A Father’s Angst
Sometimes I slip from this world into a place of darkness and shadows. It is the duality of my life this slippage. I move from careless and carefree into a place where the weight of the burdens I carry become oppressive. I stagger under their weight and feel like I am fighting an invisible monster. A demon who knows where the chinks in my armor lie. The demon never hesitates to use his claws on that soft underbelly. He revels in wreaking havoc and whispers in my ear about a future that is masked in darkness. In fear, frustration and anger I lash out at him, demand that he show himself.
I am a fighter and a scrapper of the first order. My hands ball into fists, the vein in my forehead begins to protrude and the adrenalin starts to pump. I refuse to let him pummel me, but though I issue a challenge it is not met. He won’t stand before me. He is unwilling to go toe-to-toe. The challenge is met with derision, ridicule and the sort of laughter that immediately pushes my buttons. Years ago I would I have gone on a rampage through that shadow world. It would have been a seek and destroy mission in which I would burn the villages to the ground and plowed salt into the earth.
Except I stopped being that man a thousand years ago. When I turned 25 I said goodbye to him and tried to walk away. At least that was my intention but intention and reality don’t always share the same bed. Sometimes intentions are led a different direction and you find yourself trying to figure out just how you ended up in the place you are in today.
You see the man I walked away from was/is me. I remember that guy far too well. He wasn’t big on subtlety or finesse. It wasn’t that he couldn’t do it because he could. The bigger issue was that it was hard. He was impatient and found much success in being a hard charger. If you couldn’t make the circle fit perfectly in the square it didn’t matter because you could still make it work. He had fewer responsibilities and no real worries. His mistakes wouldn’t impact anyone but himself.
I don’t have that luxury any more. Now I have to consider the impact and import of my actions because these children of mine deserve that. So I grab my palantir and gaze into it and try to see beyond the veil of clouds that obscure my vision. There are major decisions that have to be made in the very near future. They aren’t little throwaway things that are inconsequential. Some of them will be similar to dropping a rock into a pond-there will be ripples that extend well beyond this time.
That doesn’t mean that I look at these things and think that the wrong decision will wreck their lives or mine. I am truly not worried about that, but my job as dad is to try to make life easier for them. So I cannot help but engage in a bit of angst over these things. It all reminds me of a couple of Satchel Paige quotes:
“I use my single windup, my double windup, my triple windup, my hesitation windup, my no windup. I also use my step-n-pitch-it, my submariner, my sidearmer, and my bat dodger. Man’s got to do what he’s got to do.”
“You win a few, you lose a few. Some get rained out. But you got to dress for all of them.”
I like those because they are a reminder that in life you do what you need to do. There are going to be good times and bad times. Sometimes the biggest question is how you choose to respond to them. I know, that is sort of a cliche but has proven to be true. When I open my eyes and my head to possibilities they tend to materialize. The hard part is being patient.