waking, but it’s close.

Your Mimi Jean is in town this week, and now that the weather’s consistently below 100 degrees during the day, you and she sit outside under our tree. You have never stopped loving being outside; I wonder whether that’s you, whether it’s the 40 days you spent seeing almost nothing but the inside of a NICU bubble, whether it’s just a baby thing. No matter your mood, as soon as we step outdoors you get quiet and pay close attention to the wind and the birds and the children on bikes pedaling past.

You won’t be sneaking up on anyone indoors. Your crawl is accompanied by a smack-smack-smack as you slap the hardwoods with each little hand, squirming forward at an astonishing rate of speed. Only weeks ago, we could set you down and manage to do something — change the laundry, maybe — before you got too far. Nowadays, you’re at the laundry-room door almost as quickly as the dogs.

I love that little smacking noise, and the huge grin on your face when you realize you’ve been caught motoring around the house. You’re already standing almost entirely on your own, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you walked before the end of the year. I thought about that this morning, as I lay in the dark of our bedroom, with you sleeping between me and your mother. I thought about what a huge change that will be in a year — less! it’s still a month until your birthday! — of huge changes. It made me smile, but it made me a little afraid as well.