I took today off with the intention of executing a trial travel run before Monday's marathon day of interviews ("meetings" I like to call them, as I'm a rare bird who actually likes meetings and this makes me feel far more confident and calm about my 8am-8pm day!). A rainy start to the day, a delayed meeting by phone for my current work, and general laziness kept me home. I fortunately took Thursday off also, knowing that one of my planned days would likely fall through in just this manner--and I'm hopeful on Thursday Matt can join me as well!
After I pried my fingers off my laptop keyboard (I once gave up at-home computer time for Lent; I learned a lot about myself during that 40 plus day period!), I decided I had to do something productive. One of Matt's employees is awaiting the birth of a baby, and we are celebrating with a shower on Friday. (Shhh....it's a secret! I don't think anyone who knows or works with him reads the blog--Matt being an obvious exception--so I'm hoping I'm safe with this one!) Despite that this year we are resisting any "unnecessary" expenditures for our Lenten period of engagement and reflection, I decided a trip to Babies 'R' Us was justified. This is obviously a stretch of the term "necessary," but it is important toward sustaining our relationship with someone who has been remarkably generous to us and our children. (I could write an entirely separate blog on the "even exchange" model of gift-giving so many of us participate in, but that will wait for another day....) The 8-10 page registry (lost count!) displayed few unpurchased items, but I still managed to pull together a couple of toys, feeding implements and onesies in what I think will be a suitable gift set.
Visiting Babies 'R' Us post-baby is a completely different experience than pre-baby. You are suddenly the one "in the know" and "in the cheap," and most every item seems frivolous and unnecessary. We were fortunate to be able to borrow many large items (e.g., crib, double stroller), and recycled furniture and clothes at every conceivable opportunity, but we still found ourselves with "stuff." Our kids were bathed in the made-for-baby bathtub for just a few weeks (and visit any baby consignment shop to see where all those new tubs visit for their final resting place!), and we still need to get on eBay to sell the high-end children's backpack we were convinced we absolutely needed for all the hiking we were planning to do. HA! The cupboard full of sippy cups rarely gets tapped, and we have silver baby utensils sitting in the china cabinet because, as yet, I feel too guilty to give them away or sell them! If only we knew then what we know now.... I might have been able to survive my shopping trip without this diatribe had I not seen this when I walked through the door. I guess we all have our own ideas of what we actually need to care for a baby. (Perhaps if I had bathed in one of these as a child, I would be better suited to the life of luxury I just know is waiting for me!)
Returning home to my computer, after the minor detour of a walk, I read this and found it fascinating. Perhaps I could manage my yoga DVD more than once or twice a month if afflicted as this father and daughter. Then again, maybe not!
And in the midst of all this frivolous exchange, I am so aware of my day-to-day separation from war and poverty and the global devastation we participate in with our actions and inactions. My safe, comfortable life enfolds me in a cocoon of partial ignorance and occasional ambivalence. In my mind, I want to break free from that cocoon and see the world as it truly is, but in my heart, I know it would be too much to bear.