So, what do you do when you live by one of the wonders of the world? Do you go and hang out all the time and explore the living marrow out of it? Well, you probably do, but we don’t. We usually just drive through the Redwoods, because we are in a hurry to get home. Sometimes we pull over to pee. But that’s about it.
Summer vacation changed all that, with the no-schedule and my own remarkably relaxed attitude (my new motto: “have stroller; can do”).
Interesting random fact: do you remember Julia “Butterfly” Hill? She was that girl in the 90’s who lived on a redwood tree for 2 years to prevent it from being cut down. Well, she came to the Lost Coast and was living briefly out here before she met the people who would inspire her to action. Kind of cool, huh? When I was digging for a link for you just now, I came upon this old article in Mother Jones about her (linked here). She sounds like an amazing human being. Two years in a tree, man. That’s not for the faint-hearted!
When I was little, my Grandpa Knobby came over to our house and played his harmonica. Grandpa was an amazing harmonica player – like, one of those guys you see playing sometimes and are like, “holy COW; I didn’t know you could play classical stuff on a harmonica!” So, there he was playing the harmonica and my dad was recording it all on his brand-spanking-new video recorder (this was the late 70’s). I stayed right behind Grandpa, with my brother Dana, and happily danced around while pulling my face like these guys above.
I remember my dad getting mad at us, but Grandpa just laughed.
They are so exasperating sometimes, aren’t they? And adorable. And everything in between.
Mack has this thing: he has to bring a ton of stuff with him, wherever. In the photo above, he had collected night vision binoculars, water bottle, backpack (with spiderman and a sweater inside). He called it his “gear”, like, “got my gear!”And then he hit the ground in this huge tantrum when, oh I don’t know – what was it that time? Did I not fold his pants leg up the right way? Or did he want his hat and I refused to go back to the car for it? Honestly, I don’t remember.
But it sure happens a lot. It’s like, we’ll be having fun and then Mack will get upset about something and bust out.
On that particular day, I felt myself getting annoyed about his tantrum, then I just stood there and looked up at the trees and tried to get all zen with life. Breathe in. Breathe out. It’s all goooooooood. Breathe in. Breathe out. I was trying to not throw us in the Cycle of Upset – where he gets upset, I’m upset with his upset, then he’s upset with my upset AND his original upset is still there.
When I was super-chill from the breathing, I found it was a lot easier to figure out what he was upset about, how to resolve/redirect it.
It’s funny though, because of all of Mack’s fussiness, I can see my Grandpa Knobby. My Grandpa was the guy, after all, who starched his shirts, then folded his cuffs precisely under, “just to be different.” Grandpa, like Mack, took care of his stuff and liked what he had. I remember he said once after I figured out that his curtains were over 30 years old, “yeah, I’ve got the same curtains, the same house, the same wife! I don’t like change.”
Neither does Mack.