having children is both one of the most enriching and joyous experiences you can have, as well as one of the most painful.
not really an original statement. but…it is, because i make it of my own impulse, fed by my own experience, felt by my own heart.
when you don’t do things right for your kids it can create such a deep pain as to be indescribable. as if you stumbled upon time travel, went back into the past to some fateful horrible day etched on your palm, somewhere along your lifeline, where you were hurt deeply, disfigured spiritually, or where you yourself did wrong, or met bad circumstance, and in time traveling were given the chance to correct it or prevent it—and yet, only let it happen again.
that still doesn’t get it across. no. that’s not right at all.
anyway, i’ve learned not all people feel to the same depth. or better yet: not all people have the same ability for intensity within the possible range of feelings.
we all can get angry! most people don’t have a problem feeling full of boasty pride. self pity comes to all humans easily in my experience. self-righteousness is also pretty commonly accessed by those i’ve met in my time on this planet.
not all people have the same capacity for empathy or compassion, however.
so it would be silly to make simple statements, general statements, absolute statements as i did a few paragraphs ago, about children.
some men are not part of their kids lives and it doesn’t bother them, to all appearances. they just walk on. lord. i…yeah. i’ll be honest. there are times i envy that. each child i have is attached to me. a neural-emotional invisible cord plugged into the deepest part of me. which means that when i find myself separated by circumstance or distance (or both), it is painful to me. it’s not something that really goes away.
but in my experience
when you do something right for your kids; when you teach a good lesson that you were taught (or were never taught); when you are there for them; when you see them imitating behaviors of yours that you believe will serve them well and make them a decent and good person, or even when it has nothing to do with you and you simply become aware that they are in one way or another a soulful and beautiful person…it fills your heart beyond capacity, and sometimes tears flow from the happiness you feel over it.
the thing is…
all those things that get in the way of you fully connecting with other humans beings are lacking in that connection to your children. because while they are Other, they are at the same time YOU. so the connection is unencumbered; it is uninhibited, it is unsullied, and complete, and without self consciousness, and without competition, and without fear. a fat pipeline into the heart of, and a uncomplicated love for, the spirit and well being of another being.
in that, you become small, unimportant. you don’t mind if you fall or fail or have missed a, b, or c in your own life. if you can help them be okay, it’s all okay. if you can have their love, it’s enough. if you can can make sure their belly is full, you are satisfied. if you can keep them away from a moment of pain, you’ll accept three.
it’s like finding a room in your house where you get to be jesus christ. or. well, you get to embody his teachings. not in a way that earns you dollars or fame. but in a real way, where you don’t matter and at the same time you are full of love. not in rhetoric, but in real time.
and that is really quite a place for a human being to be operating.
all that said, i never enacted any grand scheme in bringing children into the world. none of it was cool-headed decisions. my children more or less thrust themselves upon the world. each of their spirits demanded to be present; took charge and created openings wherein they could enter this plane. this is part of why i respect my children so much. they are beautiful, wise, powerful souls who were kind enough to grant me a part in their emergence. i do my best to impart the wisdom i feel i have to pass along. i do my best to nurture them as humans ought to be nurtured. i hope they forgive where i lag or lull or am not up to the task.
all the while, i watch them all in wonder.
and when they come over, on their own accord, to kiss me on the forehead and tuck me in—”nigh’, nigh’, papi”—when i doze off on the futon in the middle of the day on new year’s eve, i am sure that this world is a beautiful place full of bliss for every person and thing alive, even when we forget that such things are possible.