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Saturday, August 27, 2005

Sunday 4th September 2005 = Fathers Day.au

My first Fathers Day as a father is just around the corner. Just after Dylan was born I wrote some things that I never posted. I think now is a good time to put these words up:

general first impressions of parenthood.

Probably the best I can do with words is:

  • Day 1-2 euphoria

  • Day 3-4 anxiety

  • Day 5 euphoria

  • Day 6 gravity

But an attempt at putting words to it (long answer) might be:

Day 1-2 euphoria

For me the overwhelming flood of emotion came in the instant of delivery. Everything was mixed and surreal, but the overriding impression I got was of beauty. Birth is universally considered a transcendently beautiful moment. In any other context something so graphic and bloody is abhorrent. But in the case of birth, the meaning of the event goes right past our eyes and straight to something inside.

Babies come out, some more than others, covered in all sorts of goop. They're scrunched up and pruney and all they really know how to do is cry. Through all of this, all I can see is her light. And that light shoots straight to my soul. It latches on and nurses. There is a golden moment I see her attach life and limb, body and soul to me, to mix those streams, to join those threads without weight or intent, a pure action, absolute Zen that transcends ownership, brand new kin.

Day 3-4 anxiety

The next moment weight starts to appear. Follow those cleverly joined threads, threads joined in a blinding light, to their natural source and you come to find the substance of a promise so pure it's impossible to keep. For making that promise, for being unable to uphold this perfection, I'll seek absolution. As she Falls, as we all do, from Grace, I'll hold those threads as tightly as I can. But no person can keep another from touching the ground and walking in this dirty little world. Nor should we. And I'm not usually prone to giving much credence to the concept of sin or to the "decaying" nature of this world. It's only in looking through the eyes of brand new people, so pure I'm sure they cry a true holy water, that I see what a wash we could all use.

Day 5 euphoria

Return of euphoria like remembering to have a good time through the fear on a roller coaster.

Day 6 gravity

A Jacob's ladder of relation recedes to a vanishing point in either direction. I can see her place in a long line of family. As she assumes the roll of daughter, I assume my role, my parents theirs, and we all shift along another fall of the ladder.

It took me two days to regain my ground, to get through a short re-evaluation of sin. I abandoned an emotional peek down that rabbit warren again, again finding it too damned. I doubt we're born damned. That doubt is something I'm willing to stick in the ground and hold on to. She wasn't born to a world of sin. She's born to a world of contrasts (differences that make a difference). She is taken from a whole and individuated down, stripped of knowing and poured into a delicate container. That Fall from Grace is not a pure soul being sullied by a lower world (Roman 8:20-21), it's the product of a complete (Brahman) being cleaved and separated from itself (atman) to suffer a finite world of contrast. She's taken from all without beginning or end, without context, to a place you can hang your hat, a world of horizons, many beginnings and endings. You can see it in her eyes that coming into consciousness is coming to know contrast. Eventually those contrasts will carry the weight of judgment, but one thing at a time.

Over time the feelings from the first six days have cycled over and over and are becoming one feeling. I think that is the feeling of being a father. If you ever ask me; "So, how do you like being a Dad?" and I come back with; "Ya, it's good." You can think of that as the short answer. See this post from Mike Copes' blog for a more experienced opinion.

1 comment:

sally said...

your description of a baby being like Brahman reminds me of something a friend told me the other day. When asked by her 4 year old son why she didn't know everything in the world, she answered that only newborn babies are all-knowing but are unable (or choose not?) to tell us...