My writing is strongly influenced by both of my parents. If I were to try to view my writing through my parents eyes, and if I were to remove the silly and the angry and the opinionated pieces and evaluate the heartfelt, meaningful writing I’ve done I believe each of my parents would see heavy influences from the other. This reflects an instinct to generosity and humility combined with a true admiration and fascination with each other that defines them as far as I can see. My father would point to the emotional presence and depth of humanity in them and throw credit to my mother. and my mother would point to the thoughtfulness and the ability to design the contours of my tales to emphasize a perspective, to land on that perspective in a more impactful way and credit my father. I would say it’s the only way I can be having been born of these two. And having been so makes me appreciate greatly that which is beyond ones control. The luck, the accident of birth and whom it is we are made of.
Developing Dad was consciously conceived of as a place to record this whole experience. A place set aside to dwell on what it is and who we are as we become the family we will have been. I hoped in inception that it would be a place we can come to as we get further and further away from this time of transformation and visit the selves we were. It is designed as thoughtful nostalgia and on that front I think I’m reaching my aim. Maybe not exactly as I conceived of it originally, but honestly and presently. What I didn’t think of initially was the unexpected audience I would have who would mean so much to me.
I have many moods and states of being and over time they are all on display here. Sometimes I feel like being funny. Turns out wanting to be funny is much more in line with angry than I’d ever imagined, but the more I write the more I learn about me. Other times I want to be clever or even intellectual. I’m a bit defensive about being smart. I don’t feel like I am, but I see it in the pieces I go back to. I’m not entirely sure of my intelligence. You can tell by how incredibly confident of it that I am. I mean, I never question my intelligence. There’s a reason for that.
Then there’s the times I’m naked. When I shed my many cloaks and reveal the thoughts and feelings I have that are genuine. The part of me that’s with me in each second. The ugly and the beautiful and the scared and the strong and the weak. Me. It turns out that I’m most excited to share this with my parents. It took having kids to understand what my parents were. I suppose I’ve had an ongoing relationship with ‘who’ they were, one that persists to this day and I suspect will live in me long after I’ve said my goodbye’s to them. The relationship I have with my parents lives within me. It’s too much to think of the days ahead when I won’t be able to hug and hold them, but these days are inevitable. But my ongoing relationship with my mom and dad is so ingrained within me that it will never disappear as long as I’m here. It will be small solace I’m sure, but true nonetheless. The great joy I feel that they have read my most intimate thoughts and seen vulnerabilities that they might never have been able to hold and reassure is amongst the greatest gifts I’ve ever received. I’m so heartened to know they’ve taken the time to know me in ways that frighten me to be known. To know that they are ever more loving and tender despite different outlooks or views on life. To know in my bones that they love me, the real me, the me I get to be here and can’t always present to the world, is a gift I will never take for granted.
We are all adrift in a sea of life, each of us can look to either direction and see the immutable and inevitable parameters of our existence. From the middle of what is a standard scale life, one not guaranteed for another second, but expected to last about as long as it already has, I find times when new life is the prevailing current. Other times the far shore leading to lands unknown, unexplored where we, if we are lucky, drift off to at the end of a long and adventurous journey is the overwhelming reality. Overwhelming because goodbyes and endings are far more painful then beginnings and hellos. More overwhelming because they compel us to make meaning. At first the task is to make meaning from the end itself. But ultimately we discover that despite the endings enormity and sadness, the meaning doesn’t live there. We all come to understand that while it is now in the past, the meaning of the tales we finish, the ones we see through the finish line are within us. Of us. In a sense this is the meaning of eternal life. All of it, bestowed upon me is the cumulative love and life of all those that have come before me. And now I get to garnish this feast of meaningfulness and hand it down to others who will pass it on. Whether to their own offspring or to the love of life that inspires those that simply see them, love them, admire them and are loved by them. It’s a circle never ending.