Friday, June 26, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Labor and obedience; labor in obedience; labor obedient to love. To labor as an act of loving obedience is to seek peace in this world: a real, three-space, human peace. I will find not the peace of my design--for that would be a different kind of work--but an indirect peace that comes from the discipline of labor. Here could be the genius of Saint Benedict: not that he discovered how to work, how to obey, or how to make peace, but that he understood some relationship between the three.
Every time I carry my daughter around in public, someone asks, “Does she have Daddy wrapped around her finger yet?” It never fails. If societies have genes, then apparently ours has a genetic predisposition for fathers spoiling their daughters. You can imagine, then, how I might fear that by the time she’s sixteen—it will be a “sweet sixteen,” I’m sure—Gwendolyn will be spoiled rotten. (“Daddy, can I have the keys to the car?” “But you just wrecked the third one this year!” Batting eyelashes. “Please, Daddy?”)
In order to prevent fostering a prima donna nightmare, I think it’s wise to make sure that Gwendolyn gets exposed to some suffering along the way. Good, honest, normal suffering, mind you. Nothing cruel, just the kind that teaches patience and endurance. And there’s no opportunity to teach patience like air travel across the country.
Here are some of the “teachable moments” to which I made sure Gwendolyn got exposed on this, her first day of air travel ever. In case you’re curious how to prevent spoilage—ask me in fifteen years if this has worked—here’s what to do.
- Start with an obscenely early wake-up. To make our 6:00am flight, we had to get up at 3:30. That’s before the dairy farmers. Ugh. Gwendolyn woke, all smiles, and with bags under her eyes. That’s my girl.
- Order fog for the runway. We boarded the plane at 5:55 am, and sat on the tarmac for three and a half hours. That’s right: we could have flown to
in the time it took us to take off for D.C. Denver
- Spend four hours in a cabin you can’t stand up in. Hey, we know she’s gonna be tall. Might as well get her used to hitting her head on “overhead” compartments.
- Take a route with two connections. That’s three flights and six opportunities for delay. One delay and your whole schedule’s shot. Get used to it, my jet-setting love.
- Make a connection in Dulles International airport. No training in patience is complete without having to wait for the “mobile lounges” that shuttle you between terminals, in one of the worst-designed airports ever. No pedestrian options here.
- Haggle with customer service. After arriving in Dulles too late to get our original connection, we discovered that we had been “bumped” to the third available flight to
. Did they miss the two earlier flights? Denver
- Do a diaper change on an airplane toilet. Unlike our changing tables at home, they don’t put guardrails on airplane toilets. (The second time in, I realized they do put changing tables in, though. Oops.)
- Schedule wicked turbulence over the
Rockies. Actually, Gwendolyn had much less difficulty with this than her father did. Apparently turbulence is like God bouncing you on his knee; once you outgrow that, perhaps turbulence becomes a little less fun.
Except for a twenty-minute meltdown over
We saved more advanced training scenarios for later travels, like The DIA/O’Hare Sprint and The Overnight Snowstorm. Baby steps, after all. Baby steps.