When a child is reading a book or watching a baseball game, I become inconsolable. I want to cry, and were my SRTIs to allow me to cry, I would–happy, joyful, hopeful tears. These two things, both imperative to my own sanity and understanding of the world, I fear are drifting further and further from the normal rearing of children. Of course, on it’s face, that is a preposterous and presumptuous statement; I have no children of my own and when faced with the prospect of raising one, I seize up and reach for the Tums or the nearest door handle. I am not fit to be a father, or so I believe; but if I had children, a son say, I’d like to believe that he will be well behaved and patient enough to sit still in this world, to be totally at peace with the quietude that is possible but not encouraged in this culture. That is not to say I would want him to be immobile or to stare simply at a book all of his toddler years; rather, I would want him outside scuffing and scraping and hearing and creating that pop in his glove, taking an awkward step forward and cocking his hand, the sun breaking just off his blond hair and catching the brand new whiteness of the ball, his arm not at a perfect ninety-degree angle, but close enough for three years old, one foot dug into the earth and the other teetering on newly learned balance and he releases…and as the ball flies through the air the lessons I could teach him or the places I could tell him to avoid would spread across his face in the most triumphant smile.
This is all so easy to say and dream. I imagine most people have something like this bouncing around in their head, just inserting music for baseball or bricklaying for book reading. Just like our hobbies and pursuits, our dreams and projections are there to distract us from this current moment.
Or perhaps this is simply myself projecting my young self onto my own future in hopes that I will better understand my children. A sin in and of itself, but then again, I was forgiven for my sins. Can I turn away from my own understanding of the world and allow my child to form his or hers? I hope so and I know I will, at some point, allow that to happen, but will it be too late? This is speculation and if my track record is correct, it certainly does not come from an objective place. In my world, I am always the culprit for all wrongdoing–the center of attention and the problem child always slouching under a dunce cap. Being at fault means being in control.