Thursday, May 26, 2011
On Being a Father
And then I got married. And all of the sudden there was this other being. Who I depended on....who depended on me. And I was no longer so loose with my own mortality. For death then became an enemy. Not a raving lunatic scratching at your front door but more the lurking phantom in poorly lit allies and quiet corridors. And yet I still heard that calming voice....If I were to die today...If she were to die....things would be OK.
And then I had children. And I spent countless nights awake worrying...and holding...and comforting. These children, a product of my own creation, grew and flowered before my eyes. They developed souls and personalities. We laughed together...they jumped into my arms when they were hurt.
And I felt content. Or at least for a moment. Until the specter of death reared its ugly head again. Not as a concrete concept but more of an abstract. A what if. My previously conquered opponent was back and had a new weapon. My Achilles heal.
Those sweet beautiful children. My life's work wrapped into those little needy hands and feet. How can I now live in a world that could threaten them..that could threaten me. Because when you have children you are turned inside out. You expose yourself to the barest most sensitive parts. A million nerve endings clumped together into the small space of a fingertip.
My confidence is gone. My acceptance of life's trivialities and foibles and the fecundity of mortality have overwhelmed me. I am despondent. Torn between the utter joy and uncontrollable fear of being a father. If I die...as my father did....It is no longer OK. And if something were to happen to my children......
See that's the thing about becoming a parent. You give up everything. your heart...your soul.
I will never be completely at peace again.
And in my new maturity...my new reality
That...that is what has become OK.
Posted by Jordan Grumet at 12:19 PM
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