No child’s path is “set” or “solved” at birth and most spend their entire lives trying to “solve” themselves. The degree to which one “solves” oneself is one thing; the degree to which one is capable of “solving” (teaching?) another, child or not, is increasingly shown to be diffuse and made of complicated inter-relations.
As always, humans do the best they can with what they have to work with… sometimes, that’s enough and sadly, sometimes, it just isn’t.
It is said that children grow up and become their parents; I do not think this is true. I think, rather, that children grow up and become what they perceive their parents were or were not, depending upon the healthiness of their relationship.
When I think about the parents who abandoned me, when I think about my life in the decades since, I realize that the first half of my life was spent being everything I perceived they were not (at least, to the best of my ability).
Later, I began to see that to truly become myself, I had to shed those defining parameters and give myself room to breathe and be. I have struggled to do so ever since the realization and, through the years, have come to more deeply understand how truly effective parents, or their lack, were for me.
There are things I will simply never know, just as there are things I know far more intimately than I ever wanted.
Today, as I type, I have a deeper insight to my parents, grandparents; I understand my parents and myself in ways that are as infuriating as they are sorrowful. I no longer wish that past had been different; but I do deeply grieve the fullness of the loss, even as I delight in the richness I’ve discovered under the desiccated skin of experience.
I also see the impact my history has on my children; I grieve that we cannot have the fullness of wisdom and insight until time and thought has worked through us. There are things that make my children and I closer than breath, but there are also things that have caused awkwardness and misunderstanding.
I know this is normal; I know that no relation is perfect. But it is difficult, to see some of the things most beautiful to me remain on the list of lifetime impossibilities for reasons that are not of my cause or choosing.
The hardest part, I think, is that there is no blame or fault in it. There is no “first cause” that makes sense to hold forth because the chain of our present is but a link forged well back into time; it would be arrogance to say this link or that one holds more contributing weight to the ones we forge today.
And increasingly, this is validated by science. What a relief.
“Of all the things most meaningful to me
The pinnacle, serenely unassailable, is your happiness.”
Here is the moment in which wisdom is embraced; it matters only that those I love are content, happy, and able to live well in themselves. While I am still far too human to say that is the only thought in my head, it is by far the best thought and the one I prefer to give voice.
There is no one fault nor fame to be had without being lost. Life is sound echoing through space, briefly contained by a concept of ‘myself’, but always returning to the imponderable oceans of quantum foam.
“I am no less hungry than you;
my mind and heart are tigers that hunt just as you
Still, there has yet to be a meal as filling
As the one I watch you savor.”
But I am on a path, being pushed inexorably and against my will toward my grave, even now… and, absurdly, I think to ask, “Does this mean I will never have my own life?”
And the universe, gently but firmly reminds, “You never did.”
May we all find our most beneficial enlightenment in this life.