My gold medal

new lucy

new lucy

Now I remember what it is that feels so familiar about the Summer Olympics. It was this time of year four years ago that they last rolled around. It was August 2004 when I also went into labor.

That first night after my water broke, I felt cramps in waves and I laid awake on the couch trying to do the impossible (ignore them). Late at night, I watched the great San-Francisco-y movie “Dopamine” and I remember it as the drug it felt like.

The following night, we felt more festive and turned on the Olympics to compare people’s extraordinary physical feats with what I was going through in my body. The day after that, Lucy arrived. Though no party, labor was nearly marvelous (I say with the miraculous blog-ability of four years hindsight).

In those first couple of years before Lucy could verbalize as much as she can now, her birthdays seemed like testaments to us making it through another year together. Now they are growing with an abundance of her own special characteristics. But there are those moments I look back to those nights of labor and wonder at that line of demarcation between then and now.

These particular Olympics and their attendant controversy (come on, there is always that) are not nearly the point. The athletes themselves form a band around the world, in their exquisitely practiced form so unearthly yet commonplace, and we all feel like we could be one of them – or they could represent us all. Not so much one country against another, but a union. There are some things that all of us have done.

Lucy watched two Olympic dives tonight (which is all of what I’ve managed to catch so far as well) and then proceeded to demonstrate everything that she could do too – just like while watching the Cirque du Soleil, when she dragged her stool out, got up on it, and cried about how much she too wanted to fly.

As Lucy herself said once, “I’m your special, mama.” She makes everything so common and so singularly unique – nothing felt like this before those Olympics four years ago. Just like she is, I’m still working on it and still get to wonder all the time.  If birth were an Olympic sport…

The only community that needs to matter

I just read Mike Walsh’s post Community through the eyes of a 2nd grader. I really like his musings about the community at his boy’s school:

They create mini-communities or groups which they call a Grove. A Grove consists on 9 kids, 1 kid from each grade, k through 8. These Groves meet every couple of weeks to mentor, share, help, learn and develop friendships across grades. What a fabulous idea – gathering all stakeholders and discussing how they can create a stronger and more valuable community – I love it!

This interests me for many reasons. Not the least of which, life has made sense to me diffently — or only — now that I have my girl, but I’m also fascinated in general about the nexus between on- and off-line communities.

'Rock climbing' at Crissy FieldI’m passionate about “my” San Francisco community, even though it often feels just as intangible as bits on the Internet, but I’m especially curious about where on- and off-line communities “meet.” Arguably, you could say we have Monica Lewinsky to thank for the powerful growth of online communities in the “offline” world of politics (think Move On). Lately, some clever innovators are monetizing through their online stores but delivering just down the street (Kodak and its picture books). And I’m fascinated about the physical books we still buy, print, read, and most importantly, share — as well as new online gems like the promising Red Room that are also bridging that gap between physical and ethereal communities.

So are physical and online communities really so different?

Some day soon I’ll re-post my blog/rant on “Web 2.0 and my community” – which I wrote internally at my company after walking down Golden Gate Avenue to the Expo last year (and the ensuing Spock Debacle), but for now, I’m happy to just to be reminded of what matters. As Mike says

I learned quite a bit during the 60 minutes that I spent with a bunch of little kids – and enjoyed every minute of it. This is a great reminder of keeping eyes wide open. Turn off the Blackberry and listen to your little kids. It turns out that they’re pretty smart.

Likewise, like Therese Stewart saying “It’s not same-sex marriage: it’s marriage” — it’s not on- or off-line community, it’s just community. I’m thrilled every day in which I get to perceive it through new eyes.