That’s right. Sometimes just when it seems like you know exactly what you’re doing, a little bit of life comes along and punches you in the eye.
I am in the uncomfortable habit of worrying. I know. I know. Intellectually I know better. I am aware of what a waste of time and energy that dwelling on the uncontrollable is. However, in the moment it can seem as welcoming as a long-lost friend. It can seem as warm and inviting as a cup of coffee.
In the last few months I have been looking past the clearest indicator of new stress in my life. Instead I have been focusing on the minutiae. I have been rearranging furniture in an attempt to find some peace. I have been focusing on fears to distract me from the bigger picture. I have taken comfort in character assassination or irrational resentment, rather than providing myself that comfort through a more positive, altruistic manner. I have bought things I do not need. An argument could be made for the iPad Pro, but it would still be an argument.
Now, this isn’t all the time, by any means. It’s not even close to a majority of the time. I am a human being and we do stupid things sometimes. However, I am a firm believer in the notion that if I’m not moving forward than I am rolling back. When the data that I’m avoiding the true problem is being swept aside though, then there is no opportunity to grow. So, instead of taking stock of the glaring evidence of my TRUE fear that is (literally) growing right in front of me, I sideline my happiness by indulging in self-pity, selfishness, and fear.
The truth is, as it usually is, rather simple: Charlie. I have another child now. I am, most of the time, responsible for the life of another human being. If I go even deeper, the truth is that part of me doesn’t want that responsibility. I hope that’s not shocking. It certainly isn’t to me. I have come to understand that, at times, the things that I WANT are not usually in my best interest. “Want” is a tricky concept. I like to think that my life as less of a “want to” and more of a “get to” journey. It keeps me grateful to examine my life as a series of gifts both good and bad, rather than a linear path of ups and downs. So, when I begrudge these gifts, I suffer.
My new son provides me with all the endless joy that one might expect. He is not only a mirror image of me, but I can already see the buds of early personality. Him and Jack, after a rocky start, are forming the bond of brotherhood that I recall from my own childhood. I cannot imagine growing up without my little brother, Mickey, and I so glad I don’t have to. I watch Charlie smile and all the sins of this world wash away and I only see the innocent beauty of mankind.
Yes. The joys of parenting. Which are only equally met by the frustrations. Everything takes double the amount of time. My simple “Jackpack” has turned into a misshapen lump pushing on my spine. A lot of simple daily tasks have taken on this weird trial and error feel, with the conclusion usually amounting to: “Well, I’m not gonna do it that way again.”
Also, Jack and I went on adventures. Or at least that’s what my perception was. Charlie and I tend to more go on distractions. With this, I am left with a lot of time to think. Left with a lot of time to imagine that my life is worse than it is or that my VERY FIRST WORLD problems are insurmountable. Like I said, this is seldom and usually course corrected. I am typically walking like a big man in the Sunlight of my beautiful life, so when I’m not it seems more glaring.
For the first few months I looked past the notion that Charlie was causing the stress in my life with the delusion that I’ve already raised a child this age before. When I am disturbed about anything I tend to wonder what the lie I told myself was. There were a couple:
1. That I’ve already done this before. I haven’t. I was not sober the first year of Jack’s life. He was fed, cared for but I had a different solution for living then. I don’t do that solution anymore.
2. Again, that I’ve already done this before. No. No. Never in my life have I raised TWO kids before.
3. That I could add another child into the mix and NOT feel more stress, anxiety, fear, pressure and general upheaval.
This last one is probably the biggest lie I’ve told myself in recent times. This idea that I could wipe any of the feeling away under the auspices of probably one of the most phony things I’ve ever said: “I got this.”
All of this is to simply say this: I’m afraid. I don’t “got this”. However, I will absolutely do it. I will lean into it and learn from it. I will make mistakes, wish I did things differently and also be proud when I hit one out of the park.
I will. I hope you do also. Be well. Merry Christmas. Thank you for participating in my life.