Thursday, March 20, 2014

Beenie's Ambiguous Birthday

There is something about ambiguity that I love.  I am fascinated by those drawings you can look at one way and see a simple picture of, say, a clown eating an apple on a bench behind a circus tent.  Then, look a little longer or change the angle a bit, and some different part of your brain kicks in to show not a clown at all but a duck chasing a beach ball down Fifth Avenue.

Give me a Rorschach ink blot or a good Hawthorne story, and I will revel in the contemplation of multiple interpretations and alternate possibilities.  Or, simply, do what Beenie's mama and daddy did today:  Send me a photo of my grandson on his second birthday.  I will delight in not only the perfect, precious subject matter but also in the vastly different texts that accompany this single photo.

I first received the shot, snapped by Beenie's day care provider, in a text message from his mama.  "Birthday boy with a mouthful of birthday cookie," she writes.  A great caption, I thought, and very practical.  Otherwise, I might have spent the afternoon trying to figure out what that white thing on his mouth was and wondering if he had the mumps.

An hour or two later, the picture cropped up again, this time as a status update by son Teebo on my Facebook news feed.  Never one to waste words, Teebo opts for the less concrete, more interpretive caption: "Visionary."

Now, don't those two views pretty well reflect the gamut of parenthood?  On one hand, you are immersed in its physical necessities: you change diapers, wipe noses, and hold sticky little hands.  On the other, you look beyond the physical confines of toddler time and wonder about things like potential and possibility. Do we have a doctor here?  A computer programmer?  An artist?  First violin for the New York Philharmonic? Second baseman for the Cardinals?

Thanks, Mama and Daddy, for sharing this great pic of Beenie on his second birthday.  As for you, little guy, I hope you are having a great day.  It looks like the birthday cookie is a definite step in the right direction.

I will see you for your party this weekend.  Meanwhile, sleep tight tonight, and remember that Googie loves you a whole, whole bunch.

There is nothing ambiguous about that.

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