Sunday, August 9, 2009
Park Toys and other amusements
I've spent quite some time lately, caught in my thoughts about myself as a parent, my thoughts about my own parents on one side of me and my children on the other. Yesterday, a day which I have always shared with my Grandmother and therefore with my Dad because I can never think of her without thinking of him was a very reflective day. When I say "My own parents" I usually mean my father and his mother, because the woman who gave birth to me is like the "dark matter" between galaxies in the Universe on the science shows I love so well, un-seeable, not measurable unless you photograph everything that is there and chart the spaces between and know that since there is never nothing it must be something even if it doesn't reflect light or show up on even the highest powered telescope. I could compare her to a black hole, but those can be seen and actually create activity or movement of some kind, and that would be giving too much credit.
If my life were a teeter-totter that I started walking when I was little, up the incline toward the center fulcrum, I think I could accurately say that I had one foot to either side of the balancing point now. Just by shifting my weight I can make one side go up or down. It's fully loaded and evenly balanced and there I am in the center with my children on one side and my parenting on the other, and I'm taking as long as life allows me to balance here to do this trick.
I had a highly emotional call with my Big Daddy yesterday; my emotional and spiritual advisor, my font of wisdom, the source of all I know about parenting as a positive force or logic as a way to proceed. When I write about my Grandmother who I treat as my own I'm writing about his mother, who is to him who he is to me. I forget that sometimes. Did you ever have the toy called the Viewmaster when you were little? It had round disks with little slides arranged around the edge and binocular viewing. With no light source of it's own you would point it at the light and look through it to a screen that would present 3D and highly realistic photos because there were actually two pictures of each on the disk, one for each eye. It was like looking into a real world. Push down on the lever to advance the disk and you were on to the next picture.
I feel like I have just advanced the disk and my life and my Dad's life are starting to overlap to make one deep and dimensional picture of time that I spend a lot of time gazing into. My sons are the ages I was when I had them, and I must be somewhere around the age that he was when he started doing the things for me that I must do for them, as they are the ages I was then. If not a viewmaster as metaphor, how about a hall of mirrors that goes back through time with only a slight curve that prevents you from seeing the beginning or the end, but only the several sequences that happen right before and after where you stand right now? I cried because I am starting to feel in my own life how hard it must have been for him to do for me what I must now do for them, and have a new understanding of how much he must love me by experiencing how much I love them. Take it back a generation and think that my Grandmother loved him that way, and he loved her, and she loved me, I love them... It's almost Einsteinian in theory of emotion, but relativity was never an equation that was written to encompass feelings I don't think, was it?
I go to my Dad, to talk about where I am in my life and what I'm learning, or what frustrates me, or what I desperately wish for my children and he always has and freely gives what I need in that moment. Just yesterday I got a glimpse of the duality clicking into place to make that illusion of the depth of three dimensions and it made me feel emotional to the point of tears. Add to that his offers of assistance for me, the way I try to help my own kids, except I'm truly adult and know the difference between seeing my parent as a foregone resource and myself as an adult who should be able to provide those same resources to my own children, who are adults, and I'm back between the mirrors; back in the center of the teeter-totter, feeling like I should be taller or more capable or even more like my dad who has always been such a superman to me. I feel like I should be better prepared for this. I feel like I should be able to do a better job. I wonder if, when he was where I am right now he felt like I feel. I look at my kids and remember feeling the way I think they feel, wouldn't it make sense that if it's true looking forward it could be equally true looking backward? And I'm in the middle, thinking, balancing, shifting my weight so that first one side goes up while the other touches the ground, and then back again.
I spent time with two friends yesterday who just had their first baby. She is amazing. They are in the time of parenting where visual stimulation and how they want to talk to her and what kind of beliefs they want to give her are their main concerns. She's a left-handed Aquarian woman, married to a Cancer man, like I am. She hasn't told her toxic mother she has a daughter, just like I didn't. She is still feeding her child from her own body, and her baby is so recently a part of her physically that they are still connected. I looked at them, and longed for the days when my children and their futures still belonged exclusively to me, were in my own realm of creation, and I thought that I would get to make all the really important decisions and be their most important influence; when they were small enough to hold at my breast and I thought that the simple power of my love and my beliefs and affirmations would create the worlds they would walk through, and I knew that who they would be would flow into them with love and milk and that I would form their lives much the way my body formed theirs. This is not how it really is, but I watched them, and was jealous that the fantasy hadn't been inexorably pulled from their grasp yet, that they still got to gaze into her eyes and believe.
Maybe at some higher stage of my evolution love will be just that, and freestanding. It won't be partnered with fear- fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of somehow reaching the last mirror in the line and simply ending. Maybe my tears are just feeling, and it's alien to me to actually feel since I have spent so many years dedicated to not really feeling at all.
Maybe I just need to change disks in the viewmaster and the whole story will be revealed.