June 2008

As I have mentioned before, I have a lot of babies in my life right now. And by that, I mean other people’s babies who are somehow associated with me. Two of the closest associates are my godsons, one of those also being my nephew. Those baby boys are absolutely adorable and lovable. I love to hear about them and be around them and see their cute faces. I love to kiss their chubby cheeks and see them smile.

I show off pictures of these cuties like a proud grandparent. Often people respond with a wry grin, raised eyebrows and questions of when I will have one of my own.

The general consensus seems to be that babies are contagious.

I understand. I guess hanging out with a baby is supposed to make me want to rush out to the baby store and get one for myself. But a baby is not exactly an i-phone. And for me, at least, real-life baby associates have created the opposite effect that people think they will. The babies terrify me.

Now, this does not mean that Ned and I will indefinitely delay any attempt to have a family — quite the opposite. Having children is about one of the only things I am sure that I want to do in life. Ned is quite certain of it too. And as many of you know, the man loves babies … especially crying babies. He does a little bounce-bounce, the crying ceases, and he’s like superman — very satisfying. So yes, we would like to have an expanded family some day, hopefully not too far in the distant future (not getting any younger over here). But I think it’s precisely that desire to have children that makes babies so terrifying.

I guess I’ve always daydreamed of theoretical babies.  The reality seems like a quite a different story.

I mean, being responsible for another life is pretty huge. When I try to wrap my head around that, it almost explodes. But even the more mundane aspects of parenthood elude me. Ok, I’ll admit it: I sometimes find babies a little bit … boring. For instance, consider “tummy time,” the world of baby play. Baby lies on tummy, works out muscles, lifts head, looks at stuff. I guess it’s OK. But after a few minutes of it, I’m all like, “Ok, baby, I am bored of looking at the floor. What do you think we should do about the situation in Zimbabwe?” And the baby replies, “Aaaaaaaaaa!”

As it turns out, this is about the extent of my answer to the problems of Zimbabwe as well, so I can’t fault the kid.

But I find myself wondering, “What if this was all day? Every day? With no other adults around?” Nap, eat, poop, change, stare, smile. Repeat. No nap. Repeat. Repeat.


I am told that it is different when they are your own children. I assume it would be different when it’s your own home and life too. And of course, there are many positive things, like the way babies help you appreciate the little things (the way the light comes in a window, for instance — the babies love that). And, most importantly, I believe the good Lord assists. So I do (fearfully, dreadfully) hope that at some point I get the chance to experience it…even if it does absolutely terrify me. And believe me, it does.


I’m not a big fan of pigeons, so this “story of the day” from Brian Andreas’s Story People is cracking me up…

calling on the flying things of the universe & hoping not too many of them are pigeons

So, I was running down the National Mall the other day, when I had to halt my forward progress because a bunch of kids were throwing rocks. They were picking up the little gravel pieces from the mall pathway and pelting them into the air. I think it was a rock-throwing contest.

That’s all well and good, but I did not want to run the risk of taking a rock to the eye, so I stopped until they were done.

So, you’re thinking, “Big deal. Kids throw rocks. Next?”

But wait. There is one beautiful detail I left out. The children throwing the rocks … THEY WERE THE SAFETY PATROL. The kids were wearing fluorescent yellow shirts that said “Safety Patrol, Washington, DC, 2008” and those yellow across-the-shoulder belts.

It appeared to be a big safety patrol field trip. Groups of kids *love* to flood the nation’s capital in matching shirts this time of year.

Safety first! Throw rocks at scary approaching runner!

I am very excited to announce that Laura Waters Hinson won the gold medal for best documentary film in the Student Academy Awards last weekend!( I just remembered that it was happening and checked their site.) Laura is an acquaintance through one of those friend-of-a-friend church connections, and she is a really incredible woman.

She was also our wedding photographer, so I guess I can now say that I had an academy-award-winning wedding photographer. Huzzah.

Laura won the award for her documentary As We Forgive. It is a film about the reconciliation process following the genocide in Rwanda, and two Rwandan women who came face-to-face with the men who slaughtered their families. It is a really powerful story and a wonderful film.

To the person who came to my blog looking for something on “cellulosic ethanol from rhubarb”:

I am sorry, I have no information on such technology. But I *love* the idea.

Today my good friend and godson, Joseph, is one year old!

I am just now entering the baby phase of life — and by that I mean the phase where I am friends with a lot of other peoples’ babies. There are several adorable babies in my crew right now, but Joseph is the first one with a direct connection to me (in this case, a God-relative, as it were) to celebrate this one-year milestone.

I remember when I saw his mom, one of my best friends here in DC, just after she found out she was pregnant. We were meeting at a coffee shop on Capitol Hill. (As it turned out, she did not drink coffee.) She told us she was pregnant. It felt like the whole world was about to turn upside down, but in a really good way.

I saw her at least once a week for most of the next nine months, and we watched her belly grow and body change and eagerly waited to meet the baby. When I saw her four days before Joseph arrived, we were pretty excited. The due date was coming up, her belly looked different (lower) and we felt like we would finally get to meet this baby soon!! Indeed, Joseph — like his parents — sought to be Right On Time. Real contractions started on Saturday. I had just finished picking strawberries when I got the message. I was holding my cell phone in the parking lot, literally jumping for joy and dancing around the car. My strawberry-picking companions looked at me with confusion. “Meg! BABY! Coming! Today!” More looks of confusion.

Joseph’s other godmother and I spent the rest of the day exchanging phone calls to ask if the other had heard anything. We prayed.

After a long labor, Joseph finally arrived June 10, 2007. He was tiny (though not so tiny, according to baby standards –8lbs., 2oz.) and adorable. We had NO IDEA then how ridiculously cute he would become.

Joseph has likes to smile and play the piano and listen to music and prayers and stories. He enjoys crawling, walking (!!!) a bit, and listening to the answering machine. The man loves to eat. And if you’re lucky, he will wave a greeting to you by moving his entire body back and forth.

Here’s a greeting to YOU, JoJoMike. Happy birthday! We love you!

Many of you have asked about my friend, the farm bill. As you know, the farm bill and I have had a sordid affair for the past year or two.

When we last left the farm bill, it was on the verge of its passage before Congress left town last Memorial Day, and we had just discovered that part of the bill was missing.

First of all, you should know that Congress still sends bills to the president on parchment for him to sign (or veto, as the case may be). A little over two dozen of those precious parchment pages were missing when Bush put his big red “x” on the farm bill (I am pretty sure that is *not* how he actually vetoes, but that is how I imagine it.)

The missing pages meant the veto — and thus the override — would be incomplete. Since Bush only vetoed part of the bill, they would only enact part of the bill.

But that did not stop lawmakers, who were pressed against yet-another deadline for the expiration of current farm programs. Quite frankly, I suspect they were sick of the farm bill and just wanted to be done with the dang thing. (Or as close to finishing as they could. ) So, the House and Senate went ahead and both approved the pretty-much-farm-bill-override with healthy margins.

They made 13/14ths of the farm bill law. End of story. Mostly.

Lawmakers return to DC this week, and they still have to figure out some way to clean up the mess with this missing section. They could vote on the missing section on its own, or re-pass, re-veto, re-override the whole farm bill again … or do some other legal maneuvers to make up for the error.

All this was exploding just before Memorial Day, when I was *supposed* to be enjoying a nice, glorious case-closed, $300 billion-doled-out, override kind-of-a-day. Instead, it turned into a messy breakup. It’s like the farm bill moved out, but left all his stuff in my apartment.

Our relationship is pretty much over, but not totally … because he’s going to have to come back to get his crap. It looks like it will probably be a pretty quick thing. But there is always the chance we’ll start fighting again when that happens … and maybe we’ll have to open up the whole relationship and again and go through this whole process. Again. Oh, farm bill. Sigh.