Is This What You Really Want?
Lately, the tides have broken. I am washed into a new existence, and I truly don't even remember where the shore went. I feel very out in the open - exposed. Like a misshapen naked man in a dream full of his old classmates and teachers. I have, in many ways, lost my old bearings and the map before is new and different and wild and bizarre.
Having a child is a thing of inexplicable beauty - a thing of thankfulness and ultimate, deep, rich, colour-soaked joy. But it is also a test of every part of you. If there were ever any doubts about your character or your sticktoitiveness or your sheer ability to get things done, having a child will boil the bones of you over a flashpoint gas fire.
But once you push past the ghastly ghouls of your slacker past, and beat down your desire to sip fruity drinks by a pool all day and rake in residual cheques, there is a real and pure beauty.
There is a deep resounding joy. You see this tiny person, who was somehow/magically brought into the world by you and your significant other, start to grow. You see her change, and you watch as the innocent corners of her lips start to form a smile - and her eyes follow and widen. You hear her start to test her vocal chords and stretch coos into longer noises that are both cacaphonic and otherworldly. A baby really breaks the ethereal plane of who you are - who you used to be - and who you are going to be. Your consciousness is horse-kicked to the ceiling of the only room you've ever known, and then blasted 10 floors upward - breaking through layers upon layers of the insulation, framing and steel of your being.
And something strange also starts happening in other facets of your being; you start to understand your parents. The worry, the stress, the late nights, the concern - everything becomes less about you and more about your child.
Never has a song been more real to me than when I started listening to Sonic Highways by the Foos. I haven't loved everything Grohl and crew have put out over the years, but I've dug most of it - but when I heard I Am A River, it came out in the wake of knowing that Jillian was pregnant, and it chunked a resonant chord deep within my catacombs. When that riffy, strummy, feathery part starts at the apex, it gives me chills.
We grow up thinking that we are it - that the world begins and ends with us and us alone. There is no before and no after. But there is no greater wrecking ball to that thought than having a child of your own. You grow, and you change, and you watch this child change with you - and there is an epiphany and a fear that comes with knowing that we are really just vessels. We pass things on - and we leave. Not only did Jillian give birth to a being that will most likely outlast and outlive me, but this thing could also maybe/possibly one day give birth to another being of its own. Now THAT is some serious shit.
I am truly a river.
May the beauty and joy and fear and everything wash over me.