The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Posts tagged ‘Icebreaker’

Love is Blind(ing)

Recently I gave a Toastmasters speech, my first one in a long while. I started on the ‘Pathways’ path so it was an icebreaker. My second one! This speech went along with about 6 pictures, so … apologies on that front.

 

Love is Blind(ing)

A little more than two years ago I gave my first icebreaker speech where I described myself by describing my ideal weekend. It involved a long jog, some reading, hanging out with buddies, some downtime.

Now I’m giving my second icebreaker, and this time it’s not about my ideal weekend, but about the newest version of myself – me as a dad.

The speech is called ‘Love is Blind…ing’ and I’ll give you three cases of love being blinding. One from a physical perspective, one from an emotional perspective, and one from a somewhat literal perspective.

I

This is my son when he was born. He was born early, about 33 weeks, and was a tiny, tiny fella.

He is almost a year old now and looks a little different.

Before I had my son I was of the opinion that pretty much all babies look the same. They can have different skin tones, sure, but they were all just amorphous blobs of goo oozing liquids and solids. Romantic outlook, huh?

My outlook quickly changed to view babies as tiny little packages of adorability and love and snuggles … but then … as time went on … I’ve kind of come back to viewing newborns as blobs of goo.

My wife and I have a few different friends with kids a few months younger than our kiddo, and one day a friend sent me a picture. I responded with an, ‘aw how cute’ but in my head I thought, ‘man that is one weird looking child.’ With the ease of technology I pulled up a picture of my own son at the same page and, what do you know, he was a similarly weird looking child at that time. It was just the big, weird-headed phase of life for a baby. See, look at this little mobster. Adorable, yes, but a bit of a blob of goo?, also yes.

Love changed my perspective, blinding me and tricking me into viewing this pooping, non-sleeping machine as the greatest thing ever.

II

Now let’s talk about how love has blinded me emotionally.

When my sister had her son I remember visiting her and thinking – THE WORK. THERE. IS. SO. MUCH. WORK. We decided to head to the grocery store which, I think, took about 7 years to do. She had to get him dressed, and then he was in the car seat and he threw up on himself, so she got him changed again, and then car seat again, and on and on. All I noticed at the time was the hard work it is to be a parent. I didn’t notice any sort of love fest.

I dreaded that work. And there has been work.

<the kiddo> has not been a good sleeper. When friends talk about their younger children sleeping through the night my wife and I hide our looks of disgust and envy. How dare their child be such a good sleeper.

And yet, it’s also a bit of a gift.

One night, it was 2 or 3 am, or who knows what time, and our son began to cry. I went in to comfort him, so I picked him up out of his crib, held him close, sat down in the glider to wait for him to get into a good sleep and then listened to this tiny, adorable, quiet, sweet, soft voice cooing in my ear, ‘dah dah dah … dah … dah …’ The little fella was feeling chatty, and despite the sleepiness, despite the night after night of sleepiness, I couldn’t help but smile and give the gentlest little squeeze to this little creature.

There is still work, but there is so much more joy than I ever would have guessed at that the work quickly fades from memory but the love stays like a branding.

III

Last, but certainly not least, is the somewhat literal case of love being blinding.

I mentioned that <the kiddo> is not always the best sleeper, and about two weeks ago the kiddo woke up too early on Monday morning. I got him out of his crib, went downstairs, and sat with him while he started to play. He was a bit fussy, so I picked him up and sat down on a chair with him, thinking I would read to him.

His crazy, flailing baby arms had other plans. A hand came up and he managed to get me in the eye. It did not feel good.

I wandered slowly upstairs and handed the fighter off to my wife and sat with my eyes closed in the darkness for a while. After a little while of that I felt ok enough, so I got ready for work and drove to a doctor’s appointment I happened to have that morning. At the office I could hardly check in, I couldn’t keep my eye open and it watered non-stop. I went ahead and kept the appointment (a mole removed, don’t worry guys, it’s benign) and my wife came and got me and drove me to an eye doctor’s. We were fortunate enough to get an appointment first thing.

The doc started by dripping some numbing drop in my eye which was heavenly, and then looked at me with some very bright lights.

‘Oooh, he got you good.’ He showed my wife, ‘ahhhh! YIKES!’

Hmm. That’s all encouraging.

I am a wuss about eye stuff. It really freaks me out.

That week, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday … I went to the eye doc. He wanted to check on me frequently to make sure it was healing ok (it took a while) and I changed eye drops often. One of them was this thick, viscous substance which was soothing, but I made the mistake of seeing how thick it was and then that freaked me out that I was dripping that stuff onto my eye. Blech.

One thing I learned in all of this is that there’s no better person to inflict pain on me than <the kiddo>. If my wife had poked me in the eye, an innocent accident, you can bet I’d be very annoyed with her. But <the kiddo>? Eh, it’s fine.

The next morning <the kiddo> had a surgery to get ear tubes to address his frequent ear infections, the docs at the hospital probably found me strange, one eye leaking, not making eye contact, randomly putting on sunglasses … but when the kid needs comfort, I’ll do what I can.

***

As my wife once said, the pool of love is deep and intense. And I can tell you that my blinding love is a gift, and a joy.

I remember a number of math classes where the teacher or professor would explain a concept and it was no more than nonsense to me. Absolute gibberish. And then, poof, something would click, I’d get it, and now everything was translated.

That same idea could be said for <the kiddo>. Before him I saw amorphous blobs, hard work, and crazy people obsessed with a little bundle of fiscal responsibility … now, I see that, sure, but I am at once blinded to it and able to see so much more.

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Student of the Toast

Recently I joined Toastmasters … If you knew me (and if you’re reading this you likely do), you’ll know that’s not an expected move. I don’t particularly like public speaking unless I do well. Toastmasters, hopefully, will increase the odds of me doing well. Thus, the reason I signed up!

(Nah, the real reason? I am new to an area and this is always when I’m my most social and outgoing. What better way to meet people than to stand in front of them and say um a lot?)

The first speech you give in Toastmasters is an “ice breaker.” The objective is just to stand up in front of a group of people and talk, and the secondary objective is to see where you stand as far as public speaking goes. I was told that I need to vary my pace and add pauses. Apparently I speak like one of those ‘text to talk’ computer programs?

Because I am a lazy blogger I will most likely be posting my speeches … why go to all that effort and then just share with one audience?

Anywho. Here I is, folks, this is I.

***

Ladies and gentlemen, my name is DumbFunnery, and today I will be talking to you about … myself.

When I thought about the icebreaker speech I wondered what would make the most sense – a bunch of facts summarizing my life?, some of my favorite short stories about my friends and me?, there are a lot of ways you can introduce yourself to a group of people.

In the end I decided to describe myself by telling you what I would consider to be an amazing weekend. I now transport you to the magical place of Saturday morning, 6:30 am, in the land of ideal DumbFunnery.

I’m up and dressed for a jog, eating a banana that is at the perfect ripeness. A perfectly ripe banana is a wonderful thing. I’m also sipping water and doing a bit of stretching – today is an easy day. I am capable of jogging let’s say 16 miles, but today I’m only doing 10. I head out the door, turn on my phone to a new CD that is some funky, poppy goodness, and I’m going. Today’s jog is fantastic – it’s one of those ones where I’m in a groove, my pace is awesome and I feel like I could just go and go.

When I get back home I have my favorite granola cereal, which is difficult since it’s this one that a local grocery chain in Texas makes, but my in-laws are kind people and they have recently visited and brought a few boxes to feed my addition. I have my cereal with some blueberries in it, watching the local news and laughing at how corny they can be.

After breakfast I bathe and sit down to write for a little bit. Normally at work I focus more on the logical side of my brain, writing allows me to be weird and nonsensical, which is fun. Today the words are flowing out of me and before I know it I have something that is actually pretty good! All right! It’s weird, I think it’s funny, and it flows well. Not too shabby.

Following that my wife and I have lunch and scheme on our afternoon – finishing up a house project. We have a house and are slowly learning how to do this and that, and today we have the last piece of a project that is great, and grand and … most importantly, within our limited reach.

Many high-fives, and of course Facebook posts later and we are heading out or hosting friends for dinner and a board game or two. We have a good night talking, playing games, and soon enough we’ve been laughing and smiling so much that our mouths hurt.

Then it’s bedtime and suddenly it’s Sunday. Because this is an ideal weekend we are our good, ambitious selves, and we have signed up for a volunteer project. If it’s my choice it’s something manual or working with kids, if it’s my wife’s choice it might be a food bank. Or maybe we’re handing out water at a run, cheering folks on, and also jealous that we’re not taking part (or, depending on the run, happy we aren’t taking part).

Realistically, at this point or some point we would have had to go run some typical errands that are magical time warps. You enter a grocery store with two items on the list and you leave forty-five minutes later with twenty things. How does this happen? But don’t worry, we’re in an ideal land.

Instead of running errands we head straight home and enjoy coffee and the news. Or coffee and a book. Or coffee and sitting around talking. Whatever it is, we’re sipping coffee and relaxing.

At the time I’m toward the end of a book that I have been enjoying so much I can’t put it down, but at the same time I don’t want to finish it. It’s either hysterical, or gripping, or it’s making me think thoughts I hadn’t thought to think before.

I finish the book and sit back and breathe out a deep sigh. I read one time that after you read something you shouldn’t immediately jump to doing something else – especially if you are trying to learn what you just read, or if it’s a complicated matter you need to let your brain digest for a while.

I think a lot of weekends suffer from time travel, and this one is no exception. It’s dinner time suddenly and while getting dinner ready I think back on the afternoon and wonder what I did that lead to this day being so close to over.

Dinner is something simple and delicious, but the most exciting thing is the ice cream after dinner. A big bowl of ice cream is a long time friend of mine, and we have spent many nights together. And to go with that ice cream is a quirky, oddball movie that is sweet.

There you have it. Me in the form of an ideal weekend – there’s jogging, writing, reading, helping people, adding to our house, being with friends, and also a good chunk of non-activity. I think, with love as the theme of the week, this whole weekend represents doing things that I love.

Thank you.

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