18 July 2014

Fortunate Fool


I woke up this morning and came out to the living room to find my 5 year old boy sitting on the couch looking quietly contemplative. Generally when I see this sort of scenario I try not to make eye contact and I sit quietly near by, sort of minding my own business. I do this because the morning, at this point, can go one of two ways: either he's relaxing and nothing is wrong, or he's pissed off and if I look at him for even a second he'll call me names and throw himself on the ground crying. (Actually he doesn't do that so much anymore, and getting a 5 year old to laugh through a scowl is about as easy as yelling "stinky butt!") But Jack can tend toward the moody in the mornings so it's best not to prod the tiger. I sit on the couch with Rowan on my lap, too tired to chat it up anyway.

"Hi Mom." Hmmm, ok, it's cool to make eye contact now since he initiated conversation...

"Morning Jack." Pause.

"I was just reading this book," says Jack. And he lifts it up for me to see. I didn't even realize there was a book in his hands. Here it is:



Right on. No, my kid was not reading this book but man I love it when an opportunity just presents itself on a silver platter. So this is the one we chose to read (and we read it twice to savor it):

may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it's sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing useful
and love yourself so more than truly
there's never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile

It's interesting timing, this poem right now. My kid is definitely that fool who cannot fail pulling all the sky over him with his brilliant smile. Now how to keep him smiling? How to keep him young and listening to the birds?

I think about the job of parenting all the time (duh!) I make lists of all the parenting books I need to read. I am subscribed to a million blogs because I don't have time to read books. I don't read my emails because I'm subscribed to a million blogs and I don't have time to sort...247 times a day I wonder how many ways I'm screwing up my children, how many ways I could be doing things differently, saying things differently. 134 times a day I catch myself nagging, and 82 times a day I find myself getting mad and then getting mad at myself for getting mad because my kid is FIVE for Jebus sake and he is still learning and why not do nothing useful and love my kids more than truly? Why not?

Because a river of sand pours out of your shoes every damn time you take them off. Because I'm exhausted and hungry and not interested in getting up from my dinner that I only just sat down to after making two different dinners (yours and everyone else's) to get you a glass of milk. Because you beg for sugary treats like the junkies looking to score down the block and I know I'm your pusher. Because most of the time you're nice to me because you know I'll take away TV or popsicles if you're not. Because you jump on the couch and knock shit over all the time. Because you have zero understanding of or experience with concepts like compassion and generosity and the world still revolves around you and what you can get and how often and how much. Because all of these things, all of these ways that you are are my fault, and really I'm just mad mad mad at myself for failing you every single time.

and even if it's sunday may i be wrong

Sing it brother.

I get it. I do. None of that bullshit matters. (Well, compassion and generosity matter but I know that stuff takes a lifetime to cultivate...I'm just so impatient.) What does matter is the love I have that actually is so way more than truly. A clean house and clean kids could be a sign that something is terribly wrong and so I'm thinking about more sand to not sweet up and sticky fingers to hand more watermelon to. I'm thinking about how it's summer and summers are for kids and my kid is about to start SCHOOL school! I'm thinking about how I need to breathe more and relax more and how I need to make more water balloons. Before my little fool is all grown up and it's not summer anymore and yelling "stinky butt!" will just elicit eye rolls and extreme embarrassment.

Thanks for the quiet learning moment with my kid this morning e.e. I don't know if Jack learned anything but I certainly did.

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