A Perfect Fit

I never knew toddlers could be so sarcastic.

This past week, our rambunctious not-quite-two-year-old tried on Mommy’s shoes (again). She successfully slipped her tiny twinkle toes inside the front flap and then began to teeter totter around the living room floor. She looked like a miniature retiree in over-sized slippers shuffling towards the kitchen for some chocolate pudding.

I looked at her, wide-eyed and mystified, and I asked, “Little moon, who’s shoes are those?”

She replied with the confidence of a honey badger, “They mine. My shoes!”

“Umm… Are you sure? They look a little big.”

“It not too big. It perfect!” She continued to wobble around like she was running a three-legged race with just herself.

“Sweetie, I think those are mommy’s shoes.”

“Nope. They not mommy’s shoes. They my shoes. They fit perfect. Perfect!” And then she giggled, clapped, jumped out of the shoes, and frolicked off towards more silly shenanigans.

Moments like these, I can’t help but be star-struck by the wisdom of children. They have a sort of knowledge about the world that is pure and simple—an innocent intuition and insight about reality. Here’s the thing: too many of us, too many times, are way too preoccupied with how well we “fit.” We want to fit in to society. We want to fit in with our jobs. We want to fit in with our families, friends, and even strangers. We often don’t even feel like we fit in with ourselves.

But who cares‽

Why does it matter so much what other people think (not to say that things don’t matter at all)? Don’t let others tell you who to be and how to be (not to say that other opinions or advice don’t matter at all). You do you. You are the only you after all, and no one can do you better than… well, you! Maybe if we all just spent a little more time being true to ourselves and truly good to others, then the world itself would fit just a little bit better. There’s so much about you that’s already perfect just the way it is. Maybe we just need to realize that we’re already a perfect fit.

Also, in general, you probably shouldn’t wear other peoples’ shoes. It’s only cute when a toddler does it. But again, don’t let me tell you how to live your life.

Caution: Watch for Falling…

One bright, crisp morning I was sitting underneath a tree in a city park and reading. It was genuinely nice, dare I say, lovely? The air was surprisingly sweet and clean for the city. My mind drifted into the melodious pages before me. I was filled with a sense of peace and contentment.

But oh, how quickly things can change. From tranquility to terror.

As I sat and the moments passed, suddenly I heard something drop to the ground near me. I didn’t think too much of it. Acorn, I figured. But then I heard another, and then another. Then I felt something like rain hit my shoulder. I thought, “Oh bummer, it’s starting to rain, I better wrap this up and get moving.” Then a drop descended upon the top of my head and then my other shoulder and before I knew it, I was being bombarded by some strange shower.

And then, the horrifying realization: there were no rain clouds and the sun smiled with a naughty, villainous grin.

It was bird poop.

I dared to quickly glance up and receive confirmation. The tree I decided to sit under was the avian equivalent of a trucker’s interstate gas station. A migrating flock of birds had all decided to take rest on this particular tree and that particular moment to do their doody duty. I guess it’s like when you have the choice between a Wawa and a Citgo: the choice is obvious. And, tragically, I had sat under the Wawa.

I jumped up and ran for my life. And I was never the same again. Some life experiences change a person forever. After being caught in the rain of foul fowl feces… there’s no coming back from that. Today, I don’t sit underneath trees. I also don’t read.

Who knew reading could be so dangerous? Like a primitive version of Pokémon Go.

So, whenever you find yourself sitting at the park or the beach, or going for a stroll, or just living life in general (they could strike at any moment), remember to mind your surroundings. Watch out for falling poo.

Also, they should really put up signs for these things… Not that I would read them, but still…

In Homage to My Mom

My mother visited us this past Christmas. It’s great, I love it when she visits because she’s always so incredibly helpful at pointing out all the things that I can improve. It’s like having a permanent free life coach. You know, like one year I’m too skinny, another year I’m too fat; last year I needed to change my hairstyle, this year I need to shave. Like many, I would be totally lost without my mom’s constant advice and “constructive” criticism. Now I’m the perfect weight with flawless hair and skin, just ask my wife.

Besides her impeccable tastes, however, I love when my mom visits us because she is famous for bringing exotic gifts.

For example, a few Decembers ago, my mom brought a super useful set of items that I didn’t realize we so desperately needed. When I picked up her luggage I was taken aback and sarcastically asked, “Mom, what do you have in these bags, rocks‽” Well, I came home from work the next day to find the floor in our largest room completely covered with chestnuts. So, not rocks this time. It looked like some kind of weird Home Alone booby-trap scenario. My mom said that she was drying them out. Of course, how foolish of me to be confused. It makes perfect sense to fill an entire suitcase with 50 pounds worth of chestnuts, fly them across the country, and then lay them out to dry in your son’s sunroom.

Back to this last visit. This time…

It was rocks.

My mom brought a valise filled with rocks, ceramics, and bamboo. Because, as you know, we don’t have rocks here in Florida so it’s only natural that she would think it prudent to pack enough rocks for us to complete our interior home garden.

When I was a kid, I was sort of annoyed/embarrassed by these eccentric gifts. Shocking I know. But now: I love it. And I can hardly wait to see what she brings next.

So, thank you, mom. You’re the best, and I love you. I only hope that one day I can repay you in some small measure with equally pragmatic portmanteau products.

Also, remember children, never leave your mothers at home alone unless you want your entire living area turned into a makeshift hydroponics system.