Tan lines

photo (19)The good news is that Timothy is learning to drink out of a normal cup.

The less good news is that the main place he performs his latest trick is in the bathtub and his drink of choice is bathwater.  Yuck.

photo (18)


Elisabeth has now been in India for almost 2 weeks and is doing very well.  She is experiencing many ‘ups’ and, as expected, a few ‘downs’ and she is jumping right into the experience ( elisabethinindia.blogspot.com ) .

We Skyped with her while my extended family was vacationing near Charleston, South Carolina — with all 15 of us fighting for a spot in front of the camera.  It was so nice to see her and to hear first hand about how she’s doing.  Elisabeth has a very nice host family, and told us that she explained to her host family about her family back in the States.  She told them about her sister, and when Elisa explained that Catherine’s skin was paler than her own skin, her Indian family was stunned and asked, ‘no, paler than you?’

In an effort to focus on her new home country, Elisabeth is going to cut herself off from Facebook, email and Skype for a few weeks, so it may be a bit before we hear from her.  But so far she’s having an awesome experience.

photo (17)        photo (13)


We had a fun family vacation at the beach, though Timothy was a little crabby – probably from getting tonsillitis, but maybe also because his diapers left a funny tan line.

We took a flight back Saturday night and went to church Sunday morning, and I was struck by the number of similarities between a plane and a church.  In both, people are sitting in rows (and don’t want a middle seat), have a good selection of inflight reading material, and there’s a whole lot of praying going on at the beginning and at the end.

But most interesting to me are the parishioners and passengers.  In both places, you have people from all walks of life, many probably not excited to be there and most coming in with a little unchecked baggage.  Most importantly to us new parents, you’re surrounded by some people who think kids are angels and probably even more people who think kids are animals.  The problem is, you have no idea where people stand on the ‘kid line’ until you’re seated and your toddler becomes a noisemaker.  And that’s when the smiles and the crabby looks pop up and you stop making eye contact.

And that brings us to Timothy.  In both locales, parents want it to be like a drive in — quick in, quick out.  But instead, in both flying and churchgoing, time slows down and becomes a slow motion matrix-like game of cat and mouse (I can never remember if we’re the cat or the mouse), and in these situations, Timothy employs his own strategy of behavior, while we try to counter with our own battleplan.

In both plane and church, Timothy employs the well known ‘FIRE’ strategy– friends, ignore, run away, and enemies:

FRIENDS – Quickly find the adults around who love us kids — these are your friends

IGNORE – Disregard your parents’ pleas to stop making so much noise

RUN AWAY – Try to wriggle free from your mom or dad

ENEMIES – Treat enemies like family – they’re just friends who don’t know it yet

Meanwhile, Laura and I do our best to keep up with him by employing the ‘DARN’ strategy — distract, apologize, resist, and now what?

DISTRACT – After his first offense, distract him with a toy

APOLOGIZE  — After second offense, offer a general apology to everyone within earshot

RESIST – Third offense, resist the urge to report him to the authorities

NOW WHAT? – Fourth offense, your guess is as good as ours

But that’s about where the TRBL similarities end between faith and flight.  And for all of the goofy things the Catholic Church does – at least they’ve never lost our luggage.

Grateful to be home, but missing Elisabeth,

The Lees

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1 Response to Tan lines

  1. Mary Gerry and Tom Lee says:

    How absolutely fabulous to spend a week with the family and to see how Timothy warmed to the crowd around him. Of course, they were all fighting to get his attention and to play with him so I guess they were easy to love.
    Excellent acronyms and insight, Jack. I love and am so grateful for our family! XXOO, Mom

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