I don’t know what to write today, so I guess I will write this:
Miles is three and with that there is all the joy and frustration of living with a three year old. Recently we have been walking to daycare together and, many days, he ends up riding on my shoulders. While he is up there he likes to ask questions about everything and he will often play with my ears. When we come to a low hanging branch I shout out, “Uh, oh, here comes a bridge!” and we duck down and he laughs like crazy. It is the absolute best and there are hundreds of moments like this that I could share. There is also the darker side. Sometimes, especially when he is hungry or tired, you can see his eyes just go a little dim and he will try and hit or kick me. He will fight just about everything I try to do and throw a fit if I physically make him do it, screaming, “You are hurting my body” when I pick him up. That stuff, well, it just sucks.
I feel the tension of this often. Which brings me to something much broader and that is: how can someone show the entire range of lived experience without seeming like a Debbie Downer or a relentless ray of sunshine. If I was to post on Facebook about every cute thing Miles did, I would be one of those people who you might want to throttle. That would be fine, I guess, except that in posting unending pictures of Miles doing and saying cute things (and make no mistake, I could do that) I would be denying the parts of my day that are truly shitty (and make no mistake, there are parts of every day that are like that). Of course I could cast a negative light on almost anything I did, showing you, the peripatetic Facebook viewer, that ok, maybe this thing was alright, but this just means there is a storm on the horizon. Or maybe I could be even more overt than that and demonstrate in excruciating, uncomfortable detail how much my life sucks at this particular given instant.
All of these posts belie my true experience. The relentlessly sunny posts mask the moments of despair. The woe-is-me posts mask the deep appreciation for being in the world at best and, at worst, might be a real, public cry for help in the only forum one might feel they can shout things like this. These are the thoughts in my head that cause me to think about deleting my Facebook account. It is nice to see what people are doing and to stay connected, but what am I really connected to? You don’t post, you might as well not exist in this universe or you do post and I am left with a real feeling that your life is better than mine (or maybe worse…but probably better). I then think I should have more actual conversations with people but, let’s be honest, if I laid all this on you, you would walk away saying, “What was THAT?” If you were into actually having this kind of conversation, we kind of have to warm up to it. No one starts conversations with existential angst, they start with their kids or the weather.
So it snowed last night and was pretty cold this morning. I dressed Miles in (too small) snow pants and (too small) snow boots for our walk to school. With his winter coat he looked like that immobile kid from the Christmas Story. He made it six houses before he was totally over the walk and wanted me to carry him on my shoulders. We waved to the construction workers, he complained that I didn’t get low enough under the ‘bridges’ and they hit his head and, when we walked into the parking lot of his school he said, “Daddy, don’t put me down. Not now…Not now…Not now…Ok, now” and then laughed like a maniac. We sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame and I don’t know why. It was the best.
How are you?