Holding Childhood in Reverence

» Testing one, two. Is this thing on? Having a little trouble. Ah, there we go. Seems to be working again. Whew. (Uh .. if today's entry seems disorganized, there's a reason.)

Pooh, Tigger & Piglet floating down a river on a raftSee, now that I have some 6+ years of experience at this parenting thing .. no longer do I feel like such a n00b. (.. like I used to).

And considering I've had to defend myself (a staggering # of times) against accusations of bad parenting (.. including the kind where detectives call and ask you to "stop by") ...

Let's see. Where was I going with this?

Anyway, I dont expect anybody to really appreciate the effect these kinds of things can have on the paternal psyche (.. that would be cruel) ..

.. but I assure you, it is quite exquisite (in a number of ways) .. that feeling of being attacked. As a parent. Repeatedly. Relentlessly. (While you try to exude pure-love toward your child.)

Oh, here it is. Here's the point I was gonna make » parenting is something I've been forced to think about .. long-n-hard. Painfully hard.

So perhaps you can appreciate how I might feel my parenting time has been more ______ (more something) .. than that of your "regular dad". (Lots of different words could go in there.)

My defense for dealing with these attacks has been two-fold (.. seeing i can no longer afford an attorney):

  1. if i am such a horrible dad, why does he want to be with me?
  2. look at him. does that boy look abused? or loved? is he not the coolest kid you've ever seen?

As a result, the Bug has been thru things no little boy should have to experience. Many professionals .. (people trained to identify the most horrible things you could imagine) have plied their trade on him (.. following the law .. legal requirements .. upon which whole public agencies have been built).

And every time (every!), these professionals come back and say, "Yes, he is definitely the coolest kid we have ever seen. And yes, he loves being with his dad. And his favorite thing is when you bounce on the trampoline with him."

And I say, "Yes, I know." =)

[ But how do I make it stop? What can I do? Why does it keep happening? How can something so horrible be allowed to continue for so long? Should I write my Congressman? Set up a meeting? ]

Van Gogh's Starry Night over the Rhone» The Bottomless Funk is Back

The reason I am thinking about this stuff now .. is cuz » I miss him.

Actually 'missing' is an understatement. (This entry, for example, contains a description of regular missing.) ..

.. a word that is woefully inadequate to convey the exquisite sensation here-n-now .. of having thy soul sucketh'ed out.

It has been some time since I had one of these .. these 'things' (funks, attacks) .. where it becomes difficult to breathe. Not sure why this one is here now.

In general, the closer we get during our time together .. the worse that feeling of emptiness when he leaves. » Wandering. lost. disoriented. confused. bottomless. alternating between aching and numbness. breathing labored. Like you got the wind knocked out of you. Would be a remarkable thing .. if it didnt suk so bad.

For a few days he's my focus. Then he's gone. "Where was I was going? What *was* it I gonna do?" The blank stare.

I sometimes wonder if the withdrawls suffered by the heroin addict is a similar experience (.. because of that intense longing). Never been much into smack, so I couldnt say.

This is definitely one of, if not *thee* most confusing (& utterly unexpected) things about being a parent. That I've encountered. I'm talking about the the effect that separation can have. The magnitude of that effect. That feeling that you're being ripped-apart. But still (somehow) alive.

••• today's entry continues here below •••

Gauguin's empty chair by Vincent Van Gogh» The Emptiness

Feels downright unnatural to not be able to see your son (.. for at least half the time).

These attacks went away when he started school. (Perhaps the reason they're baaack is cuz school's out for the summer.)

I have written about this before, so I'll try not to repeat myself. But I still dont have it figured out. Tho I certainly know more now than I did before.

Suffice to say I've tried to analyze what happens .. in the hopes of understanding it enough .. to be able to handle better these episodes.

That bottomless feeling is the worst part. Like the center of my being has nothing to rest on. No foundation. Not falling, no. More like » floating. Aimlessly, not knowng where you're going nor why.

The other things would be easier to handle if could find my center of gravity. But it's gone. Seems to take a few hours to re-orientate.

So I drift. Then the missing comes. The memories. The memories of the smiles. The funny, silly, cool things he said & did. I can hear his laughs ringing in my ears. (Smiling at this point usually opens the door to more aching.) But I have no firm center from which to brace myself when the missing comes. So it takes my breath away.

Nothing I've found (yet) is able to make that horrible feeling go away .. except time. So there's this no-mans-land .. for a few hours .. where it feels like .. like a part of me is .. missing. Gone. I feel incapacitated, vulnerable. Some emotion but more numbness.

Earlier this summer, after I hadnt seen him for nearly a month .. I could *feel* the distance between us .. when we finally did reunite. Bad feeling.

But now that is gone. So it feels like we're back .. close. Maybe that's why I'm missing him like crazy.

San Diego Wild Animal Park Moonlit Safari» San Diego Wild Animal Safari Park

We went to the San Diego Wild Animal Park yesterday. (Now called the Safari Park.) I was there years ago. Much has changed since. Except it's always withering-hot.

I enjoyed the aviaries most. (Always been a big fan of aviaries.) The Bug, on the other hand, found nirvana at the Little Kid's Water Park .. where he could play with other little kids .. his own age. Dozens. Took a while to get him out of there.

The whole way there (during the drive down) we talked about the new zip-line they installed there. But upon arrival, we learned kids must be 10 to ride the "Flight line". (He's only 6.) Seriously bummed he was, he was. (Redundancy intentional.)

Weird thing is that the roller coaster he rode (at Seaworld) last month was *way* gnarlier. And the zip-line did look like lots of fun. So I could understand his disappointment. (He's so transparent .. whether happy or sad.)

None of the other kids who went along (.. older than 10) rode the zip-line. So he didnt feel left out. (I dont think he could've handled that.)

Sapphire» Falls Asleep in my Arms (Outdoor Restaurant)

Afterward, we stopped at a restaurant for dinner. It was kinda late and he climbed up on my lap .. where he quickly fell asleep.

Yes, right there in the back-patio of their outdoor cafe. Subdued lighting. Near a stream flowing down the hillside. Nice ambiance.

Wasnt long before he was out - cold. Could hear his breathing shift and feel his body go limp. Friends covered him with lap-napkins when it started to get chilly. The warmth radiating from my body kept him warm.

Many have told me, over the years, how comfortable he seems with me. Even total strangers. I dont know anything else except the relationship we have .. but yes, he does seem very comfortable.

It's no easy chore .. eating a bowl of linguine (.. with giant shrimp & artichoke hearts) .. while holding a sleeping kindergartener.

I asked our waitress, "Is that a *couch* I see over there?" She said it wasnt very soft and I didnt want to wake him to go check it out.

He was whupped from walking all day, tho I carried him on my shoulders for much of the last few hours. So I was whupped, too. Heck, we all were.

Several patrons, including an adorable little girl, stopped by to gaze upon my sleeping prince. "The boy is sleeping, mommy."

"Wild Animal Park," I said. "That'll do it," mommy agreed, adding, "I saw when he climbed up on your lap."

Holding a sleeping child .. hmm. A magical enchantment .. that makes a parent feel closer. Again, when we got home, I carried him into the new house.

[ There comes an age, you know, when the courts will listen to kids .. regarding where they want to live. Dont think that thought doesnt fly thru my head on a regular basis. And I'd wager I'm not the only one, either. (He wants half-n-half.) ]

Pooh, Tigger & Piglet floating down a river on a raft» A Reverence for Childhood

Now that we're heading off to 1st grade, I'll leave you with an 18th century quote I found on the subject of child-centered learning (Education):

Hold childhood in reverence, and do not be in any hurry to judge it for good or ill. Give nature time to work before you take over her tasks, lest you interfere with her method.

We shouldnt repress the things we hold in reverence. (Often characterized by those words we all love to hear » No, Cant & Dont.) Rather we should cultive them. No?

Unfortunately, cultivation is more difficult. It requires more time & energy & patience & understanding (.. all limited resources). It 'takes' more. No doubt about it.

To make matters worse » the cultivation of a child requires not only empathy, but insight. (Because they are all different, and techniques that work well with one child may not work with another.)

And the last thing we would ever want to do .. is contaminate them (.. with our issues .. that we got from our parents). Have you ever held a toxic waste dump in reverence? Me neither. Nothing much 'natural' about a toxic waste site. Is there.

Unfortunately, this is even harder to do than the other. How many parents do you know that have managed to keep their issues (.. we all have them) from affecting their kids? Takes a strong person. Very strong. Are ya feelin' me, dawg?

Minimizing the contamination and quickly compensating-for any leakage is the method that seems to offer the most hope for us mere mortals. Reverence from an imperfect, but vigilant devotee.

Pooh and Christopher Robin walking hand in hand[ I usually shoot for over-compensation. Just in case. ]

One of the best things I learned from working in the nuclear industry .. is the concept of » setting-up your charges for success ..

.. where the focus is on fixing the problem (.. rather than on assigning blame).

If someone fails, we ask » "What could we have done to better set them up for success?" Because failures, on some level, almost always involve management (their bonehead decisions), and sometimes (too-often) they're even the primary cause.

Parents are like managers, kids like employees .. except that they cant apply for a different job if their present employer suks. (A job they never asked for, btw.) They're stuck with us .. for better or worse. Hopefully better.

Children should be treated like the gifts they are. Sometimes however, that isnt even an inspired ideal.

Bothers me when I see little kids being unappreciated, or treated like burdens. Dispensable. Sure, I wanna say something. And I do. But the words are not made audible. =) ■

For more along these lines, here's a Google search preconfigured for the query » hold childhood in reverence

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This page contains a single entry by Rad published on August 7, 2011 8:07 AM.

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