Sometimes I just wish you could just stay inside me forever. Even if I’m moving at the pace of a 1983 VCR on SLOW MOTION, I derive a sense of security knowing that I can protect you at all times. You have no choice but to eat vegetables and fresh fruit. You WILL listen to my piano playing and lukewarm voice exercises. Water is our primary drink and we get plenty of sleep most nights.
I can keep you safe.
But, my son, it occured to me the other day that as your neurons continue firing in your brain and you skeletal frame solidifies, there are some things that are out of my control. The more I look at myself and your father, the more I wonder, “What have we DONE?”
You’ll inherit all kinds of wonderful things from us: love, compassion, forgiveness, understanding, empathy, faith, and resistance. But, you’ll also stand to inherit a wealth of odd quirks.
Like the other day, your dad’s ear problems have returned and I wondered if you are going to have ear aches to battle against. Or, I wonder if you’ll inherit my inability to estimate ANYTHING. (E.g. How long does it take to get to east Cleveland from the west side? I always say about 20 minutes. In reality, it’s at least 35 minutes to get across town.)
What if you inherit our dually acknowledged competitive nature? If you have siblings, this could spell disaster.
What if you are chronically late for things? (me)
What if you have no idea how to cook anything? (your dad)
What if you cannot resist a great sale on art supplies even if you don’t need anything? (me)
What if you fall in love with the feel of tube socks? (definitely your dad)
Will you obsess over human rights, germs, gender issues, owning good pens, the paranormal, and keeping one souvenier from every beach trip and graduation in your life? (ALL me)
Or what if you cannot reconcile wasting time in poorly run meetings, applauding after a catholic mass, mechanics, grocery shopping, or Bobby Kennedy’s assassination? (ALL your dad)
These questions weigh on my brain and the closer we are to your arrival date, the more my curiosity is blowing up in to full-fledged anxiety over the unfolding of your life.
Not surprisingly, your dad remains calm and says, “Some things we’ll get right. But we’ll mess up a lot. He’ll be like nothing we expect but he’ll be himself. He’ll be a little bit of both of us.” Also not surprisingly, that does little for my need to know how you’re doing and what you’re going to be like. Needless to say, I must work on my patience.