Ever feel like you’re a new house, another job, or a class in Buddhism away from a pretty good life? If you’re like me, you prefer Big Change over middling shifts and titrations. Like generations of men before me, I’ve gotten sucked into the macho belief that if it doesn’t hurt and if you can’t feel the pain, it’s most likely not worth one’s time. Twins, single-parenting, second marriage, graduate school were made more difficult by my belief that the authentic experience had to be intense, raw, struggling.
I’ve always hated the “Bloom Where You’re Planted” saying, subscribing instead to “The Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss.” Why meander around a block when you can run a marathon instead? Much to my chagrin, this active Type A internal world is much like the American ideal of mindless striving and mountain climbing ‘because it’s there’ –moving ahead always preferable to staying put.
But what to do with all of this drive when one has to make a million sandwiches, wipe bottoms, stare at the clouds and see shapes?
Part of enjoying children depends on one’s ability to relax and enjoy the views of the moment. Agendas and plans and children don’t really go together, especially when the kids are young and especially if one values the sweet loveliness and chaos of the minds one is shepherding through the big world.
As I make ready for the twins to attend Kindergarten next Fall, I’m faced with one of my last opportunities to sit here and be with them, on their terms, in their world. It takes real courage to be with them and get as close as breath and air. More courage than all that other put together.