Where do I begin?
Life is a kick in the ass. Sometimes it’s a kick you need or in hindsight, maybe even wanted. Other times it’s just a fucking kick.
Above all, life is exactly what your parents tell you it is: not fair. Some of us are kicked down, hard and often. Some of us get the kick we need, over and over, and never get the message. Some are fortunate not to need a kick of any kind. Others… well, it’s all we can do not to give them a kick ourselves.
You might want to give me one now, to see if it would shake some sense out of me or into this little post.
There are moments in life I desperately wish I could describe, something I think is a product of all that kicking – or being kicked. The best my feeble mind can come up with is emotional overload, though that’s not quite it either. It makes it sound bad, yet in many ways it’s the opposite. There’s the moment when you’ve spent 36 hours in the hospital with a loved one, watching them suffer, knowing there’s nothing you can really do – then your child is born. Once in a great while, there’s a moment towards the end of a special story when an author brings you to this place through the experience of his or her characters.
At these times I’m moved to tears which flow freely. For a brief moment I think I may understand the range and complexity of human emotion, in ways I thought I had before, but really only scratched the surface.
It passes but it leaves something behind. I feel raw but richer.
Adam saw me this evening after such a moment and I wasn’t sure what to say. I tried to reassure him nothing was wrong. I tried to explain some of what I’m telling you now. Two things occurred to me. One, that I’m not doing a very good job of describing anything; and two, that he may not be ready. He may not be ready for many years.
He needs to be kicked around more… live more life, wander the experience of others, and exercise those emotional muscles, hopefully building a strong sense of empathy.
Then, some years down the road, maybe I’ll be able to look back and know I have done my job as a parent right.
Maybe I’ll have another one of those tearful moments for myself.