Monday, February 15, 2010

Perfectly Impractical

Friends, our first baby is due in just a few months now, and you would think we would be focusing on practical necessities. After all, it is our first baby. People still refer to the baby nursery as the “alcohol room” due to its previous incarnation as the room where we line up all the champagne glasses and beverage buckets at our annual Christmas party. Clearly, transitioning the alcohol room into a nursery is going to require some necessary equipment. Cribs, changing tables, onesies, thermometers… and doesn’t the hospital require a car seat to take the baby home in? To this point, Zach and I have focused on the non-necessities (well, to us they are necessities, but they aren’t very practical). Books, books and more books… the baby’s library is already well-established, from his first sushi book (thanks to my sister and brother-in-law, the baby will recognize maki maki at a very young age) to this year’s Caldecott winner, we have been snapping up books almost every time we go out shopping. But I have to admit that this weekend, I reached the height of impracticality. But it is such perfect impracticality, the kind where you have stumbled across something so wonderful and so perfect that you make a deal with yourself that you will abstain from Starbucks indefinitely just so that you can justify buying it. So what could it be? What nursery room addition could be just that fantastic? Well, here it is…
Like wreckage that we discovered buried deep into the Atlantic, the moment I saw this pirate ship metal sculpture, it just screamed “boy nursery”. And then, when I looked at it again, it screamed “sophisticated 40 year old man’s apartment” and then, when I looked again, it was “cool 14 year old’s bedroom” and suddenly, I realized that this pirate ship accomplished what no boy name we have discussed so far seems able to- to grow with our son through all his stages and ages. The only problem? It was over $800, friends. And with the new sofa and the new carpet and the various house repairs we have been doing in anticipation of the little guy, there really was no justifiable reason to purchase such an unnecessary object. (For, as Zach pointed out when I called him to get his opinion, “Little boys typically like to touch things, not look at sculpture”). But on the other hand, as my mom pointed out, there seems to be such a need as a mom to create a story, a history, for our children. And what better story could there be then “before you were even born, we picked out your first piece of art.” And if I didn’t buy it, I could imagine a day, perhaps in 5 or 6 years, when all of a sudden our son has a surging interest in Peter Pan and Captain Hook, and as he sits reading the story in his room, I would reflect back and kick myself for not having purchased that one-of-a-kind pirate ship. It was that kind of thing. When I knew that future Janelle would regret current Janelle’s practicality if I passed it up.
So thanks to owner Matthew at Cielo (the beautiful little shop in Portland where we found the pirate ship, amongst about $10,000 worth of other things I would have happily purchased), who I think could see me practically split in two as future Janelle (“buy it! buy it!”) and current Janelle (with Zach on her shoulder “There are so many other practical things we need!”) fought with one another, we were able to take the ship home. In what I believe is his understanding that certain one-of-a-kind pieces in his shop just belong to someone, and that this pirate ship belonged to me, Matthew worked with me until we came to a place where I could afford to walk out the door with the ship, feeling good about the purchase and perfectly happy to drive it home and show Zach (who, for the record, also loves it). So there it is, friends. He doesn’t have a stroller, a carseat, or a name. But our son has his first piece of sculpture. And I hope that it does travel with him throughout his journey of life. That when he is little, he dreams about where it came from, and the pirate wars fought upon the high seas. And when he is a teenager, he dreams about where it could take him, far away from home for adventures that will fulfill his most secret dreams. And that when he is a man, he wonders about the artist, the person who crafted such a detailed representation of a ship, and how much passion he must have had for the project. It is our first real gift to you, little man. P.S. We also walked out of Cielo with this adorable orange chair.
Thank you Matthew! It will be the perfect reading chair for our little one to consume all those books we have already bought him!

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