Sunday, July 11, 2010

69 Months

We went to our first chaperoned event for Lucas' class. Running around the Scripps Aquarium with a bunch of 5 and 6 year olds on what turned out to be one of the busiest days of the year. It was a revealing experience for me. Getting to know these kids who have become Lucas' extra family was an adventure. They all have their own personality and are guided by their own little imp. It took every ounce of energy not to panic as we wandered the dark and shimmery halls of reflected ambiance.

I've met most of them at least once during the year. In snippets before or after school. Answered a few quick questions through the fence as they waited for the bus. On the hand of their Moms or Dads as we pull our children back to the comfort of our own homes, going the same direction and feeling obligated to get to know our kid's friend's parents, though we have so very little in common besides the proximity of our future under current settings. They are all beautiful and mind-boggling and up until Lucas graced us with his presence, they were fully alien to me.

But now I have the capacity to understand them, to relate and communicate with them on their level. It was a leap for me. I'm not one to be overly expressive when I'm thrust into an uncomfortable environment and when it came to the next generation, I've often floundered. When I had my own children that all changed. I was uniquely aware of a beautiful essence that perceived the world with a fresh face. I began to see through their eyes and it opened up my own with a golden clarity. It's a world-view that we lose too easily as we clamor for the responsible awareness of adulthood. Too quickly do we throw off the "shackles" so that we can grow-up, without realizing that the ties that bound us to our youth were simply balloons that lifted us over the crowd and gave our voices an effervescent energy. I miss that person that I once was, but I would never have known it without going back into the world of children the way that we did on this field trip.

I learned new things about these little wonders. One child, who I thought was brilliant because of the meticulous work I witnessed whenever we went into the class, turned out to be a bit more aimless than I imagined but then I realized that she was simply focused on all the intimate details of life, zoning into her tiny perspective of the world around her. Another child always sought the comfort of my hand as we stared at eels or octopus or lionfish, but it was like she was doing it to let me know that it was going to be all right, that all of my responsible guardian energy was appreciated. I saw boys controlling other boys with their intense energy and everyone's face alight when we went down to the beach to wade in the shallows.

We're so fortunate here in San Diego to experience one of the great wonders of life as if it's just a common occurrence. The ocean has always drawn our imaginations and part of our field trip was a trip down to La Jolla Shores to gaze out at the massive swollen entity. There are times when the vision of all that water can be meditative and I sometimes think about the cognizant ocean of Stanislaw Lem's Solaris as I stare in wonder at the curious and omniscient presence that exists right off our coast. It is a soothing and magnificent being and we have such a small mind when it comes to understanding the life of the ocean.

In the mind of a child the ocean is a wonder and it is scary, but the energy within the crash of the waves fill them with a beautiful euphoria. They scramble and shout and grab and run. They jump and shower and screech and have fun. Most of all children love to have fun and in the scholastic environment, the greatest challenge is keeping those little sponges engaged with fun while also educating them. This field trip had them all very engaged and it felt good to be there amongst them, watching them grow before your eyes and catching the enormous smiles that spread across their faces with each new thing that gives burst to their hearts.

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Monday, July 05, 2010

29 Months (parte deux)

There are days where I find it difficult to understand that I am THE DAD. Just the sound of it in my ears is strange. I remember when I was a child and my parents seemed so mature, carrying so much of an adult identity. They were an omniscient presence and the idea of becoming that person was completely foreign to me. Sometimes I still feel that way.

Sure, I grew up and realized that my parents actually weren't all that mature when I was little and in fact were probably less adult than I am today. They had me when they were twenty, so that just goes to show how developed they were whilst raising me. Don't get me wrong, they weren't nightmare parents in any sense but I know how I was when I was in my mid-twenties and raising a child in a healthy manner probably would have been a difficult task for me to handle. They made some mistakes and learned a little along the way and hopefully they have fond memories of that shy boy who somehow always had a smile on his face.

So this idea of parenthood as it pertains to me has been sticking in my mind lately, like a catchy pop tune that rolls around just long enough to become annoyed by it. So just as I was getting annoyed with my shock at my current DAD label, I started to reflect on what it all meant to me as a person, not just as a parent. This idea of family has become a permanent presence for us and I didn't realize until recently that it has completely changed our perspective...on everything.

Awhile ago, when we first were overwhelmed by Lucas, I had this vision of a great fire burning over the hillside and destroying everything in its path. Lucas, Xtimu and I just waited for it to come and consume us but I wasn't afraid of it. I was in awe of it and I knew that it symbolized a massive change that was occurring in our lives. I had no idea what new sprouts would come forth from that ravaged landscape but I've always tried to have hope and strive toward being a positive influence during this journey that we are sharing together.

Now we have Quinn as well and sometimes the storm is bigger than anything I've ever experienced. Even though it may be frightening at times, we all seem to be conquering this fear and even are delighted by the experience sometimes. The unknown and scary adventure also has its attractive qualities, imagination brings forth our best qualities. Yet, no matter what were going through at each and every moment of this crazy experiment, we are totally different people from who we were five years ago. I don't even recognize that person.

The best and grandest part of it all is that we are a family. What does that mean? I guess that's what I'm trying to understand with my awareness of DAD status. It means so many different things to so many different people, no? But for me I truly believe that it has helped me become a better person. I know that it sounds like a cliche when I say that but that's what I really feel in my heart. Before I met Xtimu and moved in with her and got some dogs and bought a house and became a DAD, before all of that, I was someone who didn't know how to express the beauty that existed in my soul. I knew it was there and I knew that I wanted to but I had no idea how to pull it out. These people and this idea of togetherness has tapped into that part of my nature and given it life. There are moments now in my life when that romantic idea of a golden poetic hue is actualized and all of the dreams of ancient hearts wrestle forth to communicate with the universe.

And I can see it.

And I can feel it.

And I can open my heart and give it back to the world.

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