(A fatherhood reflection to wrap up 2011 and turn the corner to 2012.)
I sat down in my man-chair. It was comfortable. It was quiet. It was peaceful. I was reading some Sherlock Holmes. Life was good. In comes Offspring #2, who plops down on the sofa and turns on the TV. Toy Story, followed by Toy Story 2. I cough. I loudly clear my throat, but to no avail; Offspring #2 is oblivious. Wanting to avoid an international incident requiring mediators and negotiators, I let the intrusion slide. I ignored Offspring #2 and went back to reading.
But, pretty soon…well, you all know what happened. The giggling and laughing from the sofa caught my attention. Before you know it, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is safely closed on the end table with me and Offspring #2 both laughing and reciting lines by heart. (Admit it. “Plus is positive and minus is negative!” is one of the greatest quotations ever recorded on the intricacies of battery polarity and placement.)
The following morning, in that magical mental place between the alarm ringing and full consciousness wrestling back the proper mental faculties, I had a thought flash into my head. It flashed the vivid mental image of Woody looking at the faded name of ANDY written on the bottom of his boot. ANDY. The name that represents belonging to and being a part of. ANDY. The name that gives Woody purpose. Looks what happens in Toy Story 2 when the Cleaner wipes those four letters off Woody’s boot. Woody gives up trying to get back to Andy and his friends. He gives up and starts to float away from all that is important to him. When the name disappears, so does the very core of who he is. Eventually, a monumental effort by his friends brings him back to who he is.
Then came the big question. Whose name do I have written on the bottom of my foot? Who do I choose belong to? Who do I choose to give myself up to? What is the purpose; what is the driving force I stand on? Is it a name to provide solid footing or is it one that will cause me to slip and fall? I know what should be written on my foot. After many mistakes and through trial and error, I know it’s time to get out the permanent marker and start writing: