Before my son was born, he was little girl. The first ultrasound revealed a tiny female, the doctor told us that we were having a daughter. With later ultrasounds we peeked in on a little boy swimming in the water of life, deep in his mother. Although our child was healthy, we had to come to terms with what felt like the loss of a daughter.
Our pink world turned blue, and then vibrant blue. We grew excited.
To celebrate the impending world of mud, trucks and airplanes, I did what any father would do, I bought a stack of G.I. Joe comics, “He’ll like these for sure!” I informed my wife. She smiled for the insane man’s enthusiasm.
I also collected the best Hot Wheels of 2009 and 2010 to put in a display case, over a hundred cars from the dawn of his youth. And a complete set of Hot Wheels trading cards; and baseball. And a subscription to LEGO magazine.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the things that were important to me yesterday, somewhere, they all seemed to slip away, don’t know how or where they escaped…Here I am, full circle…
I also saved seeds from his first Halloween pumpkin. We would like to plant next year’s Halloween pumpkins from these seeds, and use the new seeds for the following year’s harvest. We hope to do this until he has his own children and he can plant the seeds of his youth in their lives. Sometimes the insane man has good ideas. You smiled.
In between epiphanies we feed him three or six meals each day, bath him, teach him words and songs, and let him pull on the cat’s tail. Each caring act adds a penny of love to his life and confidence, while the alchemy of sharing this life turns memories into gold.
These are the things important to me now, ring around the finger, toys on the ground, ninos wait for their favorite song; tu contreras y yo cantera…
The dutiful life of parents comes with many crosses. A disciple who walks as a student, teacher, barista, spouse, parent, writer, carries the crosses of these paths. Many loves, many crosses.
As a father my crosses appear as spoons with applesauce, missing socks, and difficult bed times. The burdens of love increase during cold and flu season, and grace is to have a Kleenex box within reach. After seven years of formal education in philosophy, literature and theology, I still have yet to hear a Dostoyevsky, or Emerson talk about the minor truths of the daily spiritual life. No matter what my current mission in fatherhood is, there is always something child related stuck to the bottom of my foot. As I carry my cross there is a raisin stuck to my sock. The prophets forgot to mention the raisins.
At the end of the day I lay my little boy in his bed and tuck his blankets around him. He doesn’t even know that I do this every night. He doesn’t know his aunts who made these very blankets and quilts. This universe has always been here for him. Lastly, I return the bath toys to their basket, put out clean towels and clean the mirror. I give the large brass wheels of our little universe one last spin, kiss my wife, then retire under blankets made by unknown hands.
Gratitude, to contreras y yo cantera…
(Italics are lyrics by Mike Stand, “Full Circle”)