Delirium Vitae

Yellow_double park_2012-08-02

2013-02-15 – This morning my son Nat posted a picture of a bottle of Delerium Tremens beer. I went to the website and found a picture of a pink elephant (must be Republican). The pink elephant reminds me of the time Nat was a little boy and we used to sit on the couch together watching the movie Dumbo over and over. He’s not a little boy anymore. As of yesterday, Nat is 21. That’s why he posted the picture. He’s now legal to drink. And true to his calling as a culinary maven, he’s selected some Belgian beer that I never heard of with a provocative name. (A few months ago we had dinner at his restaurant and I discovered another beer I never heard of called Cane and Ebel. I thought it was awful, but I saved the bottle because I liked the name.)

Twenty-one years ago, the one-day-old Nat was in a crib at the hospital neonatal ICU. He was being monitored and it turned out that he was completely fine, despite a scare that turned out negative. I walked into the room to see my baby. He was taped to wires and the wires were driving an instrument that displayed his heart beat and other vital data. As I neared him, the heart-beat trace went flat and an alarm went off. I turned white, I guess, because the nurse suddenly said to me, “look at the baby, not the monitor!” And sure enough, Nat was moving, like nothing was wrong. And nothing was wrong–with him. One of the wires apparently became disconnect. That was all.

Fright and relief. Delirium Vitae.

And a lesson about data. We are flooded with data. But data is nothing in and of itself. Data is about something. If the data tells you it is raining outside, but you look out the window and the sun is shining, the forecast ought to be Sunny. But that’s not always how it works. On the other hand, data can reveal hidden truth. The sunny scene you see out the window might be a passing hole in the clouds. You ought to step outside and get the bigger picture.

And it’s like that with raising kids. There are frequent alarms. We’ve had various alarms through the years. He’s had growing pains. But he’s also had great triumphs. And he’s now grown into a man with great plans and great potential.

It all makes you kinda delirious. . . with pride.

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