Friday, June 06, 2008

44 Months

Never before have my emotions swung so dramatically as when I became a parent. Sometimes I'm shocked by this new revelation and sincerely understand how their are certain people out there who simply cannot do it. But in the end, what choice do we have? We were the ones who decided that parenthood was our calling, either willingly (as in my case) or through sheer stupidity (hmmmm, it's called a condom you jackass). This is the land that we now inhabit and it's like that movie "Sex and Lucia", which takes place on an island in the Mediterranean that isn't actually connected to the earth. So it's floating on the water! For some of the inhabitants, it takes some time to adjust to the drifting feeling of disconnectivity.

That's us! Parents doing whatever they can to adapt to their newfound circumstances to which they were completely unawares. Sure, there were those who attempted to warn or explain or describe or teach or infuse the experience of parenthood upon our nubile minds, but nothing is as fitting as presenting yourself within the moment and hoping that yee shall be triumphant in the end. A proposition that, for the most part, comes to fruition as you watch the little ones grow before your eyes. They are precious and vital souls that call to the longing of humanity, an aspect of our nature that thrives in bearing witness to the special beauty in others. But in an instant those peaceful feelings of bliss can rocket from your grasp and cast you upon the rocks of despair.

For instance, two weeks ago we traveled to San Francisco to visit Xtina's brother with both of the kidlets in tow, something we try to do at least a couple times a year. Even though he's so faraway, Rick holds a special place in all of our hearts. The trip was a wonderful joy, even getting to see the Padres pummel the Giants at ATT Park, the first time we were able to attend the stadium since it was built. On our fourth day, we headed out to Oakland to an antique flea market. I've never seen so much junk in my life! But inside all of the madness were some real neat finds and Xtina and her brother were in heaven. After a couple of hours, I began to feel the weight of the shopping and the burn of the sun so I decided to go back to the car. I ended up with both kids and we hiked a mile across the arid terrain of the parking lot and settled into the comfort of our rental van. Things were pleasant for awhile, with Quinn chilling on the floor in the back and Lucas and I playing with his new deck of Hulk cards. After an arduous game of war, which never ended, Lucas went to the back and played with Quinn while I tried to recall the proper form of solitaire. I didn't make it through the stack once before I heard a thump and Quinn going into hysterics.

Now, I don't know what happened exactly but when I looked back, Lucas was climbing off Quinn with a scared look on his face and Quinn was so red she wasn't breathing. It was one of those melt downs that actually don't start right away, she has to charge herself up for a real good shout. My peaceful world went to chaos in two seconds flat. Needless to say, the relief I was searching for by retreating to the car from the flea market never truly materialized because for the next thirty minutes I was trying to calm down Quinn, who I wasn't entirely sure wasn't hurt real bad. Being in a space like that is diametrically opposed to relaxation. I was so angrified and terrified and claustrophobified and harried that I wanted to slam my fist into the world and start an earthquake so that everyone would understand the immensity of my misfortune.

And, of course, Lucas was the immediate recipient of my rage, fear, whatever was whistling through me. He huddled in the back seat and waited for me to bark at him and the entire time all I could think about was that warm place that collapsed from my grasp with just a slight shift in the matrix.

We are so intimately connected in life. When I first started practicing Buddhism, one of the concepts that was constantly discussed was the idea of interconnectedness. That all human beings are fluidly in contact with each other and their environment and even the universe. That, when we make a cause, not only are we affecting our own lives but everything else around us as well. Now, I understand that concept with my intellectually philosophical brain but sometimes, especially in our culture, it's so easy just to think about oneself and not the ways that I'm affecting everyone else on the planet. Well, since we've had children, it's become glaringly obvious how much we are affected by our environment. They are so dependent on us that everything they need is delivered right upon our doorstep and because we are such empathic creatures, we respond to those needs despite our personal desires or dreams.

In the end, I know that I'll appreciate the fact that despite what I was feeling in my heart, I didn't just say "leave me alone!" and turned my back on them. These times when they cling to us with such emotion will not last forever and just being available to them is a great cause, something that may be appreciated in the future.

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