Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Man Can Do Nothing Better

...than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. ~Ecclesiasties 2:24

People have asked me recently how it's going with the two girls. My response has been fairly consistent.

"I'm not having fun."

Don't get me wrong: We're doing quite well. The girls seem to have adjusted marvelously. We've got a solid routine. They eat well. They sleep well (well, naps are different, but bedtime is fine). They've got their "please" and "thank yous" down. They love the park. The love playing with blocks. They get along. They're both coming along with potty training. All good things.

But me... I've rediscovered just how much I don't find joy in children. Not that I don't like kids. I do. But my mom said it best: "Luke likes it when kids come to him on his terms." And once you're watching kids, you have to meet them where they are. As Brittany's mom said: "You have to play with them at their level."

So, again: "I'm not enjoying it."

Brittany asks me, "Weren't you having fun?" after we've been roughhousing or building with blocks while giggles filled the house.

"It wasn't torture," I tell her.

But then I recall a conversation I had with my older sister a few years ago. I'm not sure how the topic came up, but she put the question to me, "So, Luke, what do you do for fun?"

"Fun? Umm... I write. ...I like movies. ...I... I guess I don't have fun." Never before had that thought crossed my mind. My natural exuberance about life masks this general apathy when it comes to my personal experience.

Those ideas collided today.

Kids is one of the few areas of life that people ask about our enjoyment. Granted, we ask about other elements here and there--did you like dinner? did you have fun on that ride? how was the movie? But those are events, not phases. College and work are probably the two closest proximities. But our enjoyment of these has much more to do with the environment and tasks we preform. Kids seems to question your humanity by your connection with the munchkins.

Perhaps my answer is biased by the simple fact that I just don't have fun much.

If that is the case, I take comfort in "the teacher" who suggested that I can do no better than enjoy ice cream, bed time, and what I do.

And I do.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Surrogate Father