Monday, August 20, 2012

My Child

Last night I lay next to Knox.  He had spent the previous 5 nights at Peter's house.  (Knox was just 2 and we were living in Japan when we decided to separate.)  On the 5th night I missed Knox so much, I thought about going over there and crawling into his futon with him.  Instead that night I went to sleep in my own bed, but last night I watched him sleep.  I really didn't want to close my eyes, cause then I wouldn't be looking at his sweet, radiant face.  One's own children truly are angels... when they're sleeping.  Ha!  

I watched him sleeping; watched him breathing.  I kissed him just gently and infrequently enough so that he wouldn't wake up.  And that Aerosmith song came to mind, cause the lyrics were my thoughts:

I could stay awake just to hear you breathing
Watch you smile while you are sleeping
While you're far away and dreaming
I could spend my life in this sweet surrender
I could stay lost in this moment forever
Where every moment spent with you is a moment I treasure

Don't want to close my eyes
I don't want to fall asleep
Cause I'd miss you babe
And I don't want to miss a thing...

No matter how I feel, I can look at him, my baby, my Knox, and fill my heart to overflowing... what is that when you look into a person's eyes and experience so much?  No words, no actions, just BEing.  Maybe it's that a greater portion of the temporal falls out of focus.  Maybe the eyes really are the windows to the soul, and the soul is whole, whereas nothing else is. 

I am puzzled though by the ache... am I alone in this?  I love him so much my heart aches.  Yes, he is important to me, and I miss him when he is away, and I always love him, but it's more than that...  he fills my heart to breaking.

I think I can't say it enough because it's so hard for me to understand:  Having a child is the most difficult and most rewarding thing I could ever have done; ever will do.

I didn't even think I wanted children.  I looked at this world and thought that I didn't want to expose a child to the pain.  I didn't want a child for any of those terrible things to happen to.  I knew that there were many children without parents that I could love instead of creating another one.  I didn't give it credit before, but also linguering in my thoughts was the love and beauty that we get to experience alongside the hurt.

I used to waste hours... days... wondering how to best fill my hours, wondering how to live a fulfilling life, wondering if I would, even if I gave my life to them, ever achieve my goals.  I read books and books and pondered.  These are worthy thoughts, but I think too much.  I would worry myself and despair.  Then I was inspired by a friend to think about having a child, and I knew that it was healthy for a woman to have a child before 30.  And I got pregnant easily.  First month.

And that was the last point in my life that I had time to worry about what I would do with my hours!!  Oh, I'm laughing, cause it's so true and because although parents complain about not having time, the demands of a child answered all of my questions and filled all of my empty places.  What a turn!  What a change!  Like they say, give God the best comedy by making plans.  Before I went to college I thought I would become independently wealthy, maybe get married around 35, and then probably adopt 2 or 3 children. And yet here I am.  I got married at 23, never got wealthy, had a baby, and changed my mind about most of my goals.  The world is such a different place out of these mother's eyes.  It's even more vast in its ephemeral beauty.

I stand in the dark, looking at my boy, wanting to stay where I can love at him, and feel the aching love he ignites in me.  He's so big.  Knox, sleeping, sprawled out and causing me surprise because he takes up so much of the bed.  But he's still so little, too.  His little leg with the big bug bite.  His little hand in mine.  He loves frozen blueberries.  I love that he loves blueberries.  He doesn't really like McDonald's or pizza, which I don't understand, but I'm glad for less things to say no to.  He LOVES ice cream, as I did as a kid.  He is coordinated and funny, and smart... he has a few books almost memorized, just like I did when I was little.  His biggest word is Carcharodontosaurus.  He is emotional and sensitive and gets angry a lot.  When he has been a terror and a stubborn brick of a little boy, I have tried to be gentle, and tried the methods I have read about for loving discipline, and I have been schooled.  My stubborn, angry little man is standing there and I take him to our calm down/talking spot and he expects to be disciplined or yelled at or maybe even spanked, and instead I ask him to give me a hug and snuggle with me, so we can calm down and talk about it... and he crumbles in my arms.  I wouldn't have known if I hadn't tried this.  He needs my love and understanding when he is feeling so sad and angry.  Maybe I think it's stupid for him to be angry about having to leave what he is doing so he can come eat dinner, but HE doesn't think it's stupid.  There is a time for tough love, but for us, that is not every day.  I'm no expert, but I know what my heart tells me.  When he uncrosses his arms and accepts my outstretched arms and I take him into a hug, I feel how alone he felt, and my heart grows ten sizes knowing that I removed that feeling of separation and healed him with gentleness.  I will spare the rod all day to see my child's anger and loneliness melt into my affection.  I lose my temper, get frustrated beyond measure, yell, and use my strength, too, against my own will and better judgment.  I do not want a spoiled child and I do not intend to raise a spoiled child.  But, I do intend to raise a child who knows there is more power in love than there is in pain.

These days feel uncertain to me.  I'm a future oriented person, as much as I try to focus on the present.  I have given my perception of time so much thought and study, but the truth of me is that the future is in my bones.  I live temporarily in a foreign country, I have a growing boy, and my personal circumstances have changed so drastically in the past 3 years... I do not feel settled about the future.  I have many questions.  But, luckily it is also in my nature to know that it will all work out, whether I worry about it or not.  

What I know is that Knox will be with me.  My Kocho Sensei -that's my Principal- started to ask me what my goals after Japan entail, then she stopped and answered the question herself with, "Well, of course, your child is your dream."  Although I would have started to talk about law school or something, she is right.  I do have ambitions, but all of it will come second to him.  I used to think I had to go to a certain law school, but now I'd just go wherever I am.  Thankfully, my reckless ambition has been tamed by the years.  The less important things have fallen away, like they do when I look in his pure blue eyes.   

From Japan,

1 comment:

Mike said...

very nice Tiff - miss you guys...